I don't know what takes more discipline. Waking up at 5 am every morning, or forcing yourself to go to bed at 9 pm the night before.
Everyone wants to wake up earlier, but when your alarm starts screaming at 5 am, the temptation to snooze away another hour or two can be too hard to resist.
If you know the benefits of being an early-riser, but haven't mustered the strength to get up and get after it, here are 6 essential tips that will have you waking up earlier and easier in no time.
What are the benefits of waking up early?
Benjamin Franklin seems to have a quote for everything, so it comes as no surprise that he nails it with this familiar gem:
“Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise”.
(This guy would CRUSH it on Twitter is he were around today).
According to a survey, published in the Entrepreneur magazine, learning how to wake up at 5 am can help you make more money and have higher job satisfaction, and people who wake up early feel healthier and more positive than those who don't.
Waking up early has a number of psychological benefits like:
- Greater ability to identify long-term goals
- Feeling in charge of making things happen
- Getting better grades in school, getting into better colleges
- Having better job opportunities
- Ability to better anticipate problems and solve them
It's been correlated with material benefits as well:
- Better job performance
- Greater career success
- Higher salaries
What If You're Not a Morning Person?
Great question. Here's what an article from the Harvard Business Review had to say about morning and evening people:
“Much of morning-ness and evening-ness is changeable."
It turns out about 50% of a person's chronotype is due to genetics, and while that is a significant contributing factor, it IS changeable.
Just like consistent meditation can train the mind to become more mindful and present, you can "train" your sleep-wake cycles to overlap with the time you want to wake up in the morning.
And one way to fast-track your transition to becoming an early-riser is to optimize dopamine.
Dopamine's Role In Regulating Sleep
It turns out that dopamine is the key neurotransmitter that tells your body and mind to shut down the sleep cycle and boot up the wake cycle.
That means it directly influences circadian rhythm.
Circadian rhythm controls our:
- Sleeping cycles
- Cycles during waking hours
- Metabolic cycles.
It's your body's "internal clock", and it's controlled by the pineal gland in the brain.
The pineal gland produces melatonin, which is the main hormone that prepares the body for sleep at night.
During the day, natural sunshine stimulates melatonin production, and at night a hormone called norepinephrine triggers melatonin's release.
Here's where dopamine comes in:
Researchers have found that the reward-seeking neurotransmitter, dopamine, is needed to directly stop epinephrine's effects, which in turn shuts down melatonin production.
That means when the sun comes up in the morning, it's dopamine that alerts the body and tells you to get up and out of bed.
6 Essential Tips for Waking Up Earlier, Easier
Tip #1: No screens 30-60 minutes before bed
Dim the lights, turn off the Netflix, and, hide your phone.
Screens emit artificial blue light that stimulates cortisol production and has an unnatural stimulatory effect on your brain. Ideally, sleep-wake cycles should be synchronized with the rising and setting of the sun.
If you must use screens, do yourself a favor and install F.LUX which blocks the blue light, or get yourself some blue-blocking glasses.
Related Content: How To Sleep Well: The Ultimate Night Routine For Better Sleep
Tip #2: Take natural sleep aids
I’ve written before about why GABA , Prebiotic resistant starch, and Magnesium are excellent supplements for optimal sleep, but there's another key supplement you should consider introducing to your bedtime routine.
It's Reishi, a potent medicinal mushroom that can promote sleep.
Reishi is an adaptogen, which means it works in the areas you need it most -- energy support, immune support, and even sleep.
Reishi also promotes cell regeneration which happens during night.
Tip #3: Take a cold shower and go to bed immediately
Before we fall asleep, our body temperature slowly decreases. Taking cold shower is the way to speed up and biohack this natural process.
Bonus tip: If you do it regularly, you’ll start burning fats easier. The body has a small amount of brown fat (usually around the upper back and chest) that burns fat stores when exposed to cold temperatures.
Related Content: The Deep Freeze: The Benefits of Cryotherapy
Tip #4: Choose your alarm clock carefully
The most natural way for you to wake up easily is by setting your alarm to nature sounds.
Our cave ancestors used to wake up with first rays of sunlight, listening to forest sounds, birds, and other animals.
That’s why these type of sounds have soothing effect on our mind.
Bonus hack: To prevent snoozing, put your phone away from your bed, so you’ll have to get up to turn it off.
Another bonus hack: Use apps like Sleep Time. It will wake you up in between REM and non-REM sleep phase and you’ll feel more rested.
Related Content: Can PEMF Help You Get Better Sleep?
Tip #5: Move your body – start exercising
Peak performers exercise early in the morning, when they wake up. Whether it’s jumping jacks, pushups, and lunges, it doesn’t matter as long as you enjoy them.
Even a brisk walk before breakfast can help reset your circadian rhythm.
Moving your bottom early in the morning, before your day begins, will get you one step closer to your ultimate goal: learning how to wake up early naturally.
Bonus hack: Incorporate 10-15 minutes of meditation into your daily routine, preferably early in the morning. This is another secret of peak performers.
Meditation positively influence HPA axis and balances many brain hormones like dopamine, serotonin, melatonin, oxytocin, and endorphins. It also helps fight insomnia, anxiety, and depression.
Tip #6: Prioritize your morning supplement routine
Now it’s time to take your morning supplements.
Kickstarting dopamine production with a high quality dopamine supplement is a sure way to feel motivated and excited to get out of bed without pounding the snooze button.
Next, the combination of caffeine and L-Theanine can provide a smooth alertness and energy boost so that when you have that first cup of coffee at your desk, you'll be ready to dial it in with no delay.
Waking up early can be a struggle, but if you implement just a fe of these 6 essential tips, you'll be well on your way to becoming a morning person.
Optimizing your night routine is just as important as your morning routine. After all, cultivating high quality sleep is a crucial step when it comes to waking up early feeling refreshed and energized to tackle the day.
Lastly, when that alarm does ring tomorrow at 5 am, having a supply of Dopamine Brain ™ on the nightstand can make the transition to your wake cycle seamless.
It might even become the best part of your day.