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Success From the Nest

By Tony Clark

24 Tips To Becoming An Early Riser

Written by Glen Stansberry of LifeDev.

24 tips to becoming an early riser

Since I've become a full-time freelancer, I've found one of the hardest things to do is to get up early. Without the threat of being fired, there just hasn't been a whole lot of motivation to get out of bed in a timely fashion.

I've quickly learned that getting up is crucial to success as an entrepreneur. And better yet: waking up early is really just a habit. You don't need any skill to do it. You just need to wake up consistently to condition your body to the routine. Here are some tips I've picked up along the way to ease the process of developing the habit of getting up early.

The most important thing to keep in mind is that you have to be motivated to get out of bed. Motivation is the only thing keeping us homo sapiens from lying in bed all day eating twinkies.

1. Create a conducive environment to wake up to. It may sound strange, but how messy my room is greatly affects how easy it is to wake up in the morning. I've found that if I have an orderly room to wake up in, I'm more inclined to bypass the snooze and start my day.

2. Get enough sleep. This one isn't a mind-bending concept, yet it's still the number one reason most people struggle with early rising. Aside from all the health benefits to getting enough sleep, it makes it a jillion times easier to wake up early. (A jillion folks. I had to use a fake number to show the importance.)

This probably means that you'll have to make some sacrifices in order to go to bed at a proper time. Don't worry, you won't even miss the late hours once you start seeing the benefits of waking up early.

3. Plan your day the night before. Writing down all the big, important things you'll be doing the next day give you the extra spring in your step to wake up early and quickly. If you've got a purpose, you've got a big reason to wake up.

4. Don't read in bed. Spending as little time as possible in bed will actually help your body realize that the bed is for sleeping, and not lying awake for hours. The goal is to fall asleep within 10 minutes of getting into bed.

5. Don't eat directly before bed. If you eat more than two hours before you go to bed, your body will have to digest the food, keeping you awake.

6. Eliminate stress. Stress is one of the main causes of poor sleep. Relax yourself before getting into bed. Try controlled breathing exercises, yoga, or any other tactic to lower your stress level. This is good for you anyway.

7. Reward yourself. Don't think for a second that the reasons for getting up have to be totally work-related. Remember waking up really early on Saturday mornings to watch cartoons? That's right: motivation. Occasionally give yourself rewards to anticipate the next day. A favorite show, ice cream, your favorite breakfast... anything for you to look forward to.

8. Exercise. Early morning exercise is great for waking a body up. It gets the blood flowing, raises levels of serotonin (happy chemicals), and will start your day off on the right foot. Exercise ultimately makes you feel better about yourself, and if you do it in the morning, will also help you wake up.

9. Don't lie in bed awake. The goal is to almost literally jump out of bed. The longer you stay in your bed, the more tempting it is to hit the snooze. And getting 10-20 minutes extra sleep after you've already woken doesn't really help you. It sends you back into a restless sleep that drains your energy before repeating the torturous process of waking up... again.

10. Sleep with windows open. The fresh air is better for you, and allows you to sleep more deeply.

11. Try to get up with the sun. Sunlight has many benefits to waking up. It raises that blessed serotonin level, regulates your circadian cycle, and keeps you up. But any sort of light will do for waking up before dawn (you overachiever, you).

12. Be Consistent. Make sure that you go to bed and wake up every day at the same time. Consistency develops habits, and waking up early is only a habit.

13. Listen to your body. Your body does a pretty good job of telling you what it needs. If you're still feeling tired, go to bed earlier. Your body will find a suitable sleeping pattern soon enough.

14. Go outside I've found that going outside and reading or exercising first thing in the morning is great for waking up. Feeling the breeze and sunlight on your skin, hearing the sounds of morning, all these things together stimulate just about every sense in your body.

15. Change alarm sounds often. Don't let your body get used to hearing the same alarm every day. Drudgery never motivates, my friends. Use alarms that are pleasant, and change them often so they stay pleasant. There's nothing worse than waking up to something that sounds like a horn on a Chevy.

16. Lay everything out the night before. Collect and lay out all your clothes and any other peripherals you'll need the night before, so you don't have to make those decisions in a sleepy state. Having to make decisions in the morning can make you not want to wake up.

17. A.M. Radio Associating waking up with fun things like music can train your mind to think that, "Hey, waking up isn't so bad after all!"

18. Use the extra time productively. - What's the point of getting up a few hours earlier if you don't do anything productive with the time? Your brain is pretty smart, and if it figures out that waking up earlier doesn't really have any benefits, game over. There has to be a reason for getting up.

19. Write down why you're getting up. What will you be doing when you wake up? If you write down the actions that you'll be doing the next morning with your extra time, you're giving yourself incentive to wake up.

20. Plan important events in the morning. This, if anything, will force you to get out of bed and moving. Schedule meetings, interviews, anything that requires you to get up and moving by a certain time.

21. Find an accountability partner. If you're having trouble sticking to early rising, find someone who will hold you accountable to early rising. This should preferably be someone who is also trying to wake up early, so you can help each other in your quest for early morning dominance.

22. Tell people about your early rising. Letting the world know about your early morning prowess is yet another way to keep yourself accountable. Nobody wants to live a lie, right?

23. Avoid Naps. It's a proven fact that nappers sleep worse at night. Naps break critical sleep cycles that keep us from getting the proper types of sleep we need.

24. Track your progress. Use a goal tracker like Joe's Goals to simply track how you're doing. Visually seeing your progress is a great way to stay motivated and focused on the goal.

These are just a few ways that you can improve your ability to wake up earlier. Finding the best routine for you is the most critical, and requires some experimentation. The key thing to remember is that waking up should be a pleasant experience. If you can make waking up something you look forward to, you're already halfway on your journey to becoming an early riser.

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What to do if your work timings don't allow getting up early?

I am facing this problem. I was earlier working in a 24x7 environment and now work between 12 pm - 11 pm. By the time I reach home and have my dinner (yup) it's already beyond midnight. I am training for a marathon scheduled next Jan (my first) and want to get up early to run. But I hardly can get up at 9am. I have tried almst everything, but it still does not seem to work.

I guess it's all about willpower.

Thanks for the advice anyways.


Plan your timings


When you reach home it would be almost midnight and why is that you do not take your dinner when you are at office. It will take not much of your time. By doing that you will not be saving time when you reach home. When you reach home get fresh, go to bed atleast by 1 and wake up at six in the morning. Go running..... thats one of your goals isnt it. All the best!!!

Uh, info in conflict...

In Conflict with Intem 23...I'm torn like an old sweater...



I have to get up early because of my job....that is something that i cannot change right now, or anytime soon. i read this hoping someone one grasp the point of this and post something about how to help someone wake up earlier without feeling like shit!!!

It's also the getting up that can be difficult

Neither my brain or my body as a whole seems to want to make any kind of effort in the morning. Therefore I start small by moving around a few toes for a half a minute or so. Then my whole foot may be willing to join in. Eventually my leg and so forth. Brain starts to wake up after a while as well. Give it a shot.


A typo?

5. Don't eat directly before bed. If you eat more than two hours before you go to bed, your body will have to digest the food, keeping you awake.

Shouldn't it say "If you eat LESS than two hours"...?

Just brilliant.

I am not so much of a morning person, but due to work and school I will have to get up quite early in the morning from now on. I surely appreciate your tips and for the friend who send this to me!

..and sometimes it's medical

so here it is, 5am as I head for bed. I'm hypothyroid and although I don't think it's medically accepted, everyone I know with this disorder feels like crap in the AM - no matter how much sleep they've had. So I just sleep through the morning. I'm more productive with the hours I'm awake that way. Hypothyroidism also depresses energy levels so I need to do whatever I can to maximize energy and alertness just to keep up with normal adult responsibilities. And yes, most people think it's a decadent lifestyle and that I sleep alot, even though I normally get about 6hrs compared to their 7-8.

I already make a list the night before. First thing I do when I get up is go outside and water plants. Don't read in bed. Don't eat after midnight. Try not to nap but will fall asleep if I sit down in the early evening. Guess I'm just meant to hoot with the night owls!

o.O Why? I work better at

o.O Why?

I work better at night anyway, I hate sunlight. I get up at noon everyday, work until midnight~2am at the job, and stay up doing anything else productive I need to get done... Repeat.

dim the lights

I try also not to turn any lights on in the evening, using only flashlight or candles. the dim light soon makes me sleepy so: early bedtime - early rise

Easier said than done - great idea for a post!

You're hardly the first person to say "Get up early to get a great start on the day." But it's rare indeed to see such a comprehensive list of tips toward making that happen. Beyond just "go to bed early" and other more obvious ones, I particularly like stuff like "Plan what you're going to get done." Personally I have 3 little kids, and at times such as this morning the baby will wake me up at 5am. He goes back to sleep, but I can't. I've got a good 90 minutes before the rest of the house wakes up, what to do what to do? If I had a plan I could feel like I was accomplishing more than sitting around catching up on my news feeds :).


Walk a little!

I think Walking a little in the evening helps in sound sleep which, ultimately, helps in getting up earlier.

Changing from Night Owl to Early Bird

After reading through the comments, I have to say that I am definitely a night person, and have been like this since my college days of pulling all nighters, and have been continuing this trend ever since (I am now 36). Part of it I attribute to working in Tokyo and Taipei straight out of college where the work ethic is a little different, and it wasn't uncommon for me to be in the office past 11 pm. Part of it was due to my first job back to the Silicon Valley where it was much more efficient for me to work while Asia was awake, and I would be at the office around 4 pm, and be home around 2-3 am.

It is now 5 years after getting a job at "regular hours", and I am now trying to figure out whether it is worth it for me to stay up late. My problem is a little different than what other people have posted though.

For one thing, no matter what time I go to bed, I somehow always end up being awake around 7 am, lie in bed until 8 am, and then get up and get on with my day. If I go to bed at midnight, 4 am, or even 6 am, somehow, I am almost always out of bed by 8 am.

So I too have read the Steve Pavlina articles that have been mentioned, and have been trying the going to bed earlier, rising earlier thing for the past month and a half or so.

I started by forcing myself to be in bed by midnight every night. It was difficult for the first night because I really didn't know how to make myself fall asleep, so I tried putting on soft sounds of oceans and stuff, but that just aggravated me more than put me to sleep. I was just trying to be out of bed by 6:45 am for the first week, but it didn't happen until the 3rd or 4th day in.

After consistently getting to bed by midnight and getting up by 6:45 am, I decided to tweak the schedule a little at a time. Now, about 6 weeks later, I am in bed by 11 pm, and up by 4:45 am. My eventual goal is to be in bed around 10:30 and to be up around 4:30 am.

My reasoning for wanting to change my schedule is that I am the type of person who works best when I am not distracted, so it is better when I am not constantly interrupted by e-mail and phone calls. I realized that in the US, I stop receiving calls and e-mail around 6-7 pm, but Asia is still at work, and the e-mail doesn't stop until around 1-2 am. That being the case, I normally want to answer these e-mail before going to bed, so I normally don't make it to bed until around 2:30 am. I think I was just getting pissed off that I was letting people control my schedule, so I decided that the best time I would be free of distractions would be between 4 am - 9 am... which is not exactly true, but much quieter. I do receive that 5 am and 6 am e-mail from the East Coast, but the number of e-mail during those hours are nothing compared to the rest of the day until 2 am.

It seems to have worked out pretty well now, and my motivation for getting up now is to be able to get in some personal time to do what I want to do between 4 am - 9 am, such as getting to the gym, surfing the web, watching Tivo, etc.

Great work

There is an ebook in pdf format (How to sleep less and live better, i think), that says some intersting things about sleep, like you don´t need to sleep 8 hours per night. Only 5 is sufficient to anyone. But there don´t explain how to wake up early....

Thank you for the post!


In 20 years of internet newsgroup reading and blogging, I thought I had heard every flamewar there was:

Faith vs. Atheism. War vs. Peace. Gays vs. Straight. Emacs vs. Vi. C++ vs. Java. Mac vs. PC. Circumcised vs. Uncut.

And I'm sure this is the ONLY place on the whole wide internet where the "morning people" would actually stand up and fight to defend themselves.

Because the rest of us are night owls.

Funny but sad

Kind of funny that some think people across Spain are taking naps in some mass cultural habit. Sure, and Chinese people can fly.

"It's when the rest of the world works" - 9 to 5 business hours - in what timezone? I was up all last night through till now talking with colleagues in Sudan, Hong Kong, Qatar, the Philippines. I am going to be up for the rest of today, into this evening with more overseas contacts who are going to be up in advance of a big meeting tomorrow. But tomorrow morning? I am going to sleep late. Without any kind of concern about what time it is. The rest of the world is always working while the other part is sleeping.

I do think it is useful to get up early whenever suitable, and I do, but the reality is that not all people are farmers and aren't limited to the sun for light. Depending on our various life situations, children, single, 9 to 5 (in our timezone), consistent schedule, long hours at times, freelance at home, in an office with others, we work different schedules.

Sometimes as I am about to close out my work session and sleep, I go to http://www.soundsleeping.com/, pick my favorite sound combinations (ocean, rain, thunder, creek) and let them play.


http://www.soundsleeping.com/....fantastic website. Thanks for the link!!!!

Reasons for doing it...

Kill social life

...and get bitten by mosquitoes all night long with the windows open.

Nice tips. I still struggle though.

they have this invention

they have this invention called a window screen, look into it.

The early bird may get the

The early bird may get the worm, but the early worm gets eaten.

Verse from the Bible helps a lot

1 Thessalonians 5 : 1-11

Interesting read. I always

Interesting read. I always thought I was just a night owl - no way around it. I couldn't fall asleep before 3 or 4 am, had an awful time waking up before 10, and found ways around it - took later classes, took jobs that didn't require it. After a relatively routine checkup at a new doctor, I got to talking about this with her.

Six months worth of testing later, I've been diagnosed with two things: Sleep apnea, and Delayed Circadian Rhythm. the first means I stop breathing while I sleep, the second, that my body clock is "off."

the first bothers me. Stopping breathing is bad. The second - not so much. I function well, other than side effects of the sleep apnea, and I am resisting all attempts to medicate me back to normality. The most I will concede to is the occasional "oh god I have to wake up just get me unconscious early" type of sedative.

I do believe that some people just cannot fall asleep early. I get more done in a day than 90% of the people I know, and I'm far more alert and productive because i'm *aware*. At 11 pm, I'm emailing customers and researching a paper - not hanging out watching law & order.

I think the preconception is that people who wake up late are, in some way, lazy. They aren't out and doing early in the day, and because people who *are* out and doing early in the day then want to relax in the evening, they assume that us who are late-night high functioning are also curling up with tea, and that therefore we've accomplished nothing throughout the day - simply not true. I work, and work damn hard, I just cannot be as productive early in the day, but recognise that, and work within it.

Sunrise alarm clock

I created a cheap and effective way of getting up - use light instead of sound, it's sooo much harder to ignore in the mornings and works with your body's natural rhythms.


Pavlina's getting up-drill

I'd say this solution trumps them all:


Train for getting up in the morning -- but do the training during the day :-)

Works like a charm.

Another vote for Steve Pavlina

>>It's a proven fact that

>>It's a proven fact that nappers sleep worse at night.<<
That's quite wrong. In fact, it *is* a proven fact that a short nap after the main meal of the day is quite helpful for some people, as it makes them more productive in the afternoon. It's only when they're two hours long and in bed when you might have problems sleeping 8 hours. But then, you might need no more than 6 now.

The rest of your list is quite helpful for someone who wants to change their habits. Still, I agree with a lot of posters here: some people are just night owls and work well that way.

Drink plenty of water

I guess point 25 can be to have a good and hearty breakfast. Nothing drives me to wake up early than hunger.

Also, drinking plenty of water before bed helps me. When the alarm clock sounds, I just feel like going to the washroom to relief myself. Off the bed I go!

Charles Wilson
Online Classifieds

Typical A-people talk

This article is typical of A-people (early risers). They sincerely believe that all people can be "programmed" to their way of life. Well it doesn't work. About 20% of us (B-people) are physically incapable of doing the whole 10-6 thing. It just doesn't work. There is no point at all for me to go to bed at 10 as I cannot - CANNOT - sleep until at least 12.

So please A-people, give up the moaning. Just because you can go to bed early and rise with the sun it doesn't mean that all of us can.

And, to shamelessly plug myself, here is a very relevant article I wrote on this very subject:

Yes but...

Some "B-people" as you put it WANT to be "A-people"
And some "A-people" want to wake up even earlier

On a side note, I have been told i have bad sleeping habits...
I usually go to bed at 10PM, sleep for an hour, get back up at 11PM out of habit to watch "Black cat" on CN, go back to bed at 11:30PM, wake up again at 6-7AM

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