Tips on waking up earlier in the day?

I never seem to find time to work on my artist projects, be it creative writing, songwriting, or more general musical composition. A lot of the more successful people from my music undergraduate have extolled the value of getting up earlier than they need to, and setting aside an hour a day or so to working on their various projects.

I like this idea. I’m usually to exhausted mentally and physically to do anything at 10, 11PM at night, or whenever it is that I get home from school/work. And it’s only going to get worse when I graduate this year and start working FT.

A website I found by googling suggested forcing myself awake with an alarm clock at say, 7AM, and that eventually, my body clock would “adjust itself,” and I’d be unbearably exhausted by 11pm, and the problem would take care of itself.

This didn’t work in January. Instead, I just slept 4.5 hours a night for about two weeks, and felt SHIT all day. Has anyone found a better system to train their bodies to wake up earlier, feeling rested? Light therapy? 12 glasses of water?

TLDR: how do I get up earlier without feeling like a turd in the morning?

don’t look in the mirror in the morning then you might feel better.

find your sleep pattern. odd or even number of hours? how many hours? you might find a multiple of hours; e.g. 4,6 or 8 hours is good but 4 or 6 is better. then try to do that.

coffee good for you? then have a thermos made before bed and put at your bedside. have a cup or two immediately upon waking.

What time do you go to sleep? Whenever I hear complaints from people about being unable to awake early, it’s inevitably because they go to sleep late. You can’t go to bed at 2:00 AM and expect to wake up at 6:00 AM feeling refreshed.

I have to wake up before 5:00 AM every morning due to my commute, so I have to be very disciplined about going to sleep before 11:00 PM. This means I have to start finishing off any business (i.e., watching a movie, etc) by 10:00 PM.

Once my alarm goes off, I never hit the snooze button. Once you hit the snooze button, you will just find yourself doing the same thing repeatedly. Just force yourself out of bed cold. Once you’re on your feet you’re good to go.

The only way I’ve ever been able to begin waking up earlier without feeling awful is to have a major change in my surroundings–specifically, moving. The unfamiliarity and stress of it would always re-set me, often to waking refreshed several hours earlier than I had been before.

Of course, I was also going to bed earlier. A certain amount of sleep is non-negotiable, you know? If you are too worn out to do anything at 10pm, maybe you are already working at maximum capacity.

Yes. I stay up late, either watching TV or texting. If I try shutting off everything earlier and just…going to bed, I find it leads to three hours of tossing and turning. Then I’m back to square one!

Go to bed earlier and at the same time every night.

Use an alarm clock and set to to the same time every morning and keep it on the other side of the room.

Well, there’s your problem. Melatonin levels in the human body (which regulate sleep) are affected by light in your environment. That is, the more light your eyes are exposed to, the lower the melatonin levels in your body. The result is your inability to fall asleep. In my experience I need at least 20-30 minutes of darkness before I start feeling drowsy.

Have you tried reading at night? I have a tablet that I use to read kindle books and the reverse light setting (dark background with light text) is helpful in getting me acclimated to the darkness without making me feel bored in bed.

Here is a thread I started a couple of months ago about a similar issue. Lots of useful suggestions there. Good luck.


I found your thread in a boardwide search, but admittedly I didn’t know what sleep inertia was…:smack:

I’m incredibly bad at waking up early in the morning, but I’ve found two things to be helpful: one, try not to use electronic devices late at night. The light their screens emit will keep you awake. Two, music! I’ve made a playlist of the most energetic, upbeat songs on my iPod, and when I’m having trouble waking up, they’re like an electric shock to the soul.

This sounds like a simple enough idea, but your brain won’t necessarily allow you to want to drink the coffee when your mind thinks it needs more sleep. (I talked about this in
a previous thread.) I think it has something to do with the REM sleep cycle, as mentioned in mandala’s thread, because I’ve found that if I go to bed about midnight, and then set the alarm for 4:30, my brain will remember the coffee and want to drink it, but the trick is to have something to read (like the day’s calendar). After about 15 minutes my brain is in full awake mode and I have no problem getting up.

That’s how much I’ve been sleeping for the past two years. The key for me is that the reason I get up at 4:30am every workday is in order to have time to swim first thing (two kilometers from 5:30 to 6:30) before going to work. Then, as also suggested in mandala’s thread, I sleep for no more than half an hour during lunch. Between the exercise and the siesta, I don’t at all feel like shit, and can work clear-headed from 8:00am to 9:30pm. Yeah, I feel sleepy at times, but you know what? When I get 8 hours of sleep I STILL feel sleepy just as much, so I might as well not waste so much time sleeping.

One thing I’ve found that helps is to shift my entire schedule, in particular eating. If you usually eat lunch and supper at 12:00 and 6:00, try changing that to 11:00 and 5:00.

This sounds counter-intuitive but it works for me…

If you need to be up at 7:00 get up at 6:00.
I hate the morning and I need that time to get my act together. I have coffee, shower or at least wash my face…
I don’t really like to eat in the morning so I’ll maybe have some cereal or even microwave popcorn or a PB&J just to have something to snack on while I watch a half hour of TV.

By 7:00 I feel human again.

I used to be a horrible, horrible insomniac that absolutely nothing fixed, but I finally went back to an old school sleeping pill (Trazadone) on a ridiculously high dose (400 mg.) to at least turn things around. And for about the first month, it only barely incrementally got better. But once I was able to actually get to sleep, then I had to work on the same problem as you… changing being a night owl into an early morning person to be able to constantly get my husband to various and sundry doctor appointments.

The first thing I stopped was going to bed so incredibly late (anywhere from 2:00 AM to 4:30 AM). That helped a lot right there. Then, I got in the habit of eating in the morning instead of skipping breakfast. It added something akin to a shot of energy.

Next, I always take my showers early now, rather than late, preferably on the slightly chilly side. If that doesn’t wake me up, I have no idea what will. And last, I quit taking hours long naps during the day to combat my depression. Doing that in general always had the result of making me feel drug out through the day, and I have no doubt, left a residual going into nighttime that prevented me from waking up easily.

So, good luck! It’s done wonders for me.

So…when you say “force” yourself awake, do you mean you don’t use an alarm otherwise?

I have all the typical sleep issues associated with ADHD (sleep maintenance insomnia, primarily), but not being able to get up isn’t one of them. I typically awaken before my alarm goes off, no matter when it’s set for, because I time going to be 7 to 6.5 hours before I should get up. I won’t sleep more than 6.5 hours without a lot of time to fall back to sleep, so I generally just get up then.

I don’t feel sleepy when I go to bed most nights - days would have to be 30 hours long for that to happen - and I have to force myself to sleep but despite this I’m able to fall asleep more quickly if I get some exercise every day. Since you mention not being able to sleep for three hours sometimes, I think you should give it a shot too. I get the best results late in the day but normal people aren’t supposed to exercise right before bed, so maybe sometime before or after you eat dinner? Try it for a couple of weeks, I bet you find you sleep better too.

Unless you have bladder or prostate issues (in which case you’ll be getting up anyway) try drinking a lot of water before bedtime. The Native Americans did it when they readied themselves for an early battle, and yes, it does work.

I have a pet theory about this just based on my own experience. I feel like unresolved issues play a big part in how we sleep. Unresolved does not neccessarily mean unfinished.

For instance, the last hour at work I spend getting ready for the next day. I tie up loose ends and decide on a strategy. Once I leave work I am done. I treat social and personnal issues the same way. I always try to have a strategy laid out for the next day.

 The affect this has on me is that I can't wait to get up and start knocking down my list. I am a bit extreme as I am up at 3 am every morning. By day light all my paperwork issues are done and I am ready to be creative and play all day. My creative time gets special attention. I spend a good share of my life cleaning up loose ends so I will have clear thoughts and a relaxed free mind to create with in the time I have alloted for that.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but it sounds like you are not currently working a FT job now.

If you were offered a position that requires you to get up at 7:00 AM, what would you do?

Two weeks is nowhere near enough time to allow your body to adjust. It took me two months before it got better and I started feeling sleepy earlier in the evening.

I also use one of those sunrise lamps that slowly increases in brightness up to the allocated alarm time.