This is a sequel or a prequel, depending on how you look at it. Read Sleep Better first. Or next. The decision is yours.
I'm not a morning person. But I'm not really a night person either. Mainly, I'm a bed person—it doesn't matter if I'm awake or asleep, just so long as I'm in a bed, I'm happy. It's one of those simple things that makes me easy to please. It's also one of those things that makes it really hard to get out of the house at an appropriate time in the morning.
Here's the thing: I want to wake up early. Morning is a really nice time! The light is soft and flattering, it's appropriate to drink a lot of coffee without worrying about the consequences, and you've just got so much time in front of you to waste. And yet, there I am, at 6am, pressing snooze for the fifth time (yes, sometimes I set my alarm for an unrealistic 5:10am, with visions of all the productivity that's going to happen—let's not talk about that now). Because if there's something I like better than being up at dawn, it's that burst of calming brain chemicals that flood my system once the siren of my alarm is shut off for the next 10 minutes.
Another thing that's nice about the morning is that all the pretty, successful people seem to be up at that time, too. And since that's very much a community I'd like to be part of, waking up early is something that I need to make happen. If that's something you're interested in too, here's how:
Light It Up
For the same reason you should stop sleeping with your computer screen open, maybe ditch the blackout shades. Light wakes up the brain. If you sleep in a room that's blessed with natural light, open the blinds, do a sun salutation, and feel the energy become you. Alternatively, get out of the dark by turning on all the lights you possibly can. This'll alert your circadian clock that it is, in fact, time to get up and start your day.
Hold Yourself Accountable
My surprisingly fool proof college trick of getting up and out in the morning regardless of how late the night before went was as simple as telling someone where I'd be in the morning and when. My friend Rob and I would agree to meet at a coffeeshop at some ungodly hour on something obscene, like a Sunday, as this sort of weird, masochistic, scholarly jaunt. Rob almost never made it on time (or at all—Hi, Rob) but the possibility that he'd show up and think I'd ditched him got me up and out and caffeinated. The same rule can apply to a workout session you're paying for or a sample sale you don't want to miss.
Get A Needy Alarm Clock
At this point in history, I figure just about everyone's wake up noise comes from their phones. I would get a real alarm clock and plug it in across the room from my bed, but my former-tenement apartment lacks both sufficient outlets and space for that small luxury. But, as I'm sure you're aware, turning your phone off in a sleepy haze of disillusionment is far too easy. Solution: Step Out Of Bed. For $1.99 on the App Store for iPhone, you'll get an alarm clock function that literally forces you out of bed and will not shut off until you take 30 steps. I've read about people going and brushing their teeth immediately—I walk directly to the coffee machine. Good morning indeed.
Photo via Getty.