Anyway, I get out of bed 4 hours before I have to be in at work in the morning. And on weekends I’m out of bed at the same exact time I am during the week. Here is the kicker....I normally wake up before the alarm is set for 5am, refreshed and ready to start the day.
This was not always the case for me. I was known for staying up late and struggling to get out of bed in the morning. Back then I was thankful my “commute” to work was all of 30 seconds. I would peel myself out of bed with about 40 minutes to eat, shower, dress, and stumble over to my office. Some mornings it was closer to 20 minutes if I played the snooze button game with myself. I would always feel rushed and be still half asleep for a good part of the morning. Thank goodness college students are notorious for being late sleepers, because if I had to have one of those meaningful conversations with them about their behavior I would have made no sense.
As I was progressing with my journey towards better health, I realized that there had to be a better way to structure my life so I didn’t feel so rushed in the morning. I didn’t know it at the time, but making the choice to change my sleep patterns so I could get up early would bring many benefits to my life.
Some of the Benefits I Experience from Getting Up Early
- I have time to cook and eat a nice healthy breakfast.
- I also have time to pack a mid-morning snack to take with me to work.
- I get my workout for the day finished before I have a chance to get distracted by other time commitments.
- I get a chance to watch the news in the morning, which means I’m much more in tune with what is happening in the world around me.
- I walk into work feeling relaxed and ready to actually work.
- I finally am taking time for myself every day.
- I don’t feel like I’m sleeping all my weekend hours away.
- I am accomplishing so much more in my personal life than I ever did before.
So Just What The Heck Am I Doing In Those 4 Hours Before Work?
- Cooking and eating breakfast – I’m a hot breakfast girl so that means cooking is involved
- Studying for an hour for my Lifestyle & Weight Management Certification
- Getting in an hour workout
- Checking email, Facebook, blogs, etc.
- Watching the local morning news & some of the Today Show
- Showering and getting ready for work
- Packing my mid-morning snack (I get to take lunch at home so I don’t have to worry about packing that)
Below are some rules I try to follow. Sure there are some times that the rules get broken, but just like my other healthy choices it is about being as consistent as possible. If I had to guess I’m at about a 90% compliance rate but it took time to work up to that. It takes real discipline to fight that urge to have sleep patterns like most Americans do but it is totally worth it in my opinion. I added the rules over a period of months because I found that trying to change too much at once lead to me making no real progress.
- Go to bed at the same time every night and get up at the same time every day (days off included)
- I don’t sleep more than 8 hours. Any more than that and I end up feeling more tired.
- I make sure I get at least 7 hours. Less than that and I end up cranky.
- I don’t use the snooze button on my alarm. I set it for the time I want to get up and I just do it.
- If I choose to take a nap in the afternoon I limit the time to no more than 30 minutes.
- I don’t watch TV, read, or use my computer in bed.
Resources on Sleep Health
Sleep Habits: More Important Than You Think
The Better Sleep Council
10 tips for better sleep
Questions for You:
- Are you an early riser or a night owl?
- If you want to be an early riser what is keeping you from doing so?
- If you made the transition what tips do you have for someone who is looking to be an early riser?
Quote of the Day: “Sleep is the golden chain that ties health and our bodies together.” ~ Thomas Dekker