It should come as no surprise that the better rested we are, the more alert, focused and effective we are as we go through our day.
The challenge we face is getting enough sleep, but more importantly, getting enough quality sleep, every night. When we don’t get an optimal amount of sleep, we usually feel out of sync and don’t operate at our best.
While getting up earlier may appear to contradict the importance of getting enough sleep, they key point is we want to ensure we get the best rest we can every night.
There are numerous advantages to getting up earlier, however the challenge for those who aren’t used to it, is to consistently do the things that will lead to the habit of getting up earlier.
Getting up even 30 minutes earlier, five days a week, gives us an extra 125 hours of awake time every year. If we get up an hour earlier, that gives us 250 hours of additional time every year.
Just imagine what you can achieve if you used that time intelligently.
An extra 30 minutes per day can be used to:
- Take care of our physical and mental health.
- Develop a new skill over a period of time.
- Learn something new that can benefit us in the future.
- Spend more time with those that matter to us.
- Start our day earlier.
The key is to implement daily disciplines that will lead us to getting better quality sleep.
Over the years, I’ve paid more attention to how much sleep I’m getting each night. At one stage, I was operating on six hours sleep per night and while I was able to cope with the demands of my day, I now realise that I could have been so much more effective had I gotten a little more sleep each night.
Today, it’s very rare for me not to get at least 7.5 hours of sleep every night and by implementing this one habit, I’ve seen improvements in my physical, mental and emotional health. I’m also able to concentrate better and do higher quality work than when I was getting only six hours of sleep each night.
5 Things You Can Do to Get Better Quality Sleep and Become an Early Riser
- Decide how much sleep you would like to have every night. Most adults range from 6-9 hours of sleep each night. A sleep cycle is typically 1.5 hours, so 7.5 hours is a good target to aim for, which is 5 sleep cycles. If you want to get up at 6am, then you need to be in bed by 10.30pm. The key is to get into a routine of going to bed around the same time each night.
- Create a “bedtime” ritual. Just as people have morning rituals, having an evening ritual is also beneficial. This may include not watching television or being on the internet or a smart device 30 minutes before going to sleep. Other things may include reading a physical book, doing a meditation or doing activities that makes us relax. This is about training our brain to get ready for bed by doing the same things.
- Use an alarm if necessary. If getting up earlier is not something that comes naturally to us, it’s okay to use an alarm to get up on time. Another thing we can do is to keep our alarm more than an arms-length away from us, which means we actually have to get up to turn it off. Also, it helps to get out of the bedroom once we get up so we’re not tempted to go back into bed.
- Reduce your lifestyle stress. This is a lot easier said than done because we’re living such busy, hectic lives. The more things we have going through our minds at night, the more it will affect our quality of sleep. Stress can be reduced by taking better care of ourselves physically, emotionally and mentally. Knowing how food and drinks affect our bodies and our sleep, is also valuable to learn.
- Have a reason for getting up early. Having a “why” for getting up earlier is what will keep us going after the initial excitement has worn off. We must have an intention and something to look forward to when we get up. Knowing how we want to use that extra time in the morning is important to install this as an ongoing habit.
While getting up earlier has many benefits, we should not do it at the expense of our physical and mental health. There will be times when we will get off track. Knowing how to listen to our body’s signals and rhythms is valuable.
We can always start off with making small incremental changes to our sleeping habits to ease our bodies into a new routine. If we continue seeing improvements in how we function daily, it’ll be a lot easier to stick to the new routine.
Question: What is another thing that can be done to get a better night’s sleep and also become an early riser?
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