It is well to be up before daybreak, for such habits contribute to health, wealth, and wisdom.
Are morning people born or made? As believed by many, there is a high correlation between success and rising early. For most people who get up early, it is noticeable that productivity is almost always higher, not just in the morning but all throughout the day. So to be a goal-achiever, it is a good thing to become a habitual early riser.
So, the question maybe is, how to become an early riser.
It’s hard to become an early riser using the wrong strategy. But with the right strategy, it’s relatively easy.
The most common wrong strategy is this: Assume that if one is going to get up earlier, he would better go to bed earlier. So he figure out how much sleep he is getting now, and then just shift everything back a few hours. If he now sleeps from midnight to 8am, he figures he’ll go to bed at 10pm and get up at 6am instead. Sounds very reasonable, but it will usually fail.
It seems there are two main schools of thought about sleep patterns. One is that one should go to bed and get up at the same times every day. It’s like having an alarm clock on both ends — try to sleep the same hours each night. This seems practical for living in modern society. We need predictability in our schedules. And we need to ensure adequate rest.
The second school says one should listen to one’s body needs and go to bed when he is tired and get up when he naturally wakes up. This approach is rooted in biology. Our bodies should know how much rest we need, so we should listen to them.
Through trial and error, there are loopholes from both of these. Both of them are wrong if you care about productivity. Here’s why:
If you sleep set hours, you’ll sometimes go to bed when you aren’t sleepy enough. If it’s taking you more than five minutes to fall asleep each night, you aren’t sleepy enough. You’re wasting time lying in bed awake and not being asleep. Another problem is that you’re assuming you need the same number of hours of sleep every night, which is a false assumption. Your sleep needs vary from day to day.
Now, on the other hand, of you sleep based on what your body tells you, you will probably be sleeping more than you need — in many cases a lot more, like 10-15 hours more per week (equivalent of a full waking day). Some people who sleep this way get 8 or more hours of sleep per night, which is usually too much. Likewise, your mornings may be less predictable if you’re getting up at different times. And because our natural rhythms are sometimes out of tune with the 24-hour clock, you may find that your sleep times begin to drift.
So, what is the best way then? Well, why not combine both approaches. It’s very simple, and many early risers do this without even thinking about it. The solution was to go to bed when you are sleepy and get up with an alarm clock at a fixed time (7 days per week). So more likely, you will get up at the same time in the morning.
When your alarm goes off every morning, turn it off, stretch for a couple seconds, and sit up. After a few days of using this approach, you may find that sleeping patterns settled into a natural rhythm.