The alarm goes off, and there’s nothing you’d rather do than smash it and throw it out the window. Though the thought of destroying a small plastic contraption may sound like a good idea at the moment, it would only result in stretching the poor-college-student budget even further to buy a new one. Getting up in the morning relatively painlessly is possible, even for those of us who can think of nothing worse. Here are five simple steps to become an early bird when you’re a total night owl.
1. Start small and work up to being an early riser
If you try to immediately go from being a night owl to an early bird, you will suffer much more than you need to. Building a new sleep cycle takes time, and it’s a gradual shift to be successful. Therefore, before you can become an early riser, you have to plan to become an early riser. By heading to bed and getting up slightly earlier each day, you can meet your goal within a week or two.
For example, if you have to take a shockingly early 8 a.m. class, begin resetting your sleep schedule a couple weeks before the semester starts. While this may not seem like fun, you will most likely appreciate it later.
2. Skip the late night and go to sleep earlier
This first tip may seem obvious, but it is also one of the hardest to accomplish. One, your sleep cycle is not going to be in sync with the new schedule and, two, it’s hard to go to sleep when you could be productive or go out and have fun instead. However, if you really want to — or need to — be an early riser, this way of thinking must be disposed of.
Also, don’t think about it as losing time, but rather changing where that time is. Instead of staying up super late to do your homework, you can work in the early morning. No productive time is really lost, and you can still find yourself awake in the early morning, ready to start the day in a better way.
3. Hide your alarm clock from yourself
The snooze on modern day alarm clocks is really too accessible. While it is convenient to be able to silence your alarm with the slap of a button, this basically enables aspiring early risers to revert to their instincts and sleep in. By hiding your alarm clock somewhere out of sight, you will be forced to get up and find it in order to turn it off. This early morning movement can shake you into a more awake state, or at least make it harder to justify going back to bed.
There is also a new type of alarm clock called the sunrise alarm clock, where instead of simply emitting a noise, it also increases light in your room to mimic a sunrise. These alarm clocks come in all shapes and sizes and can be especially useful to someone who finds noise alone is not enough to get them moving in the morning.
4. Do not talk yourself out of it
In the morning, I become a master convincer. If I let myself, I could talk myself into staying in bed for 15 more minutes until the whole day is gone. And, in those sleepy, dark morning hours, self control is often the last thing on the mind. It is in these critical moments that an early bird is born. Do not allow yourself to justify sleeping in, even though it may seem like the most reasonable idea ever. Derail that train of thought and focus on getting up.
5. Take advantage of your morning
Once you’re up, don’t just laze around or take an extra long time to do simple things. Do something meaningful with your morning. Whether that’s making a good breakfast or even taking the time to style a nice outfit, don’t let the mornings you worked so hard for slip away. Be productive — justify the early hours by doing something more meaningful than sleep.