7 creative strategies for waking up earlier every day

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Why It's Better to Be a Morning Person

There are plenty of reasons to get up early.

You can work with fewer distractions from family and coworkers. You have time to exercise before appointments get in the way. And successful people, from Xerox CEO Ursula Burns to Virgin Group founder Richard Branson, wake up with (or before) the sun.

Unfortunately, it's not always so easy, especially if you've spent a lifetime hitting snooze and racing out the door while still putting your pants on.

We checked out the Quora thread, "How can I make a habit of waking up early in the morning?" and highlighted the simplest and most innovative responses.

Try them all and see which one works for you.

1. Have something to look forward to.

If the only thing you have planned for the early morning is showering and trekking to the office, it's no wonder you can't find the motivation to get out of bed.

That's why Quora user Paul DeJoe says, "You have to be excited about something to do in the morning. If you're not, then sleeping in as an option is always gonna' feel better."

DeJoe breaks it down further, telling readers to take some time at night to write down five things they'd like to get done the next day.

Whether those goals include reading a chapter of a new novel, going for a run, or simply eating a nutritious breakfast, knowing that you have a bunch of pleasurable activities lined up may make it easier to greet the day.

2. Set a bedtime alarm.

Most of us know that a solid night's rest is one of the keys to waking up easily the next morning. But few of us have the willpower to enforce a bedtime that's exactly eight or nine hours ahead of the time we want to get up.

To solve that problem, Ben Mordecai says, "you just need to set an alarm both for when you want to wake up and when you will need to start going to bed."

The bedtime alarm won't necessarily force you to start putting on pajamas, but it will jolt you out of whatever non-sleeping activity you're currently doing, like browsing your Facebook news feed.

3. Chug a glass of water before bed.

An anonymous Quora user recommends drinking a full glass of water before going to sleep so that you have to relieve yourself in the wee hours of the morning.

"After some trial and error, I realized that drinking 300 mL of water before going to bed would wake me up exactly at 7 a.m," the user writes.

You can do your own experimentation to figure out how much water you need to drink to wake up at the desired time.

yoga class

Photo credit: Flickr

4. Start an enjoyable nighttime routine.

Researchers recently identified a behavior called "bedtime procrastination." Basically, people put off hitting the hay even though there's nothing explicitly keeping them from going to sleep.

One potential way to conquer that habit is to create a nighttime ritual you enjoy and that lets you ease into bedtime more than, say, closing your computer, brushing your teeth, and shutting the lights.

Simon Haestoe shares his experience with this strategy: "My sleep was stably horrible for 15 or so years. I stayed up late, because I always managed to find fun things to do, and going to bed felt so, so boring."

Eventually, he realized he could start a nighttime ritual hours before he planned to go to sleep: "I didn't have to do things that bored me. Instead, I could watch non-intense movies, listen to relaxing music and I could turn the whole thing to an experience I enjoyed and that I looked forward to having, all day long."

5. Don't sleep more than you need to.

It's pretty obvious that you have a harder time waking up when you've only gotten a fewer hours of sleep.

But research suggests that sleeping too much can also leave you feeling lethargic. That's because any change in your normal sleep patterns can throw off your internal clock and increase daytime fatigue.

That was Jeff Smith's experience: "For months I repeatedly had trouble getting out of bed. I would keep snoozing or turn [the alarm] off and think just 15 minutes more would help. Nope."

Finally he realized: "The reason I had such trouble was because the longer I over-slept, the worse I felt. I needed to recognize how long I needed."

Figure out exactly how much sleep your body requires and make sure not to get more than that on any given night (even weekends).

6. Register for an early-morning activity.

"Sign up for an early class, something that requires attendance and you are really, really, really interested in," writes Anita Singh, who recently started hitting up a 6 a.m. yoga class. "Once you have a stake in the cause you will be more likely to follow through."

Preferably, the class should be something you pay for, since research suggests that the prospect of losing money is motivating for most people.

7. Take on the responsibility of waking up someone else.

This is a suggestion from Shikhar Gupta.

Tell your best friend or your brother that you'll be their human alarm clock by calling them when they're supposed to get up. That way, you won't just be sabotaging your own success when you oversleep — you'll be hurting someone else as well, giving you an additional reason to get out of bed.

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