11 things you can do today to get up earlier tomorrow
That's too bad, considering that rising early can set you up for success: You have time to work with fewer distractions from family and coworkers and to exercise before appointments get in the way.
The good news is that some of the easiest strategies for waking up earlier are ones you can employ tonight. We browsed those Quora threads and highlighted ways you can prepare in advance to rise and shine.
Try them all and see which ones work for you.
1. Place your phone or alarm clock across the room
One survey found that the majority of Americans sleep with their phone right next to them. If you use your phone as your alarm clock, that makes it all to easy to hit "snooze" or turn off the alarm entirely.
Instead, take a tip from Ho-Sheng Hsiao: "I put the charger of my phone and my glasses in a place that forces me to get up and walk across the room to turn off. I had noticed that moving the body and physically getting out of bed helps start transitioning from sleep to being awake."
2. Limit your caffeine intake in the late afternoon and evening
"Some people are extremely sensitive to caffeine," says Kevin Jon, "and don't understand how it can still keep them awake much later."
One study found that consuming 400 milligrams of caffeine (that's about how much is in a Starbucks Venti coffee) even six hours before bedtime disrupted sleep. Specifically, those who consumed a caffeine pill six hours before bed slept about an hour less than they slept when they didn't consume caffeine.
The researchers suggest that people limit their caffeine consumption to before 5 p.m., at the latest. You can do your own experiment to see if cutting yourself off earlier helps you get a better night's rest, and wake up feeling rejuvenated.
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. 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."
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
Here's 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.
8. Set your coffee maker to go off at the time you plan to wake up
Varun Vishwakarma recommends creating an "appealing early morning routine" by setting your coffee maker on a timer "that fills the house with a delicious aroma." You won't be able to help seeking out the source.
Plus, research suggests that the mere aroma of coffee can be a wake-up call — at least in rats.
9. Cut your screen time before bed
Resist the siren call of Netflix, Instagram, and Twitter.
"We are actually more sensitive to artificial light and computer screens than we realize," writes writes Steven Ericson, "so stay completely away from screens and any brightly lit environments for three to four hours before your target bedtime."
Indeed, a growing body of research suggests that staring at the blue and white light emitted from digital screens prevents your brain from releasing the hormone melatonin, which lets your body know when it's time to hit the hay.
So it becomes harder to fall and stay asleep — and presumably to wake up feeling refreshed the following morning.
10. Chug a glass of water before bed
An anonymous Quora user recommends drinking a full glass of water before going to sleep so you have to relieve yourself in 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.
11. 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 experts say 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).