Never Let the Sun Catch You Sleeping: Why and How to Become an Early Riser

by Brett & Kate McKay on September 7, 2010 · 166 comments

in Health & Sports

Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise. - Benjamin Franklin

As a boy, waking up early was something I associated with being a man. I figured once you became a man, it was a rule that you had to wake up before sunrise. My dad would be up at 5:30 drinking his coffee and reading the paper. During hunting season, he was often out the door at 5AM to patrol for hunters. When we visited my grandpa in New Mexico, I remember the scent of coffee wafting into the guest room at pitch-black o’clock and the sound of the screen door shutting as my grandpa headed out to take care of the chores on his small ranch.

It seemed like all the men around me as a boy never let the sun catch them in bed. They were men of action who had things to do and people to see. They couldn’t dilly dally under the covers.

Now, I’ll admit that I love sleep. A lot. But I know I’ve wasted hours of my life that I can’t get back because I kept hitting the snooze button on my alarm. I’ve made an effort these past few years to wake up early so I can accomplish more during the day and complete the goals I’ve set out for myself so I can become a better man.

Below I share a few of things I’ve learned during my quest to become an early riser.

Great Men Who Were Early Risers

If you read the biographies of history’s greatest men, you’ll find that most were early risers. They used each morning to write, read, ponder, and plan for their day.

  • Statesman Daniel Webster would use his extra time in the morning to answer twenty to thirty of the letters he received from constituents and other politicians.
  • Benjamin Franklin would wake every day at 5AM and would use the time to wash, dress, and plan his day’s work.
  • Theodore Roosevelt would rise before dawn so he could get an early start on living his day strenuously.
  • Ernest Hemingway felt he did his best writing in the morning. “There is no one to disturb you and it is cool or cold and you come to your work and warm as you write.” He’d get started at 6AM and write non-stop until noon.
  • Philosopher Immanuel Kant would wake up at 5AM and have a cup of tea. After his tea, he’d smoke his pipe and meditate.
  • Thomas Jefferson felt “it [was] of great importance to use every moment of every day to its fullest,” so he was up before the sun each day. He’d use the time to record the weather, a habit which he kept up his entire life. After recording the temperature and air pressure, Jefferson would start a fire in his study. He’d sit by it with his feet in cold water and mediate about the day’s activities or any scientific hypothesis or political theories he was working on.
  • Benito Juarez, Mexico’s first full-blooded indigenous national to serve as president, woke up before dawn to study. His strict habit of daily thinking and studying gave him the insight and wisdom he needed to restore democracy to Mexico.

I could keep going with this list, but I think you get the idea.

Benefits of Waking Up Early

Increased productivity. The world is a much quieter place at 6AM in the morning. The kiddos are probably still asleep and businesses haven’t opened yet. You can use this time to get a head start on the day. Plan out your day, work on your side business, catch up on emails, exercise, or take care of those annoying administrative things that tend to get overlooked during the workday.

A lot of people ask me how I managed to run AoM while going to law school, working a part-time job, writing a book, etc. Much of it came down to pure hustle and lots of help from Kate. But my success with the blog also came from waking up early and spending the first few hours of the day working on AoM. I was able to get all my writing done in the morning so I could spend the rest of the day concentrating on my studies. Now that I have a full-time job, I continue to wake up at about 5:30AM and write blog posts for the Art of Manliness before starting in on my day job.

Increased creativity. Many writers and artists find they’re the most creative first thing in the morning. It’s when your mind is fresh. I’ve learned to organize my days so that I work on tasks that require the greatest creativity – like writing - at the very beginning of the day. I’ll write late at night if I have to, but I’ve found I usually spew out crap that I have to re-write the next morning.

Decreased stress. This can happen two ways. One, you get more done during the day with your extra time, thereby freeing your mind of psychological clutter. The other way waking up early can decrease stress is if you use the early hours to meditate and think. Many of the great early risers from history didn’t use their extra time in the morning for toil and labor, but rather for quiet contemplation. You could use the time to flesh out your thoughts in a personal journal. If you’re a spiritual person, you could use the time for prayer and scripture study. Studies have shown that these activities, done on a consistent basis, can reduce stress and increase alertness.

Increased fitness. If you’re tired of your gut, but don’t have time for a workout during the day, or find that your motivation to go to the gym evaporates after work, set the alarm clock an hour earlier and exercise first thing in the morning. An early morning workout will leave you feeling full of vim and vigor and ready to take on the rest of the day. And it’s a truly satisfying feeling to know you’ve already gotten it out of the way.

How to Become an Early Riser

The sun has not caught me in bed in fifty years.  ~Thomas Jefferson

Go to bed earlier. Your body needs adequate sleep in order to function on all four cylinders. There’s no point in waking up an hour earlier if you’re dragging physically and mentally the rest of the day. If you’re waking up an hour earlier, go to bed an hour earlier. If your body is used to staying up late so you can watch Jimmy Kimmel, go to bed even if you’re not tired. Read until you start to feel sleepy. You need to train your mind and body to adjust to your new sleeping schedule.

Start off small. If you’ve been waking up at 7:45AM every morning for your entire adult life, don’t start off your new early riser schedule by getting up at 4:30AM. That’s way too drastic of a change, and your body is bound to rebel. Start small. If you have a goal of waking up at 5AM, slowly work to it by waking up just 15 minutes earlier than you usually do. Stick to this schedule for a few days until your body adjusts and then cut back another 15 minutes. Continue with the cycle until you’re waking up at 5AM. It might take longer than you want, but you’re more likely to stick with the new routine by easing into it gradually.

Keep your alarm clock far away from your bed. If you can touch your alarm clock from the comfort of your bed, you’ll probably just keeping hitting the snooze button. Put your alarm far enough away that you have to get out of bed to turn it off. Once you’re up, stay up.

Have a routine established. If you don’t have something to do in the mornings with the extra time you have from waking up early, you’ll find yourself stumbling back to bed out of boredom. Establish a morning routine that you start as soon as you wake up. It could be as simple as starting the coffee pot and splashing cold water on your face. If you’re looking for something manlier, begin your day by wrestling a bear and bathing in snow. You just need some action that serves as a trigger to your body and mind that it’s officially time to wake up.

Invigorate with cold water. If you’re groggy in the morning, there’s nothing like cold water to shock the system into feeling bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. Try shaving with cold water, or, if you’re feeling really brave, take a James Bond Shower as soon as you get out of bed.

Make a good breakfast. Perhaps I’m a simple man, but I find it’s easier to get out of bed when you’re looking forward to eating some delicious grub.

Discipline, discipline, discipline. Cultivating the habit of waking up early is like forging any other habit. It takes discipline and commitment. You just have do it.

What If I’m a Night Owl?

“Put no trust in the benefits to accrue from early rising, as set forth by the infatuated Franklin …” – Mark Twain

Some people aren’t made for waking up early, and that’s okay. It’s not a character flaw or a sign of laziness; your sleep cycles are just geared for staying up late and sleeping in. In fact, if you’re a night owl you’re in pretty good company. Winston Churchill would often burn the (past) midnight oil until 4AM and wouldn’t wake up until noon. Despite his sleeping schedule, he managed to guide Britain through WWII. A recent study even shows that late risers earn more and are smarter than early birds, so go figure.

If staying up late and sleeping in works for you, great! Keep doing it. But I know for most people who work a 9-5 schedule, sleeping in until 10AM just isn’t a possibility. If you want  extra time to be productive, try making the switch to waking up a bit earlier.

AoM Challenge: For the next month, try waking up an hour earlier than you usually do. I’d love to hear what you’re doing with your extra time in the morning, so shoot me an email and give me a report.

What are your tips for waking up early? Share them with us in the comments!

{ 166 comments… read them below or add one }

101 Alex Aries September 18, 2010 at 10:28 am

The military imbued an early rising habit in me, and I’m glad they did. Its one of the many useful traits that I’ve taken away from the service. I use the extra time to fit in a workout, thus freeing up more time to do whatever I want to do later in the day. Every minute you get up earlier than you have to is a minute that you use for yourself, for reasons you choose!

102 Dan September 21, 2010 at 2:22 am

I feel inspired! From now on I’ll be an early riser to!
My first goal will be to get up at two in the afternoon!
That way I’ll get a full seven hours sleep, and still have four hours before I have to be at work again. Magnificent!

103 rmrm September 21, 2010 at 12:11 pm

This summer I finally got into a consistent exercise routine. Our 1 year old schnauzer decided that 5am is the time to get up and we’ve gone on a 3 mile run every day since July. Sometimes he lets me sleep in till 5:30 but he’s pretty regular. I’m a little concerned this is too much exertion for him, but he usually finishes stronger than I do.

104 Brent September 21, 2010 at 4:20 pm

Waking up early has never been much of a problem.

That said, I’m not going to take up your challenge…mainly because I see no need. All summer I worked at a coffee shop and regularly woke at 4:30 to organize my things for the day, then went to work for 5:30.

Now that I’m back in school, I’m on the varsity rowing team. I wake up every day at 4:50 and have a snack before going to practice. When I come home I only have time for breakfast (usually an omelette with chicken and cheese) and a shower before going to class (save Fridays when I have no class).

As a seasoned rower (this is my 6th year of competitive racing) I’ve learned to wake up long before most people my age. When I took a creative writing class in grade 12, I found that (like its mentioned here) I did my best writing in the early mornings. I can truly attest to the idea of late night writing needing to be re-written.

Plus, who can argue with the beauty of the sunrise?

105 Sébastien September 25, 2010 at 3:57 am

Ich finde den Artikel sehr gut. Das wichtigste ist Disziplin. Anfangs hatte ich mit dem frühen Aufstehen Mühe. Nun stehe ich jeden zweiten Morgen 5:15 auf und stehe um 6:00 im Fitnesszenter. Schwer ist es jedoch früh zu Bett zu gehen. Das kostet eben so viel Planung und Disziplin. Versuche 22:00 im Bett zu sein, schaffe es aber nicht immer.

Grüsse aus der Schweiz

106 John October 1, 2010 at 3:32 pm

I get up every morning at 4:50. I don’t believe I need to get up any earlier. I have coffee, eat breakfast, and am dressed and out the door for work generally before the kids are awake.

107 Artimid October 1, 2010 at 11:18 pm

I actually find myself waking up at around midnight, which makes it really hard to sleep. If I woke up at 5:30AM that day, if I manage to stay up and -not- fall asleep by about 10:00PM, I will end up waking up fully and not going to sleep until about 7:00AM the next morning, and around 9AM I will start feeling like I will pass out. ^_^ So yeah, I am a night owl through and through, and always have been.

When I -try- to adjust my schedule, unless I have something important to do.. it always fails. I have 3 alarm clocks, I don’t even register getting up, walking across the room, and tapping them. I even have them set for odd minutes apart, like 2 minutes, 8 minutes, and their snooze always is set to like.. 10 minutes snooze, 13 minutes, so I am constantly moving. That is the -only- way I am able to wake up, and that tends to just be anger powering me at that point. heh.

Either way, nice tips both in the article, and through the posts.

108 Onelio September 22, 2012 at 12:13 am

This article is pretty “eye opening” pardon the pun, but here’s a better one I’m reading it at 2 am haha. Heres to trying to wake up early though! I plan on using my hopefully new found time to meditate and workout; if all goes as planned of course.

109 Jack October 14, 2012 at 5:54 pm

It is now 23:51. I was supposed to be in bed for 22:00. *sigh*
Anyways, I’m up at 6am tomorrow, then when I can handle that I’ll cut down to waking up at 5am every morning. It’ll give me half an hour to James Bond shower and dress etc, an hour to study the Bible followed by an hour of prayer (with such a beautiful moment complemented by the beauty of sunrise), finally with half an hour for breakfast and then to school!
Can’t wait to sink into this routine.

110 Mark November 1, 2012 at 2:40 am

I tend to hit my pillow with my head to count the hour I want to wake up at. For example, hitting my head against my pillow for four hours = 4am

111 Kyle December 25, 2012 at 2:28 am

I had a friend who ended up on house arrest right after high school. He kept sleeping in later and it was starting to make him feel depressed. It got to the point where I would be getting off work at 4 P.M. and he was just getting up. I suggested he keep going with it by getting up an hour later each day until he was actually back to getting up early. He eventually settled in on getting up at 4 AM. This approach only works for people with no jobs or responsibility that revolves around a schedule.

112 jordy January 10, 2013 at 9:14 pm

i get up every morning at 5:00 and do chores like get fire wood feed our chickens and just regular farm chores iv been doin this ever since i can remember im the oldest out of 6 children so after that i go help help my little brothers and sisters with there work then i get ready for school and on week ends its the same exept after im done helping with my siblings chores i go help my mama with breakfest

113 Steve January 14, 2013 at 6:12 am

Good Inspiration. Many of my US clients are early riser. From now I will be early riser too. Thanks!

114 Sara January 17, 2013 at 8:25 am

I have no idea how I got on a website called the ‘Art of Manliness’ but I actually really liked what this said. During the school term I wake up at 6, so now I will try for 5 and do exercise in the morning. So then I feel energised and not sluggish

115 Sundar K January 25, 2013 at 7:53 am

Having a dinner minimum 2 before going to bed will help to rise early.

116 Brent Wagstaff January 31, 2013 at 10:22 pm

I can count the number of times that I woke up before my Dad. For over 30 years he has been waking up at 5 in the morning to go play basketball. The part that surprises me the most is that is that where ever we have lived he has found other guys that are willing to do the same thing, ( I hope to find a group of guys to do the same thing, only soccer instead of basketball). All my life I thought my Dad was crazy. As a teenager I was not a morning person. I recently turned 25 and I now love getting up early in the morning. I have made it a habit to wake up each morning at 6. I don’t have to be in the office until 9 (I show up at 8:30 because I’m an intern and I want to be there before my boss). This gives me plenty of time to go to the gym, come home and shower, and make it to work on time. The extra hour or so in bed is not as rewarding as getting up and making the most of the morning.

117 Charles February 17, 2013 at 7:47 am

I have always gotten up early love the mornings. I am usually up by 4:00am and get a few things before work. I am 48. I am in bed evry night not later then 7:30pm, unless I go out which is only weekend. It is important to keep your same bed time every night. If for some reason i feel tired I may go an hour easlier. I live with parents still so no wife or kids makes it easier for me

118 Dorothy Johnson May 8, 2013 at 7:35 am

Thank you for your article. I have been searching for all the info I can find on how to be a early riser. It has been one of the most daunting classes of my life. Thanks again for all the info!

119 Serafin May 8, 2013 at 12:30 pm

As a teacher, I get up at 5 a.m. during the school year. Usually a week into the summer I am already sleeping until 10… I will make a change this year and carry over my work sleeping schedule into the summer.

120 Hamza May 24, 2013 at 1:02 pm

I’m only 15 and I’ve been an early riser since I can remember (I still recall being up at 6 am at the age of 4). I HATE waking up anytime past 8.30 on a day off, I just feel like I’ve wasted daylight which for some reason has always really irritated me. I generally just use the time to be by myself and relax; even my days off are pretty hectic when I’m helping to look after my elderly dad (who by the way is also an early riser)

121 Tim June 7, 2013 at 11:09 am

I think that the key way to get into this habit is “Go to bed earlier”, without that the new wake up time will likely just lead to a sluggish day. Besides a cold shower to start the day another great thing is to start the day with meditation,followed by mobility excercises like those in the following vid: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sZtpyNAXyzw&feature=player_embedded#! and then on to reading for 30 minutes,morning coffee,etc. This sequence really gets me primed and ready to go!

122 Ebenezer June 13, 2013 at 10:13 am

Very inspiring message, I will also try to apply these seeds of wisdom and adjust on some certain things to become an early riser. Thank you

123 Connor Bixby June 16, 2013 at 12:49 pm

My method is amazing. I have an alarm clock on my phone that makes me do math problems to turn it off. You might wanna try this out.

124 teja June 26, 2013 at 5:03 am

i will took it as challenge to wake up early in the morning to make it as good habbit

125 Cat July 7, 2013 at 1:27 am

I’m researching the benefits of early rising and I came across your awesome blog. Thank you. I’m looking forward to my life of early rising and early turning in. I know it’s healthier for me and just feels right when I do. I like the feeling that I have more time in the day. As I get older and time goes by faster and faster, it’s imperative that I become an early bird so that I the day isn’t wasted. I’ve lived most of my life as a vampire and I’m tired of hitting the ground running when I wake up.

You know what’s really interesting and a cool coincidence (of course there are no coincidences)? Both men that were against rising early had the same birthday. Twain and Churchill-November 30.

126 Yaseen M K Noorani August 28, 2013 at 4:39 am

Great article and brilliant blog! Love it.
As a muslim I have to wake up before sunrise in order to perform the early morning prayer and I’ve noticed that on those days when I fail to wake up on time my day usually isn’t as good, I get less done. The routine for me is waking up about an hour and a half before sunrise, washing up with cold water and heading out to the mosque for prayer and meditation…great start to the day!

127 Austin September 9, 2013 at 10:42 am

Great Article, and I love the fact you mentioned something about us night owls. I’ve tried all those things and still cannot function before 9AM. However, around 1AM I am still mentally active and fresh.

It is all about finding a cycle which works for you, then sticking to that. :)

128 Bruce September 9, 2013 at 10:59 am

I was in bed by 10 and up at 6 every day for 2 straight years (including weekends) as a requirement for a temporary position I held. The first morning after that position ended I slept in until 9 a.m. No matter how much I try, I will never be a morning person. I’m like Winston Churchill. I do my best work starting in the afternoons, and I really get going around dinner time. I can stay up until 2 or 3 a.m. with plenty of creative and physical energy without any problem, and I seem to do my best work after my kids have gone to bed. Different strokes for different folks, I guess.

129 Dennis September 9, 2013 at 11:02 am

I’ve often felt like I should try and take on the early to bed, early to rise life schedule, but my body has always rebelled. Seeing this “late risers earn more and are smarter than early birds”, I’m encouraged to give up on that feeling and keep the same schedule as Churchhill. Besides, it’s even quieter from 2 to 5 am, as the early birds haven’t even risen yet. That’s when I get my best work done.

130 Jason Ohlemacher September 9, 2013 at 11:10 am

I am a third shift worker, but I feel like quite a bit of this can still be applied to me. I will have to give this is shot!

131 Andrew September 9, 2013 at 11:21 am

The trick is to start at your current wake-up time – say, 8am for many – and then wake up 5 minutes earlier each day. By Friday, you’re at 7.40am. Allow yourself the luxury of sleeping in on the weekend, and perhaps doing 7.50am on Monday… then continue the process. End of second week, you’re at 7.30, or 7.20 if you weren’t lax about Monday. Within 2-3 weeks, you’re waking up an hour earlier and your body has adjusted. I’ve been at this for 4-5 weeks now, waking up at 6.30am and very happy about it.

132 Jonathan Clark September 9, 2013 at 11:31 am

Usually I can’t be pried from bed with a crow bar and a bucket of grease, but these days have been demanding I leave the house before 7:30 and if I want my usual percolated coffee and eggs and bacon or biscuits and gravy then I’ve got to be out of bed no later than 6:30. It’s been rough but I can already feel the reward of the extra time I’m finding to do things.

133 Scott September 9, 2013 at 11:35 am

I agree strongly with this idea. My dad has been a 5 AM man my whole life and never ceases to amaze how productive he is. That being said I work in EMS which is not the “9-5″ my dad had for scheduling. He was actually more of a 7-7 worker until I was in high school which really paid off professionally and personally for him. He decided that he was going to miss a single sporting event of my brother or mine. Embodiment of manliness and involved fatherhood in opinion…but sorry for the side note. My point is my job makes me habitually a night owl. I find that when that is the case I just sleep 7 hours in a 24 hour period when possible and make my productive time that 2300 to 0300 range when my wife and the 9-5 world is at rest. Whatever your circumstance is you can make the most of it!

134 Jason September 9, 2013 at 12:20 pm

“And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he (Jesus) departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed.” ~ Mark 1:35

135 Dougald McLaurin September 9, 2013 at 1:49 pm

I wake up at 5am every morning. I don’t use the normal alarm clock. I keep a small 5 cup coffee pot in my room. Since I am a light sleeper the percolating wakes me up and I know coffee is waiting on me. This has only failed twice in the three years I’ve been doing it. Both times were because I decided to “rest my eyes” for just a few more minutes.

136 Hendrik September 9, 2013 at 2:23 pm

Waking up early has always been a matter of motivation for me. When I started my new job in a new city I got up at 5am and was always the 1st person at work. Until I overslept one morning, woke up at 7am and still made it to work with time to spare. Motivation shot and gone.

137 Brent September 9, 2013 at 3:07 pm

I once heard a wise man suggest to make your bed the second you’re out of it as a sort of barrier to stop you from getting back in.

138 gustavo September 9, 2013 at 3:12 pm

Have a baby and you’ll never sleep past 6.30am!

139 ITO September 10, 2013 at 10:14 am

I have gotten up at 4am darn near every day for the past 15 years and I get more done before 9am than some of my coworkers do all day long. On weekends I get all my chores done before the kids even roll out of bed.

140 mike September 13, 2013 at 4:46 pm

Thanks for this. I’ve taken up the challenge. I used to be an early riser but over the years have slacked off for a variety of no-longer valid reasons. Thanks for calling me to action.

141 Luke September 13, 2013 at 10:04 pm

Any tips for staying awake late in the afternoon. School has made an early riser out of me, and I’ve always considered myself a morning person, but during afternoon classes, and especially trying to stay awake while I’m studying is becoming challenging. I can only drink so much coffee, and I would hate to nap so late in the day.

142 Timothy September 14, 2013 at 12:15 am

Luke, have you tried making a routine of an afternoon nap? I’m now a full-time, unemployed student, and my consistant class schedule allows me to get a short nap in the early afternoon with some time for lunch as well. A 20 minute siesta might do the trick for you.

143 Mike September 15, 2013 at 5:02 pm

Hello, fellows- I have been following the articles advices for the past few weeks and i have to admit, that the whole early rising thing changed my way of facing the day- and i never expected it to have such an big effect! Being the guy who has a clear mind in the morning and who already accomplished to fullfill some of the daily tasks EVEN BEFORE the start of my univerity’s early classes is what makes me fell even more confident. If you struggle to wake up even more early: just try it to see the difference which the bit of more time gives you.greetings from germany

144 Jon September 25, 2013 at 5:26 am

As I read the various comments I am surprised that there are so many people who wake up early. At the age 13 I always slept until 7AM, and when I woke up I took a shower for 20 minutes and I had 5 minutes to change before I had to run out the door to my mother who drove me to school. I felt that this was inefficient and by the time I got to school I was pretty much tired until the end of the day. So I devised a plan to sleep extremely early wake up, then sleep again and wake up early. For example: I would sleep at around 12PM and wake at 4PM. I can then sleep at 12PM and wake up at 3AM. This gives me a short amount of sleep throughout the day. This is generally enough to keep me awake and not tired at all when I wake up and go to college. To the younger readers of this article, the way I stay up after I wake up so early is by playing video games (on PC or consoles). Try not to play handheld games because you’ll be more tempted to stay at your bed and eventually you’ll fall asleep!

145 Mar October 8, 2013 at 8:04 pm

I have been an night hound as long as i can remember. I’m 22 now and it’s actually negatively affecting my life this very moment i’m writing this sentence. I have class at 8 o’clock and it’s 4AM.. It’s weird that when i work summers at my uncle’s firm, i usually wake up around 5 or 5,30 in the morning.. but when school starts its a nightmare getting up in the morning. When i sleep in i feel bad for myself.. i feel like i’ve let myself down every time it occurs. but i still dont go to bed like “normal people” do, like 22-23. Great read and i’ll definately try to become an early riser.

146 Jason Koller December 9, 2013 at 10:50 am

I already typically get up at 4:30 and head to the gym before work.
I think I’ll stick with that.

147 Bryce December 10, 2013 at 10:08 pm

Great posting. I’ve also found early mornings to be the best for creative projects, writing, reading, challenging workouts. Depending on how early I get to bed I get up between 4 or 5 in the morning. After a quick breakfast i’m off to the commuter train. Then I get off the train three or six miles early and jog to work, showering in the gym shower in my building and put on fresh clean clothes from my locker, Thanks to AOM postings on Plyometrics and Parkour I’m mixing in some exciting moves into my run/workouts.

148 Ankit December 15, 2013 at 9:50 am

I would love a life like that . But my job has rotational shifts. So two weeks my shift starts at 14:30, 2 weeks 22:30, 2 Weeks it starts 06:30.

149 Tom December 15, 2013 at 12:56 pm

Being in the USMC has gifted me with the ability to awake early. especially due to being an MP wake up at 1500 to be at work and ready by 1700. work through the night and get off at 0500. same principles even though its night shift.

150 Chad December 17, 2013 at 3:01 pm

I like getting up early, wife does not. Hunting season does not help our relationship as she has trouble falling back to sleep. I’m going to shoot for 5:30 wakeup on a regular basis, loved the article. Thanks.

151 Cole January 4, 2014 at 9:04 am

This is excellent advice. Despite biologically being a night owl, I’ve been an early riser the majority of my life. When I was young it was due to the ADD medication I was taking, I would wake up at 4 am and be unable to get back to sleep. My time in the Army had me up to work out before the sun rose. Now I find myself missing having the time to wake up and get going before my work day starts. I’m going to try this challenge, and hopefully I can rediscover the peace of mind I’ve been missing lately.

152 Jonathan C January 7, 2014 at 11:23 am

I’ve always loved getting up early, but all of my friends are night owls. Being in college with them really messed me up. I was always up later so that I could hang out. The best thing I ever did was schedule a bedtime and make it known to my friends. It wasn’t long before a couple more in the group took it up also and now we all know that if we want to do something together, it has to be before a certain time. With my generation at least (I’m 24), staying up late is expected. You will be surprised how many of us will actually prefer going to bed early if we aren’t afraid it makes us sound like a wuss. Thanks, great article!

153 Craig January 21, 2014 at 7:28 am

6:00 am – start my day with a cold wash. 15 minutes workout. Get dressed, wake my son up (leave Mrs. Haylett to rest as she’s pregnant with number two) and make breakfast. I take up a cup of tea for Mrs. Haylett. Make my lunch for work then leave around 7:30am for a brisk walk to work; only a mile up the road.
I am planning on getting up earlier so I can write. I’m 31 years old going on 70.

154 Nate February 1, 2014 at 6:42 am

From my reading and my own efforts, I think discipline is important for this but insufficient. You need a plan, not will.

I got the habit started with the routine below, plus some melatonin for 1 week (0.3mg 2 hours before bed), plus a rule that, after I turned off my alarm, I didn’t have to get up but I did have to sit up with my feet on the floor immediately. I’d also drink about 200mg of caffeine after waking. The idea is to instill the habit quickly, and then let it run itself.

The important thing, in my opinion, is to have a fixed schedule that does not vary even on weekends. Dim the lights at 7, brush teeth at 830, bed by 9, alarm at 5- every single day without exception. What I found was that, after a week, I started waking up at 3:40 almost exactly, clear headed and ready to work so no alarm was needed. I was able to push my bedtime back an hour because of it too, since 8 hours is too many apparently for me.

This is me though: I’m an extreme insomniac and everything else didn’t work for me. I’m sure some others could be less strict.

credit for routine: Supermemo site, sleep section.
http://www.supermemo.com/articles/sleep.htm#Curing_DSPS_and_insomnia

155 Ahiqar March 29, 2014 at 2:00 pm

The bias in this article is that work and productivity are good things. Seems to me that the best time for thinking is at night, free from the distractions of “keeping busy” and idle chatter (and TV). Our world could do with a lot more thinkers instead of do-ers. Why? Productivity equals consumption, and like a disease burgeoning humanity is consuming the planet at an unsustainable rate, enough that “thinkers” are pretty certain that civilization will collapse soon (global warming, finite resources, ecosystem destruction, etc). We need more people sitting around campfires telling stories to each other.

156 Tom March 30, 2014 at 11:15 am

Good article.. but nah, im a night owl. I hate being in bed earlier than 10 as I feel ive wasted my night, which is where I do most things – gym, films, tv shows, planning my next day.
I work at 9, and I see no reason to get up earlier than 7.30 / 7.45. I have shower and breakfast so I only need half hour to get ready. Even then it takes 3 alarms!

157 Nick March 30, 2014 at 7:01 pm

Handy tip for early rising: don’t have little children who wake up and call “Daddy daddy!!” 2-4 times a night.

158 JW Stevens March 30, 2014 at 7:38 pm

Check out the sunrise mimicking alarm clocks. They start glowing 30 min before the audible alarm goes off. It gets brighter and brighter until it’s like noon day in your room. I’ve been using one for 2 years now and find it makes a big difference in being able to get up early.

159 Daisey March 30, 2014 at 9:24 pm

Great article. I have been an early riser for the last 10 of my 50 years and agree that life is more productive and rewarding. The difficulty I had at the beginning of the new regime was how to actually “wake up” and get going. Before hand I could sleep in until 9 or 10. The answer I found was in “breathing”. When the alarm goes off or you start to wake naturally at 5 am, I found that if you take a dozen deep breaths, holding each for 3 seconds, your body wakes up and you feel you must get out of bed and get going.

160 BerlinFritzy March 30, 2014 at 11:28 pm

I am up and at’em around 3:30 – 4:00 A.M. every morning. Have been for years. I don’t even want to be this way, but when I awaken, I simply get up. How many times have I tried to go back to bed? Never works. Brain is working on all cylinders, and with two cups of coffee my day is off and running. Wife thinks I’m crazy.

161 mick March 31, 2014 at 8:58 am

I never really put it together that getting up early was a sign of being a man. But of course, Dad was generally gone before I got up in the morning.
By nature I am a night owl. BUT, I was proud of those days I was out of the house by 6am to work 7-4pm schedule. I did get a bunch more done. I’ve just been inspired to reset my internal clock and seize the day!

162 Moleman March 31, 2014 at 11:19 am

I don’t consider time spent sleeping/in bad as “wasted”- it is enjoyable, and is very necessary for good health. Everyone needs a certain amount of sleep- and it really doesn’t matter if you go to bed early and rise early; or go to bed late (as I do) and rise late- the important thing is to GET ALL THE SLEEP YOU NEED, so that you will be healthy and at your best during your waking hours.
I’ll never forgive “them” for making me waste so many good years of my life when I was young, having to get up ridiculously early to go to gov’t school! I’ve made up for it though; the day I turned 16, I dropped-out, and except for a couple of years when my engagement in one business requirted me to get up at 4 AM, I’ve spent the rest of my life as a late-riser (middle-aged now) and have enjoyed and cherished every moment of it.
I guess I should thank the gov’t schools, because their trying to make me an early-bird caused me to reject the idea of working 9-5; and made me vow to never spend my life conforming to someone else’s schedule. Life is short. Enjoy the good and valuable things, like sleeping; and getting up when you feel like it!

163 mike March 31, 2014 at 5:57 pm

Eat a good breakfast and stop eating earlier in the day you will want to go to bed early and wake up early to eat

164 Tone April 1, 2014 at 12:24 pm

Been getting up at 4:30 for more than 45 years. I find I get more done in the morning at work from 6 till 8 because they’re not so many boots on deck. I eat a hearty breakfast, drink coffee, and read the paper before I go to work.

165 Jaymes April 2, 2014 at 6:29 pm

I’ve been going to bed at 9pm and rising at 4:30am for the last few days, and I have already seen the numerous benefits of this practice. I do my morning devotional, eat a great breakfast, get a good workout in (which I’m usually too tired to do once I get home from school), and still have the time to sit, relax, and meditate on what the day will bring. I highly recommend this practice.

166 Nikhil April 5, 2014 at 10:59 pm

This link could also be useful in getting better quality sleep: http://lifehacker.com/remember-the-90-minute-rule-to-ensure-a-refreshing-nigh-1551241082

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