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 }

1 Quo Warranto September 7, 2010 at 12:26 am

For those AoM users with early-riser LDRs, here’s suggesting them calling you in the mornings. All the motivation to wake up and start the brain up.

2 Steve Harrington September 7, 2010 at 12:37 am

Excellent post. I definitely contribute part of my success in the world to being an early riser.

Those who swear they hate waking up early, hate waking up early because they only do it on sporadic occasions when they’ve gone to bed late, and thus don’t get enough sleep. Once you adjust your schedule, getting 8 hours from going to bed at 1 o’clock and waking up at 9, feels the same as going to bed at 10 o’clock and waking up at six.

3 Jorge Gamarra September 7, 2010 at 1:04 am

A nice way to help the transition between circadian rhythms.

have your last meal 12-16 hours before your intended waking time, and have your first meal of the day around your wake up time, your metabolism will start reseting itself according to the new eating schedule

4 kyle. September 7, 2010 at 1:07 am

interesting article, but i beg to differ on the method of gradually moving up your wake-up in 15min increments. i recently read that studies show most people will fail if they try to do that because it’s easier for people to slip. the research indicates that bigger jumps coupled with some perseverance is the best way to do it.

5 Preston September 7, 2010 at 1:14 am

Me in the morning http://vimeo.com/5472812

6 Jay September 7, 2010 at 1:15 am

Waking up early is an undeniable sign that you take your dreams and priorities dead seriously. Despite what anyone thinks of your aspirations, no one can criticize the man who leaps out of bed at 6AM and busts it every day of the week.

On the other hand, it’s easy to ridicule the “dreamer” who can’t be bothered to get up until noon. “How seriously does he take himself?”, others can reasonably wonder.

One thing about that study: even if night owls are smarter, what are the odds they’ll be *using* that intelligence at 10PM? Assuming you have any social life, that’s the time to be at a bar, spending time with your boyfriend/girlfriend, watching TV, etc. Early mornings are tailor-made for productivity because, as the article points out, nothing else is going on.

I’m 23, and I can tell you that sleeping late is one of the things guys my age are most reluctant to let go of. They rightfully see it as a symbol of adulthood, but rather than embracing it, they remain terrified of it and rebel against their alarm clocks.

7 Preston September 7, 2010 at 1:19 am

For two years I woke up at 2am for work at a TV Station. Before that my schedule was until midnight, so I’d sleep in until 10am. Now that I no longer work there I have trouble not sleeping in past 8am. I know I have the capacity to wake early but unless required to I generally sleep until I wake up naturally around 9:30am.

8 Gary September 7, 2010 at 1:39 am

Wow what an excellent post. You’ve just given me so much motivation to start a habit I’ve been wanting to get around to for years. Thanks for all the examples from the lives of great men and the tip on scriptures and prayer.

9 Darrell September 7, 2010 at 1:53 am

I honestly think some men associate waking up early with being an adult and the end of fun and staying up late with staying forever young. You stay up late in college so giving it up feels like you’re giving up that responsibility-light portion of your life. You really have to re-brand it for yourself, come to see it not as something for working stiff schmos, but a source of personal power that comes from your personal desire to make more of your life.

10 aaron September 7, 2010 at 1:55 am

If you think you’re a night person you’re wrong. what you are is a sugar\caffene person. quit both, wake early no matter what and be in bed reading by 9 pm and you’re magicaly a morning person. works every time.

11 Black and Blue Man September 7, 2010 at 1:57 am

Although I’m a night owl, I enjoyed this article very much – especially “begin your day by wrestling a bear and bathing in snow” :)

Late at night is my favourite time – I find it very relaxing and tranquil because the busyness, demands and stress of daytime are over. As a result, I think better and also work better – the ‘phone has stopped ringing and the emails have stopped coming, so I can focus on getting jobs done.

Fortunately, I have an employer who is very much behind the work-life balance, and I can also work from home when required, so I am able to stay up late and rise the next morning with some leeway. This is especially helpful if I’ve had a rough night because of the black dog, the demon Insomnia or both.

When I wake up, I get my brain firing with an hour online and cold water (although I drink a glass of it, rather than throw it in my face).

12 David Ould September 7, 2010 at 2:16 am

question:

I love the idea of this – getting up earlier would be a boon for me. But what do I do about my fantastic wife who needs so much more sleep than I do?

If the alarm goes at (say) 5:30am every morning rather than her usual 7:30, won’t I wake here and break another excellent code of the manliness-art – thou shalt love and honour your wife?

13 Promethean Sky September 7, 2010 at 2:17 am

My weekend job often requires me to be awake as early as 4 am. While I’m capable of waking at that hour, left to my own devices that’s right about when I’d go to sleep. I find that I’m at my most clever and productive somewhere between midnight and 2 am.

14 Nick Zadrozny September 7, 2010 at 2:24 am

Another great tactic for shifting your circadian rhythm: go camping. Remove yourself from all the light and stimulation and noise of everyday life and go spend a few days in the great outdoors. It’s much easier to wake up when the sun is shining on your face, and likewise much easier to fall asleep when your evening activity consists of telling stories around a campfire.

15 Ryan M September 7, 2010 at 3:04 am

I realy hope im able to get into this habit even though I am a night owl and dont hit the hay till 4a.m. Some of these could help me arise at a desired 9am intead of 2 pm ha. And I hope to kick the graveyard shifts soon.

16 Mark B September 7, 2010 at 3:33 am

I would want to get out earlier than my 06:55, but I am already tired as it is. At what time should one go to bed then?

17 Dave September 7, 2010 at 4:17 am

Be very careful about getting up earlier without actually going to bed earlier also.
There have been some studies showing that you seriously reduce your energy and effectiveness by building up a “sleep debt” from losing an hour of sleep each night.

Get more sleep and you’ll get more done during the hours that you are awake.
If you also start the day early, you’ll get a headstart on everyone else in how you use those hours.

18 Will September 7, 2010 at 4:32 am

I’ve always been a fairly early riser, but since my job at a news station starts at 4 am, I’ve had to significantly adjust my schedule. I joke that waking up is now the hardest part of my day, and it’s true. Here are a few things I do to get my day going when I roll out of bed:

Even though my station is very near my apartment, I set my clock for an hour before work starts (I’ve got my coffee on a delayed timer, so it’s already brewing) and upon waking up, I immediately do 30 push-ups and sit-ups to get the blood flowing and then I take a quick James Bond shower (got the idea from here!). What also really helps is splashing on some aftershave after… well… shaving. The alcohol stings and cools the face and really invigorates you.

19 Ola September 7, 2010 at 4:42 am

Last year, I decided I needed a lot more exercise and wanted to go running at least 3 days a week. The only way I could fit this into my busy schedule where work, family and friends already ate up most of my time, I simply started getting up earlier in the morning. For a while, I got up at 5 am five days a week to go running, I have now however cut that back to 5 am three days a week and 6.30 on Saturdays. Even though it frequently makes me fall asleep on the tube, it’s totally worth it. Also, it’s often very peaceful and beautiful outside in the morning, sunrises are nice.

20 Rob Sharpe September 7, 2010 at 5:14 am

Over the summer (I’m a teacher) I recommited to working out daily. I had surgery on one of my hands a few years ago and in it’s aftermath I became quite lazy regarding exercise since I had an excuse. As school began again I was finding it difficult to exercise after work so I began exercising in the morning. I know rise at 5 AM (it’s 5:12 presently) and hit the gym.

To do this I’ve found I have to be completely ready in the evening’s before bed. This has given me a nice routine to trigger my body that it’s time for sleep which is helpful because now I need to go to sleep earlier.

There have been several nice benefits that have come from this behavior. First I’m always on time for work and typically 30 minutes early. This affords me time to read in the morning while it’s quiet and the morning has shown itself as a great time for me to read.

21 Mike September 7, 2010 at 5:42 am

I have to say that I am not a natural early riser, by any means of the imagination. Some days, when I get up early (say, 5am.) I feel nice and refreshed, but in retrospect that’s usually because the day is significant.

Getting up for school was always a problem, as was fitting into another regime that required 05.30 starts.

I have found that I naturally end up staying up late. I currently do a shift from 2-10pm, and upon coming home will sleep from about 12.15ish, waking up between 9 or 10 (after a usually bad night’s sleep).

I’ve always felt like a lazy person because of my sleep patterns, and guilt as a result of this. Yes, I should make the effort to be up on time for everything, but it’s slightly comforting to know that there might be a predisposition to going to bed late and getting up early.

Peace to all my ‘lazy’ brothers out there!

(21yo)

22 John September 7, 2010 at 5:52 am

This, of course, raises the question ‘what is your morning routine?’ The men you speak of – Fathers, Grandfathers and so on – who rise early always seem to be ready and out the door five minutes later – something I haven’t yet figured out how to do.

23 David September 7, 2010 at 6:28 am

Hmm. I love this post, but I feel that its not something I can apply into my life. With one of my casual jobs I get home at midnight, then after dinner, then reading, then writing it’s about 2:30 in the morning, so waking up at 8:30 the next day just happens naturally. Yet its casual work, so some nights are free, others aren’t. Then as part of uni life many nights I get to sleep at 3am anyway. What to do?!? Perhaps its just a matter of waiting til I get a normal 9-5 job.

24 Andre September 7, 2010 at 6:28 am

As someone who often works swing shifts I find most of those benefits apply to me either midday or late I night. I can still workout before work waking up at 10-11am, similarly with creativity, even though I consider the time from when I get home at midnight until I go to bed at 2-3am to be my quiet time. And as this is the schedule that best fits with my natural sleep patterns anyway, I find it very unstressful

25 KFM September 7, 2010 at 6:37 am

I find it awesome that I read this post after my daily routine was finished. Today was my first day at waking up at 5:45AM.

26 Jeroen September 7, 2010 at 6:45 am

Brett,

Two questions:
1. How many hours do you sleep?
2. What’s your sleep schedule on weekends?

27 Hef September 7, 2010 at 6:50 am

What a bitter coincidence this was posted today! I exercise evenings daily, but finally decided I was going to start running in the morning for the same reasons you listed above (I’m also a law student, and with various studies/commutes/events, I just can’t always make it to the gym every day). Sadly, something I ate yesterday has not sat well with me, so while I managed the 45 minute earlier wakeup I had planned for a 30 minute run, my body just wasn’t with me on that.

Ah well, tomorrow will be another day!

28 Sasha @ Global Table Adventure September 7, 2010 at 6:51 am

This is a great article. I am a stay-at-home mom and the only time I can work on my personal things – writing, blogging, art – is when my daughter is napping, at night or in the AM. She still wakes up once a night, so I’ve been catching up on sleep as long as she does, but I think its time to just get up earlier as there is no end in sight to the broken sleep.

29 Ryan September 7, 2010 at 7:01 am

I wake up at 4:45 every morning and hit the gym. It leaves me feeling energetic all day, and I get it out of the way before I have time to make excuses throughout the day. Like others have mentioned, the key is to get to bed on time. I’m usually hitting the hay around 9pm, so I’m ready to wake up by 4:45 anyway. I laugh because I remember my ex-girlfriend’s dad saying “There comes a time in life when early mornings are better than late nights”. I was 21 at the time, so I obviously thought he was crazy. Now at 27…I agree with him.

30 Slater September 7, 2010 at 7:07 am

“Sleeping in” to me is 7… Even when I was a kid, I couldn’t get past the notion that daylight was a-wastin’. I used to work, and sometimes still do, as a morning radio DJ, so being a 5am guy comes pretty easily… But I’ve always been an early riser, even when I didn’t HAVE to be… Like some of the examples you list above, I always feel sharpest mentally at “oh-dark-thirty…”

31 Robin September 7, 2010 at 7:35 am

I am not comfortable with the idea of waking up before about ten. Never have been. In fact I had really terrible insomnia all my life, right up through college.

Then I got a job working the swing shift. I go to bed at about 5am every night and wake up around eleven or twelve, and I’m having better sleep than I ever have in my life.

I think some people just naturally work on different schedules. I don’t abuse sugar or caffeine, they don’t even make me feel much more energetic unless I drink a huge amount of coffee. I just really like being awake at night, when everyone else is asleep. I do all my socializing in the afternoon and evening on my days off, and I honestly could not miss the mornings less. But that’s just me. I’ve heard other “night people” complain about the impetuousness of “day people,” and even in this comments section I’ve seen people make the accusation that “night people” are just lazy. Come on! I don’t care if you enjoy the morning, why not let me enjoy the night in peace? Different strokes and all that.

Besides all that, in many lines of work it’s important to have people there for swing and graveyard shifts, that’s just a fact of life. It doesn’t make sense to have everyone in society synced up to the exact same sleeping rhythm.

32 philski September 7, 2010 at 7:37 am

For the past year I’ve been rising at 5AM, get into work by 6:15AM. It’s great to have an hour or two of uninterrupted time at work to get things done before the coworkers start getting chatty or ask for me to do something specific… It’s my time of morning to get done what I need to get done.

David, re: “honouring your wife”, for me I found that it didn’t take long to acclimate to waking up early; so long as I planned for 7-8 hours of sleep (IE: I go to bed at 9-10PM) I am generally up around 5AM. I leave an east-facing window open (shades not drawn) and during the summer it would wake me up. I’d shut the shades and let the wife sleep. I don’t use an alarm clock. The trick really is making sure you get enough sleep. Your body will wake you.

Philip

33 Titus September 7, 2010 at 7:49 am

Great post again, Brett.

34 Adventure-Some Matthew September 7, 2010 at 7:54 am

What great timing for this post, since today I woke up an hour earlier than I needed to! I am not a natural early riser, even after years of forced practice. I’m just a night owl. -shrugs- I don’t get sleepy till about midnight, and waking up at 8 is just about right.

Maybe once I get a “real job” and out of college I’ll be able to shift that bed time up and adjust my schedule, but currently, I don’t see it happening.

35 The Wingnut September 7, 2010 at 7:59 am

I too was always a night owl, even during childhood I would push every last minute out of the evening and night. I remember in grade school many times waking up groggy in the morning, on the floor beside my bed, with Lego’s stuck to my face where I had fallen asleep while building some airplane or whatever.

I worked second shift for a long many years, and it was tailor-made for my sleep schedule, and great because we only needed a baby sitter for a few hours each day where my wife and my work schedules overlapped.

Roughly a year and a half ago, I switched from second shift to first shift. I never thought I would like it, but in my own experience, being a former night owl, there is absolutely nothing like already being up and at work and watching the sunrise.

I don’t have time to do much but brush my teeth, get dressed and grab my lunch, but just the fact that I’m out the door by 0530 every morning is energizing in a way I never thought possible.

jj

36 Mike September 7, 2010 at 8:08 am

Great article! Since high school, I have been an early riser. I have to be at work at 4:30 AM, so I have to get up early anyway. But I get up at 3 AM, go running, have a devotion time, journal, eat breakfast, and get ready for work. I don’t know how I would start the day otherwise. On my days off, I still get up early (maybe not as early). This gives me time to get a lot of work done. But I do have to go to bed earlier. Sometimes, if nothing is going on, I get to bed at 7 PM! Most people just watch TV later than that anyway.

37 J. M. J. West September 7, 2010 at 8:13 am

Best advice for a QUICK transition: Buy a wrist watch which can monitor your sleep cycles and wake you up at the optimal time in your latest sleep cycle before you decide to get up.

CF: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000E8FG20?ie=UTF8&tag=gotjus-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B000E8FG20

38 Brian Cooper September 7, 2010 at 8:33 am

If your body is running on 4 cylinders, you are only half running. Men run on eight.

I’m a 7:00 man, but an extra hour would give me more time to get my daily Bible study done before my daughter gets up. That would be very helpful.

39 Stuart McMullin September 7, 2010 at 9:05 am

I’m up usually around 5:45a and tend to sometimes hit the snooze and cheat. The idea is essentially to mentally prepare yourself and have something specific to do once you get up (as the article states). If you don’t set yourself up for something to do, your body will be trained to take “advantage” of the extra sleep and your productivity will go down.

Great article with some interesting tips. I also liked the article (linked) saying that night owls make more money vs. early risers. That’s interesting stuff.

–Stuart

40 Erik September 7, 2010 at 9:18 am

Or, get a cat. I know mine won’t let me sleep past 5 a.m. unless I am sick.

41 James Halcomb September 7, 2010 at 9:39 am

This is one of my post-Labor Day goals!

42 Blake September 7, 2010 at 9:46 am

I have found that not turning on the television at night and keeping the lights dim puts us to bed earlier which means early rising.

43 Henry September 7, 2010 at 9:56 am

Another trick to getting up early (or late) is resetting your body’s circadian rhythm. To feel more comfortable with an early rise, eat an earlier dinner and get to be earlier. Use this trick when flying as well.

44 edward September 7, 2010 at 10:18 am

I totally agree with the post. Here is a tip if you want to go to bed earlier: eat a lot, until your stomach aches: it will make you sleepy.

45 James Milholen September 7, 2010 at 10:24 am

I’ve been getting up at 6am for a while now. Of late, its so that I can go to the gym before I start work. I do sometimes have the issue of hitting the snooze button tho, so i end up out of bed at 6:25. I still make it to the gym, but my workout feels hurried. I’m hesitant to get up even earlier tho, because I have yet to be able to make myself go to sleep at an earlier time. I’ve gone to bed hours early, and nothing works. I don’t have the option of starting the day later at work tho.

Any suggestions?

46 Duane September 7, 2010 at 10:42 am

As a ‘Night-Owl’ I thank you for adding that at the end. I can get so much more done at night that I ever could when I forced myself to be an early riser. I don’t care what time I get up (or if I exercise, eat breakfast, or do any activity when getting up), my mind just doesn’t become active until about noon.

@aaron: I don’t use caffeine or sugar; I only drink water, and don’t eat sugary foods. I can be in bed by 20:00, still awake at 04:00 – did that for two years before I had to call it quits. Sorry to burst your bubble, but some people are just night owls.

47 max September 7, 2010 at 10:44 am

you’re on, waking up early!

48 Cameron T. September 7, 2010 at 10:46 am

I have always found that I need to get up several hours before I have to be somewhere–otherwise, I feel rushed. However, my morning routine is a little weird in that I usually go back to sleep for about 30 minutes–sometimes an hour.

Also…my alarm clock is set an hour and 15 minutes fast. I’ve done this for years. It’s a bit crazy. So currently I get up at 6:45 (which is actually 5:30). I shower and shave (DE shaving…still learning so it takes about 30-40 minutes right now), then spend a few minutes reading a daily devotional on the computer. At around 8 (which is 6:45), I hop back in bed for 30 minutes. Sometimes I fall asleep and sometimes I just lay there, but I’ve found it very relaxing.

I think when November rolls around and I do NaNoWriMo again, I probably won’t go back to sleep and will use that time for writing. Don’t know if it will stick or if I’ll revert to going back to sleep again.

Even on Saturdays, I’m usually up by 8. I feel like the day is wasted if you get up later than that. In college, I used to get up at the crack of dawn on Saturdays, slip on some clothes, and drive 20 miles to a little town near me that has Kolaches. Nothing like driving in the morning and watching the sun rise….

49 Johnny B. Good September 7, 2010 at 10:47 am

Just to share something with you guys;
J. Paul Getty had a Formula for success:

1.- Rise early

2.- Work hard

3.- Strike oil

50 Alexandru Lazăr September 7, 2010 at 11:29 am

If you’re a night owl, going to bed one hour earlier every day won’t do. You’ll twist and turn in the sheets and never fall asleep until the wee hours of the morning.

The way I managed was to actually go to sleep two hours *later* every day. This did have the disadvantage that for a few days I’d sleep all through the day, but at least it guaranteed I would fall asleep as soon as I got into bed.

51 Tim September 7, 2010 at 12:06 pm

I like this whole idea about getting up early and stuff, but HOW are you gonna do that, when you’re young and have a social life and going to bars and clubs on the weekends (fridays and saturdays, and sunday relaxing from your hangover or lack of sleep).???

52 Steve C September 7, 2010 at 12:07 pm

I find it interesting that running on all X cylinders has traditionally been 8. This is the first time I’m seeing “running on all 4 cylinders”. Interesting bit of commentary on what we see as normal for cars these days.

53 Mike M. September 7, 2010 at 12:08 pm

My problem here is a 12 hour work day (commute included). If I were to wake up any earlier without adding more sleep, my productivity and happiness would suffer. If I were to make up for this by retiring earlier, I’d have about 2.5 hours between the time I got home, and the time I went to bed, to cook and eat dinner, relax, run any errands, and do any chores. That doesn’t leave much time for living life like a human being outside of work.

I’d love to wake up earlier, but getting to bed earlier would reduce my life to waking up, working, commuting, eating dinner, and bed. I suppose this is more me complaining than adding much to the conversation. Does anyone have any suggestions for someone in my position?

54 Brett McKay September 7, 2010 at 12:26 pm

@David Ould-

I’m an early bird and my wife is a definite night owl who like your wife requires more sleep than I do. My alarm goes off in the morning, and she stirs a little, but quickly falls back to sleep. And I keep quiet to not wake her up. When she comes to bed at 1 or 2 in the morning, I stir a little bit but usually don’t wake up and she tries to be quiet. We’re both okay with the deal and it works out well for us. Except she’s always trying to get me to stay up with her!

@Jeroen-
My schedule varies somewhat-sometimes blog work keeps me up late. But I generally go to bed around 11 and wake up at 5:30. So that’s 6.5 hours of sleep. I seem to function very well on this amount and aren’t too tired during the day. On the weekends I go to bed around 12:30 or so and “sleep in” until 7:30.

@Mike M.
Sounds like waking up earlier isn’t feasible for you. Don’t worry about it-I wouldn’t force it at this point in your life.

55 Deron B September 7, 2010 at 12:46 pm

Brett,

I thought AOM was your dayjob? Did this change?

56 Sam Spade September 7, 2010 at 1:15 pm

Or you can just have kids.

57 james matthew brunson September 7, 2010 at 1:44 pm

I loved the article. I agree putting the alarm across the room works great for me, but I also like to set an alarm by the bed and set it for fifteen minutes earlier than I want to get up. This way I trick my brain into thinking I’ve hit the snooze button and I’m getting extra sleep. I also like to use an alarm that plays music, I like to start my day with the Superman Theme or sometimes if I wanna hit the nail on the head I go for “Start Me Up”. Nothing like Mic and Keith in the mornings. I like to start my morning with some wheat grass juice(That’ll wake you up), spend some time being grateful for what I have and thinking about what I want out of my day, and then workout, after that I feel like my day has been a success!

58 JP September 7, 2010 at 1:47 pm

I am a bit of an odd ball when it comes to sleep, I have a sleeping disorder and sometimes can only get 2-4 hrs a night, its not uncommon to be still wide awake at 4am. It’s funny that this was posted today, just yesterday I was saying how nice it is to wake early, have a cup of tea before everyone else starts their day. Planning on doing it more often, even though for a person my age (23) it’s rare to be an early riser since most my age are on campus still partying the hours away.

59 Daniel September 7, 2010 at 2:17 pm

Thanks for the interesting article!

1. What is better about having an extra hour in the morning then having an extra hour at night, where everything is peacefull and quite, too?

2. How do you manage to have social life with beeing an extreme early rise? Lets say you rise at 5 am, so to get at least 8 hours of sleep you have to go to bed at 9 pm. Which means you have to prepare for bed at 8 pm. When can you meet friends or go to the movies or.. or.. or…?

60 Chris kavanaugh September 7, 2010 at 2:54 pm

I worked the graveyard shift 18 months for the infamous Jose Menendez cranking out porn videos, childrens cartoons and tourist promos for Israel. It took me a year to get my body and soul sorted out. I learned three things; greeting the sunrise is sacred,wehn you sleep, disconnect the telephone: it’s either really bad news or some idiot asking you to write her term paper comparing W.B.Yeats to U2. Either way your sleep is ruined.
Third lesson; never tell a Jose Mendendez ( while being laid off December 23) he’s ajerk, his sons are bigger jerks and somebody will probably take a shotgun to him someday.

61 Dick LaFleur September 7, 2010 at 3:30 pm

I have a brief Yoga and meditation routine( about 35-40 mins) that I go through every morning. If the weather is warm and it’s not raining I’ll do it outside. I think the best thing about it is the deep breathing that’s part of it. Getting oxygen into your sleepy body is the best thing to wake you up gently and prepare your body for the rigors of the day.

62 Carlos Mora September 7, 2010 at 6:49 pm

It’s a little bit funny because I started waking up early since I began 3rd semester and it really pays, I do 10 minutes of exercise to the max, then the James Bond Shower, I get dressed and last but not least I drink a cup of tea while I check my notebooks of math, physics and electronics so I can get all the juice out of my classes.

63 Mary September 7, 2010 at 10:29 pm

Great advice!

64 Ryno September 7, 2010 at 11:06 pm

Here’s an issue for some of us flyers… as a pilot I’m constantly crossing timezones which obviously messes with your circadian rhythm, and sometimes I’ll shift flying schedules from a day flight (show to pre-flight around 0500) to a night flight (don’t show up until 4 pm but don’t get home until 3 am) in the same week. Anybody have any good techniques for getting into a pattern quickly? If it’s not quick, my schedule will shift again.

65 Bryan Wallace September 7, 2010 at 11:14 pm

Awesome article. Also very persuasive. The only issue I have with this piece is that you shared the “Why Night Owls are Cleverer…” article. I was completely sold on waking up early but then you shared a convincing opposing end. Now, I am just torn between the two again.

66 Bill Burge September 7, 2010 at 11:36 pm

Devil’s advocate being who he is…

There’s an interesting study in here about modern sleeping habits and–by virtue of many your examples–the fact that people used to rise early to maximize their use of their best light source: the sun.

Now that we have electricity, and lights, and all that comes with it–like 60″ HDTV’s and Blu Ray players–we have more things to keep us occupied into the late hours of the night than Mr. Jefferson.

And that’s a good thing. Imagine what our constitution might have looked like had he grown up on Nintendo.

67 Alan September 8, 2010 at 1:10 am

I’m a creative writer by trade, and for me early mornings are no good.

I just can’t get any creative juices flowing when I’m glancing at the clock, knowing my wife will awake soon, lovable but disruptive little crittur that she is.

Same applies in the late afternoon, when I know she’ll be home, friends will be phoning etc.

For me the early hours of the morning, from staying up late, work a LOT better.

Also I live in a Muslim country, and it’s currently Ramadan, ie fasting during daylight hours. Working through the night and sleeping much of the day suits me perfectly – unless I’m off fishing, in which case I usually just stay up :)

68 Werner September 8, 2010 at 4:01 am

I wake up at 2 am regardless of whether I go to work or not. I use the early time to meditate and read my emails. I do have an alarm set for 3 am, but it seldom wakes me up. I usually shut it off when I wake. I enjoy the early hours for the quiet time it gives me. My wife is the opposite .. she can’t go one moment without having a radio or TV blaring away. Give me peace and quiet …

69 Joseph September 8, 2010 at 10:00 am

Good suggestions. I feed my wife’s 5 cats first thing. Then shower, then head to work, with my delicious breakfast in hand.
As someone with a religious bent, I have also found it helpful to attend a daily, communal service in the morning. And the morning is an excellent time for personal prayer, too.
Regarding late risers, we had a young woman staying with us who was a night owl. That may have been her schedule, but she was an utter non-achiever and unmotivated. We always suspected the sleeping habits were a sign of her inability to do anything useful, but I’m not so sure, in light of the Churchill example. Time will tell, I suppose.

70 Charles September 8, 2010 at 10:17 am

I’m a writer at university and often battle with depression. The challenge to wake earlier, with the health benefits of The James Bond Shower, looks like a beneficial habit to add to my morning routine. I accept!

71 Mia September 8, 2010 at 10:51 am

A little dubious of the wake earlier 15mins at a time approach. Given our sleep is in cycles wouldn’t it make more sense to wake a whole sleep cycle earlier? (the average adult is 90 mins, +/- somewhat per individual – google “sleep cycles”).

On a personal note – regardless of the time I go to bed, (be it 8pm or 12am or the middle) I have real trouble waking between 6 and 9 – and I have 2 very young children! Basically before 6am, if either of them sneeze, or the fridge hums weirdly, I’m awake and on it. After 6am, they can have yelling matches at my bedside but I won’t wake unless they physically touch me (this actually scares me somewhat). On Mother’s Day they snuck out of the house and came back at noon – and I slept until they returned. Let me stress – I didn’t regain conciousness until i was awoken by their return, it’s not that I chose to stay in bed.

So what time zone is my body clock stuck in ??

72 Kevin (Strongandfit.net) September 8, 2010 at 10:57 am

I’ve done both: early rising and sleeping in. Seems the key for me is getting enough sleep, regardless of when I wake. Having said that, I do seem to be more productive when I first wake in the morning.

73 Steve September 8, 2010 at 11:49 am

Good article, and for those who are already inclined to be morning people, I think it will give the extra push to become full-fledged early risers.

Not for me, though. I am extremely groggy in the morning no matter when I get up — so rising early would probably just mean another hour or two of shuffling around in a fog.

My day is like this, and it seems to work OK:

Wake at 8 or 8:30 a.m. Get into work about 9:30 or 9:45. Leave work around 6 or 6:30 p.m., at home by 7-ish. Dinner and other family time until about 9 p.m. Go on the computer to work on my freelance projects (and, yes, surf the web) until 1 or 2 a.m., then to bed.

My brain seems clearest around 1 or 2 p.m., then again around 10 p.m.

74 Lauro Valente September 8, 2010 at 11:51 am

Hi,

I had tremendous difficulty to wake up early. In general I needed up to 50 minutes snoozing in order to get myself stand up! That was a waste of time for me. I had this difficulty and after talking about this with a friend he said me that he was recording a message to himself. A message from him to him. He said this was helping him to get up earlier, so I tested it out.

I was surprised to see that I lessened the snooze time to 10 minutes! I was happy to see I could now stand up from bed 40 minutes before.

So, this technique has proved to help me a lot.
Also, as I read others’ comments, eating less in the night helped me to stand up better prepared for the day. Nowadays I try to eat normal stuff up to 9:30 PM, after that only fruits. That saves me sometime of rest in the morning.

Really, getting up early is the best thing ever. I feel myself much more efficient.

Thanks for the article. It was really well written and has indeed contributed to myself.

I have already scheduled to read the part of discipline. By far the hardest part of anything in the article. I would say it is the most important part in your article.

Discipline bring us to the real place we wanted to be, while the non-dilligent practice makes us only think we are where we wanted to.

75 Canadian A September 8, 2010 at 12:09 pm

I used to associate waking early with being manly, until it wrecked me.

My first job at 12 would have me out the door by 7:30. By the time I quit trades and labor work at 21, I would be out the door by 5:15 and home at 7:00 with a full day’s drywalling in between and no methamphetamines to tide me over (unlike many drywallers).

Now, four years later, I fall asleep at 11 and wake up at 9. The crazy part is, I’ve never felt better in my life. But honestly, until I could control my own schedule, I felt tired, for as long as I could remember: my parents woke me up too early, and my jobs did the same. The whole “being manly” thing rode me into the ground. Read up on adrenal exhaustion, and you’ll see what I mean. Do you have seven years to recover?

Whether you get up early or late is no real bellwether on how hard you work. The key to being a hard worker is simply working hard and thinking about your actions first. For me, work takes place in three hour blocks spread between waking and sleeping, six days a week, and no one can fault me for working nine or ten hours a day — but to some, it may look lazy, because lunch will typically be followed by a visit, nap, or short shooting/fishing expedition.

A note on camping: fantastic for resetting metabolism and acting as an overall tonic, especially in a tent. Not too comfortable and best if you’re slightly chilly the entire time. It took me about six days for my metabolism to reset back to “active” after a couple years of being a desk jockey.

76 Late for Being Early September 8, 2010 at 2:13 pm

Garbage.

I know many people, myself included, who get up early (5:30 AM) to go to a dead end job. The virtues of early rising certainly miss this large segment of the population. I previously (and very soon again) owned a private business. Perhaps the single greatest pleasure and motivation was that I WAS IN CONTROL OF MY OWN LIFE. I often slept in and started my day as late as 11:00 or noon. But it wasn’t for slacking. Quite to the contrary this liberating freedom was twice as motivating as any “employee initiative” or fabled wisdom ever was and my success shocked even me. Ultimately it was a fad business that died with the fad, but my next venture will be a more stable one, and the number one thing I look forward to is sleeping in!

In every example given here, the people and circumstances are not notable because they all were early risers. They are notable because Thomas Jefferson, Emmanuel Kant and Teddy Roosevelt were exceptional, self-motivated figures who approached life vigorously and fearlessly regardless of what time of day it was. If Teddy Roosevelt got up at 6am to manufacture plastic crap for Wal Mart, like 95+% of early risers do, he would not support the authors central premise very well. Quite to the contrary the reason the author chose him to illustrate his point was because first and foremost HE WAS TEDDY ROOSEVELT.

Wake up whenever you want. But once you do BE TEDDY ROOSEVELT. That’s the moral of this story. Presented the other way around as it is, completely defies reality. One thing I can tell you from my commute through the Silicon Valley at 6AM each morning, is that being an early riser certainly doesn’t make you an exceptional DRIVER. I would assume the claims only break down further from there. I’ve seen some of these early risers. Exceptional is not the word that comes to mind…

77 James September 8, 2010 at 6:26 pm

During summer breaks in high school I was notoriously known for impersonating a rock until 1pm. I found midnight to 4am was the perfect time to be undisturbed by friends, family, and responsibility and delve into whatever hobby or interest I had.

Now at 25 it would be hard to catch me in bed past 7am, instead, sitting outside catching the cool morning sun with a cup of english breakfast. It’s my meditation before work, the rest of the day is like water off a ducks back.

I’ve seen both sides of the coin and each has it’s pros and cons. As long as you do work while awake that’s all that matters. Midwest farmers are up early to get their job done and Southwestern construction workers run night shifts to stay out of the mid-day heat. To each their own.

78 Karen September 8, 2010 at 8:21 pm

I have two sons so I like to come here to get ideas from you guys.

I suggest that having a cat or dog, or other animal that requires attention and perhaps a walk would help – my cat used to be as good as an alarm clock, R I P Puddybear.

79 Tryclyde September 8, 2010 at 9:49 pm

As a teacher and father I always get up early, but I am certainly not an early riser. I find that late at night is an extremely relaxing time and I tend to do my best thinking then. I actually find it annoying how many people seem to think that being a naturally early riser is superior to being a night owl….And Jefferson, Franklin, and Hemingway would have been just as great if they slep until noon every day.

80 Papathompson September 8, 2010 at 9:50 pm

Great article. But what about those of us who work midnights, say 2300 til 0800? We’re up through 0400. :) Well, really enjoyed this article, and many of your others. Keep up the good work.

81 Clockwork September 8, 2010 at 10:03 pm

It’s a fact that Americans don’t get enough sleep, and that back in Jefferson’s day, people got an average of an hour more sleep. So it’s not about geting up early, it’s about getting quality sleep.

82 Taylor Marek - New Media Visionary September 9, 2010 at 7:21 am

Awesome post. I’m definitely part of the night owl crew, I feel I get more done if I stay up late compared to waking up early and pushing through the day.

83 sylvie September 9, 2010 at 7:44 am

This is a very intersting post. I am myself an early riser. My natural body routine is: bed 10.30pm and rising at 4.30. This is when I have all my creativity and my brain at he maximum of it’s potential. I also have the sense that the day hasn’t started yet which is great. If I wake up with the day light I find it difficult to catch up with anything. It’s as if I have missed a big portion of the day and I am unproductive.
I do have a routine when i wake up. I start by refreshing myself, prepare a nice cup of tea (most of the time yogi tea or any other if i run out), then armed with this beverage, I sit in the same chair, write a journal of my dreams, a journal of what is in my mind that is bothering me, and a journal of my creative ideas. I have those 3 journals by my bed all the time since years.
Most of the answers to my questions come to me between 4 and 6 am.
Then I take a moment to meditate/ pray (to connect to the source) and get on with whatever work I need to do!
It has always fascinated me when people ask me what I do so early in the morning. I tell them: ‘exactely what you will be doing at any other time of the day’.
I guess this habit came to me very early when i was at primary school. I won’t do my homework back home because i was too tired (or lazy) but needed to find a way to catch up. So the best thing i find was to do them in the morning before i went back to school.

84 Andrew B. September 9, 2010 at 10:12 am

I think Thomas Jefferson got up early just to go light up that maid in the back house.

85 Ken September 9, 2010 at 11:25 am

Overall I found this to be a really good article; however I have a couple of issues (mostly with some of the comments). I find myself to much more creative at night, after most people are asleep, the cooler temperatures and quiet lends itself to writing, meditation, and prayer.

Also many of the men you mentioned had to be up earlier to use more daylight, while men today can me productive later into the night.

@ aaron, you view that someone is a night person because they are a sugar/caffeine person in simplest and wrong. I can get up early but what would I get done, get to work earlier (before the office is open), I wouldn’t be any more creative.

@Black and Blue Man and @Duane thumbs up,

@Late for Being Early great points.

86 Fotios September 9, 2010 at 4:46 pm

I recently started waking up earlier, and have definitely noticed a change. For me, the change started out of necessity. I live in the DC area and recently moved so that public transportation was no longer an option (much cheaper to be off the metro line). But as such I need to commute every day. I realized that if I am out the door by about 6am, I can get to work earlier and leave a little earlier to beat the afternoon rush. I figure waking up an hour earlier actually saves me an hour commuting time. I’ve put that extra time into working out, studying for my new Master’s program, and catching up on reading AoM (ok, the last one is what I do in work before everybody else gets there).

87 Angel September 9, 2010 at 6:49 pm

I became an early riser when I usually would sleep in late; the summers. Being in college I grew accustomed to waking at about 8 and being at class at 9. Now I’m up at 6 and can actually get a great workout in before class, which is great because I used to claim having no time to workout. Great article.

88 Ben C September 10, 2010 at 1:19 am

this was a great post. i’ve been out of a job for the past 3 months now and have been waking up anywhere from 1045 to 1pm. and every time i do, i feel like a loser. instead of getting up early and being productive, i sleep in. i’ve always heard of the moving the alarm clock gig, but i’m actually going to do it. that’s my main problem. i hit snooze until the alarm just gives up and turns off (mine lets you snooze for an hour then shuts off). thanks again, i love your site!

89 Sam September 10, 2010 at 2:09 am

Thanks for sharing Night Owls! W00T!!

My entire college years and professional school, I spent using the midnight oil – I aced my tests and excelled. There is no one shoe that fits all. This is obviously written also with, pardon if I offend any burly manly man – but now I know why my parents put me in an all girls school during my childhood: so I could excell and not be overshadowed by patriarchal-put-down mentality which men have towards “wo”men- I’m a lady, not a wo- man and my capacity flourished thanks to being in a supportive environment that brought out the best in me. No, I don’t hunt, no, I don’t wash my face w freezing cold water, no I don’t drink caffeinated products. Yes, I am vegetarian, I do bikram yoga and my BMI is perfect. I don’t run to damage my knees, yoga gives me all I need: moving meditation and muscles: this type of yoga is an extreme sport and I often get asked what do I do to stay this fit. People are not all the same and I get annoyed when I see nothing but manly man stuff and all the role models being men. Any ladies- don’t tell me that we were all chattel back then! As a medical professional I’ll tell you that keeping a large house in order whilst on leave from work is HARDER than my actual work. Ladies are behind the scenes in many of these men’s accomplishments. Just so sad how our society is. Many religions are patriarchal too and hence sites like these pop up. Apparently to be am achiever I have to grow a member and then maybe get up early. Rubbish! Complete non-sense… Fine if getting up early and feeling rested cam be great- can’t all people do that? Why just men? Oh and must I splash some old spice on me and see if I wake up? The testosterone is oozing out of my I-phone. Pleeeease.. Give me a break.. A lot of ppl don’t need to conform to 9-5 job- and just because we choose not to doesn’t mean we are not “lady” enough. Thank G-d for freedom if expression- something I fought for by serving in a lady way in the USAF. oh yes, I am a proud American and a lady. I respect men. I also believe in gender equality and no role specificity assigned to gender. I am in a male dominated field and I hope that more ladies realize that you can realize yourself as a person too BEFORE you get married. No one owns you. You are blessed too just like men are and if you choose the path of being an early riser hopefully you’ll make it in the history books too. Good morning or shall I say good night?
Yours truly, the lady nite owl W00T!!

90 Bruce Bocksporence September 10, 2010 at 5:59 am

An related issue I haven’t seen mentioned is diet. Having too much food the night before or having late night snacks can really make you sluggish in the morning. Usually it’s Carbs that are the culprit, but too much meat can also keep you laying on your back.
I’ve found that eating a well balanced meal at least a few hours before hitting the sack can really affect how you feel the next day.
A hint if you have a sweet food craving (sugar low) between dinnertime a bed, take a dose of the amino acid L-Glutamine. This will trick your brain out of the craving and keep your sugar levels in check, with the added benefit of keeping your calorie count down.
Another hint if you find it hard getting to bed earlier. Take some Melatonin to help readjust your circadian rhythm. It works a treat – although I believe it’s not available in all countries.

91 Howard Wood September 10, 2010 at 11:59 am

Since the age of nineteen, when I worked for a construction company, I have been getting up at 5AM or earlier. I hated it in the beginning, but now I own my own company and can sleep in all I want, but my mind won’t let me. Even on vacation after a late evening of cocktails and games, I’m up before the sun. It’s a curse on nights like that, normally though, I can read the paper, send important e-mails, make a to do today list and think about how to work on those items. It saves me whole days sometimes, just a few hours in the AM. Comment back at 5AM and I’ll be there. Good Luck!

92 rafek September 10, 2010 at 2:41 pm

last year i was 2 days without sleep. i almost collapsed at 4 pm, wake up at 4 am and… now that’s my routine. At 6 pm im so exhausted i barely stand on my legs, but in the morning (4-4:30 am) im fresh and ready to go!

93 Rahul September 11, 2010 at 4:42 am

Wonderful suggestion Brett and just in time for me too. Currently bogged down with my bread and butter job and not getting enough time to pursue my own goals. Definitely going to try this out. Thanks.

94 Sir Lancelot September 12, 2010 at 12:28 pm

I’m all for early rising myself, and I try to live by it. What I envy is people who find the chance to exercise in the moring before going to work. My problem is twofold: first I start work at 8 am and I have a long commute. Second, and most important, I wake up hungry as a wolf. I need to have breakfast after my morning shower or I feel I would pass out. It somehow feels counterintuitive when you’ve had an empty tank for ten hours to run on reserve and put a strain on what little fuel you have left instead of filling up the tank. Has anyone found a way to solve this problem?

95 gevin shaw September 12, 2010 at 2:15 pm

Find out how many hours you naturally sleep, go to bed that many hours before you want to get up, and get rid of your alarm clock. What worse way to greet every day then at 5 alarms. I’ve been without an alarm clock for about 25 years. On the occasions when I need to get up on a different schedule—an early flight or a late night—my mind compensates (usually too much) and I wake in plenty of time.

When I’m working, I like to wake up with a bit of time to eat and read and exercise, rather than jumping out of bed to run to work. Makes it seem less like I’m only working and sleeping because I’m not.

96 James September 13, 2010 at 9:39 am

I’m no Night Owl, but have a busy lifestyle in the city. Different groups of friends, a girlfriend, social obligations etc. I’ve always internally been an 8 to 9 hours of sleep man , but have been actually only getting between 5 and 7 hours. I find it hard to go to sleep earlier having so many engagements and still having to be up at a certain time. Any advice?

97 jorge ledesma September 13, 2010 at 11:02 am

excellent post, I often struggled with rising early but now at 37 I’m finding that its a lot easier than when I was 30. Right now I’m getting up around 7ish. I like the comment that said 1 hour increments work best I also agree with this, tomorrow I’m up at 5am. Let’s see I’ll report back. Rss and twitter bookmarked already.

98 CoffeeZombie September 14, 2010 at 11:11 am

Something that might be worth considering as well is that, in pre-industrial times, people wouldn’t usually sleep straight through the night and would also take a nap (siesta) around midday. I’ve been told that this is where the Midnight Office in the Christian hours of prayer comes in; that it wasn’t just that monks would wake up at midnight to pray as an ascetical effort, but rather that they (and most other people, apparently) would naturally be awake at that time.

After a period of wakefulness, people would return to their beds for “second sleep”, waking up again at dawn. This apparently only began to really change with industrialization and, especially, artificial light.

99 Matt September 14, 2010 at 5:32 pm

A few years back I changed many aspects of my life, including getting my (then) fat behind out of bed early to hit the gym. I moved my bedtime back a few hours, and haven’t looked back since! Sure there are days when i just have to crawl back in bed, but 95% of the time i hop right out from under the covers. Moving the alarm clock to the other side of the room definitely is huge! And set it to beep or ring, music you can sleep through or enjoy while you’re debating getting out of bed; an annoying beep will drive you crazy until you get out of bed to shut it off. Great article!

100 James September 18, 2010 at 1:19 am

I have been a “night-owl” pretty much my whole life. Never was much of an early riser. Didn’t matter if I worked 2nd or 3rd shift even,I had a hard time waking up. It has become easier with age. I wake up @ 5:45am Mon.-Fri.(Sat. and Sun.-7am), but I generally don’t get in bed until10:45pm-12:00am. If I go to bed 8-9pm,seems like I feel more/as tired. Had to get up @ 5am for years because I lived 45min.from town/work,but always had something going on (usually ’til dark ;summer-time is 9-ish)which resulted in same late bedtimes. The body adapts to whatever schedule we are running(within reason), over time. If we aren’t sleeping GOOD, it doesn’t matter how much time we’re in the sack. A little off-subject,but, can I suggest that man-hating “wo”-men find a site for man-hating “wo”-men(read: lesbian)? Of course the role models are men. This is a site FOR/ABOUT (being) MEN ! Duh.

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