“Early to bed, early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.”
Sure, easy for Ben Franklin to say–he didn’t have people texting him at midnight, constant access to email and a stream of Game of Thrones to binge on.
While sleeping in isn’t a one way ticket to depravity, studies have shown that early risers do better in the business world and have higher productivity– an essential part of any entrepreneur’s toolkit.
But what if you look more like The Walking Dead than the Energizer Bunny when the alarm goes off? Try these seven tips to conquer the snooze button.
If you’re used to waking up at 10:00 AM, don’t expect to become a 5:00 AM riser overnight. You might think you can tough the transition out by forcing yourself out of bed after four hours of sleep, but it’s a tough (and unfair) fête. Instead, teach your body to rise in earlier increments by setting your alarm 15 minutes earlier, one week at a time. Yes, it’ll take longer for you to get there, but the habit will more likely to stick.
FEEL THE PRESSURE
Sometimes nothing motivates like being accountable to a friend. Tell someone supportive about your plan to start waking up earlier, then send a selfie to your buddy each morning to prove you’re out of bed. If your friend doesn’t get your glamour shot, she’ll know you’re snoozing and can help hold you accountable with a pep talk, if needed.
PLANT YOUR PLAN
OK, so far, research hasn’t proven this early-to-rise method, many people swear by mentally reciting the time they want to wake up as they drift off. Planting, “I have to wake up at 6:00 AM so I can prepare my presentation” in the subconscious is claimed to work for some folks who want to wake on time–and without an alarm.
If you don’t have big windows in your bedroom, the sunlight might not be enough to wake you up naturally. But camping for a week can help get you in touch with a circadian rhythm aligned with the rising and setting of the sun and help train your body to rise with the birds.
GET A FOOL-PROOF ALARM CLOCK
You’re not the only one who has a hard time waking up. MIT Media Lab student Gauri Nanda created “Clocky,” an alarm clock with wheels. When the alarm goes off, it takes off–across the room. You literally have to chase the Clocky to turn it off. It proved to be so popular that she next created “Tocky”–if you hit the snooze button it jumps off your nightstand and rolls around beeping. You can even record your own message demanding you get up in the morning. If want to wake your neighbors up too, you can get the 113 decibel, 12-volt bed shaking “Sonic Bomb with Super Shaker” alarm clock.
THERE’S AN APP FOR THAT
We all know that you need to turn off the electronics at night if you want to get a good night’s sleep. That doesn’t mean you have to banish your phone from the bedroom though. The Walk Me Up app requires you to take 30 steps with your phone in hand before it stops going off. Sadistic but genius. The Sleep Cycle app wakes you up according to your lightest sleep phase.
READ A (UNEXCITING) BOOK
If you want to doze off fast suspense, tear-jerkers or hilarious comedies may not be the genres you should be looking for in your bedtime reading. By all means pick a PM read you enjoy, just be sure it’s not overly exciting or something that will get your mind racing.
Getting up early may be the trait of many productive people, but dragging yourself out of bed before you’ve restored your energy isn’t going to help you get more done during the day. Try some (or all) of these tips for a few weeks and track how you feel. Once you get in the habit, becoming a “morning person” won’t seem like a pipe dream.