Right strategy for waking up early in the morning

Waking up early has many advantages, but still its a debatable topic on whether you are more productive by waking up early or working late night. Let's not get into that debate of whether you should change your habit of working late or not. But there are plenty of supporting data available on the co-relation of productivity with early rising. According to the social scientists the most productive time of the day is five hour before lunch. That is why probably the office hours are also aligned to that time.

So how you can wake up early, let me clarify early is before the sunrise say 5 am. Waking up all the seven days of week at 5 am seems like a tough task. So many times you would have tried to get up to catch an early flight or reaching office early to attend a meeting, do you recollect the experience? It was so tough for a day, then how its possible for everyday? It was difficult, because you tried with a wrong strategy.

Let us first understand the human sleeping pattern and the popular myths around it which we believe and follow as well. I have read and told many times about the fixed hours of sleeping required for our body, so I did some research on this. But there is no specific research data available supporting this concept. Then I analyzed my sleeping times for a period of time. It is not constant, it varies from day to day and I don't remember any day I felt fatigued or stressed out due to lack of sleep during my regular days. Rather I remember the days feeling lethargic on some weekends or a Monday morning when I slept for longer hours during the weekend. So we need a a fixed hour(say 8 hour) of sleeping everyday is a myth. It depends on your age,physical activities, stress level, food intake etc. The second myth, related to the first one: you must sleep early to rise early. Its also not true, you need not pre-pone your evening activities to get up at a particular time in the morning. The third one is you should listen to your body and give it as much rest as it requires. This is also a myth. Don't you feel more sleepy the days you sleep more? You should listen to your body when you are doing some strenuous exercise like running a marathon but not on how much you should sleep. If you listen to your body, my personal experience says  you will sleep at least for 12 hours a day if not more.

Our body is a machine run by our mind. The mind is the driver, you can train your body to listen to your mind but never do the other way round. If your mind becomes the slave of your body, you will be called 'Lazy'. So waking up early or at the time you want is one of the benefits you can get out of training your body. I am sure If you are reading this, you are interested to wake up early and more likely would have attempted that before as well. 

First thing is sleep when you are really sleepy. Don't fix your timing for going to bed depending on the time you are planning to wake up. When you are not terribly sleepy, don't just go to bed. But don't do anything that stimulates your mind like chatting on internet or take some tea/coffee or start some interesting discussion with someone before bed. The best way to wait for the sleep is: Take a book for reading. Sleeping when you are sleepy is not a tough task, so this is doable. First few days may be little tricky. But say one day you slept little less, next day you will feel sleepy early. May be you experience some side effects like restlessness during the day time. But all these only for few days, maximum 2-3 weeks. Then your body will fall in a rhythm  and you will feel sleepy around a particular time in the night.

Set your wake up time, 5 am as mentioned before. But If you are waking up at 9 am regularly, don't set your time at 5 am suddenly. Pre-pone the time by half an hour at a time till you reach your goal. Set your alarm clock at your desired time. Now this is the difficult step, how to wake up when the alarm rings? What happens just after the alarm starts ringing? You start thinking If you should wake up now or sleep for some more time. You do some calculation, how much your daily work will be affected If you sleep for another 10 minutes. Even If you have already slept for few hours, you crave for another few minutes at that time and that few minutes becomes few hours and you wake up late. The moment your conscious mind comes into action on deciding the wake up time you are most likely not going to wake up at your predetermined time. Many people advise to control that urge and make it a practice to get up but that is not likely to happen or with lots of difficulty you may wake up for few days but then again you start waking up late. At that point of time, your mind is not in a state which can be controlled completely. That weaker mind is the only culprit stopping you from wake up. So how can you wake up? You can wake up If you just leave the bed before your conscious mind starts thinking. You have to train your body to wake up when the alarm starts ringing and before the mind starts thinking.

Is it possible?

Yes its possible.

Do you think your body always waits for your mind to think,decide and then takes action?

There are many examples we can find, where our body reacts to situations or some actions spontaneously. Like everyday you pick up your tooth brush after waking up, so you tend to go to the place where its located without even thinking. Your work location used to be in 4th floor, then it changed to 2nd floor. How many times you  have been end up at your old location? These things happen because of regular habit. Our body is habituated with that activity, it doesn't need our mind's approval to perform. So similarly you need to train your body to wake up when the alarm rings as a habit not on the direction of your mind. So how will you make this habit? If you try everyday morning to make it a habit, its difficult to actually do it. Just the opposite will happen, it has happened with me many times and you must also have experienced. Switching off the alarm and wake up late and without even knowing about it. Because that is the habit we made in trying to do the opposite. Hence our body did it without our mind's knowledge. This is the wrong strategy.

So instead try this for at least a month as many times(minimum twice) as you can in a day.
Practise waking up on the ring of the alarm when you are not sleeping. Find around 20-25 minutes free time during the day to practice this funny but useful exercise. Go to your bedroom, create the environment of sleeping(darken the room etc). Even wear your night dress. Set your alarm clock for 15 minutes ahead and go to bed. Pretend to sleep but don't fall asleep. Like meditation, be in your mind's control. When the alarm starts ringing, slowly open your eyes, take a deep breath, stretch your hands and legs for a couple of seconds and just get out of the bed without thinking anything. Rush to your next planned activity. I feel its doable. You can wake up easily when you are not asleep with the sound of the alarm. If you do this regularly for a longer period of time, your body will become habituated to wake up with the alarm clock sound without your mind's approval. Try this for some time, you will be able to get up at 5 am(or any other time set by your alarm clock) effortlessly.

Some additional points, its also important to fix a set of things to do in the early morning hours, which works as a motivational factor as well as keeping yourself busy during that time. Plan for some important and interesting tasks during the morning time. I would suggest one such task as checking personal mails. Then freshen up and start some physical activities like running or hitting to gym with a light breakfast or a fruit or a glass of juice.

Once your body starts listening to your mind and you start getting up at 5 am without much effort, don't stop. You need to maintain this habit 7 days a week, 365 days a year unless you fall sick or any emergency. Then the time will come, you will wake up without even the alarm clock.

Try this trick and update me your findings, hope it works for you as well.

My Toastmasters club CC -3 project was based on this topic.


  1. I found the best way to wake up early was to make it a habit and a challenge. This is how I was successful. Try it yourself and let me know how it works!



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