06 Nov 2014
How to drag yourself up when bed is just too cosy
Why is it that bed is so much more irresistible in the morning, right when you need to get out of it?
Not so long ago I thought I'd mastered the act of getting up early to write. I was getting up at 6am for a few weeks, but more recently I've struggled to drag myself out of bed any earlier than 8. I still wake up at 6am every day, I just don't get up. The most frustrating part of this struggle is that I know my day will be better if I can get up before 7am. I've experienced the differences and I know that around 8am is my limit—getting out of bed any later than that throws me off and leads to an unproductive day.
And yet, my body does not want to hear that from my brain at 6am. It just wants to roll over and go back to sleep. Knowing that logically I'm making my day worse by snoozing the morning away doesn't make it any easier to get up.
So I've resorted to a few tricks that have proven helpful in getting me out of bed and keeping me from getting back in (I'm a napper, and I'm not beyond getting back into bed after being fully dressed and even leaving the house).
Get some light in your eyes
Natural light helps us wake up. It tells our internal body clocks that the day has started and it's now time to be awake and take on the day. Natural light is the best source for helping you wake up, so lately I've been opening the blinds in my bedroom when I wake up at 6 (I can do this without getting out of bed, which means I'm more likely to do it than if I had to get up and cross the room).
I go for multiple sources of light, though, to really shock my eyes and my brain into wake mode. I have a lamp beside my bed that I turn on when I wake up. I also tend to have my phone set to inverted colours at night so it's less harsh, and I turn it back to normal when I wake up so reading my emails or catching up on Twitter really gets that blue light in my eyes.
When I've got my 6am wake-up time down pat and I'm getting out of bed fairly easily, I avoid reading emails until I've been up and done some writing. I don't really like starting my day with emails. But on those mornings when I'm struggling to stop myself from going back to sleep, sometimes catching up on emails and tweets on my phone helps me wake up more while I build up to actually getting out of bed.
Grab the laptop
I've been working on my laptop in bed a fair bit recently (a topic for another day). Late at night, especially, I tend to sit in bed working on my iOS app until it's so late I have to call it quits. At this point I usually sit my laptop on a shelf that I can read from my bed, where it sits overnight.
One of the tricks I'm using to get myself up and working early in the morning is to grab the laptop off this shelf and jump into some writing or coding before I even leave the bed. If I'm awake enough to tackle some code that early in the morning, I can easily get stuck there for an hour or two with the blind open behind me as the sun comes up, and I'm totally awake after that.
For the days when I'm up but the bed is calling me to return, one of my best tricks is to leave the house. A short walk outside gets me some fresh air, natural light and light exercise—all really good for waking me up and giving me more energy to work when I get home.
I usually go out with a purpose: getting a coffee, running an errand or doing my groceries. Having that purpose also gives me something to focus on so I'm not thinking about being tired and wanting to go back to bed. It also makes me feel productive once I've done it, giving me momentum to keep getting things done rather than wasting the day in bed.
I'd like to think I can get to a point where there's no question of getting up at 6am; I just do it. For now, it's taking huge amounts of willpower and the promise of a more productive day just isn't convincing enough in those early hours, so I'm going to keep using these tricks.
If all goes well, maybe you'll see a post here in a couple of months celebrating my early waking habit!
Exist helps you find work/life balance. And we just added free 14-day trials!
Image credit: Mr. Marco