8.29.2011

How to Wake-Up 45 Minutes Earlier


Arthur Sarnoff
It is important to change your body’s rhythms – that will take at least one week.  The KEY is that you are changing your NIGHT rhythm while actively changing your MORNING wake-up rhythm. 

If you go to bed at midnight or later, your body gets less deep rest.  Every hour you are in bed before midnight is like TWO hours after midnight to your body. 

In order to change your rhythm you must know your natural rhythm – how many hours does your body WANT each night – without using an alarm clock to get up, and without forcing yourself to bed at a certain hour?  Mine is 9 hours.  When I worked, I never got 9 hours, so I always had to make up for it on the weekends, which totally ruined most weekends.  My husband also needs 9 hours.  Many people only need 8, or even 7.  Some need 10 or even 11!  You must know this before you can correctly and successfully set your internal alarm clock.

You know you have successfully changed your clock when, after even a bad night’s sleep, you wake up at the correct time (before the alarm), and WANT to go to bed at the correct new time.

It doesn’t work to say, “I think I’ll get up at 7:30 and bed at 10:30” and just begin doing it.  Your body revolts…it won’t let you fall asleep early, and you’ll be cranky upon arising.

I have successfully changed my rhythms over the past 10 years to allow for changes in schedule, without turning into a grouch.  Recently I changed from my DH’s schedule of midnight to 9:00 am, to 11:15 pm-8:15 am, and then again to 10:30 pm-7:30 am.

Here’s how!  I credit Rhonda Britton with first telling me I could change my life 5 minutes at a time.

Day 1:  Set alarm 15 minutes earlier.  This gives you the jumpstart you want.
Day 2-7:  Set alarm only 5 minutes earlier each day.

I know it's not really what you want to hear, but this way works. If you do the full 45 minutes, or even 10 minutes, your body will lapse back to your original time on weekends, which will then keep you up later at night, and then Monday morning you will be LATE!   

Five minute increments work like a charm because it is gradual and your body wants to beat the alarm clock up by 1 minute or so.

Think back to how difficult it is to change your (and your children’s) internal clocks to adjust to Daylight Savings Time.  You grouch for at least a week - until you have reset.  Reset gradually one week before DST and you and your little ones won't grouch.  Promise!

45 minutes is a reasonable change.  The best scenario, if you need to wake up even earlier than 45 minutes, is to keep this new time for several weeks.  You know you are successful when you are yawning at your new bed time, and are awakening before your alarm clock.  Then you begin the process again.

I would love to be one of those people who arise early…but realistically, I can only get to bed as early as 10:30 pm.  To set my goal earlier would result in many failures.  I need 9 hours most nights, so most days I realistically will not be up before 7:30 am.  I’ve just had to adjust to these facts!

If you are the exception then you don't need to be reading about how to wake up 45 minutes earlier - you just magically jump out of bed, happy and smiling, and can change your schedule on a whim.  But that isn't MOST of us!

Good luck and be patient as you change your life 5 minutes at a time!