No, I am not going to tell you to sleep earlier (although that helps). I want to tell you if you want to wake up early, sleep when you are tired. What do I mean?
I seldom have wake up problem, I am always an early riser by many standard. I think the reason why most of the people cannot wake up early is because they cannot get into good sleep. So what should we do to get into a good sleep to start off?
Over the year, I have never been a good sleeper, I meant early sleeper. My sleeping time is very irregular. Sometimes I sleep at 9pm or even 8.30pm, sometimes I sleep at 3.30am. But I seldom have the problem to wake up at 6.30am or 7am the next morning without feeling tired.
Don’t Skip Your Sleep
One thing I noted from my past sleeping pattern is if I skip sleep for one night, for the next 2-3 days, I will feel tired all the day no matter how many hours I put in to recover my lost sleep, so first principle is don’t ever skip the night without sleep. It is damaging your body and you definitely won’t feel great for the next few days. Using 2-3 days of productivity to gain 8 hours of productive time is definitely does not sound like a good investment to me, so I try my best to avoid this.
Sleep When You Are Tired
We have been taught to be sleep early and wake up early to have a healthy body since small. I believe this make certain sense to that small growing body of ours when we are still few feet tall. What I discovered is if I go to sleep when my body tell me to, it is a good investment most of the time. Why I say so? Because I realized if my body says he is tired at 11pm, and I follow his call and go to bed, normally before 6am I am already awake. Then start from 6am in the morning till the night my mind will remain alert and have no need to buy few cups of coffee throughout the day to help me get through the day, my productivity at work also higher because I can focus better now.
Eat Before You Sleep
This is tricky, because I don’t you to become obese with this suggestion. What I found in my experience is a break in sleep is really not very good and hunger is one of the key indicators that wake me up in the middle of the night. It sure does not feel good when you know if you ignore that hunger that wake you up at 3.30am, you will end up with and hungry and tired body the next day.
I read something like the food we eat take 4 hours to digest, that’s why the popular advice where we should eat 4 hours before sleep to avoid become fat. But I think if your normal sleeping time is 11pm, and you still very alert at 10.45pm, you should eat something. Of course have some common sense, don’t order a Big Mac meal at 10.45pm because I say you should fill yourself up before sleep. Eat something light like banana. Banana is rich in potassium, which help you sleep better. It also provides certain amount of carbohydrate that should help you get through the sleep without a break.
But I Need To Wake Up Early!
Ok, I heard you. You don’t have the luxury to sleep till 11am because you have a 9am meeting or you need to send your child to school at 7.15am. In this case, maybe you can modify a bit of what I suggested above. You still sleep when you are tired after you put your child to sleep if you have any, but you set your alarm clock to wake you up the same time next day.
There are people successfully use this sleeping pattern and improve their sleep quality and increase their productivity because they now have more time to produce. You can always invent your own sleeping pattern as your schedule allows. If you want to try some extreme sleeping schedule people have tried and maintain, you can read another post, which talk about some alternative sleeping schedule.