So You Want To Wake Up Earlier?

You want to get in the habit of waking up early? You asshole. Why would you do this?

Oh yeah, because I made it sound so fucking awesome a little while back. Enjoyable, even.

We went over the enjoyment part, if you haven’t read that then please do so. For, as Socrates said:

“Nothing worth doing is worth doing unless you enjoy it now pass me my fermented drink because I need to get drunk, for one day Silicon Valley chumps focused on lifestyle hacking and disruption will quote me and a bunch of other dead Greeks very seriously as they stare into their empty, vacant lives.”

A prescient lad, that Socrates was. And HE WAS AN EARLY RISER TOO! Not a fact, but he was, ok?

Waking Up Early. How To Do It. <—That should have been the title if I followed blogging best practices.

Let’s get a few things out of the way about waking up early. Oh fuck, I have to use bullet points now.

  • If you don’t do it naturally, it is hard. Very hard. You honestly have every right to hate anyone who tells you how easy it is. Hate them, hard.
  • It will take time to adjust. But it will also add time, because you’ll be up earlier. So net-win. I know those are two different applications of the word ‘time’, but I have another word for you: Einstein. And another one, a very fun one: Cogent. Man, I could just keep going with these one words!
  • You likely have to have the support of those you cohabit with (I wanted to write cohabitate but it’s not a word. Also that sentence is terrible, it should be with whom you cohabit! :( ). This will make things easier and let you thrive. So be nice to them.
  • You may have to open your wallet a bit. Just a bit. Slowly, now. Let me see its contents. No, don’t look at me. Keep your eyes on the ceiling, I’m just going to moisten my fingers and stick them into your wallet. Ok, now you can look.

Got it? Good, we can now commence.

Commit to your purpose.

Why are you getting up early? For me, it’s to get the shit done that I really want to to get done during the day. What’s that for you? Need to ensure you have time to dust off all your picture frames? Need to defluff and refluff your cushions? These are terrible reasons!

Do it so you can get something awesome done! Write! Read! Create! Exercise! Exclamate!

Figure this out first.

Decide your time frame.

There are a few aspects to this.

What time do you have to be done and out of the house/getting ready for work/dropping the kids off at school?

That’s your end time.

How much time do you have to put in to accomplish what you need to?

That’s your work time.

How much time do you need to make coffee and fuck around?

That’s your party time.

So put it all together: End Time - Work Time - Party Time = THE TIME YOU NEED TO GET UP.

Math.

Or.

Maths, if you’re proper. And you are.

Oh, and this.

Do not skimp on your sleep. Seriously. Do not do this. You will fail and fail hard and, no matter what the latest failure porn quote supplied by that douchebag on Facebook says, this is one place you want to be on top of your game. Get some sleep.

Here’s what that means: You will have to go to bed earlier.

Sorry, them’s the breaks. Now remember the equation above? Take that answer and subtract 7 or 8 hours from it. Any less and you likely won’t last too long at this. That is the time you need to go to bed. So lay out those Spider-man pajamas and get to it.

NOW YOU HAVE MADE SO MANY DECISIONS AND EVEN DONE MATH(S)!

Very proud of you.

Here are some tips.

Light.

The sun. I like it. You like it. It’s the goddamn sun, giver of life and benevolent beneficiary of the animals I slaughter in my living room. What’s not to like?

What if I told you that you could have the sun in your very own home?

Pheroze, you old codger, you laugh while lathering well-made flaky scones with marmalade (because you said maths, remember?) surely you jest?

Well I don’t jest. I don’t jest at all.

I am a pseudo-insomniac. I say ‘pseudo’ because movies and books have scared me into thinking that real insomniacs never sleep at all; just stare at you and plot your murder. I sleep, but lightly, and I often wake up in the middle of the night for a few hours. This is actually progress for me. There was a time where I just didn’t sleep.

Combine that with naturally being an early riser - in my youthful days, waking up at 9:30 for me was super-late; was usually up around 7:30 no matter what time I went to bed - and it all means I am a shitty sleeper.

So I pored over a lot of research. There are drugs and stuff, but I hate drugs and stuff.

But LIGHT was the common thread in all verifiable sleep studies. We’re made to work with our vision. Lack of sun cues sleep. Rising sun cues awake.

I have no idea what they do in the Scandinavian countries where the sun shines or disappears for 20 hours at various times of the year, but I think this is why they are so good-looking. And also why they are very good at playing black metal and burning churches.

You, ideally, want to shift your rhythm to wake up with a light source of some kind. And you are a modern human. You have and love technology.

Behold the two gadgets I use to arise:

Philips Wake-Up Light

And

Philips goLITE BLU

That Philip, really sweet with the lights. I don’t care what you think about him, he’s a nice boy.

Both of those links have product descriptions, so read them. I’m not going to elaborate on those. But I will give you some tips. Oh fuck, here are more bullet points. Sorry.

  • Don’t skimp. Get the better models. Save up. Look for sales if need be.
  • The higher-end Philips Wake-Up Light also has sound. Birds chirping and an FM radio. Don’t use this shit. Learn to wake up with the light. You can set it to gradually emulate the sunrise over the course of anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour. I set mine at 30 minutes, and its wonderful. My eyes usually open about 15 minutes in and then I have another15 minutes to actually wake the fuck up. The bottom line is that waking up with the gradually increasing light is really gentle on your sleep cycle. Sound is not, even if it’s gradual.
  • That same light also has a sunset mode. Like the difference between a penis and vagina, it works the same but in reverse. Use it while you read before bed. You are reading before bed, right? I set mine at a dusky glow for an hour and it gradually ‘sets’. I’m usually asleep before it does so.
  • The goLITE BLU (Philip got real enthusiastic naming that one) is best used while you’re working in the wee hours of the morn. Place it on your desk and just leave it on while you work or type. If you’re not doing anything at a desk, running for example, then leave it on while you make coffee, or when you have a chance to sit down. You don’t have to look right at it, just have it present, like that friend of your coworker’s who always insists on tagging along for drinks.
  • The higher-end goLITE BLU (can’t stop typing out this ridiculous name!) is also portable and rechargeable. So you can toss it in your bag and take it to your cubicle and get tons of questions from your coworkers. Just tell them you’re trying to become a very large smurf so you can quit this shitty job and make a lot of dough in appearances. Then ask if it is working. Ask them every day with a smile.

A few more tips:

  • Buy your spouse, friendly-body-in-the-bed, animated-corpse-you-sleep-with, an eye mask. Don’t push waking up early on them if they don’t want to. Here’s a good one, approved by all the spouses I currently sleep with.
  • Do not neglect the Party Time in the equation above. This is your time to stretch, scratch yourself, make coffee, whatever you need to do before you get to work accomplishing your shit.
  • If light scares you because you are a vampire or something, a vibrating alarm is the next best choice. Something like the FitBit on your wrist or the like.
  • Yeah, you’ve heard this before: Don’t look at screens before bed. But here’s the deal. There’s no fucking way you’re going to do that in this day and age. So don’t get all lifestyle-hack guru on this shit. The two things I would recommend are (bullets within bullets, fuck I hate myself).
    • In the hour before sleep, shift from watching TV to reading. Kindles are fine. Apple is releasing a night-time screen mode in their next iOS update. Just try and minimize the size of the screen and the amount of stimuli not created by your brain.
    • Perhaps invest in blue light glasses. These are glasses that block blue light from view. They work. I use them. You can get them prescription or not.
  • If you work out, do it in the morning or afternoon. Not the night. You will sleep easier.
  • If you need more help, Melatonin is great. Take it 30 minutes before you want to fall asleep.
  • Take the weekends, or days where you don’t have to do anything, off! After a while you’ll start waking up early anyway.

And this, this suggestion is YMMV, but I think it’s a good one:

  • Don’t ease into this. You’ll see suggestions for setting your clock 15 min earlier every week until you reach the time you want to wake up. Eh, sure, if that’s your style. But why not jump the fuck into the water, naked. Just wake at your target time. You’ll be tired, but you’ll adjust. It’s just a couple of weeks of discipline. You can do it.

That’s that. If you have any questions, or want to tell me I’m an asshole, I’m easy to find online.