So you’ve noticed all of those happy and productive early risers who always seem to be on top of things. You probably hate them a little–they’re just so damn productive! But a small part of you has probably wondered, lying in bed at 11 a.m., how they do it. Maybe you’ve even thought you’d feel more energized if you could just manage to get up without feeling like crap. Here are a few tips of the trade on how to become an early riser and feel good while doing it.

1. Go to Bed Earlier

Probably the biggest detractor from getting up early is not getting enough sleep. It doesn’t take a genius to work out that if you don’t go to bed so late, you won’t need to sleep late either. Do you really need to be staying up until midnight or later, particularly on a work night? I’m willing to bet that you’re not actually doing anything productive or beneficial. The TV shows and social media can wait; stop wasting your time. You’ll be surprised by how great you feel once you get into an early sleep routine.

2. Have a Consistent Sleep Schedule

Your body thrives on routine. That’s why you get hungry at certain times–your body has been trained to expect it! Establishing a proper sleeping schedule is no different. Furthermore, having a routine will make it easier to get up early. The bad news is that you should start getting up at the same time everyday, including weekends. I know this may be a struggle, but if you don’t do this, your body will be constantly confused about when it should wake up, and getting up early will be all the more difficult.

3. Never Eat Before Bed

I know that a quick pre-bed snack can be tempting, but this is an incredibly bad idea if you want to wake up earlier and feel rested at the same time. Sleep is a time for your body to rest, repair and recharge. It is not a time for digestion. This is because it takes up far too much energy, which can make falling asleep more difficult. If you do manage to visit the land of nod, food digestion will rob you of the strength you’re supposed to be regaining. Even if you do get a full eight hours of sleep, you’ll wake up feeling tired and drained. You certainly won’t feel like getting up early. In short: put the cookie down.

4. Reduce Your Caffeine Intake

This may be an obvious one, but it’s definitely worth mentioning. Less caffeine means that you won’t still be riding its high at 11:30 p.m. I would start by eliminating any kind of caffeinated beverage in the afternoons. I know that this can make life difficult when the mid afternoon sets in, but you need to resist the urge! If you’ve started going to bed earlier you hopefully won’t get these kind of tired attacks anymore anyway. If you really feel like you need some kind of ‘pick me up’ try an energizing snack instead.

5. Never Drink Before Bed

A cheeky little sip before bed may seem like a good idea, particularly if you haven’t yet cut out that afternoon coffee. Despite what people say, drinking alcohol before bed will not help you sleep well, even if it does make you pass out. What it will do, however, is increase your deep sleep cycle and rob you of REM sleep. Because you this, you will feel tired when your alarm clock goes off and be all the more tempted to hit the ‘snooze’ button. As a side note, REM sleep is also needed for proper learning and memory function, so you definitely want to get enough of it.

6. Have a Good Reason to Get Up Early

Getting up early requires motivation, at least initially. Give yourself a good reason to do it. This could be anything from getting tasks done to having something to look forward to. I personally recommend a combination of both. Get up because you need to get stuff done, but make sure you also give yourself a little motivational rewards, whether it be allotted time for a TV show, or a nice brisk walk.

7. Turn Your Reason into a Challenge

Now that you have a reason to be up, make it a challenge! Don’t let yourself fall into a rut or break the routine. Tell yourself that you can and will get up early to complete these tasks and that you’re capable of turning this into a habit. The only person that can truly hold you back is yourself.

For those of you with a competitive streak, try using Wake N Shake. It’s an app that makes you and your friends compete and earn achievements for getting your butts out of bed and doing stuff.

8. Start Working Out

Exercise is a fantastic tool for waking up early, firstly because a good workout in the afternoon or evening will leave your body rested and in need of an early sleep. Secondly, working out early in the morning will make you feel energized and ready to conquer the rest of the day. These two ideas may seem to negate each other, but I can assure you that they’ll work in both circumstances.

9. Make Sure Your Alarm Clock is Out of Reach

The oldest trick in the book is sometimes the most effective. Force yourself to get out of bed by putting that pesky alarm clock out across the other side of the room. For added incentive, I recommend downloading a humiliation app such as BetterMe that will post on your Facebook wall that you were ‘too weak to get out of bed’ if you hit snooze. Not embarrassing enough? Go for Aherk. This app will post embarrassing photos of you to all of your social media accounts if you don’t reach your goals. Sure, self blackmail may seem easy enough to dodge, but once you have it set up you can’t get out of it.

10. Go to Bed Calm and Relaxed

Going to bed wound up and stressed will only serve to keep you awake, regardless of how tired you are. Try to go to bed calm and relaxed. If you need a little help in this area, I would recommend yoga, meditation or even a simple relaxing tea such as chamomile.

11. Have an Exciting Breakfast Planned

When all else fails, food is the answer. Seriously, I’m far more motivated to get my tired ass out of bed if I know I have something delicious to eat for breakfast. Now, just because I say ‘delicious’ and ‘exciting’ doesn’t mean it has to be complicated. Personally, I can get excited over a smoothie and juice made from fresh fruit, but then I’m a freak who has her own blueberry bushes. If drinking your breakfast isn’t your style, a simple bacon and eggs or some crunchy muesli can do the trick. Just make sure it’s something that you’ll look forward to, that way you’ll be more likely to get up for it.

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Featured photo credit: man with sad expression touch clock in early morningvia Shutterstock

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