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Want To Be An Early Riser? Science Says This Leisure Activity Can Help You

Want To Be An Early Riser? Science Says This Leisure Activity Can Help You
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Are you a morning person? If not, I’m sure you know someone who is. Often times you end up wondering how on earth do they get up so early. Some people cannot be bothered to wake up early, no matter what. Often the excuse is: I’m just not a morning person. Have you ever wondered how you can be an early riser? There is a leisure activity that can help you rise earlier in the morning.

Camping to reset your circadian rhythm

I’m sure you can recall a time when you went camping, perhaps you went after a long time of being absent from the woods. The first morning you wake in your tent, you usually rise when the sun does. It pierces through your tent urging you to get out of bed. In the evening after the sunsets, you naturally have no problem falling asleep earlier than you usually do.

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This is because camping can actually help you reset your circadian rhythm. According to the National Institute of General Medical Studies, circadian rhythms, “are physical, mental and behavioral changes that follow a roughly 24-hour cycle, responding primarily to light and darkness in an organism’s environment.”

Exposure to natural light actually resets our natural circadian rhythms. Your circadian rhythm will naturally synchronize to solar time, Our biological night occurs at sunset and our biological night ends at sunrise. Exposure to natural light allows the body to naturally align itself with “light-dark” cycle.

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This might sound something natural and easy. However, since the invention of electrical light our circadian rhythms have suffered dramatically. Not only are we able to rise before the sun and stay up when the moon fills our sky, but we are able to fully function because of electrical light.

Electrical light has impacted how we live. We can do more before the sun rises and sets every day. However, a study suggests that because our environments are bursting with electrical light we have decreased our exposure to sunlight during the day and have in turn increased our exposure to light after sunset. This in turn, delays our circadian rhythm.

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Take a moment to plan a camping trip

Not too long ago we used to go to bed shortly after the sun went down and woke up around sunrise. Our circadian rhythms were aligned when the sun rose and when the sun set for the evening. By exposing yourself to a few days or even a week of only natural light (put those electronic devices away!), you will be more likely to go to bed earlier and wake up a bit earlier.

From my experience when I go camping, I tend to wake up earlier, go to bed earlier and get more sleep than I usually do most nights. I would suggest you take a moment to plan a camping trip for purposes of resetting your circadian rhythm.

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More by this author

Tara Massan

Founder of Be Moved, Life Coach and Writer.

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Last Updated on July 21, 2021

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)
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No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

How to Make a Reminder Works for You

Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

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Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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Reference

[1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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