The number one piece of advice I would give to anyone that is unhappy with their life is simple: go to bed early, wake up early, establish a productive morning ritual.
How you start your day determines how the rest of your day will go.
If you start your day in a low energy fashion – waking up late, putting on a pot of coffee, slowly getting ready, sitting on the couch and scrolling through your phone until the coffee kicks in, then forcing yourself out the door to get to work or school – your entire day will be low energy and you probably won’t get everything done that you wanted to.
It’s all about momentum.
If you start your day like a bat out of hell – waking up early, hitting the gym, pushing your body to its limit, getting ready, reading, writing – the rest of your day will be more productive and you’ll get much more done.
Undefeated heavyweight boxer, Ed Latimore, put it simply:
The formula is simple:— Ed Latimore (@EdLatimore) November 7, 2015
Wake up earlier, get more done.
If you cant grasp that much, you dont care about success anyway.
What’s your current morning routine? Do you sleep in late? Do you dick around on your phone all morning to wake you up? Do you hit the snooze button 10 times before clumsily getting out of bed?
What if you did the top 3 things you hate doing (but know you should) first thing in the morning? Going to the gym, going for a run, cleaning your house, doing dishes, doing laundry, finishing homework, writing, etc.
Imagine how great it would feel to have the hardest part of your day over with before 9 AM. Imagine how much stress that would relieve and how much time that would free up.
I believe Ed said something along the lines of “exercise first thing in the morning, before your brain knows what it’s doing.”
Go to Bed Early
Yeah, I get it – you like to stay up and sleep in. You stay up late every night scrolling through your phone, watching Netflix, and making Trump memes. Everybody does.
You tell yourself you’re going to start going to bed earlier and waking up at a decent hour so that you can actually accomplish something tomorrow. Yet, there you are every night looking at funny shit on the internet.
Make some personal rules for yourself and stick to them. For example:
No screens after 9 PM. The artificial light of your cell phone, laptop, and TV screen alters your body’s internal clock and delays your natural production of melatonin (sleepy-time chemical.) Turn off your phone and read a book.
Take melatonin an hour before bed. Artificial lighting delays your brain’s natural release of melatonin, which makes you sleepy. If you refuse to turn off your phone after 9 PM, you can buy melatonin pills (I take the 5mg pills) to help you fall asleep faster. For me, they start working about an hour after ingestion.
Cut out caffeine and sugar after 2 PM. Studies show that people who drink coffee (or anything else with caffeine) after 2 PM don’t sleep as well as people who do not. The caffeine remains in your system throughout the evening, and prevents you from entering into deep, restorative sleep. Ingesting too much sugar too late in the day can cause insomnia created by increased blood sugar levels.
Drink yourself into a coma. I’m just kidding. Please don’t do this. Drinking booze might make you fall asleep quicker, but it reduces the amount of REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep you get – which is the deepest, most restorative part of the sleep cycle.
Wake Up Early
When I would ask my grandpa why he got up at 5 AM every day, he used to tell me, “early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise” – and he was all three (for the most part.)
There’s not very many people who wake up before 6 AM that aren’t doing something impressive with their lives. For example, from our future President:
According to Donald Trump, you don’t get to be a celebrity, business magnate, real estate tycoon, and presidential candidate without sacrificing some rest. Trump credits his success, in part, to the fact that he gets only three to four hours of sleep each night. He’s said, “How does somebody that’s sleeping 12 and 14 hours a day compete with someone that’s sleeping three or four?”
Now I’m not saying you should only get three or four hours a sleep a night – not everyone is blessed with Trump’s superhuman genetics. Just don’t sleep more than you need to. Everybody’s body is different and requires different amounts of sleep – figure out how many hours is best for you.
“But Drew, waking up early is hard! My bed is so comfortable and I’m lazy.”
Yeah, I know. It’s tough. If it ain’t tough, it ain’t worth doing. If you can’t manage to get yourself out of bed before 7 AM on a daily basis, I doubt you’ll have the self-discipline and willpower to change your life for the better.
To help you wake up early, here’s a few things I do to help me get up and moving:
Set a sun lamp on a timer, put it next to your bed. I have my sun lamp on my nightstand attached to a timer that makes it turn on every morning at 6 AM. Sun lamps reproduce the same spectrum of light that the sun produces, which makes your body wake up much quicker and also relieves some seasonal forms of depression. Once you get blasted in the face with (artificial) sunlight, it’s hard to go back to sleep.
Set an alarm, place your phone across the room. Lots of people like to use their alarm on their phone and place it either in their bed or next to it, which makes it all too tempting and all too easy to hit the snooze button. Hell, my phone has a feature where all I need to do to put the alarm in snooze is to flip the phone over. Snoozing only makes you more sleepy – so put your phone on the other side of the room so you’re forced to get out of bed to turn it off.
Try supplements other than coffee. Personally, I don’t drink much coffee. It tastes like shit and makes me… well, shit. In the mornings, I mix kratom – a legal stimulant in low doses (I’ll do a separate article on it later) – with applesauce, because I’m too big of a pussy to eat it any other way. Kratom is not addictive, has no side effects, and is similar to caffeine – it just boosts your mood a little bit more. With my kratom I’ll have a cup of green tea (my favorite), which has some caffeine and other great effects. Another alternative is to take Modafinil – a “smart drug” originally developed for patients with narcolepsy, allows you to stay awake longer and be more focused. It’s very popular on Wall Street and other high-paced jobs because it is similar to Adderall except without all the nasty side effects. You can get a prescription for Modafinil from your doctor – it is not available for sale over-the-counter in the United States.
Get your blood flowing. After I eat my kratom and drink my tea, I’ll either lift in my home gym in the basement, run with my dog, or hit the heavy bag for 20 minutes. Getting your body moving , blood flowing, and oxygen pumping is one of the best ways to get ready for the day. Your body adapts to needing energy so early in the morning, and after time it will naturally provide you with the energy when you wake up.
Remember: early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.
What’s your morning routine like? What could you to do to improve it? Do you get everything done during the day that you’d like to? Have any tips to help people get to sleep sooner and wake up earlier?