Dan Kang

The Secret to Waking Up Early

Bed

Waking up early is an amazing feeling. You’re up before or around sunrise, you can get things done before other people are even awake, and you can take some time to meditate, read, take a walk, or exercise before getting on with your day. Having a great start to your morning really sets the mood for the rest of the day.

Growing up, I struggled immensely with waking up early. I would get into fights with my grandma and my homestay lady (this is a whole another story) because of my inability to wake myself up. I would wake up late to classes and end up missing them entirely because by the time I could get ready, class would already be over. I would sometimes wake up after noon and feel absolutely terrible because it seemed that the day had already passed me by.

I tried to solve my problem by searching out different tactics for waking up. I bought the loudest alarm clock I could find on Amazon with a vibrating component but slept right through them. I still owe my dorm roommate an apology for waking him up countless times with my alarm clock while I slept on like a rock. Once, I had to be violently shaken so that I wouldn’t sleep through my school’s fire alarm. True story. I even tried consuming large amounts of water so that I would wake up due to the need to pee. This didn’t work very reliably, and I’m very lucky that I didn’t end up accidentally wetting my bed in adulthood.

None of the methods I tried worked, and I looked for ways to shorten the amount of time that I needed to sleep. I envied people who could thrive off of 4 hours of sleep a night and looked for ways to trick my body into doing the same. I looked into unconventional sleep cycles like sleeping for a couple hours during the night and sleeping for a couple hours during the day, etc., but the evidence for their effectiveness seemed too lacking.

Recently, I started waking up at 7am on a consistent basis and have been able to reap all the benefits of getting up with the sun. I finally discovered the secret to waking up early. Here it is:

Go to sleep early.

You are most likely quite disappointed with my secret. After all, it’s nothing special and something you already know. But it’s important to acknowledge that the simplest solution is quite often the right one. Finally coming to terms with the fact that my body needs 7-8 hours of sleep every night and no special tactic will magically change that was a real game-changer for me, because it made me face reality and stop looking for shortcuts. Whenever I want to get up early the next morning, I force myself to go to sleep at a decent hour even if that means ending my chat sessions short or not finishing the article I was reading. The best part of it all is that unlike chugging a ton of water before hitting the hay, this tactic works every single time.