Early to Rise: Getting Up at 5am

Sometimes, people ask me, “how the hell do you get up at 5am every day?”
Us triathletes usually do become morning people at some point, so that we can hit that 5:30a Masters swim class and/or get our workouts over with so that we have the rest of the day to do everything else. Originally, I was a night person. It took me 4 months to retrain my cycle to wake me up at 5am every day. But also, I find that working out in the morning gets my blood going for the rest of the day, and I find that working out around dinner time is tough because I get hungry, or I eat so late that it’s uncomfortable.
So here are my tips for waking up early:
1. Yes it took me 4 months to change my cycle. Like with many things, you gotta have patience and stamina to stick with it until your sleep cycle does switch over.
2. Light is important. When my alarm goes off, I turn on a light immediately. Light is a well-known signal to the human body that morning has come. When it’s dark, it’s incredibly harder to want to get up.
3. Warmth is important. I keep the heat in my house at night at 72 degrees. If it’s too cold, I just want to dig deeper into my covers. If I do get up, my body has not warmed up yet and when it’s cold, I can barely move and it keeps me groggy.
4. Go to sleep earlier. Don’t stay up late watching TV. I usually try to go to bed by 10pm. If you find that you have other distractions which keep you up, take one night a weekend to just sleep as long as you want to recover any lost sleep during the week. It’s one way I sometimes can go on for days on only 5-6 hours of sleep, is by taking an 8 hour Saturday night sleep and waking up whenever I feel like it on Sunday morning. By the way, napping during the day, if possible, works wonders too.
5. Consistency is key. Once I started getting up at 5am, I try never to stop. The worst thing you can do is to bounce back and forth between waking times. It just makes it that harder to get up at one time when your body’s cycle is being interfered with like that. Over the last few years of doing this, I now find that I wake up at 5am naturally and don’t need my alarm so much. My body has become set to getting up at 5am. It’s really a piece of cake.
6. Train your eyes to pop open wide as soon as the alarm goes off.
7. Train your body to begin moving off the bed as soon as the alarm goes off. The slower you are, the harder it is to get up.
8. Don’t hit the Snooze button on your alarm.
Within a few short weeks or months, you’ll be popping out of bed before the sun comes up.

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