Whether you’re trying to switch your schedule because you need to get up early for work or school, or you’re just trying to become an early bird so that you have more productive hours during the day, sleeping early can be really hard if you’re used to going to bed late.
If you’re a natural night owl, hitting the sack early is probably even harder for you, but it’s totally doable!
In my post today, I’ll be outlining how to go to sleep earlier so you’ll feel more well-rested and ready to take on the next morning.
1. Gradually Change Your Sleep Schedule
Going from sleeping late to becoming an early bird is not easy.
If you’ve formed a bad habit of sleeping late for a long period of time, it’s an old, familiar habit that your body isn’t going to naturally want to change.
It can also be a huge shock on your body if you disrupt your sleep cycle so suddenly.
Instead of shocking your system by instantly switching your sleep schedule, make a gradual change by going to bed 15 minutes earlier every night.
As you get used to this new sleep schedule in small increments, your body will naturally start to get used to it slowly and it’ll get easier by the day.
For example, if you’ve been sleeping at 2 am every night and you’re working to get back to sleeping at 10 pm, it’s going to take more than two weeks to completely adjust your sleeping habits if you sleep 15 minutes earlier every night.
Although 15 minutes isn’t too much of a time difference, you’ll find that it can really help you change your habit without having to try too hard.
It’ll also help you avoid any insomnia which you might get from such a drastic schedule change.
2. Set a reminder
Once you’ve figured out how much earlier you have to sleep each night, set a reminder that will alert you 30 mins to one hour before it’s time to go to bed.
You can either manually set a reminder on your phone that will alert you when it’s time to sleep or you can use an app such as Tide that will send you an automatic reminder to your phone.
3. Revise your bedtime routine
Along with gradually changing the time you go to sleep, you’ll want to revise your routine before bedtime to help you fall asleep earlier.
This might include shifting your schedule around by changing the time you start your bedtime routine to earlier in the evening.
Here are some things you can do to wind down earlier:
Eat dinner earlier
If you tend to have digestion or bloating issues before bed, start eating earlier and stick with a light dinner.
Stop all electronic use earlier
If you’re regularly using your phone and computer before sleep, the blue light from the screen will hinder you from feeling tired and allowing you to fall asleep at your desired time.
Minimize or stop using these electronics an hour before bedtime so your body can feel tired on its own.
Reschedule your exercise time and other labor intensive work
Exercising is a great way to tire yourself out so that you can have more restful sleep.
However, if you workout or do other labor intensive work too close to bedtime, you’ll actually feel more awake and less tired.
Try to schedule in your workouts early in the morning right when you wake up or during the early afternoon.
Stop drinking water an hour before bed
If you have a tendency to go to the washroom at night, drink more water during the day and less at night.
If possible, stop drinking water an hour before bed so you don’t have to wake up during the night or get up as you’re trying to fall asleep.
Take a warm bath right before bedtime
Instead of showering or bathing earlier in the evening, take a warm bath a half hour before you know you have to sleep to help relax your muscles and calm yourself down.
4. Sleep At The Same Time Every Night
Once you get used to your new early bedtime, you need to stick with this everyday (give or take 30 minutes).
If you’ve gotten your body used to this new schedule, your body should be naturally tired at this time.
Don’t change your bedtime if you can help it, unless you really have to.
Even on Friday and Saturday nights when you don’t have to get up early the next morning, don’t change your sleep schedule up too much because once Sunday night comes again, you’re going to have a hard time sleeping early again.
5. Only Drink Caffeine Early On In The Day
Caffeine stays in your body for a long time so it’s crucial that you don’t ingest it too late in the day if you want to sleep early.
If you’re a coffee, tea, chocolate, or energy drink lover, stick to drinking and eating these stimulants in the morning so you don’t feel energized when it’s time for bed.
If you just can’t help but have your cup of joe late in the day, stick to decaf coffee or drink green tea instead.
If you do end up drinking caffeine later in the day, it’s going to stay in your system at night.
This means you might have more trouble falling asleep and you might not get the best quality sleep.
6. Use A White Noise Machine
In case the area you live in is noisy or you can hear your roommates or neighbors, use a white noise machine to help you fall asleep faster if you need some help in drowning out the noises.
If you don’t want to use a physical white noise machine, try using an app like Tide that has a whole library of customizable white noise sounds, from the sound of rain to ocean waves.
It even has a timer to shut off after a certain period of time.
7. Tell Your Social Circle & Loved Ones
Letting your social group know and saying out loud what you’re doing is a great way to keep yourself accountable.
This is because once you tell others you’re doing something, it makes the idea so much more real and you’ll feel more pressure to actually follow through with it!
Family & Friends
Let your family and friends know that you’re forming a new habit of going to sleep earlier.
If they are considerate and care about you, they will accommodate your wishes and try to work around your schedule if they need to get in touch with you or hang out.
If you find that they’re constantly messaging or calling you while you’re trying to sleep, either turn off your phone or set the do not disturb function on your phone so that it silence any messages and calls you keep getting.
You can keep the option on where your phone can disturb you if there’s an emergency though.
If you live with your significant other, try to get them to follow the same schedule as you if possible so be each other’s accountability buddies.
If that’s not feasible because they have a totally different schedule than you, find a system that works for both of you.
For example, that could mean both of you need to sleep in different beds or they can work in a different room until they’re ready to go to sleep.
8. Find your inspiration to sleep earlier
Lastly, if you find that you’re having trouble going to bed at an early time, envision in your head positive things that will actually make you want to get up earlier the next day.
These inspirational thoughts will help motivate you to get to bed earlier and get up earlier.
For me, one of my favorite things that I look forward to about early mornings is enjoying my cup of coffee in front of the computer as I get up to speed with emails.
The aroma and the delicious taste of the coffee really put me in a great mood and I feel at peace and happy when I get to enjoy some alone time right in the morning.
Find something about your mornings that you love and can’t wait to get up for. Some ideas that you can think about that you might look forward to include:
- Enjoying your morning cup of coffee or tea while reading the newspaper
- Taking a brisk walk with your dog
- Working out
- Yoga and stretches
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- 15 Self-Care Habits That Will Inspire Joy & Happiness In Your Life
- 6 Ways To Start The Week Off Right Every Sunday
- How To Stay Healthy And Sane When You Work At A Desk Job
- How To Relax After Work When You Have A Stressful Day
What are some of your tips to sleep early? Let me know in the comments!