There is a something magical about being able to wake up with the sunrise. It is the purest part of the day. The rest of nature is beginning to sing. The mind space is clear. It allows us to experience the fullness of the day.
Follow nature’s rhythm and wake up with the sunrise
Modern technology has been advantageous in many aspects but it has also put us out of sync with nature. Human beings are diurnal (daytime) creatures as we are not equipped with any natural advantages that aid our survival at night. It makes sense for man to wake up with the rest of nature and leave the night for the nocturnal creatures.
Tribal man was awake at sunrise sharpening his spear and preparing for the hunt. The same is true of the farmer or the spiritual man (minus the spears). They all wake with the rest of nature.
The human body is largely run on biological rhythms. Many external events happening in the natural world are linked with biological processes in the human body.
Sunrise is one of those external events. Hormones that promote physical activity including adrenaline and cortisol are released in the early hours of the morning. This happens whether you wake up or not. Serotonin our happy hormone is released in response to natural daylight.
By waking up with the rest of nature we are optimising the body’s natural processes, and possibly catching an awesome sunrise 🙂
Habits of an early riser
“How to wake up with the sunrise?” is a question that has been asked by most of us in the modern world at some point in our lives. Unfortunately the serenity of the practice seems to elude us. Instead of waking up in the morning feeling fresh, it becomes a continuous battle of man VS bed.
This was my life a few years ago. I was not an early riser. I used to find it impossible to wake up before 10am and usually much later. Waking up with the sunrise is a truly beautiful practice, but one which takes some practice and discipline, at least in the beginning.
So what are the habits of an early riser?
Have a reason to wake up with the sunrise
To be able to accomplish what for some may seem impossible we first need a reason (preferably one that excites us) before submitting ourselves to this torture. Otherwise our tranquilized morning brains will seek pleasure whenever they can and convince us that it’s better to stay in bed.
Why do we want to wake up with the sunrise? How is being an early riser and having extra time in the morning going to benefit our lives? Personally I enjoy being in sync with nature and allowing my body its best chance at awakening peacefully.
It’s also great to be able meditate, move, and get myself a hearty breakfast before the buzz of the working day starts. Being an early riser seems to afford me more time and allows me to catch some incredible sunrises.
Get up at the same time every morning
One of the most essential habits of an early riser is waking up at the same time every morning. Any time before 6am is great (even in the winter). I get up at 5am. This allows me to wake up with the sunrise and be in sync with the rest of nature.
If we consistently wake up at the same time every morning eventually our bodies will adjust their many complex processes and adapt to our new habit. This may be painful to begin with, but soon pain will give way to bliss.
Every time I tried throw myself in the deep end and wake many hours before my previous wake time I failed miserably. To succeed I found it best to make small adjustments of 15-30 minutes before my previous wake time each week and the transition became smoother. Eventually I was able to wake up at 5am every day.
Don’t fight the alarm
We have all done it, hit the snooze button one too many times, decided the warmth of the duvet and promises of dreamland are more enticing than the cold brain fogged morning routine. The only problem with this logic is eventually we have to get up and sort the things we have been delaying.
Getting up as soon as our alarm goes off is not only the smart thing to do but it is paramount for getting a more restful night’s sleep and establishing a satisfying morning routine.
First and foremost our alarms need to be out of reach. This forces us to get out of bed and kill the source of disturbance. Once we are out of bed, we can’t be tempted to climb back in, not even for a minute, begin the morning routine immediately.
The more times we successfully get out of bed as soon as the alarm rings the closer we come to breaking old habits and mastering our sleep. Eventually the alarm becomes unnecessary and we are able to wake up with the sunrise naturally.
This is a true early riser. Trust me when I say this is the most beautiful way to start a day.
Ingrain the habit the night before
How long it will take to be able to get up every time your alarm goes off will vary from person to person. In the initial stages it is good practice to simulate your alarm going off the night before and replicate your morning routine. This is a good way to break old habits.
In the morning our resolves are weak as the logical brain gives way to the pleasure-seeking monkey brain which only seeks extra time beneath the sheets. That is why listening to our thoughts in the morning doesn’t work; there is always an excuse not to get up straight away.
By training ourselves consistently the night before we can ingrain a morning routine, break old habits, and override the monkey brain. No morning thoughts will assist us in this task, only when our minds are fresh the night before do we understand why we are doing this to ourselves.
The art of the morning routine
Creating a good morning routine that we can enjoy even when the duvet is calling makes this process easier. As soon as I am out of bed and have killed my alarm I open my window and take a few deep breaths so that the abundance of oxygen can help my body and brain boot up.
Then it’s straight to the bathroom for a welcomed release, after which I splash some cold water on my face which is better than an espresso in my opinion.
I wake up with sunrise so when I choose I can actually watch those bright rays make their first appearance as they stretch across the horizon. Other times I will meditate or move and accomplish a few things that I am working towards but also find enjoyable.
Having a taxing morning routine does not inspire one to get out of bed. A slow process of awakening works best. Flowing from one activity to the next not having to worry about time is blissful.
A consistent evening wind down works wonders
This may sound painfully obvious but only sleeping when tired is one of the best pieces of advice out there. Some people will override their tiredness with stimulants while others will lie in bed waiting for sleep to come.
If you are not falling asleep within five minutes (preferably much less) of your head hitting the pillow then you are throwing time away. By establishing a consistent evening practice your body can be trained to expect sleep.
Tribal man worked far less than the modern human and his wind down routine would begin shortly after sunset. This may not be practical for most, but we should at least allow ourselves a couple of hours of “me time” before bed.
This will give us something to look forward to at the end of the day and it will help the body relax and prepare itself for sleep, as well as improve our general well-being.
Anyone caught up in the buzz of the hive may think that this is impossible, but ask yourself what you are working for if you cannot give yourself a couple of hours at the end of the day.
Using this time to catch-up with family, listen to relaxing music, read, meditate, or anything else that helps us to kick back will yield endless benefits.
It is also helpful to avoid any kind of screen during our wind down routines as screens interfere with melatonin (sleep hormone) production.
How many hours beauty sleep?
Some of us sleep like hamsters while others sleep like beers. Only though experiment can we determine how many hours of sleep we actually need.
This is not an excuse not to wake up with the sunrise and get out of bed when our alarm goes off. It simply means we may need to make some adjustments and go to bed earlier the night before or take a nap if we are not feeling rested.
In the first 30 days don’t expect to feel daisy fresh as your body is altering its many complex processes to correspond with your new wake time. Once this period is over, if we are still not feeling rested we need more ZZzzzs.
By adopting the habits of an early riser mentioned throughout this article we can become more efficient sleepers, feel fresher upon awakening, and reduce our sleep times.
Become and early riser and wake up with the sunrise Leave the night for owls. As the old saying goes “it is the early bird who catches the worm”. Catch the day and see more of life.