Earlier to Bed, Earlier to Rise

About 6 months ago I shifted my schedule by 4 hours, literally overnight. Whatever I was up against, whether it was insomnia, sleep addiction, Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome, or just being a night-owl, it was getting worse. Also, the summer was coming, I had a shiny new grill, and I wanted to get home early enough that I wasn’t using it in the dark. Much to my surprise, it actually wasn’t very difficult. Here’s how I did it:

  • Consistency – Probably the most important part. Go to bed at the same time every night, no matter how tired or wired you are. Lay there for hours if need be, in a few days you’ll be asleep earlier. Get up at the same time, no matter what, even on weekends. I had a few nights where I got 3 or 4 hours of sleep and needed energy drinks to get me through the day, but that changed fairly quickly. I was able to ease up on the schedule after a while, but I try not to deviate by more than an hour or two.
  • Don’t do it alone – I’m not sure I could have pulled this off by myself. Reeny didn’t even really have to do much, other than some encouragement and being an early-riser herself.
  • Get up first – I try to get out of bed first. Some mornings this aspect is what gets me moving. If she can get up, why can’t I?
  • Measure success daily – The point of this is to get up early, not to become an early riser. Even after 6 solid months, I know that I’d slip back to my old schedule within a matter of days on my own if I allowed it. But that’s OK.

Also, I changed my schedule a month or so before I changed my work schedule. I think this helped alot, because I didn’t have that additional stress.