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How To Develop An Early Morning Reading Habit

I wanted to start waking up earlier in the day to make better use of my time. I find that as the day goes on, I generally start to lose steam, concentration, and productivity. So I decided to become a morning person. Now I wake up between 6-6:30am and spend that time reading until 8am. I found that starting my day with my favorite activity (for me that’s reading with a delicious cup of coffee) sets up my day with positive feelings and energizes me for the day ahead.

Practically speaking, this is how I started to train myself to wake up early.

Photo by Jannis Brandt

Get Ready For Bed Earlier

I have never had a nighttime routine and at the end of the night, I was just too tired to go through a face care regime, apply body lotion, and get into proper pajamas. I realized that if I knew I was staying in for the night, getting ready for bed earlier actually helped me wind down sooner and get into bed earlier than I would have. I generally start this process around 7 or 8pm.

Get Up and Go

Don’t give yourself the option for “just five more minutes”. Already decide in your mind that when the alarm goes off, it’s time to get up. No ifs ands or buts. I totally believe that you can make yourself do this – after all YOU control your arms and legs – no one else. It’s going to be hard the first week you are trying to readjust your schedule to waking up earlier. But eventually, you’ll start feeling tired earlier on in the evening which will help you go to bed a decent hour in order to wake up early.

Work Your Way Up To It

If you’re used to waking up at 8am and have a goal of waking up at 6am, the best way to go about this without hating yourself and being a grump is to gradually increase the time you wake up by 30 minutes. For the first three mornings set your alarm for 7:30am, then the next three mornings set it for 7am, etc etc until you’ve reached your goal of waking up at 6am.

Photo by Iris Juana

Have A Treat

Have a treat to wake up to – like your favorite coffee creamer, scone, etc. My version of this is uninterrupted reading time and a fresh cup of coffee. I also find that early mornings are the easiest time for me to focus on reading a book which helps me read faster and is ultimately a great strategy to read more books).

Turn On Music

One trick that really helped me snap out of that early morning fog was to turn on the radio. Music stimulates your mind and also provides the noise I need to help wake me up. I love listening to the big band classics on the radio while reading.

Limit Screen Time

This is an obvious one, but a tip that works. There have been numerous studies on how blue screen lights disturbs sleep, so this one is a no-brainer. I end my day with reading in bed for at least half an hour and put my phone away before I begin. Ending my day with reading also helps me wind down and makes me a little sleepy. That’s actually one of the reasons why I wanted to read in the morning – I was tired while reading in bed at the end of the day that I often wouldn’t read as much as I wanted to.

Be Consistent

I know, I know … the weekends are for sleeping in! But trust me, if you want to maintain this habit of waking early it needs to happen on the weekends too. Reframe waking up early into a positive experience, and not a sacrifice. You’re waking up early to start off your day the way you want to, at your own pace, and doing what you want to do with that time. The number one thing that makes me cranky in the morning is if I have to rush to get ready and out the door. Waking up at my own pace has helped set the right mood for the day ahead instead of starting off feeling cranky.

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