August 28, 2007

Life-Hack: Ten Even Easier Ways to Get Up Early

Have you ever come across one of those "How-To" sites and looked for tips on just living your everyday life? They seemed to be called "Life Hacks." Because everything is apparently much more interesting to Web Users if it comes in a list and contains some reference to computers! Anyway, there are quite a few articles like this one out there about how much more productive you'll be if you become an Early Riser! They even give you suggestions as to how to accomplish that.

However, the post above seemed mostly to suggest: "make it harder to turn off your alarm clock," and "have a reason to get up." Both good suggestions, certainly. (Apparently worthy of a couple thousand Diggs! No jealousy here at Cranky Fitness, though. Nope. None whatsoever--because that would be Petty!)

Anyway, there are of course many sensible things one can do to make the transition from being a Slothful Slug-a-bed to an Eager-Beaver Early Riser. Here are a few: lay off the excess caffeine; don't do things late at night that are going to keep your mental gears grinding long after you've gone to bed; have a soothing bed-time ritual; don't sleep 'til ten o'clock on weekends just because you can; let morning light into the room... but, well, some of these require Thought and Effort and Discipline and Planning and who wants that?

Here are ten much easier ways to become an Early Riser!

1. Have a child. Hell, then have a couple more. "Mommy? Daddy? Are you awake? Madison just got the blender down and she's trying to make Grape Juice and Ice Cream and Peach Smoothies and I told her she should take out the pits first and find the top of the blender but..."

2. Buy a dog. One with weak bladder and bowel control who can Barely Wait until morning is especially good.

3. Or if the dog proves too stoic and trainable, try a cat! Make sure you get the kind who gets hungry in the early morning hours and communicates this by walking across your stomach and perching on your chest. Bonus if she playfully bats your face or licks your eyelids. Important test: to see if you've adopted the best kind, perform this simple pre-adoption test: go into the bedroom and close the door, leaving Kitty on the other side. She should attempt to dig her way through the door. If this doesn't occur to her, or if she gives up on this activity in less than two hours, sorry! You'll have to take her back and get the kind we got.

4. Get Married or Partnered. If one of you is a night person, the other is bound to be a Early Riser already! Or if you somehow accidentally hook up with someone who shares the same biorhythms, make sure you get one whose Snoring, Restless-Leg-Syndrome, Sleep-Talking, Cover-Stealing or other Sleep Disorder occur in the 4-6 a.m. hours.

5. Get older. Even without finding a mate, breeding, or buying pets, simply maturing on its own without other major lifestyle changes can take care of the early rising issue. Sun's up? You're up! Have a late night or a bout of insomnia and only got 37 minutes of sleep? Strangely enough, that doesn't matter! If it's past 5 am, you're Awake.

6. Generate garbage. This only works once a week, but there seems to be some universal rule that garbage pickup must occur in the pre-dawn hours.

7. Forget to drink your Recommended Daily Amount of Water until an hour before bedtime, feel thirsty and guilty, then drink an entire gallon of water right before going to bed. Allow nature to take its course. (But wait, you say, what about those articles saying there's no magical "8 glass a day" requirement anymore? No worries! Every time you read one of those, you will inevitably see 3 more articles right afterward telling you how important proper hydration is and that skimping on water will make you Unhealthy and Constipated and Wrinkly and Bloated and Ugly. There's no escaping the Water Drinking Requirement!)

8. Move to an Urban Area. No need to fret about sleeping too late, what with honking horns, car alarms, sirens, early-morning jack-hammers, big heavy trucks with squeaking brakes, club-hopping neighbors still amped on crystal when they get in at dawn...

9. Or you could move to a Suburban Area! There they have early-morning landscaping concerts (featuring the popular leaf-blower/lawn-mower/hedge-clipper combo), neighborhood dogs who howl at the first sign of movement or light, idling SUV's preparing for their 2 hour commutes, smug joggers and bicyclists shouting back and forth to each other because if they can get up for their 5 a.m. workouts then everybody should be up...

10. Just don't try moving to a Rural Area because of course people who live on farms traditionally sleep in late and the thought of any barnyard animals making noise just because it's morning... absurd!

Thoughts on early/late rising, sleeping, pets, kids, "life hacks," or, as usual, Any Damn Thing at all are always appreciated!


  1. Have a child yes. When he becomes a teenager his heavy metal music will leak out of his iPod and find the center of your brain. He's not an early-riser himself.. no, he just hasn't been to bed yet.

  2. Funny list, Crabby. I'm an early riser by nature. In fact I caught a bit of the lunar eclipse this morning.
    To me, it's the best time of the day. I get more done in those early hours than I do the rest of the day. I do wish we could have a cat alarm, though. My husband's allergic to them or we'd have a house full of cat alarms, all set for different times and needs.

  3. I would say #1 for sure but add blogging in the mix too, and I find myself waking up WAAY before the kiddies because, like Leah, I think it's the best time of day to really get stuff done. Unfettered.

    (FYI, I've "skirted" this post. (it's like Digg) Go here to show some love for the Crab! )

  4. Well, getting up early implies that one has to have slept the night through, right?

    what's that like? Sleeping all night? It's one of my dreams...If I could sleep long enough to dream, that is.

  5. Jeeeeze! I have nos. 2, 4, 6, 7 and 8 . I should be lovin' the morning! I'm surprised that buying an automatic coffee pot isn't on the list. Well, one that you can program to turn on in the morning while you snooze.

  6. I just moved back to the college town I go to grad school for, and I discovered that yesterday was the first day of school! There is apparently a bus stop right in front of my house and children start gathering at seven (which is when I needed to wake up anyhow, but gah!)

    Though I guess I should be happy that they are active children, playing football before the bus comes instead of sullenly listening to their iPods like adults who are waiting for the Metro, but maaan they are loud.

    My cat has learned to not bother me lest I throw her off the bed. She did the "sit on Sarah's face" thing once and NEVER AGAIN. Though she gets really cute-- she'll lay down right next to me around five am, letting me know that she is there in case I feel like feeding her two hours early. (I live in a studio apartment, so unless I lock her in the bathroom, she gets full rein of the place.)

  7. I checked out the site you recommended, but your own suggestions seem much more fun! (At least to read.) They seem more efficient too...

    Getting older worked for me, and I am only 26 yet! Now I find mornings great, but in my teens I easily slept till after noon. Maybe it is because I accept to go up when my body wakes up, even if it is "too" early and I haven't slept enough. Either I take a nap during the or I just go to bed a bit earlier in the evening.

    My best tip would be to find out when the sleep is the lightest, and always wake up at more or less the same time every day (including week-ends). My husband can wake up at 6.30, but since he doesn't have to, he sleeps till 7 when his sleep is deep, and he always have problems getting up...

    This said, I never have problems falling asleep. Maybe it's because I don't sleep too long in the morning, but more probably, I am just a lucky person. It sure makes waking up easier!

  8. I think my cat and Sarah's cat went to the same kitty finishing school. Luna will jump onto my bed a couple hours before I wake up, lie down next to my pillow, putting her head on the pillow, just in case I want to pet her. She knows that when my alarm clock goes off, I'll reach over and pet her as a way to snooze without falling asleep. She learned the hard way that she'd get thrown off the bed if she walked on my chest or licked my face. Of course, if I somehow forget to feed her the night before, she will definitely wake me up.

    I used to sleep until 1:30pm on weekends in college (of course, I wasn't going to bed until 3am), but now I'm usually up by 7:30 or so, even if I'm not going to the gym.

    I find that sunlight is a good substitute for caffeine - wakes me up a lot better than any beverage does!

  9. I especially liked tip #7... simple, effective. Um, does it have to be a lot of water? Would Tequila have the same effect?

    Oh, all right, it was worth trying.

    My doctor, the fool, wants me to give up not just alcohol (which I can understand, empty calories) but also sugar, meat, and caffeine. Give up caffeine??!

  10. "She should attempt to get dig her way through the door." Ah I see our cats are from the same mold...they do the walk all over the bed once the alarm goes off, so snoozing is not an option.

    I've honestly tried to be more of a morning person. The ones I know get so much done and seem so happy. So far no luck...I know you are supposed to not sleep in on saturdays, but I've been told by my many friends with children that I should sleep in while I I do. The fact that I never have problems sleeping can sleep anywhere is a bonus too. I like to sleep - it's one of my favorite things.
    After all my efforts I really don't think you can make yourself a morning person. If so,I should be one by now. It still hurts me to get up at 5:15 to run. I feel better all day after, but I think the running in the morning works partly as I don't wake up until it's nearly over so I don't realise what I'm doing to myself until then! My husband has to get up at (yuck) just after 4 for his job and after a year it he is still a night owl despite it all - he's worked in naps and afternoon workouts to fill in his day. My brother is a morning person, but to be one he goes to bed often before 9...that's just silly. I could never do that.
    Maybe age will help. Dad, always a morning person, is still up at 6:30ish even at 68.
    Or maybe I just need a louder alarm...

  11. Crabby,

    I have never been an early risers and I don't think it's a habit I wish to acquire.

    I understand all the "you're missing the best part of the day," stuff, but somehow the best part of the day starts at about 8:15 AM for me.

    I have survived #s 1,2,4,5,6,8 and still don't like to get up early. Anything before 7:30 AM is early to me.

    I think our wake up time, active time, productive time is all inbred and there is little we can or should do to change it!


  12. That's a very funny list!

    We live in a quiet suburban/rural area. That is until someone loosed,(I love being able to use that word correctly), a ROOSTER in the area. Now it's become Bob Dylan's 'When your rooster crows...'EVERY morning for months! I asked my neighbor:'How long do they live?' His reply,'TOO LONG!'


  13. I refuse to capitulate to this primitive "wake up early, go to bed early" mode of living. I'm considering telecommuting just so's I don't have to socialize with coworkers at 8 in the morning. It's unnatural, I tells ya!

    Also: sleeping until ten just because you can? Oh god. Is that how late Real Adults sleep? I need to go back to college...

  14. I think the people who think night owls must be lazy and unproductive are just another iteration of the asshole who can't understand or tolerate other people being different or other people's bodies working differently.

    I'm useless at 6 in the morning, even if you can get me out of bed. But militant morning people, not understanding the "different people are different" concept, assume that just because they are completely useless and exhausted and unproductive in the evening, and useful and energetic and productive at the ass-crack of dawn, this condition must be true for everyone, much like homophobes think that if they find straight sex appealing and gay sex "icky", this must be a Universal Fact of Nature and grounds for moral judgement.

    That's right, I said it. Militant morning people are the Fred Phelps of bedtime!!

    (I am not saying that anyone _here_ is a Militant Morning Person.)

  15. Hilary,
    Oh my goodness...teenagers. I thought because they slept late they might not be as much of a problem as the little ones, but forgot about what time they like to go to bed!

    Leah, lunar eclipse? I didn't even know about it. Must remove self from blogland every now and then. And yes, we adore our Cat Alarm, sorry you can't have one too!

    Katieo, thanks so much for the Skirt! I rarely write anything "shareable," so this is much appreciated. (And Blogging should definitely be on the list--works that way for me too!)

    Oh bummer. That sleeping through the night thing--really a treat. I hope I don't lose that in the coming years. And I hope you get it back at some point!

    Soap Box Girl--Actually, the coffee pot's a great one because then you have a whole other sensory mode alerting you that it's morning and beckoning you to that awesome smell of morning brew!

    Sarah--so I have to agree that there's something particularly piercing about the sound of young children's voices in the morning, and like you, while it's great they're active: Grrrrr. (And why don't I just follow your sensible plan and throw the cat off my head? I have no idea! I think perhaps I may have tried that and found she has more perseverance than I do.)

    Back in a few minutes...

  16. Wow, Chicken Girl... sounds like you know some of those people, heh.

    I would loooove to get up earlier, but I feel like my body is conspiring against me by demanding about 10 hours of sleep a night. This wouldn't be so bad except when my body decides to wake up at 3-4AM and not go back to sleep for a few hours, thus prompting me to sleep later. Ugh.

    Of course, in a few weeks I won't have ANY sort of sleeping schedule, so I guess I shouldn't complain too much. :)

  17. I used to bid all red-eye flights so I could work all night and sleep all day. Now I have some that leave early in the morning and some that leave in the evening. Not my choice, but it gives me more days off.

    I also set two alarm clocks, one right next to my bed, and one across the room, and my cell phone just in case. I am really paranoid about oversleeping and not getting up in time, especially if I have to be somewhere in the morning.

    My girlfriend is one of those irritating wake up early AND happy people. If I'm not working I sleep until at least 10, if not later. Of course I also stay up until 4 or 5 in the morning without issues, so that may have something to do with it. We also have a cat who has declared me to be the official 5am feeder. I just wake up do it, and go back to sleep.

  18. Pelikan,
    Twenty Six is Young, trust me! And that's a great tip about timing your waking to your lightest hours of sleep. Sometimes I get up extra early if I've woken up anyway, because if I go back to sleep I'm dead tired when the alarm goes off.

    Hi Leth,
    You and Sarah definitely need to give me Cat Training tips. And isn't it funny how college seems to be conducive to sleeping in late? And yeah Sunlight--very helpful Waking Mechanism. (But I have NO plans to give up coffee!)

    I think you should give up your doctor instead! (Though don't recommend the tequila method, having tried that as a younger person with Unsatisfactory Results).

    Hi Geosomin--you've got a door-digging feline too, huh? And I do think age alters the sleep schedule I bit. I wake up much earlier than I used to. But I always think that the best is to work with your own body and try to arrange the rest of life around your best sleep schedule--hard to do in practice!

    I'm totally with you on the "do what's best for you" thing. Suppose I should have said so somewhere in the post! There's nothing more inherently virtuous about the early morning hours.

    Thanks Dr. J!
    And I've never had the "pleasure" of living next to a Rooster. But I suspect it could make even a hard core vegetarian have a sudden hankering for an axe and a big stock pot full of water.

    Hey Jim--somehow I would have guessed you were a night owl. Hey, aren't you supposed to be at the tables at Vegas raking in the dough? Or sleeping--hell it's not even noon yet!

    Good point about the sleep Nazis! I've personally grown fond of the "asscrack of dawn" myself, but often feel jealous and unhip compared to the people who can stay up past nine or ten and actually go out and have Social Lives! To Each Her Own! Unfortunately, some people get stuck with jobs that demand attendance at less than optimal hours. So they get to play the hide-the-alarm clock games.

    You need your extra sleep, right? You're sleeping for two! So you're coming up on your due date pretty soon, huh? Please keep us posted with all that 'free time' you're going to have.

    Hi Noah,
    Sounds like you do an amazing job of being flexible given the nature of your job. So you get to be the 5am cat feeder? Lucky you! And on the rare occasions when I fly, I set at least two alarms which I don't even need because I wake up all anxious hours before the alarm is set to go off anyway.

  19. Actually Crabby, I was 'locked and loaded, but I couldn't bring my self to off another living creature just for some zzzzz's. So we just pretend we are the Beverly Hillbillies and use some soft white noise. How long do they live, anyway?? :-)


  20. Unfortunately, some people get stuck with jobs that demand attendance at less than optimal hours. So they get to play the hide-the-alarm clock games.

    Yeah, I'm one of them. Hence the possible smidge of bitterness about the whole cultural "early to bed, early to rise!" expectation. (Bitter? Moi?)

    I have a geeky "alarm clock game", though. I have my computer set to start playing music in the morning, starting out quiet and then gradually fading in to an Uncomfortable Volume, at which point I have to get out of bed and turn it off.

    This is enough to get me conscious and make me get started on my morning routine, but that doesn't mean I'm in any condition to Get Things Done, unfortunately. :p

  21. Definitely #3 works for little guy makes sure I get up "on time", according to the Cat Clock. Which of course, is THE official clock... grrrr....

  22. Most mornings I am up by 5. The older I get the more I can't sleep in. It feels like the world is up to something and I need to be in on it. It also helps knowing if I don't do my cardio EARLY, it ain't going to get done.

  23. "Because everything is apparently much more interesting to Web Users if it comes in a list and contains some reference to computers!" Many statistic show this. In fact I'm betting your blog will get more hits today simply based on the title.

    You know my secret to early rising -- don't go to bed in the first place. When the sun comes up there you are. Not wide awake mind you; but there.

  24. I wish I can make Karen wake up in the morning. It doesn't matter what I do, she hits the snooze about twenty times. I really resent it when she's still in bed at six in the morning. She's impeeding on my morning naptime.

    -- P

  25. Dr. J.,
    According to noted sources, Roosters have a lifespan of 55-58 years. (Just kidding. Hope you didn't actually pull the trigger just then).

    Bitterness seems entirely appropriate! I'd be pissed if some job made me stay up past midnight. Yawn.

    Cat time, yes, is the Official Time that must heeded! (And you're as whipped as I am, apparently).

    You too, huh? I like the way you put that: "It feels like the world is up to something and I need to be in on it." Great sentiment!

    Penelope, I'm surprised! Certainly a cat of your Intelligence and Resourcefulness could find a way to awaken a mere human? My cat is, frankly, dumb as a box of paperclips but even she can manage this task. Perhaps you are Kinder and more Sensitive than you let on? Either that or Karen is champion First Class Sleeper of the highest order.

    Try coughing up a hairball on her forehead.

  26. And Jennifer, no wonder you never sleep! That post of 50 home decorating thingys was amazing. I can't believe you used up so many incredible finds in one glorious post!

    And now thanks to you I feel I must have my own personal robot.

  27. my solution is to sign up for an early a.m. pilates class where they take my $ whether i show up or not. however, this is sadly *not* foolproof--i have had many mornings where i wake up late only to discover that i just spent cash while unconscious!

    fun post (as always!)

  28. Great solution, Meg!
    And exercise still "counts" when you're unconscious, at least that's my theory.

  29. When I had a cat, he used to jump on me and bite my face. Then I'd hurl him toward the door. So he'd jump on my desk and start knocking stuff off. He was pretty persistent!

  30. Hi Norabarnacle!
    "Persistent" sounds like a nice euphemism for "satanic!" Yikes!

  31. All these people referring to 10am as "sleeping in" are making me feel guilty. I'm 23 and have always been a late sleeper. In college, I would schedule my classes for 8am in attempt to get my ass out of bed, but it never worked. As a child, alarm clocks never worked, and my older brother resorted to pouring cold water over my head to wake me up in time for the bus. Now I'm a freelance writer, and I sleep at least ten hours, usually getting up around noon or even 1pm.

  32. Sorry Katherine!
    Actually, if you're only 23, sleeping late and a lot is totally normal! And it's good to get what you need even if it's more than than average.

    Plus if your schedule allows it, enjoy it! All the people with alarm clocks are just jealous. (But yikes, cold water! I bet you're glad those days are over.)

  33. This list was just too funny, thanks for giving me a laugh today (LOL). :)

  34. Got a new one at about 1 AM. SKUNK. Now that is a rude awakening! Some neighborhood cat or other critter woke up the skunk, who was none too pleased, and neither were any of the neighborhood residents. BLEAH.

  35. Linda,
    Ewww skunk! That's definitely something foul enough to wake you up out of a dead sleep!

  36. Oh, Crabby, Thanks So Much, #5 nailed me and I laughed so hard it was a good thing I wasn't drinking coffee or I would have needed a new keyboard. You are such a JEWEL! :D

    The points made about sunlight and the auto coffee both work and the coffee is great incentive, but I'm such a purist I hate the thought of grinding the beans the night before. Just the smell will wake me though; hubby fresh ground beans at 6am on his day off, to set the brewer up to go at the push of a button for me before he left to do early morning dawn light stuff (he's in bed by 9pm and up at 5, me at 2 am and up at 10) and I smelled them all the way uptairs in another room and sat up looking groggily around for a fresh hot cup, because sometimes he brings me one early if he wants me up. SUCH disappointment when my squinted blurry vision saw no sign of any such thing. Almost got me out of bed to see if there was any fresh hot real brew downstairs. But bed was tooo comfortable and just that exact right temperature that says, nope, not worth it. Had had 3 hours sleep if I was lucky...

    I had a puppy alarm but he is a big boy now at 8 1/2 months and is a very well behaved Poodle. I've trained him to keep MY hours.

    The skunk thing'll get one up anytime day or night, I had a battling family one summer that lived under a porch next door, and my fan would suck fresh vapor in at 2am, 3am, 5 am (time when the trash truck came twice a week), plus we had a parking lot across the street with a sweeper truck at 1am twice a week that also scraped the gum off asphalt I guess as it was such a horrible sound, and then there was the city tree watering truck with the nasty screechy air brakes once a week. And two different Harleys, one at 12am, one at 1am or 2am, the latter with straight pipes, coming down the street every night. I tell you it was a house from hell and I didn't sleep at night for more than 30 minutes at a time for a year!

    Oh, and forget going to bed early if it's a full moon, it tugs at my blood or something, I never even think about it, just find out later that's what kept me wide awake. *sighhhhh*.

  37. Hi TK--great comment!
    I'm with you on the Harleys--we used to live in NY a few blocks from the bar "Hogs & Heifers"--quite a racket when it was closing time & they'd all drive down the street. And bikers don't seem to prefer early bedtimes.

  38. huh? bull crap!! i cant believe someone will fall for this list...

  39. Er, dj,... it's supposed to be HUMOR. If you want a "serious" list, there are only about 9,000 other places to find one, including the link in the first paragraph.

  40. My whole life, people have tried to tell me that if I'd just go to bed early, and get eight hours, I too could come to love getting up crazy early (like before noon).

    Fuck that noise. :)

    Now I'll admit that after two years of having to be at work at 9 most mornings, I was starting to start to get sleepy at around midnight. I was also starting to wake up naturally at eight--although days I didn't have to get up I promptly fell back asleep. And even if I did get out of bed, I was useless until noon.

    TWO YEARS of this pattern. Want to guess how long it took to undo? A week. So everyone who thinks it's all a matter of forcing myself to sleep early, blah blah blah, can SO go pound sand. :)

  41. Crabby,
    Your list is classic. Great humor. Good laugh. You'd be a good standup comedian. Maybe reading your list first thing after the alarm each morning, and laughing one's head off, would be another good wake-up-early method.



Thanks for commenting, Cranky Fitness readers are the BEST!

Subscribe to comments via RSS

(Note: Older Comment Threads Are Moderated)