Waking up early

How to wake up even when you're not naturally a morning person.

Stever Robbins
4-minute read
Episode #52

Today's topic is waking up. A listener wrote in:

How do I wake up in the morning? I hit the snooze button a dozen times and still don't wake up. Tired-me knows I should get up, but stubbornly refuses to open my eyes and get out of bed.

Listener, please forgive me for not knowing your name. I have to get up at 6 a.m. for my new job. Your message arrived early in the morning. I was groggy from waking up so I kinda, accidentally, sorta deleted your message by accident. Oops.

As you can tell, waking up is hard to do. I read once that morning people are only 10% of the population. But because they get to work earlier than the rest of us, they control everything. They keep us off-balance by calling 8 a.m. meetings. On Monday. That is the true definition of Evil.

That's because the rest of us don't know how to get up early. "Why not use an alarm clock?" You just don't understand. For some of us, our bodies just don't wake up. They simply refuse. They know at a deep, cellular level that too much morning air can turn you into a chipper, optimistic "morning person," and that would be a tragic betrayal of our pessimistic, fatalistic, cynical selves.

Sleepwalk through the morning

Your question itself has a problem. You ask about waking up early, as if it's possible. It isn't. Trust me. But my in-depth studies have found a solution: sleep walking. When the alarm goes off, don't think "ugh, time to get up." Keep your eyes closed. Get out of bed, keeping your eyes closed. Smile and hum to yourself. Since your eyes are closed, be careful not to step on the beer can, the two-week-old slice of pizza, or the underwear that's probably clean. Head to the bathroom. Brush your teeth and shower, still with your eyes closed, relaxed, dreaming of warm, fluffy things. Like a pillow made of goose down... or your fuzzy rabbit slippers.

You'll find about halfway through your shower, you'll suddenly start to feel more awake. Keep your eyes closed and lazy until you naturally feel the "wake up" call of your body. Then open your eyes and get on with your day.

See, the secret is rhythm. Your guilty feet might got no rhythm, but your sleepy body still does. Your body has a sleep cycle of 45 to 90 minutes. At some points in that cycle, you can wake up easily. At other points, you can't. My sleepwalking technique (and yes, I really do shower while sleeping) really just lets your brain go through the rest of your sleep cycle. The cool thing is that you're just conscious enough that you instantly know when your body's ready to go.

When you use the sleepwalking technique, make sure to move all breakable objects away from the path between your bed and the bathroom. And remember to take off your fuzzy rabbit slippers and pajamas before getting in the shower.


About the Author

Stever Robbins

Stever Robbins was the host of the podcast Get-it-Done Guy from 2007 to 2019. He is a graduate of W. Edward Deming’s Total Quality Management training program and a Certified Master Trainer Elite of NLP. He holds an MBA from the Harvard Business School and a BS in Computer Sciences from MIT.