Michael Rock’s Tips for How to Become a Morning Person
I've been waking up very early for a very long time. I wake up earlier than the farmers and the fishermen, and everyone knows they're up pretty early.
It's probably the number one question people ask when they meet me: how early DO you wake up? My answer is almost always earlier than people expect. For the record, I wake up for work at 3:30 a.m. I know, I know. It's crazy.
"I could NEVER do that," people say, but of course you could. I'm waking up and getting out of bed to go to a place where my job is to have fun. If I'm not having fun, I'm not doing my job. It's pretty good work if you can find it. I mean, it's not like I'm doing a real job. Regardless, though, I believe it's possible to become more of a morning person. Here are some of my tips.
After people ask me what time I wake up (and the shock wears off after they hear my answer), the follow-up question is inevitably the same: "What time do you go to bed?" My general rule of thumb is "In Bed By Nine." When I was a young, up-and-coming morning radio guy, I used to read a blog from a very successful (now retired) morning man in San Diego named Jerry Cesak. The name of the blog was "In Bed By Nine." I figured if 9 p.m. was this guy's bedtime, and he was doing so well in radio, that it should be mine, too. So I adopted a nine o'clock bedtime at the age of 24 and never looked back. Yes, I do cheat a little during the summer because the neighborhood is usually still swimming in my pool at nine at night, but my overall average is around nine.
It seems obvious to say, but if you want to become a morning person, you need to commit to going to bed at a decent hour. When I started, I had no intention of having my morning show be a temporary thing, so I knew I had to be serious about going to bed early. Burning the candle at both ends will catch up to you quickly. Very quickly. I am expected to be at peak performance at 5:30 a.m. If you're too tired and your head is still fuzzy from lack of sleep, your work will pay the price. You need to regularly go to bed early in order to wake up early.
Working out has also been a secret weapon to becoming a morning person. Adding exercise into your routine gets those positive vibes going, and most importantly, it'll make you more tired at night when it's time to fall asleep. You'll sleep deeper and wake up more refreshed. I'm not saying you need to be a Crossfitter, but moving your body and pushing its limits (whatever they may be) is a pretty important part of transforming into a morning person.
Do I wake up that early on Saturdays? Or course not, but I don't sleep in until 10 a.m., either. Keeping your schedule as consistent as possible is a big deal. When I was in my 20s, I was able to get away with a lot more than I can now. I'd stay up until all hours of the night on the weekends, and then be fine starting my day in the middle of the night Monday-Friday. Those days are long gone. I don't recommend doing it. You don't need to wake up super early on the weekends (I get up at about 7 a.m.), but don't stray too far off your path. Besides, the best part of waking up at 7 a.m. on Saturday is that no one else is up to get in your way. It's the best time of day to go to the grocery store and get a head start on those weekend "must-dos" on your list.
I'd also recommend waking up extra early to ease into the day. Don't try to wake up, pop out of bed, jump in the shower, grab your coffee and off to work you go. Leave yourself some extra time for a leisurely scroll on Facebook, a few minutes to pet the dog, and maybe even toast a bagel. Don't make the sole reason you are becoming a morning person just to join the rat race a few hours earlier. I live close enough to Fun 107 to wake up at about 4:50 and still make it there on time for my show. There's a reason I wake up at 3:30.
Finally, the snooze button is your mortal enemy. Here's my thinking: hitting the snooze button won’t make ANY of this any easier. When the alarm goes off, that's it. Be awake. Don't negotiate with your body. This might be one of the most important tips. The snooze button will crush your soul.
Remember Jerry, the guy who inspired my 9 p.m. bedtime? His former boss inspired this article. He shares some science about how 80 percent of us have the ability to wake up earlier.