The EarlyBird Morning Cocktail
I can't remember the last time I woke up to my alarm thinking to myself "wow, I just had the perfect amount of sleep."
Nothing is more annoying for night owls like myself than waking up to the sound of a blaring, robotic alarm early in the morning.
Forcing yourself awake before you've had a sufficient night's sleep is bad for your health and will impact your productivity throughout the day, especially when compounded over weeks, months, and years.
Even worse, you can get eight hours of sleep (sufficient for most people according to Hopkins Medicine) and still feel tired and groggy if your alarm forces you to wake up at the wrong time during your sleep-wake cycle (more on that in a bit).
Imagine how amazing you'd feel if you woke up naturally every morning, without being rudely awakened by an alarm, wanting to chuck it out the window so you can fall asleep again.
From someone who's been waking up naturally for several months now, I can tell you it's life changing.
But before you can wake up naturally without an alarm, let's first talk about your circadian rhythm, as it's going to play a key part in waking up early.
Nearly all organisms on earth have a circadian rhythm, an internal time-keeping "device" which is calibrated to the rising and setting of the sun.
The term circadian comes from the Latin root "circa diem" which means approximately a day, and it impacts everything from eating and sleeping to testosterone secretion, bowel movements and more.
Your hypothalamus is the main regulator of your circadian rhythm, a small area in the base of your brain, that connects your nervous system to your endocrine system. Within the hypothalamus lives a small group of nerve cells called the suprachiasmatic nucleus, which connects to your optic nerves, allowing the cells to respond to light and dark.
When your optic nerve senses light, the cells in your hypothalamus sends signals to raise temperature, heart rate, blood pressure and delays the release of melatonin, a hormone that makes you sleepy.
When you're exposed to light in the morning, it helps your circadian rhythm know it's time to start the day, thus waking you up, making you more alert and sharpening your mind. Conversely, when the sun sets and the light fades, your circadian rhythm makes you tired by releasing more melatonin, for example.
Your circadian rhythm is controlled by your genes, so everyone's is a bit different (that's why some people are naturally early birds while others are night owls.)
However, your circadian rhythm can be impacted by outside stimuli, such as light, diet, exercise, etc. so you can train your circadian rhythm to naturally wake up early.
Unfortunately, your circadian rhythm is not in tune with your work schedule, nor does it care that you enjoy binging your favorite Netflix series until 3 AM.
Circadian rhythms are aligned with the sun, aka light, which means you can easily disrupt your circadian rhythm with phones, televisions, computers, tablets, and more.
If you want to wake up naturally without an alarm, you need to adjust your circadian rhythm to wake you up at your desired time every morning.
If you want to learn how to wake up naturally without an alarm, you need to harness the power of your circadian rhythm.
Training your body to naturally fall asleep early and wake up early is possible if you know what you're doing.
Here's how to wake up naturally by training your circadian rhythm:
First and foremost you need to establish a consistent sleep-wake schedule. Going to bed at different times every night is going to screw up your circadian rhythm, as will waking up at different times in the morning.
Weekends included, you need to commit to the same bedtime and wake up schedule every morning. It's like building a new habit - you need to do the work upfront before it becomes second nature.
Though the goal is waking up naturally without an alarm, using an alarm during the habit forming phase is important. If you don't wake up as early as you'd like, you can start by setting your alarm clock 15-30 minutes earlier each night until you're waking up at the desired time every morning, and keep doing that for several weeks.
Slowly waking up earlier will prevent you from feeling severely sleep deprived all of a sudden as you would if you tried to make the change all at once. It's easier to go from a 9 AM wakeup to a 6 AM wakeup over the course of a week or two rather than all at once, which means you're more likely to stick with it.
Along with consistently waking up at the same time, you need to consistently go to bed at the same time as well. You can't go to bed at different times and expect to wake up at the same time every morning without an alarm clock.
Nail down your desired wakeup time, and count backward from there, 7-8 hours, to find your ideal bedtime.
After a few weeks of consistently going to bed and waking up at the same time, you'll likely start waking up at that time on your own.
The EarlyBird Morning Cocktail
You can't wake up naturally without an alarm if you have poor sleep hygiene.
Getting eight hours of sleep itself doesn't cut it - you need eight hours of quality sleep.
Start by replacing your technology-driven nighttime routine with something relaxing and blue light-free. The blue light from your phone messes with your circadian rhythm and keeps you awake much later than you'd be otherwise.
On top of that, the light from your phone impacts your sleep quality - research has shown that being exposed to blue light before bed has a negative effect on sleep.
Rather than using your phone before bed and screwing up your sleep schedule, reading is an outstanding alternative. It is far less stimulating than a phone and doesn't screw with your circadian rhythm with blue light.
If anything, reading before bed makes you even more tired. When I crack open a book before bed, I fall asleep almost immediately.
You also don't want to use your phone in bed, regardless of the time, because if you do, your brain will associate your bed with being on your phone and staying awake, when it is supposed to associate your bed with sleep.
Use your phone in another room, or at least out of your bed, and don't use it closer than an hour before bed. You'll notice that when you do lay down, you'll feel tired faster, which helps with sleep and waking up without an alarm.
Going to bed shortly after eating is also a mistake, because your body will be digesting food while trying to sleep, when it could be using all of your energy for rest, because the muscles and body parts responsible for digestion will be working rather than resting (Cone Health).
Circadian rhythms are named after sunrise and sunset for a reason - light plays a major role in your sleep schedule. When you're exposed to light, it tells your body to wake up.
Although light (blue light, for example) can screw up your sleep schedule if you're exposed late at night, light can also be used to adjust your circadian rhythm such that you can wake up early without an alarm clock.
Exposing your body to natural light first thing in the morning is key to waking up with energy. You can open your blinds at night time so sunlight enters your room in the morning, naturally waking you up and adjusting your circadian rhythm.
If you don't have a window in your room or the sun doesn't rise early enough for you, using a sunrise light is another option. They gradually get brighter over the course of ~30 minutes to simulate a sunrise, which can help you wake up naturally without the sun.
Still, there's nothing like some natural sunlight in the morning. Going for a morning walk or run are great ways to start your day - even having your morning coffee on the front porch for 5 to 10 minutes is better than nothing.
Establishing a morning routine is another way to naturally wake up early without an alarm. When you look forward to your mornings you'll naturally wake up to start your day.
I like to wake up, drink my EarlyBird morning cocktail (more on that in a bit), write in my journal, read, go for a run, shower, and eat breakfast. Being productive and taking care of my brain/body is the best way to start my day.
You can create a morning routine that works for you - I recommend doing things that you enjoy so you'll look forward to your mornings, as opposed to dreading them.
EarlyBird is a great way to naturally wake up early. It's made from all-natural ingredients that give your brain and body everything they need to wake up early feeling great.
You can train your circadian rhythm to wake up at the same time every day, but there are still 3 keys to waking up early that you're missing when relying on the circadian rhythm alone.
Those three things are:
2. Fast-acting, long-lasting energy
3. Mood enhancement
Let's break them down one by one.
Firstly, you need to hydrate when you wake up. Believe it or not, you lose ~1 pound overnight due to water evaporating in your breath. That's why you wake up feeling parched and groggy.
Hydrating first thing in the morning is a great way to quickly wake up, alert and ready for the day.
Next, you need to give your brain and body fast-acting, long-lasting energy. Trying to wake up early without giving your body energy is like trying to jump start a car that's been in the cold all night.
And lastly, you need to enhance your mood - your morning mood has been shown to impact the rest of your day, which is why you need to "wake up on the right side of the bed" so to speak.
EarlyBird was created to help people like you wake up early ready to tackle the day, and has a special patented nootropic blend that hydrates you, gives you long-lasting energy without the crash, and enhances our mood, without any calories or sugar.
Click here to check out EarlyBird and finally wake up early without an alarm!
Exercising regularly is crucial for the best quality sleep, making it another great way to wake up early without an alarm.
When you exercise (almost) every day you'll be far sleepier in the evenings, making it easier to go to bed and stay asleep throughout the night - and, as a result, wake up ready to start the day without an alarm.
Additionally, exercise helps you reduce cortisol levels, the hormone which causes stress and keeps you awake. Lower cortisol levels at night translate to a faster, better night's sleep.
Even when you've gotten used to naturally waking up on time, it's still a good idea to have an alarm as backup, just in case.
I naturally wake up at 6 AM, but have my alarm set for 6:30 AM in case I oversleep, especially when I have an early commitment like a meeting.