Getting enough sleep isn’t just important for keeping you happy and productive.
It also protects you from a wide range of serious health conditions.
But, as we all know, it isn’t quite as simple as just jumping into bed at the right time and dropping straight off to sleep.
Our busy modern lives often mean that we stay awake late into the night, but it also means that we still have to get up early the next day.
So if you’re stuck on how to wake up early if you sleep late, we might have the perfect advice for you.
How Much Sleep Do I Need?
As with many other health issues, the amount of sleep that you will need can vary from person to person.
Generally speaking, adults aged 18-65 years will need between 7 and 9 hours of sleep a night.
Younger teens and children will need more sleep, and older adults need a little less sleep.
- Newborn babies need 14 to 17 hours of sleep.
- 4- to 11-month-olds need 12 to 15 hours of sleep.
- 1- to 2-year-olds need 11 to 14 hours of sleep.
- 3- to 5-year-olds need 10 to 13 hours of sleep.
- 6- to 13-year-olds need 9 to 11 hours of sleep.
- Teens need 8 to 10 hours of sleep.
- Adults need 7 to 9 hours of sleep.
- People over the age of 65 need 7 to 8 hours of sleep.
But, for many of us, getting at least 7 hours of sleep a night can be impossible sometimes, and there can be a few different reasons for this.
Why Can’t I Get to Sleep?
Struggling to get to sleep early enough is a common struggle.
For some people, there may actually be an evolutionary basis for this.
If you feel like a natural night owl, you may have a different chronotype from early-risers.
The idea is that we evolved to have some people who would wake up early and some people who would wake up late to ensure that there would always be someone watching over the group.
The problem we have in modern society is that these night owls cannot sleep in the way that their body clock wants them to.
We need to get up early and get to work or take the kids to school, and this schedule can be quite damaging to people who naturally would go to sleep later and wake up later.
For other people, the problem isn’t that they are genetically wired to stay up late, but instead, their environment, lifestyle, or behavior makes them stay up later than they should.
These factors can include:
- Using screens in the hours before bedtime – the blue light from screens interrupts your natural circadian rhythm and stops your body from getting ready to go to sleep.
- Eating a heavy meal too close to bedtime
- Intensice training too close to bedtime
- Staying up late to work or study
- Staying up late to socialize
- Stress, anxiety, or depression
Whatever the reason you find yourself staying up late when you have to get up early the next day, the worry of the ticking clock can make it worse.
You might be worried about being tired with so little sleep and doing mental math to work out how much sleep you are actually going to get.
Or you might be worrying about whether you are actually going to be able to get up on time in the morning. These worries can actually stop you from getting to sleep and mean that you could end up getting even less.
How to Wake Up Early If You Sleep Late
It usually isn’t a good idea to make going to sleep late and waking up early a regular thing.
Long term sleep deprivation can lead to:
- poor immune system functioning so you are more likely to get ill
- weight gain
- an increased risk of depression and anxiety
- an increased risk of diabetes
- a lower libido
- an increased risk of heart disease
But, in the short term, there are lots of reasons why you might need to stay up late and get up early.
So let’s take away some of those worries and give you all the tools you will need to make sure that you can wake up early even if you sleep late.
1) Give yourself a reason to get out of bed
Ok, well, you probably already have something you have to get up for, be it work, school, or other responsibilities. But, for the most part, those aren’t things you will be particularly motivated to drag yourself out of bed for when you haven’t had enough sleep.
And you may run the risk of turning off your alarm, turning back over, and going back to sleep.
What you really need is something to get out of bed for that you really want to do.
What that thing is will vary depending on what you personally enjoy.
If you love coffee, you could buy some really fancy coffee that you’ve been dying to try.
Or a tasty breakfast treat.
Or you could make sure you get up early enough to play a video game that you love before you have to get ready to go.
Whatever you choose, make sure that it is something you will be really looking forward to.
2) Sleep with your blinds open
This might not be doable if you live somewhere where there is a lot of light outside during the nighttime.
But if it is possible for you, going to sleep with the blinds open can be a great way of making sure you get up early enough.
Your body is naturally attuned to the sun, and it uses sunlight to regulate your body clock and sleep cycle.
So when the sunlight reaches your eyes through your open blinds, it will trigger processes in your brain that will prepare your body for waking up.
Ensuring you get enough sunlight once you wake up can also help regulate your sleep cycle and get your brain and body in tune with when daytime and nighttime are.
The artificial lights that we have in our houses, coupled with blue light screens, can really throw our circadian rhythm out, and that can make it more difficult for your body to know when it is time for you to get up.
3) Move your alarm out of reach
The allure of the snooze button can be dangerous.
It is all too easy to press the snooze button too many times and sleep far later than you had planned to.
And when you’re half asleep and tired because you stayed up late and need to get up early, you might be pressing it without consciously making the decision.
Moving your alarm far enough away across the room that you can’t sleepily reach over and press snooze can be all it takes to stop yourself from going back to sleep.
Just the act of getting out of bed to turn the alarm off will mean that you are now awake.
You might still be tired, but you won’t be at risk of drifting back to sleep.
Some people use special alarms that make you solve a problem and puzzle before turning it off, and these work using the same principle.
They make you just awake enough to stop you from being able to drift back off to sleep without thinking.
4) Improve the quality of your sleep
There are two factors to how well-rested you feel when you wake up in the morning: sleep duration and sleep quality.
If you’re staying up late and getting up early, then your sleep duration will be lower than it should be.
But that doesn’t mean that your sleep quality has to be poor.
You can improve your sleep quality in a few different ways:
- Make your sleep environment comfortable – make sure that there aren’t any distracting things in your bedroom that could wake you up (e.g. objects that emit noise or light) and make sure that your bedroom is at a comfortable temperature for you.
- Avoid screens an hour before bedtime.
- Eat sleep inducing food.
- Breath through you nose during the night. If you find it difficult, read The Oxygen Adavantage by Patrick McKeown.
- Pay attention to your health – being in poor health can disturb your sleep, so treating any niggling health issues that you have can make sure that you feel well-rested when you wake up.
- Avoid alcohol – many people make the mistake of drinking alcohol to help them drop off to sleep but it drastically lowers the quality of your sleep and can make it more difficult for you to wake up in the morning.
5) Enlist the help of your friends
If you have any friends that would be willing to help you out, you could ask them to give you a call when it’s time for you to get up.
This obviously isn’t something that you would be able to do regularly, but if you really need to make sure that you get up early, a little help from your friends could make all the difference.
6) Pay attention to your diet
A healthy diet is so important for your well-being.
More and more evidence has come out in recent years that demonstrates just how much of an impact your diet can have on your mental and physical health.
When it comes to sleep, a diet that is high in fruits and vegetables, and whole grains (high in fiber), can improve your sleep quality.
On the other hand, a high-fat diet can hurt your sleep quality.
So if you want to make sure that you find it as easy as possible to wake up early in the morning when you’ve been up late the night before, planning and eating healthy food can help you do that.
7) Don’t drink coffee late in the day
Caffeine is the most commonly consumed stimulant, being drunk by the vast majority of the population.
And it can have some amazing health benefits, including improving cognitive abilities, helping you to lose weight, improving your physical performance, and lowering your risk of a wide range of serious health conditions.
It is also the biggest source of antioxidants in Western diets.
With that being said, caffeine is definitely not sleep’s best friend.
Even drinking coffee 6 hours before bedtime can negatively impact the quality of your sleep.
So keeping your coffee drinking to the start of the day can mean that you will sleep better later that night and, consequently, have a better chance of waking up early the following morning.
If you’re wondering how to wake up early if you sleep late, then there are two approaches that you should take.
First, you need to make sure that your sleep quality is high so that you’re not too tired when it’s time for you to wake up. Second, you should make sure that the way you wake yourself up will get you out of bed.