OLW 2014 | Sunshine and the More Spacious Day

by | Productivity Advice | 6 comments

In March I shared my intention to create a better morning routine. On Saturday I woke up at 6am without an alarm.

Now before you think that I’ve perfectly transitioned from staying up too late to rising early, I have no problem saying that’s not true. However, the change I’ve experienced is rather remarkable.

Sunshine and the More Spacious Day

My first step was use the Sleep Cycle app to get up within a time window synced with my natural rhythms. However, I found myself being anxious about moving too much and even getting up to use the restroom. (Side note: I did feel more rested on days when the app told me I slept well.)

Next I set my alarm (with a very pleasant ring tone) to go off at 6:15 every single morning. I gave myself permission to turn it off – and I did on many mornings. But over time, I didn’t want to turn it off as much. I was actually awake and ready to get up more often than I was groggy.

One weekend night we stayed up late watching a movie so I turned off the alarm – and then forgot to turn it back on. Much to my own surprise, I kept waking up around 6:15 every morning! I’ve even added little habits, like better skincare, to my routine as well.

Then I astounded myself and my husband by waking up at 6:15 on a Saturday morning – and it felt really good. I was able to get a head start on the day so that we could have more time to enjoy it as a family.

It was then that I realized one simple reason why I’ve been able to start waking up earlier.

Between December 21 and June 21 of each year, the days get longer. Each morning, the light coming in the window at 6:15 gets brighter and brighter. When I wrote my first post sunrise was at 6:48 am. Now it’s 5:23.

This means it’s even easier to change your wake-up time in the spring and early summer, when the sunshine can naturally assist the process!

My journey is still at the beginning, but I feel good that I’ve shown how possible it is to take one step at a time towards a morning routine. I feel good that I’m enjoying more of the sunshine and am more ready for all the adventures to come.

Have you ever changed your sleep cycle? What helped make it easier for you to get up earlier?

Did you find this post helpful?

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  1. Lisa Jacobe

    My sleep cycle has changed drastically over the years. I used to work second shift, but I was always a night owl and could never get myself to bed. Which pretty much meant that when my boys were babies I was a hot mess. As strange as it sounds, I believe my sleep, among many other things, turned around when I quit smoking Jan. 1, 2010. Changing my night time routine was key. I found something I loved to do, reading, and I didn’t really have a chance to do it during the day, so I really looked forward to it at night. Eventually my eyes would get tired and it was lights out. I also stopped watching a lot of TV because books were more important to me, but if I do watch a little TV it gets turned off at least an hour before sleep. Same with computer or tablet.

    I read many habit experts speak of making little tiny changes, and doing it every day, being the key to lasting change. I think that’s where I tend to sabotage my efforts–I want to do every thing all at once, and that doesn’t work well at all. My favorite expert on habit is Leo Babauta of Zen Habits. He’s got a lot of little nuggets of wisdom on that site. Also, Kat Lee of Inspired to Action and How They Blog, has a free ebook called Maximize Your Mornings.

    • Jennifer Wilson

      Thanks for sharing your story Lisa. All the little changes do add up to something big over time. I too enjoy Zen Habits and will check out Kat Lee’s work. Thanks for the recs!

  2. ARC

    This is really great, and gives me hope that I can change my night owl ways. Lately I’ve noticed that after about 9pm or so, I just CAN’T be productive. I’m way too tired. So I end up surfing the web, etc. and staying up until 11 or 12, and then sleeping as late as I can (which isn’t very late with 2 kids under 5 and one who still wakes at night).

    It definitely helps to do this in the summer!

    • Jennifer Wilson

      That 9pm mental shut down is exactly what triggered me to start making this change. I have to catch myself when I’m just puttering around on the Internet, but it gets easier.

  3. teddi

    yes, i’ve changed my sleep cycle before. consistency is key. no, i’ve never even heard of a sleep cycle app. i do understand that our natural rhythms can change based on our age/stage in life, also our health/wellness, and or medication(s). i’m not surprised that the daylight savings/sunlight has helped you. i feel better emotionally when the sun shines. i just want to tell you that i genuinely appreciate all the wonderful things you continue to share, and i find your point of view enlightening. i’m taking the art + science class, & it’s fab. thanks!

    • Jennifer Wilson

      Most welcome Teddi!


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