If this is your first stop off at my blog, hello welcome. I am a teenager who is slowly becoming an early bird?! I know…terrifying to actually type that out. The thing is, us teens seem to have a harder time changing our habits…at least that’s what it looks like to me. Particularly our sleeping patterns. We like being up late, we’re being productive. We’ve all been there ok, it’s like a rite of passage. How do we change out sleeping pattern then?
As a teen myself, at the present time of writing this post, I think there’s certainly this feeling that we can’t change our habits. Why can’t we? Well we’re teenagers right? We have this reputation for being lazy, spending too much time on our phones/tech, being too young to know anything about anything. Yet we’re old enough to choose a career path at 16? (in the UK; this isn’t the case in the US)
We’re old enough to have a ton of pressure thrown at us, to excel in school. As soon as we speak out that we want to change our habits though. I have a feeling that most of our families, give us a disbelieving look, which makes us want to give in. Give in before we’ve even tried, I mean why try if they’re already pegging us for a failure?
Whether you’re 13 or 19, whether you’ve tried and failed before or if you’re older etc. I hope this post can help you reach that goal you’ve been thinking/aiming for. Just know, I’m rooting for you to get there!
Getting Up Early = Losing Hours?
This was a fear of mine when I was first erm night dreaming about being up at 4am. Well, first 6am because I have semi realistic stepping stones. Taking a weekend or day when I’m not in college (Tues, Thurs, Sat, Sun) my old sleeping pattern was 3am-11am. I’m currently trying to consistently maintain a 10pm-6am sleeping schedule. This will then help me when I bump it back to waking up at 4am instead of 6am as my end goal is to wake up at 4am.
I think we can all appreciate the huge change I was planning to take my body through; the change I am currently going through as I type this post. A huge fear was if I fail I’d end up losing hours instead of gaining. The thing is, that’d be in the short term as my body adjusts to the change. Let’s be real right now, I’d be going from waking up at 11am to 6am. That’s 5 hours earlier than I was used to, and going to bed 5 hours earlier too. I’m not gonna pretend it was easy, the temptation to just stay up was so real. However the desire to change and prove mostly to myself that I could and would reach this goal of mine surpassed the temptation.
Getting up early doesn’t mean you’ll be losing hours, at least not forever, what you have to remember is you’ll be moving your sleep schedule back several hours. That’s gonna take a while to settle into your bones and brain before it’ll become easier. If you get up earlier than normal even by 15 minutes, that’s a total win in my books! The smallest steps will lead to the biggest changes. Baby steps are crucial here. (Which I did not take at all I just dove straight in and shocked my entire body system…more on that later.)
Breaking It Into Chunks
If you’ve Googled or YouTubed tips for waking up earlier, you may have found people saying to do it in chunks. Set an alarm for 15-30 minutes earlier than you’d normally get up so your body adjusts more erm naturally I guess. Haha yeah I did not do that, my reasoning?
One, I’m hella impatient sometimes and I realised that going from 11am to 4am would probably murder my body. It would also make me become a burrito in my fluffy blanket forever. I knew half hour chunks were gonna be pointless, even an hour earlier would be, cause my brain is like “You failed.”
My brain is rude and very negative a lot of the time, which is why I decided to aim for a 6am start. I say “aim” here because the wording means I can shut my brain up by saying I aimed for 6am and got up at 9am. It’s still a win now shush.
A HUGE thing which has helped me is being consistent with going to bed around the same time. Hell I haven’t been awake at 1am since erm…I binge watched Meteor Garden in January.
I refuse to apologise for that because it was time well spent even if I paid for it at college
Since I began cross stitching late Feb, I’ve been doing that before I go to bed whilst listening to music. I’d normally read or write before bed but erm…writing actually keeps me awake as my brain starts buzzing with ideas. Reading…man I miss reading but that can also keep me up since I mostly devour books in a sitting.
So cross stitching has been what I do to unwind before bed, or scrolling on social media. A note on that, others say to go social media/screen free before bed. I get that, I really do but I blatantly ignore that rule since I’m usually on Discord before I go to sleep or Pinterest.
Motivation & Mindset
Hmmm I guess you could think of M&M’s (they’re a type of chocolate/sweet here in the UK I have no clue if they’re exclusive to us haha) Motivation is going to be key to keeping up with this, which goes hand in hand with mindset. Your mindset will drastically affect your ability to even take that first step. If you’re already saying you’ll never be able to do it, you’ll lose hours, or you’re telling yourself to wait for this “right moment to start” you won’t see a change.
If your mind isn’t in the game, do you really think you’ll be getting up in the mornings, ready to focus? Or do you think you’ll roll on back to sleep? Adjusting your mindset is a tough thing to do, for anyone I think, we all get it in our heads we can’t do something. We all make up excuses to avoid things…or put it off to wait for this right moment which isn’t gonna happen. Don’t set yourself up for failure!
Having a positive mindset means treating this change for what it is.
Tedious, painful but worthwhile in the long run.
It’s called facing it head on, acknowledging you won’t always hit the goals you set and you may miss out by a few hours. That’s ok, as long as you’re trying and persevering with this endeavor.
Rise above that voice telling you you’re not gonna make it, rise above those around you shooting you down before you’ve had chance to spread your wings.
A positive mindset also means focusing in on a reason for getting up at this time: why are you changing your sleep schedule? If it’s for school/work then also try to find something to motivate you in the mornings. What can you do before you go to work/school/study that you’ll enjoy and love doing? Doing that thing even for 15-30 minutes is going to give you something to look forward to.
As soon as you feel that feeling, you need to hold onto it, no matter how tired you are. Hold it close and remember it for tomorrow, you can use that feeling to motivate you, to get up.
How Am I Becoming An Early Bird?
I have a dad who goes to bed typically at 8pm and gets up at about 2am most days. Why is this relevant? He’s up before me 9/10 times, which means he’s able to wake me up. It started because of college as well as my uncanny ability to sleep through alarms, so he wakes me up for college. If I ask him to wake me up on a day at a set time, I know he’ll wake me up at that time and make me get up. It’s also a nice wake up call, which helps a lot; if you get someone to wake you up make sure to ask them not to shout at you. If I get shouted/yelled at to wake up; I wake up, boy do I wake up like a relative of a Tasmanian Devil.
My dad waking me up actually has been a huge step to helping my body adjust to the, erm, shocking change. Allowing me to consistently wake up and get up early. I don’t always get up at 6am, the latest has been just after 10am and to me that’s still a huge improvement.
I keep my bedtime around the same time, even if I got up just after 10 and got about 12 hours of sleep. I won’t stay up any later; the hours I lost, I’ve lost. Tomorrow’s a new day my dragons, embrace the misses and wins: they’re both helping you reach your goal.
6am isn’t the end goal for me. I’ve got my heart set on 4am which I think pretty much everyone, bar my dad, thinks I’m insane for. However even just waking up between 6-8am I’ve already begun to notice improvements. And you know what my fellow teens, if you can change your sleep schedule now, it’ll benefit you so much later on in life. The YouTubers I watched who changed their sleep schedules, were all in their 20’s. So think of how many extra hours we can clock up, before we even hit the age they finally changed theirs.
Figure Out What Works For You
I can only share my experiences and journey thus far. Your own journey will be different from mine, you’ll have your own reasons and hurdles to overcome. If you know it takes you awhile to get off to sleep, but you like reading before bed, then carve out time to read BEFORE you need to go to bed to get off to sleep.
It’s easy to fall into our old habits, so easy, more so when you have people around you putting pressure on you. If you’re feeling pressure from school, exams…If you can sort your sleep schedule, you’ll gain hours because you’ll be awake for longer, you’ll also boost your productivity in the mornings to be able to study.
We can create excuse after excuse to avoid things…if you want to change your sleep schedule and join the early birds, you’re gonna have to be consistent, vigilant with yourself and stick to things. My dad can wake me up and get me up, but I could also just spend my extra hours watching TV instead of having a shower or getting out of PJs.
Helpful Tip: Something I’ve noticed from doing this is if I stay in my PJ’s after getting out of bed, I’m not as motivated to do anything. I’m more likely to wallow on Discord or social media. Getting dressed/showering almost immediately after getting up helps put my mind in the “we’re awake now and time to get stuff done”.
Eeeeek so I do hope this was somewhat helpful? Again this is totally from a Teen’s POV, aka me. However whether you’re a teen or not reading this, I’d love to hear your experiences with this, what you’ve tried. What worked, what didn’t.