Waking Up Naturally Refreshed And Early

Are you the kind of person that dreads getting out of bed?

Do you find that, no matter how much sleep you’ve had, you’re always tired? Are you constantly hitting the snooze button? Have you ever woken up totally refreshed and wondered how you did it?

Giving Up Coffee

Just over two years ago I decided that I wanted to know what life would be like without coffee. Coffee is something which is easy to reach for when you need a pick-me-up during those drowsy points throughout the day. Tiredness is your body’s natural way of telling you when you need some sort of energy input or revitalisation. All too often we reach for the most unhealthy and convenient of fixes.

Before I managed to fully give up coffee I made one previous attempt and like most people I suffered from the usual headaches, withdrawal symptoms, and mood swings, and as a result, I went back to the coffee fix.

The second time I had a bit more of a game plan. Any point where I would normally have coffee, I would instead have a 100% natural fruit smoothie drink, to replace any cravings that I had. It worked like a charm! I didn’t get any headaches or any of the usual symptoms of caffeine withdrawal.

After I gave up coffee I found that I started to sleep like a baby! I very rarely wake up during the night and I tend to wake up more refreshed. The amount of sleep I needed dropped considerably too.

Waking Up Before The Buzz

A few years ago I noticed that I started waking up just before my alarm was set to go off. I mentioned this to a few people and they also said how they had also had similar experiences. This got me thinking about whether I needed an alarm clock at all. Would I be able to program my body to get up at the times I needed? Have you ever woken up just before the alarm went off?

The trouble is I’d be stubborn and not wake up until the alarm went off! I’d snooze over and over again and not get up until the last possible moment I had to. The other problem with snoozing is that I’d end accidentally switching off the alarm by mistake and then wake up two hours later whilst screaming “oh crap!” Then I’d end up rushing to get ready and arriving at work unwashed, with fuzzy hair and not smelling to great. 😆

Experimenting

Just before the end of last year I decided that I wanted to do some experiments around this. Firstly; I hid any clocks so I couldn’t see the time. Secondly; I didn’t set any alarms. The plan was that before I fell asleep I would repeat in my head, with clarity and power, the time I wished to arise.

There were several reasons for this method and why specifically I hid any visible clocks. My theory is that my body knows when to get up. It’s inbuilt into my genes. Using this method I allow myself to wake up naturally. Upon waking, because I wouldn’t be aware of the time, I would let myself stir out of sleep naturally. When I got to the point that I felt like I didn’t need to go back to sleep again, only at that point would I check the time.

Doing all of this would mean that I was waking when my body was ready to arise and would do so in accordance with its natural internal clock. You know the theories that we sleep in 90 – 120 minute cycles and we have very specific phases of sleep e.g. REM. So the natural rising method would mean that I was waking up exactly as my body dictated rather than an external jolt disrupting my natural patterns.

The Results

I found that 9/10 I would wake up at the time I had programmed into my mind give or take about 15 minutes. Also, because I wasn’t snoozing the clocks, I was much more focused throughout the day and I didn’t feel the afternoon drowsiness as much. I also noticed that I was yawning less and that my concentration span grew.

The Challenges.

The problem I face is that currently I have to be up at 4.30 on the weekends to do my early morning radio show whereas during the week I can be more flexible about the time I wake up. So, for now, I’m going to continue to use the alarm clock when I need to but where possible, if I can avoid using it, I will.

You may find that you don’t have any flexibility so this may not work for you. I do recommend that you do try it when you do have some flexibility such as the weekends.

Snoozing

I can’t say with any degree of certainty about whether snoozing is good for you or not. Common sense would suggest that it would be a good idea but my gut tells me otherwise; as does my experience. I can’t help but feel that ‘alarming’ yourself unnaturally out of sleep is detrimental to your health and contributes to all sorts of stress issues. Doing it repeatedly is even worse!

Being Realistic

If you think you’d benefit from doing this you firstly have to get real! You cannot expect to go to bed at 3am, wake up naturally at 6am, and feel zesty! That isn’t going to happen. I found out through the experimenting phase that I would wake up naturally after 6 – 7 hours of sleep. I also know that it takes me, at most, about 15 minutes to get to sleep.

With that information I know that if I have to be up at 8am then the latest I should get into bed is 12.45am. I’m not a believer that you have to have 8 hours sleep a night. I do believe that in this case quality is way more important than quantity. If you’re sleeping poorly and find you have very broken sleep then you may want to look into sorting that out first before embarking on this road.

Natural Alarm Clocks

There are many natural alarm clocks on the market and I have one such device which is one of those sunrise lamp varieties. I find it especially good during the winter when the mornings are dark. Regardless, I still find it an unnatural method to use. I would definitely recommend them over conventional alarm clocks any day but I feel like this method is the best way to go if you need to be alerted awake.

The Process

So start by testing how long you sleep naturally and using that as your guide. Before you go to bed say with clarity and power what time you would like to arise. Remember to hide your clock and don’t set any alarms.

You may wake up in the middle of the night. I did a few times and I just went back to sleep. I could tell from the ambient light through the curtains what time it was. If it was still dark I didn’t worry and I went back to sleep. If it was light then that was a good indicator that I was awake at the right time. That part doesn’t matter though. I promise you, you’ll know when you’ve woken up at the right time. I know deep down that we do have an inbuilt mechanism in our bodies that knows exactly what time it is. (While writing this it got me thinking about whether people kept in isolation are able to tell the time?)

As you wake up you’ll reach a point where you won’t want to go back to sleep again. You’ll hit a point where you’re just enough awake to be fully aware and won’t be able to put your head down again. Get out of bed, do a few stretches and then check the time.

It really is that simple to do. It is worth doing if you want to feel more alert during the day and you’re a bit fed up with being groggy and disorientated all day long.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this and what the results are if you do adopt this method. Feel free to share them in the comments.

Update: If you have an iPhone try Sleep Cycle as it’s a fantastic app and really helps to get you up at the right time i.e. when you body is in the right phase.

31 Responses

  1. Kartikey says:

    Yes
    Even lesser coffee for me from tomorrow!

  2. Kavita Sohanta says:

    Another good suggesstion if your trying to cut down on coffee…do it slowley, s your body adjusts. Try switching to an alternative such as dandelion coffee, then try drinking more water….listen to your body, it will tell you what it wants!

    Loving the blog amit…..nice style!!!! mwahzzzz

    Shiney Star!!! xxxxx 🙂

  3. Amit Sodha says:

    Hey Kartikey!! Good luck with reducing your coffee intake…if you start getting headaches…try the fruitjuice method like I suggested but if you do make sure it’s the pure juice and not concentrate stuff! 😉

  4. Amit Sodha says:

    Hey Kavi,

    I like those suggestions and when I used to have dandelion coffee I actually quite liked the taste! Yep you’re right upping your water intake is also cruicial!

    😀 xx

  5. Kartikey says:

    Fresh juice it is 😉

  6. John Clark says:

    I agree about coffee, personally I never drink it. I also agree about your body clock, I wake up pretty much the same time each day and have plenty of time to prepare for work. thanks for the interesting article!

  7. Amit Sodha says:

    I definitely agree about the coffee. Waking up naturally rocks compared to waking up with an alarm. You just feel so much better!
    .-= Amit Sodha´s last blog ..10 Reasons Why You Should Start Playing Badminton =-.

  8. Himji says:

    Hows about tea? I very rarely drink tea ir coffee but do indulge socially

    • Amit Sodha says:

      Hey Himji. I believe coffee has much higher levels of caffeine but also has so many different chemichals that cause addiction and other side effects too like affecting the heart. Tea is fine again so long as it’s kept in moderation. I drink soya hot chocolates when I go to cafe’s to socialise.

  9. This is very useful Amit,

    I place a lot of value on effective sleeping. I think if you place value on how productive you are and how good you feel when you are awake, than you need to place value on your sleeping habits.

    My challenge right now is to develop sleeping habits. Because I have nights when I go to sleep early, so I can wake up early, and I have nights when I go to long parties, go to sleep in the morning and wake up in time for lunch. Mixing these in the same week can be hard.

    • Amit Sodha says:

      Hi Eduard, with your situation I believe flexibility is the key which is why I strongly believe that cultivating the habit of waking naturally is even more important and will benefit your circumstances. I’ve been experimenting with the natural waking for a while now and occassionally use alarm clocks and there is no way I’d go back to that system.

      Waking naturally for me is vital for vitality.

  10. M. J. says:

    Re: clocks
    I once got tired of my checking the wrist watch every few minutes. So I stopped wearing it, hid the clock in the Windows task bar, and basically hid all clocks but one in sight in my home.
    For years afterwards, I tried to spend most of my days not worrying what time it was. I did have a regular office job but with flexible hours: unless there was a meeting, I didn’t really need to know the time.
    I did use an alarm clock, but only as a backup. On most workday mornings, I would switch it off before it went off, thus not learning what exact time it was. (I had the digits covered.)
    I would then arrive at work sometime; and would leave work when I felt I had done enough for the day, and while seeing other people leaving.
    Not worrying about time was liberating: I would just try to do what I needed or wanted to—now.
    But not knowing the time was still challenging at times, mostly at winter nights: should I already get ready to go to sleep, or not yet? Overcast winter weekends, without much of any clue from the sun, would feel completely “timeless”.
    It was liberating too when meeting people socially: having gotten to the place, I would never check the time then. So long as I was enjoying myself, all was fine.
    I would sometimes overhear the time on the radio accidentally, and be upset about it, or accidentally see it on some clock somewhere, and be upset about it. Later would I become partially immune: a clock could get into my sight without my brain bothering to interpret what time the clock was showing.

    But eventually, I reversed. Today, I no longer try to avoid knowing the exact time, but I have stayed liberated: I only check the time purposely when I have a solid reason to do so; otherwise, it doesn’t matter to me. I don’t spend my days watching the time go by as I used to before this whole experiment.
    I hasn’t gone back to wearing a wrist watch; the band of which would I still reckon as symbolic of being a slave to the clock.

    • Amit Sodha says:

      Hey MJ, that’s an interesting story of how your journey progressed from one extreme to the relaxed position you’re now in. I also find that allowing oneself more time is just a great way of preventing stress. Thanks again for the comment and sharing your story!

  11. Charlie says:

    A glass of water straight from the tap works well for me. I grew up knowing that coffee is an agent of dehydration (though its a myth not factual) so I have been very careful with my coffee intake. Great insight there.

    • Amit Sodha says:

      Hey Charlie,

      Since writing this I started having a coffee again as I found in the evenings it can actually be very relaxing (provided you still drink plenty of water.)

      Thank you for reaching out buddy and great tips!

      ~Amit

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  13. August 20, 2013

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