I am not an early riser. Indeed, I love being a night owl. I've been able to rationalize to myself that if I stay up late, then I can a lot done even though I really am tired. No one will get up and interrupt me. By golly, if I were to get up early, someone would be sure to hear me and get up. And then they'd need help going potty. And then they'd want some breakfast to go with that. And then ?well, you get the picture.
Thus far, I've successfully ignored such maxims as “It is well to be up before daybreak, for such habits contribute to health, wealth, and wisdom.” (Aristotle), “Early to bed, early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise” (Ben Franklin), and “The early bird gets the worm” (old cliche).
Apparently, I've also been able to blow off scriptural references, such as “Awake up, my glory; awake, psaltery and harp: I myself will awake early.” (Psalms 57:8), “How long wilt thou asleep, O sluggard? when wilt thou arise out of thy sleep?” (Proverbs 6:9), ” ?cease to sleep longer than is needful; retire to thy bed early, that ye may not be weary; arise early, that your bodies and your minds may be invigorated.” (D&C 88: 124).
And shall we go on to the words of our prophets and apostles. Harold B. Lee said “Go to bed early and get up early. If you do, your body and mind will become rested, and then, in the quiet of those early morning hours, you will receive more flashes of inspiration and insight than at any other time of the day. ? Ezra Taft Benson said, “Early to bed and early to rise is still good counsel.”
Many people are naturally “morning people.” I am not. However, I can't ignore it any more. Successful people get up earlier in the morning and get going while the rest of us are still in bed. I want to be successful and I want my kids to be, too.
On those occasions when I do get up early, the day starts off right. It sets the tone for the whole day. If I were to choose to get up leisurely (instead of rushing) after a restful night's sleep, it would be a lot easier to choose a peaceful beginning. If you get up earlier, you gain extra time. I read that if you get up 90 minutes earlier, that's like getting a bonus year every decade!
So how on earth do I become an early riser? I've tried many times and never stuck with it for very long. I would assume that since I was going to get up earlier, I needed to get to bed earlier. So instead of going to bed at 11:30 and getting up at 8:00 am, all I had to do was go to bed at 10:00 and I'd be able to get up at 6:30 am, instead. This doesn't work. Our bodies have a natural wake time, so even when I go to bed earlier, I still feel like waking up at the same time.
I never could figure out exactly how to get up earlier, until I read a great series of articles on Steve Pavlina. Steve says that to become an early riser, your best bet is to (1) go to bed when you feel sleepy that is, when you could fall asleep within 15 minutes and (2) get up at a fixed time. Your patterns will settle into a natural rhythm; if you get too little sleep one night, you'll feel sleepier earlier the next night. If you go to bed like your body tells you to, you'll get more sleep the next night. It seems I can stay up endlessly if I'm working on the computer or reading an interesting book, I'm sure it would help if I listened more to my body.
Steve Pavlina also recommends you actually practice getting out of bed when your alarm goes off. But not at 6:00 in the morning. Do it when you're wide awake. Set the conditions as though you were going to bed. Set your alarm for a few minutes ahead, then lie down on your bed and pretend to sleep. As soon as the alarm clock goes off, turn it off as fast as you can, take a deep breath, and get out of bed. Practice this several times a day until it's an ingrained habit. (Read the articles titled “How to Become an Early Riser,” “How to Become an Early Riser, Part II,” and “How to Get Up Right When the Alarm Goes Off” on Steve's website for a more detailed description.)
Elder Joe J. Christensen said in his article, I Resolve (Jan. 1998 New Era)
You can have a similar experience in your own life. You can change, even if you consider yourself a night person. ? Set the habit in 21 days. When it comes right down to it, it is a matter of strong resolve and “mind over mattress.”
I also know that prayer will help me gain this righteous desire of mind over mattress, if I will but ask for help.
I haven't done this yet, and I'm quite sure it's because I like being a night owl I don't want to give up my late night/early mornings. But we all know it's a truth that we should get up early, and it's time for me to do something about it. This will be my summer goal because I know that getting up early in the morning will make me a better person, wife, and mother. So if you're a night owl, wanna join me?