New Job, Earlier Hours: How to Wake up Refreshed

You’ve got the gig, but now you need an earlier alarm. Learn how to adjust your routine to make getting up in the morning easier.

This content was created by the National Sleep Foundation

A new job is exciting, but it can also mean a shift in your regular routine, especially if the commute is longer or work begins earlier. The good news? Beginning a new job as an excellent opportunity to set new, productive habits, including waking up at an earlier hour. After all, rising early has been shown to improve memory, and early risers may be more proactive in their decision-making than those who sleep in. , Plus, waking up earlier has been correlated with higher GPAs in college students. If you’re trying to get your body used to an earlier wake-up for your new job, start with these three easy tips.

1. Ease Into it
The first morning of a job will be a lot easier if you ease into an earlier bedtime over the period of few days to a week. Try using the rule of 15: move your bedtime up 15 minutes every night, along with your wake-up time, until you hit your ideal schedule. By adjusting your sleep hours in small increments, your body will gradually acclimate to the new sleep schedule without a jarring change to your routine.

2. Resist the Urge to “Catch Up”
When you need to wake up early during the week, it’s tempting to allow yourself the luxury of sleeping in on the weekends. However, consistency is the key to successful sleep. Sleeping in later on your days off from work can leave you wide awake on Sunday night and feeling groggy on Monday morning. If you strongly feel you need the extra sleep on the weekend, consider a short afternoon nap instead.

3. Harness the Power of Light
Your body naturally wants to fall asleep when it is dark and wake up when it is light. Use this instinct to your advantage when establishing an earlier waking hour. An hour before you want to fall asleep, dim the lights in your bedroom. Turn off all electronics, which omit a blue light that can hinder your body from producing melatonin (the hormone that makes you sleepy).

When you wake up in the morning, open your shades so natural light can enter. If you’re rising before dawn, turn on all the lights in your room instead. The brightness will cue your body to stop releasing melatonin, making it easier for you to wake up. Some alarm clocks even come with a built-in light that gradually brightens, simulating the sunrise in your bedroom.