8 Tips for Waking Up Early in College

8 Tips for Waking Up Early in College

By Steve Bailey

Published on January 28, 2021

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A majority of college students do not get enough sleep on a nightly basis, whether due to stress, too much caffeine, or other poor habits. Sleeping well and waking up early in college can help you find academic success.

Fortunately, you can follow a few simple tips for waking up early to improve your overall quality of life and boost those test scores. These tips may be especially important during the challenging COVID-19 pandemic.

What Are the Benefits of Waking Up Early in College?

When you learn how to start waking up early, you begin to realize the many benefits good sleep quality provides to your alertness, mood, and energy throughout the day. You are more able to concentrate, be productive, and fall asleep at night.

People who sleep well tend to have healthier body weights, consume fewer calories, and reduce their risk of serious health issues like cardiovascular disease. Good sleep can also alleviate feelings of anxiety and depression while enhancing your social interactions and overall mental health.

By waking up early, you can maximize your daily productivity, making it easier to excel in your classes. You may even become more efficient, which can translate into less time spent studying and working on assignments and more time enjoying your college years.

How to Start Waking Up Early

The eight tips for waking up early outlined below can help you get better, more consistent sleep and leave you feeling more rested and alert throughout the day. Incorporating these changes into your life allows you to fall asleep more quickly and wake up earlier, both of which can lead to a healthier lifestyle.

Adults need a consistent bedtime just as much as children do. To function well throughout the day, college students should get at least seven hours of sleep at night, although eight or nine hours is ideal.

Failing to get adequate sleep can negatively affect your mood, alertness, and ability to think clearly. A lack of sleep can also lead to depression, skin issues, and other serious health concerns over time.

Sticking to a predictable morning routine helps you get ready for the day ahead, even if your schedule varies throughout the week. A morning ritual can reduce mental fatigue and make you more productive, especially if you can avoid scrambling out the door in a rush each day.

For example, your routine may involve having a cup of tea, eating breakfast, and reading the news on your phone or tablet before you take a shower and get dressed for the day.

Many college students rely on caffeine to give them the energy they need to get through their classes, assignments, projects, and work obligations. However, too much caffeine can be counterproductive, as caffeine can prevent you from falling asleep at night and waking up early in the morning.

Studies also show that drinking large amounts of caffeine does not result in greater productivity. In fact, the opposite may be true. Try healthier alternatives to coffee or energy drinks, such as herbal tea and sparkling water.

Smartphones and other mobile devices are addictive, and most of us check them constantly without even thinking about it. This habit can negatively affect a person's sleep. Mobile devices use blue light, which studies show can affect your ability to fall asleep and throw off your circadian rhythm.

Try charging your phone overnight in a spot where you can't reach it from bed, so you won't be tempted to look at it right before bedtime. Another useful tip is to get an alarm clock instead of relying on your phone to wake you up in the morning.

While it's good to have fun and socialize in college, being mindful of your alcohol consumption can help with waking up early. Drinking too much alcohol can result in a lack of restful sleep and hangovers, which can leave you with headaches, queasiness, and drowsiness.

Furthermore, studies have found an inverse correlation between alcohol abuse by students and their college GPAs.

Engaging in ample physical activity helps you get more restful sleep and makes waking up early in college easier. According to the Sleep Foundation, regular exercise can help regulate your body temperature, reduce anxiety and depression, and realign your body's internal clock — all of which can lead to better sleep.

Consider going for long walks, using your school's fitness center, or joining a recreational sports league to make time for exercise.

If you can develop good study habits, you can make the most of your time and avoid having your study sessions go deep into the night. Whenever you are studying or completing assignments, find a quiet and peaceful place, keep distractions to a minimum, and establish what you want to get done before you begin.

Also, avoid studying in bed. This habit can confuse your body and make it harder to relax when you're getting ready to turn in for the night. Sound study habits can also help you avoid grades-related stress, making it easier to fall asleep and wake up early.

Some students struggle with how to start waking up early in college simply because they don't feel motivated enough to do so. It's important to find something that inspires you to get up, such as exercise, reading, eating breakfast, or meeting up with friends.

The things that motivate you might be different from what helps others with waking up early, so experiment with different ideas until you find something that gets you going to start the day.

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Feature Image: Nenad Aksic / Shutterstock

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