In my goal to becoming an Entrepreneur, I’ve found myself spending more time sketching out ideas and researching possible business opportunities. One side effect of this is I needed more time in the day – it gets tricky trying to juggle full time work, writing a blog and researching a new business venture. There are competing things constantly vying for my time and I need more of it.

As a remedy for this, I’ve decided to wake up at 5:30am each day and blocking out 90 mins in the morning before I start getting ready for work. Trying to wake up at this ungodly hour in winter so far has been quite challenging but rewarding too. I’m getting more done and because of this I feel less cranky too.

The following are techniques I have found to work for me:

  • Have a reason to get up. The most important thing when doing something unpleasant is to have a reason to do it. Make it clear to yourself exactly why you want to get up and visualise the long term goals you wish to accomplish. Some people want to get up early to seek their life goals, others want to use that time to do exercise or prepare lunch to bring to work or to find quiet time to do the things that never get done. Whatever your reason, make it clear to your mind why you want to get up early.
  • Write it down. It’s one thing to know why you want to get up early, it’s another to be committed to it. I’ve found that writing it down on paper helps because of two reasons. Firstly, it represents a positive affirmation – “Yes, this is what I will do”. Secondly, it consolidates my thinking – in my mind the reason for getting up early is crystal clear. I’ve also found it more useful to write down something that is actionable. For example, last night before going to bed, I wrote down the reason for waking up early is to finish this post. For you, you might write down your purpose as exercising for 30 mins or packing your peanut butter and jam sandwich for lunch. Whatever your reason, make each thing you write down every night as actionable items. It helps also to read this statement before going to bed each night to reinforce the message.
  • Ignore your first reaction. This is an odd one for me. Initially when I started this, I’ve found that I was making excuses to stay in bed – “I need the rest”, “It’s too early”, “It can wait”, “It’s nice and warm here” and so forth. During these initial weeks, I’ve found it useful to tell myself to ignore my first reaction and ask what is my second reaction. My second reaction always tends to be focused on my reason for getting up (which is why it’s useful to write it down and read it before going to bed). Once you start focusing on the reason and not the excuse, you’ll find it becomes easier to get up. However, in the last week, I’ve found my first reaction has been positive. I actually want to get up.
  • Be productive with your time. For me, I’ve found that it was important to be productive with my extra time. It wasn’t enough to just wake up early, I needed to see results. If you commit to a reason for getting up early, you need to follow through. It is much easier to convince yourself the next morning when you know the time is going to be well spent based on the consistent results you have been achieving. For example, if you say you’re going to exercise for 30 mins, then do so. Do not just exercise for 15 mins or 20 mins. Never lie to yourself. It is a trust you cannot abuse. If your subconscious know that you won’t do what you say you want to do by getting up early, it’ll sabotage your efforts and dilute your commitment.
  • Another 10 mins is a trap. If you find yourself thinking I’ll get up in just another 10 mins, stop! This is a trap. Sometimes another 10 mins would lead to another 10 mins and another. In the most likely scenario that initial 10 mins become 2 hours. Even if that 10 mins is only 10 mins, it is 10 mins less than what you committed yourself to. For me, if I have committed myself to 30 mins of exercise, that 10 min difference would mean I only have time for a 20 min workout and contravenes the previous guideline of being productive with my time.
  • Wake up early even in the weekend. This one is a subtle one. Your reason to waking up early may not always apply to every day. For example, if my reason for waking up early is to make lunch for work, it won’t apply for weekends. However, I’ve found that it is essential to wake up at the same time consistently irrespective of whether you need to or not. I briefly discussed this in my previous post about developing positive patterns. We are all ultimately creatures of habit. Our bodies can be taught and trained to be early risers. If we establish a consistent pattern for waking up early and acknowledging to our body that this is an ongoing requirement, it will change its rhythm to accommodate this. If your original reason does not apply every day, you may need to find an additional reason for the other days. There is nothing to prevent you having multiple reasons for getting up early.
  • Listen to your body. I’m not an expert with health and diet. However I do know that it is important to listen to your body. The important point to note here is that we intend to get up early to be more productive. If your body tells you that you are tired, you should listen to it. This should dictate what time you sleep but not what time you get up. Here’s why. I find that my time in the mornings tend to be more productive. I’m more alert, there are less distractions and I am committed to starting the day off doing things that are important to me. In the evenings, the opposite is true – I’m tired, there are distractions and I already feel I have gone through a long day and so am not as committed. There’s also another reason which is best explained with simple maths. If I am 50% productive because I’m tired, doing 1 hour of real work requires 2 hours of my time. I’d rather do that work in 1 hour the next morning when I’m 100% productive. The trick is to figure out and then recognise the sub-optimal productivity percentage for you.

At this stage, I’ve only experimented with being an early riser for 4 weeks. So far, I have consistently been able to get up somewhere within the 30 mins I’ve set as my goal irrespective of what day of the week it is, what time I went to bed the night before and how tired I was. Currently, I’m approaching this empirically – simple trial and error. I believe each of us is different. Some things which work for me may not work for you and vice versa. The most important thing to remember is to find the things that work for you.

There are several things I’d like to try out more:

  • Would consistent exercise reduce my sleep requirements?
  • Does caffeine help in the long run?
  • How do I decide when is the best time for me to sleep?
  • Are there tests that I can perform to determine my sub-optimal productivity percentage?
  • What alternative sleep patterns are out there?
  • Can I change my sleeping arrangement to make me more restful with less time?

Over the next few months, I’ll experiment with these options and hopefully gain some insights into their respective advantages and disadvantages. I’ll also report back on my productivity gains. Hopefully you can read about an emerging new business idea soon!

Note, a quick search on Google pointed me to an excellent blog run by Steve Pavlina. In his blog, he discusses his approach to being an early riser in two posts (part one and two) which are interesting reads. He has also tried Polyphasic sleep with some success. Polyphasic sleep deals with taking short sleep periods throughout the day at regular intervals instead of the big 8 hour chunk at the end of each day.

If you like my post or have suggestions on things I could try, please leave a comment. If you wish to become an early riser yourself, please try out the tips I’ve highlighted above. Any feedback you can provide based on your own experiences would be most welcomed.

Good luck!

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53 Responses to “Waking up early and consistently”

  1. Anonymous says:

    Wanting To Wake Up

    Dave Cheong, yet again has posted a great article on developing patterns on waking up in the morning and getting out of bed in order to gain more time for himself and complete daily goals.
    I for one always suffer from the “just ten more minutes&#…

  2. Dave Cheong | Engineer to Entrepreneur » 11 ways of staying focused says:

    [...] Blocking out some time. In a previous post I wrote about waking up early and consistently. You don’t necessarily have to do this but I’ve found that having quiet time, set aside specifically for accomplishing a given task, to be very productive. I also tend to be more focused in the morning after a restful night. [...]

  3. Matt Inglot says:

    Great article Dave! I’ve been waking up at 5am for a couple months and really enjoying the productivity increases. Two big things I’ve found that really help:

    1) Being able to fall asleep as soon as possible is very important. Caffeine past a certain hour is a bad idea.

    2) It’s much easier to wake up for yourself than for someone else. It’s 6am here right now and today I woke up at 5 after not getting nearly enough sleep (only 6 hours if I’m lucky). Normally this would be pretty brutual but I treasure this morning time I have to work on my things and that kept me from going back to bed.

  4. Improve your life one step at a time says:

    [...] For example, if you are not a disciplined person, then trying to wake up early and consistently isn’t going to be easy. The tips I’ve written about may help to an extent but if you cannot consistently adhere to the guidelines, chances are you won’t succeed. [...]

  5. Daniel Schutzsmith says:

    Hey Dave, there is another way to make sure you get up early in the morning…have a kid! My son is 9 months old and since he has been born, it has made me start my day around 6am. Before he “arrived”, I would get up around 7:30 – so it has been quite a change for me.

  6. Dave Cheong says:

    I’m looking forward to that – my own wife is 7 months pregnant so I suspect life and the world as I know it is going to go through a major change (for the better).

    Thanks for the comment Daniel.

  7. Chris says:

    I use the service to wake me up. got a feature that keeps calling you until you wake up. works like a charm for me

  8. Dave Cheong says:

    Hi Chris,

    Thanks for the link. Interesting service. I’m sure many would find it useful.


  9. Babatúndé Steve Hobbes says:

    Yeah, I must try those tips! And about 6 other factors I’ve found helpful to become aware of, in terms of getting to sleep or getting to bed early in the first place, are these:

    1.) As already commented upon: Avoid evening drinking of coffee or tea (unless it’s something like Japanese kukicha – twig tea – or South African redbush…), if not avoid it altogether;

    2.) Avoid consumption of anything containing refined sugar during the last 3½ hours before bedtime. Have some natural (preferably wholemeal) slow-release form of carbohydrate, instead. It’s surprising how many people are affected by that problem without realising it.

    3.) Get some exercise each day: at least a reasonably long walk. And I would say DON’T have lunch at your desk…

    4.) Don’t stay up late to try to catch up with anything: the morning IS better.

    5.) Avoid depression: get plenty of light in your eyes – daylight and/or artificial – and lighten up your thoughts…

    6.) Perhaps also plan your get-to-sleep time for an adequate multiple of 95-minute sleep cycles before your planned wake-up time.

    I think that’s my first ever blog-type comment anywhere! Hope it helps.

  10. Ali says:

    Thanks for the interesting and useful articles. These are quite helpful. I am definitely going to try out your suggestions.

  11. Dave Cheong says:

    Hi Babatúndé Steve Hobbes,

    Thanks for the comment! Excellent list of things to remember when trying to wake up early. I totally agree with 4. I’ve always thought I was a night person. In the past I tend to stay up to 3am working on things, but these days I sleep earlier and get up early. The results – I definitely get more done in less time.

    Good luck! Love to hear how you go with being an early riser.


  12. Dave Cheong says:

    Hi Ali,

    Hope things go well. Feel free to drop a comment and let me know how you get on.


  13. Bert says:

    I’ve recently started waking up at 6am and going to bed earlyer (it somehow makes the day longer) But also, since I started doing thisI’ve been getting anxiety attacks every day, more then once a day, does anyone know if this could have something to do with waking up early?

  14. Dave Cheong says:

    Did your anxiety attacks begin as soon as you started getting up earlier? Have you experienced any of the symptoms before? Lack of sleep can be a contributing factor. However, I don’t believe it is *the* factor.

    Generally a healthy lifestyle is the best medicine against anxiety attacks. Some things you can do:

    * Exercise regularly
    * Get enough sleep
    * Eat a healthy diet
    * Meditate
    * Practice relaxation techniques
    * Avoid alcohol and drugs
    * Eliminate caffeine
    * Cultivate a support system

    Take a look at this for more information:

    If you still like to be an early riser, instead of changing your routine to waking up at 6am, try doing it gradually. Let’s say you normally get up at 9am. Try waking up 30 mins earlier every month. So 8:30am this month, 8am next month and so forth. The gradual change might be less stressful for your physique than a big bang 6am rise.

    I hope you feel better soon. If the problems persists, you should consult a medical professional.

    Good luck.


  15. Being a new dad says:

    [...] Waking up early [...]

  16. Maus says:

    First of all, this blog was a present for me and I think is one of my best presents this year. It really appeals to what I’m looking forward to do in my life.
    Well, Probably you won’t read the comments in this blog anymore. But maybe someone will go back and I wanted to see what worked for me:
    I used to leave in a very NOISY place, with noisy people that I loved a lot. But that was not working for me. My room had a lot of stuff and eventhough was cozy, I couldn’t keep it clean. I couldn’t sleep well, and waking up was hell. People yell everywhere, and everythink stinked with tobacco.
    So, I moved to another room, (I couldn’t handle my old house anymore) and threw (gave) all I KNEW it wasn’t necessary. And went to my new room, painted white, and put few stuff around my bed. Just everything simple. Some cushions, candles, and plants in my window. It wasn’t expensive at all, and now I sleep really good, wake up with a smile in my face, and it might sounds weird, but since my life is getting better.

  17. Dave Cheong says:

    Hi Maus,

    Thank you for dropping by. I applaud you for making those changes around your room. I too believe that if you have an environment conducive to work and being productive, you’re more likely to be so.

    There are so many little things one can do, like the things you’ve mentioned, which produce huge results.

    Thank you for sharing!


  18. Troy says:

    Polyphasic sleep is amazing! I once heard about an experiment where the subjects were diverted from any knowledge of what time of day it was (no clocks, no windows, breakfast did not include breakfast items, etc). What they found is a fairly regular pattern of four hours asleep and four hours awake; repeatedly. Einstein apparently also only slept for short periods.

    I started playing around with this, as sleep has been an interesting mystery to me. What I started doing was going to sleep as soon as I would get home from work. At first, I could only do so for an hour or so. Eventually I was able to sleep for three or four hours. After waking, I would do what I normally would do when I came home (check the mail, make dinner, etc). I would stay up feeling very refreshed and productive, then sleep for another 3-4 hours and wake up and go to work.

    The “groggy” feeling after waking up disappeared. It was almost as if I could leap out of bed and start doing anything right away, almost ;) I was still getting 6-8 hours like I normally would, but it was like the sleep time was more productive for it’s purpose – whatever that is.

    Some things to know before changing your sleep cycle: It only takes a 3-5 days to adjust, but to give a new sleep pattern proper judgement it’s best to follow the new pattern for a couple of weeks minimum before making an evaluation. Using aides (like valarian root, caffine) might seem to help initially, but I’ve found them to only mess up my bio-clock. It’s better to not use anything to make you sleep, or wake-up; other than darkness, quiet (or white noise), and breathing/relaxation techniques. Sometimes it’s best to put something over your clock before sleeping in the early evening. The first few times I woke up at 9 or 10 I thought I was late for work! In a few of those cases, it wasn’t until I got outside and noticed that the lighting didn’t seem right until I realized that it wasn’t morning, heheheh.

    I think if more people were aware of this we would find many more people having dinner at 11pm!

  19. Dave Cheong says:

    Hi Troy,

    Wow. Great comment.

    I haven’t personally tried polyphasic sleep myself. Initially, when I read what Steve Pavlina was doing, I thought to myself, this is great. However, as I read more about it and looked at the practicality of the idea, it became less appealing.

    If the entire world operated polyphasically, then it would be great. However, if I adopted polyphasic sleep, I’ll be out of synch with the rest of the world. I’ll have less time to spend with my wife and interacting with people at work and my friends. I’ll frequently have to take naps and plan my commitments around nap times. This is going to cause all sorts of logistical issues. In the end, I believe Steve abandoned it for similar reasons.

    I’m glad it’s working out for you. I too have read that we only need 4 hours or so of sleep. I’m sleeping more than that (6 hours) but I think if I really set my mind to it, I could do with less.


  20. Troy says:

    I think what made polyphasic sleep easy for me is that I just divided my 8 hour sleep into two 4 hour sleeps. Also, I don’t have a wife and my friends like to stay up late ;)

    However, now that you are the father of a newborn, I’m sure you’ll start to be familiar with not sleeping for 8 straight hours!

    Congratulations to you and your wife on bringing your beautiful daughter into this world. She’s adorable!


  21. Dave Cheong says:

    Hi Troy,

    Thanks! Amy’s great despite keeping me up at all the odd hours during the night. I’ve been meaning to post a follow up on this article. Ever since her arrival, my experiments on sleep patterns have take a back seat.

    I must say though that coping with less sleep and interrupted stretches so far has been easy. I believe it has a lot to do with the training I’ve put in to get up early and consistently.

    Thank you for the well wishes! Congrats on your success with polyphasic sleep… :)


  22. Jason says:

    Hey, great article. I’ve only been trying to wake up earlier for less than a week. I’m a college student and for the past 6 months I haven’t gotten up before 11. Now I’m waking up at 6. It’s actually been really brutal for me. I find the opposite happen, I’m LESS productive because around 9 or 10 in the morning I’m still so tired that I can’t read more than a page and I can’t concentrate on anything. I haven’t tried a few cups of coffee in the morning, which I will be trying the next couples days. I’m also thinking that my body really hasn’t gotten used to it yet. I believe I may have given it quite a shock going from 11 to 6 all at once. So I’m going to keep going with it and see where it leads me. Again, a good articles.

  23. Dave Cheong says:

    Hi Jason,

    Thanks for dropping by and leaving a comment. I think you need to give your body a little more time. Like you said, it’s only been a week and naturally your body will feel tired going from 11 to 6.

    Also, I’m not sure how busy you are or how active your lifestyle is, but the human body doesn’t actually need that much sleep. If you find you are sleeping more than you actually need to (say between 4 and 8 hours), then you need to check out other factors including health and diet.

    Good luck!


  24. The Social Programmer » Blog Archive » GTD podcasts, giving up TV, early rising… says:

    [...] Elsewhere, I found some good stuff over at Dave Cheong’s blog. Most notably, waking up early and consistently and 18 ways to stay focused at work. Two excellent posts, I wish I could have an office/study as tidy as Dave’s – it takes time and effort, may be I’ll get there. [...]

  25. Sebastian says:

    Hi Dave,
    if you want to sleep less, try Mantak Chia´s 6 Healing Sounds. They are a simple Meditation/Chi Gong exercise that works every time you try it. It is based on a TCM concept: Stress heats up and tenses your internal organs. The Healing Sounds and postures relieve excess heat via breathing and a have a strong effect on your emotional state. If you practise before going to sleep (maybe 15 min.) you will be deeply relaxed and emotionally clear and calm, resulting in deeper and more refreshing sleep.

  26. Dave Cheong says:

    Hi Sebastian,

    Thanks for the tip. Mantak’s Healing Sounds … well.. sounds interesting! I haven’t come across his work before, but I will be sure to check it out.

    If you use it yourself, let me know what kind of results you’re getting.

    Thanks for dropping by,


  27. absolutis says:

    The best way to wake is when the body reacts to (sun)light and becomes active. If there is no light/sun, my brain will signal me that it still needs rest.

    After you sleep more than your body’s maximum rest need, such as 9 hours, for example, your body slows down and starts to get tired again.

  28. engee says:

    Congratulations,Dave on the arrival of ur little angel!!!
    I was looking for somethn that will help me wake up as early as 5.30am.I came across this as i did Steve pavlina’s.Both are good reading.I so much wish i cud be an early riser.Now i wake up at 6.45am and at times 7 or 8am.I hate that.My problem is feeling tired inspite of 8-10hrs sleep.I usually sleep at 10/10.30pm.I feel so groggy and exhausted as though i have been run down by a roadroller.I have been on antidepression pills for abt 5yrs now .The doc says my tiredness is related to that.I am a vegeterain and a housewife with loads of work and a naughty toddler.
    I tried and i cud wake up 2 days and then its back to square one.
    I wud so much appreciate if u cud tell me what to do.I have nothn to look fwd to the whole day except the housework.
    Thanx so much for ur time.

  29. NYRM - Clocky Really Works at says:

    [...] NYRM – Clocky Really Works Published by mahalie January 5th, 2007 in geek, raves, objects, personal, learning. Tags: alarm, clock, clocky, goals, gtd, morning, new years, product, resolutions, review, waking. I’ve long wanted to get up earlier. There were a couple of years of my life which, for some reason, early waking was no problem. For a couple of years right after high school, I awoke at 5 am every morning to open a coffee shop in Monterey, California. But for most of my life getting up has been a true fight against my own will. If I were to awake naturally my day would start at 9:30 or 10, at least in this rainy town (Seattle).Tim wakes up to the radio, which isn’t sufficiently rousing for me and he hates the buzzer. Even if we used the buzzer, I’d still hit snooze and torture myself at least 5 times each day. Now that he gets up earlier than I do anyway, I got my own alarm clock, a special clock, that could force me out of bed an hour later.Developed by Gauri Nanda, a Research Associate at MIT Media Lab, Clocky is a small, simple alarm clock flanked on both sides by large wheels. The alarm goes off, you can hit snooze, but the second time, Clocky takes off in a random direction and attempts to hide. I get really mad for about 3 seconds every morning but thanks to Clocky, I’m finally staring to achieve my goal of getting up earlier!NYRM – New Years Resolution Mode [...]

  30. Dave Cheong says:

    Guys, thanks for the comments. I think the main thing to remember is waking up early and consistently is habitual. Your body can be trained to do certain things, all it needs is some motivation and prompting.

    As the saying goes, “If at first you don’t succeed, try and try again”. So don’t be discouraged with setbacks. Keep at it. Eventually, it’ll pay off.


  31. Dustin says:

    I have tried to start getting up at 6 every day but find that half the time I just sleep that extra hour. I have always been a morning person but 6 is really early.

    I just finish college a few months back and this new schedule is pretty entertaining. I switched from staying up until 2 and getting up at 8 to trying to go to bed before 12 and still getting out of bed at 6.

    I am motivated but crap that is early. I think I need to just force myself and get used to it. When I was in school 4 or 5 hours of sleep was normal, I should still be able to do that.

  32. Daniel says:

    Hi Dave,

    It’s kinda funny because I’m actually reading your blog at 2 am in the morning. I’ve read your blogs and they are very good I think I’ve read all of them. I’m a 24 yr old college student that works about 30 hours a week doing taxes for a professional services firm on wallstreet and dabbles in real estate part time (I own a few properties with tenants and I’m in the process of buying another building). All that being said most people would call me a go-getter. However I have some major time management and punctuality issues. I got an offer from one of the “Big Four” Accounting firms (which is pretty much what every accounting major dreams of) but I’m really shaking in boots when I should be happy. The problem is currently, I show up late to work, when I arrive to work I’m not focused (Espn is always on my monitor or I’m looking for foreclosed properties), and my desk is always a mess. You may say to yourself, well how the hell is he able to get an offer, keep a job, etc. It’s because I have very good people skills, I’m tremendous when dealing with people. The problem Dave is there is so much more I can accomplish. Right now i’m at a small firm so they turn they’re cheek, however when I graduate it will change. I will be among the best of the best and I won’t be able to get by on just my people skills. I want to be organized, wake up early, focus on tasks and get to the next level (which is why I googled “how to focus” and found your blogs). I’m going to start doing what you suggest. I like your advice on tracking your accomplishments, I was wondering do you offer a template on how exactly to do that. With regard to goal writing as well do you put this in a notebook and carry it everywhere or is it on your desk? Do you have daily, monthly and yearly goals if so do you have a template? I think what your doing is great dave. Alot of people are like me, eager to succedd in society but need guidance to get over the hump.

  33. Jamy K says:

    Great Articles Dave.

    I’ve always been a nite owl but after getting married and having kids I am going to try the early morning thing.

    Writing out goals on paper and reviewing them remind me of two interesting books:

    DOING IT NOW: How To Cure Procrastination And Achieve Your Goals In Twelve Easy Steps
    Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill

    You mention a lot of other interesting questions above regarding caffeine and health.

    ps. Funfact: Yesterday, I heard the NBC golf announcer mention that Tiger Woods only gets 4 hours of sleep a night.

    thx again for the great articles!

  34. Abhee says:

    Dear Dave

    I am self employed guy in web development field from India. I have to deal with people in different time zones. I have staff in India that work during day and at night its day in USA where my major clients are. UK takes my evening time. I don’t know how and when to sleep at best.

    I wish I wake up early in the morning and see the rising sun, do exercise, read newspaper, help my mom in kitchen, read and learn something new, improve myself at personal level, finish some administrative and accounting work before its 10:00am and my staff come.

    But HOW it is possible when I can not sleep before 2:00 AM?

    Currently, my sleeping hours are 2:00AM to 9:30 AM and have pain in my body every morning. When I wake up and still lie on my bed, I feel that my body weight 1 million kg. Once I wake up, whole day is spent with full of energy.

    This is really serious for me. Please suggest.

  35. Vishal says:

    Hi Dave,
    Thats a wonderful article… I felt very impressed and will definitely follow your suggestions… Thanks for giving us a wonderful article…

  36. M. Yoon says:

    I’m very happy to find your post.
    I sometimes think too much about developing myself to be a better person. I even became obsessive with improving myself. Today I thought about being responsible. I’m 21 and I live far away from my house. So things such as like waking up and going to bed hasn’t been easy for me because everything suddenly depends on my control. And i thought even little things like this, having a regular daily schedule, is important to think about in order to live in a society.
    Again, everyone told me that i was being too stressed out and but it was important for me to concern.
    Maybe I am giving myself too much pressure to be good but still I think that it’s neccesary to learn to be good.
    You put things out with logical reasons and it made me feel better. thank you.

  37. Dave Cheong says:


    I’m not sure if there’s anything I can advise here. I think if you cover that many timezones, you won’t leave much of a contiguous block for sleeping or socialising or whatever.

    Perhaps instead of single-handedly catering for all the timezones, you can create a roster and distribute the workload evenly and fairly amongst other people in your team. For example, you could cover US for a few months while someone else deals with UK.

    Otherwise, I can’t see how you’d be able to function properly in the long duration. Some people can get by with little sleep, but in my experience you can do it continuously without something else giving way — most likely your health.

    In the past (my younger days!), I used to be able to get by with 4 hours of sleep each night. However, every month or so, on a particular weekend, I’d crash completely and end up sleeping 15 hours. I’d generally be tired at work and less focused.

    So my suggestion is to create a roster and distribute the pain in a even and fair manner so no-one gets the short straw.

  38. Dave Cheong says:

    M. Yoon,

    Thank you for leaving a comment. I hope you can establish a working schedule you can keep to. If you do, you’d immediately notice the benefits.

    The key is to stick to it. If you find the things you’ve set are unrealistic, then change your schedule to ensure you can keep at it.

    Remember if you live life unchanged, then don’t expect things to suddently get better. You have to make a change in the way you think and work in order to enjoy positive change.

    Good luck!


  39. Dave Cheong says:


    Good luck! Let me know how things go — hopefully the things I mentioned will work for you. If not, feel free to make amendments and/or incorporate other tips.


  40. Dave Cheong says:


    Keep me posted on your developments.

    Here’s a friendly tip:

    You might be able to get by for a bit, but eventually things will catch up. So make an effort to get focused and change your patterns and habits to ensure you can perform to the level you and your colleagues expect of you.


  41. Waking Up Early - 15 Tips That Work says:

    [...] It has almost been one year since I posted about how to Wake up Early and Consistently. I thought now might be a good time to post a follow up, including what I have personally found to work. [...]

  42. Challenge #13: Adopt an Early-to-Bed Early-to-Rise Sleep Schedule « Personal Challenge says:

    [...] Here are two articles (from the same source) that might help with establishing an early wake up time: Waking up Early and Consistently, Waking Up Early – 15 Tips That Work. [...]

  43. Dave Cheong’s Blog - Lots of Nuggets to Share « An Original Idea says:

    [...] Waking up early and consistently (I’m using this right now) [...]

  44. Andy says:

    Enjoyed reading your article – i am going to try being a early riser!!! wish me luck

    andy uk

  45. Rivkah says:

    Dang. 6 is EARLY. I think that it isn’t so much about getting up early as it is about getting up as soon as you wake up. I’m an artist and can afford to keep an evening-based schedule since my editors and clients all communicate via email and rarely require an urgent response. However, I’ve also found that it’s the days I roll over and try to squirm back beneath the covers that I’m least productive. I like the “ignoring your first reaction” bit, because that’s exactly where I tend to fail most, lol. I have more success if I think in the very short-term immediate instead of “What am I going to do for the day?” If I say instead, “I’m going to take a shower and make breakfast and then get to work,” it’s much more effective, because then I see the shower and the breakfast as rewards for getting up (and my stomach starts to insist getting up as well). If I think too much about all the work I need to do, I usually end up turning right back over and going to sleep again!

  46. Vanora says:

    Please apologize if my English is poor.
    Excellent tips and amazing article.

    At least I find it pretty good for my life. I stay in India, Mumbai. Most of the time we spend in travel. we have to start early say around 8.00 AM and reaches home around 9.00 PM.( I am saying my schedule there are people who reaches around 11.00 PM) They are so tired and then pamper themselves by watching TV and slowing preparing dinner and having dinner which is usually very late, so usually no productive work in night. Same way in the morning they get up late because they sleep late. So again, no productive work for the day.

    So I worked out this way after reading your article. Getting up early say about 5.00 Am and sleeping around 11.00 AM. This works excellent for me. I prepare lunch, have breakfast. And at night I just have prepare salad. Before sleeping I prepare time table to be done for following day. I set different alarm at different spot so as to stop them all, I have to get up. As soon I get up I start with the timetable. Have to admit morning time is plenty of good time. Listing to music and prepare lunch is day I start with.
    I read many article, I found all article very useful. You have excellent ideas especially point no. 6. No more another 10 mins, Which I always use to do it earlier. Now after reading your article this has improved. I never sleep after the alarm goes.
    Now I have time to read, be myself, reach office on time and spend time with my family.
    But cannot say much because I am experimenting this only for a week. If I am successful I will definitely let u know in a month’s time.
    Looking forward for more article.

  47. Kannan says:

    Hi Dave,

    Thanks for all your tips. They are pretty insightful and tally with waht I have learnt also. I have some few questions, may be which you could answer based on your experience.

    I have been waking up early with fair amount of sucess over the last few months. One time I tried 4.5 hr sleep + 3 hr meditation combination for 3 weeks. I found that my body was tired most of the time and that was not an effective way. So now I am back to 6.5 hrs of sleep + 1-1.5 hr meditation. However my goal is to extend my meditation time to atleast 2-3 hrs, but I don’t want to reduce my sleep to compensate for that time. I want to know how much sleep we really need. I am 27 years old now. I know that the younger we are the more sleep we need. babies sleep for 10-16 hrs, teenagers sleep 8-10 hrs, young adults abt 8 hrs, and some really old people who don’t rejunevuate seem to get away with just 5 hrs of sleep. I seem to need 6.5-7hrs (10/10.30-4.30/5)of sleep. Just want to know how much do you need, and is there a way of sleeping more efficiently as to cut down this time and still remain fresh and energitic.

    thanks a lot!

  48. Carlos Allen says:


    You are similar to me, or I’m similar to you. I’m also engineer (electronic and systems programmer), and I’m trying to become an entrepreneur. Your posts are great !
    I made some power point presentations in order to organize my tasks and goals, personal and work. Also it measures the performance of every area. If you have interest, I can pass it to you, and if you think it’s worth, you can make it available for people who visit your website. Best regards. Carlos

  49. christina says:

    I will try this. For several years now i have been saying to my self, i will commit to waking up early to work out. I tend to be one of those, just 10 more min… and before you know it… yes 2 hours go by. I love sleeping in… so this will be a challenging, yet rewarding habbit change for myself. Thank you for the tips.

  50. Curefans Blog » I decided to become an early riser says:

    [...] I have been reading certain blogs, but if you are an usual early riser, someone who always wakes up early and always arrive on time, share your tips! [...]

  51. CC Morris says:

    Currently I am not an early riser, as I often work until 4 a.m., when ideally I’d like to be getting up. But whenever I do get to bed, even if it’s 5 or 6 a.m., I NEVER stay in bed past 8:30 a.m. I have a method of getting up and staying up that honestly has never failed me in 50 years. My secret is twofold: (a) I set the alarm clock across the room, so I HAVE to get out of bed to shut it off. Then, once up, (b) I NEVER allow myself to lie back down. This method has never failed me yet.
    In recent years I’ve started using a bedside timer to chirp a few minutes before the alarm will go off. That wakes me up and I shut it off, but I am awake and KNOW the alarm will go off in a few minutes, so I might as well get up now, and so I do. This trick is especially important and works all the better if my wife is still asleep and I know the big alarm that will go off in a few seconds will disturb her–NOT a happy prospect!
    It works for me.


  52. Adeel Faraz says:


    How are you, It was really a good article. But one thing i like the most you mentioned in ur article is:

    “We are all ultimately creatures of habit. Our bodies can be taught and trained to be early risers. If we establish a consistent pattern for waking up early and acknowledging to our body that this is an ongoing requirement, it will change its rhythm to accommodate this. ”

    Habitual patterns really works. ive also heard someones quoting “Great Skills Comes from ease” meaning if you adopt an habbit by practising towards perfection it will become a piece of cake.

    I remeber when i use to type by looking keys on the keyboard but after building this habbit of without looking to it. I just thinks and my hands type it for me without thinking where and how my fingers will press keys..

    But theres a quesition i really wanted to ask from you..
    My job has shifts, sometimes it starts in day and sometimes its in night so i cant make a fix pattern of habbit…

    Is there any way to imune myself to this unpredictible pattern, while maintaining my progress, productivity and my focus.


    waiting for your answer…

  53. manoj says:

    Hi Dave,

    Just to add to the good article about getting up early.

    The best time to sleep as per nature’s design is 10pm As after that till 4:00am period is considered a period of inertia in nature.

    Same way best time to start day is 4:15am, called Brahma Muhurta in India or “Godly hours”.

    But as you suggested we should not directly aim for these timings suddenly as wont be able to sustain for long, So it should be as close to these times as possible.

    One who does will realize the benefits if as suggested “reason for getting up ” is clear.


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