It sounds wonderful, doesn’t it? You wake up early, stretch, then roll out your mat and start in on your own private practice.
The only problem is, it’s hard to actually make that happen, especially when you’re tired. Sure, the yoga sounds wonderful, but you just can’t get up early enough to fit it in. Maybe you’ve even tried going to bed earlier, but you can’t make that happen, either. You feel like your body clock is set and there’s not much you can do about it.
Actually, you can train yourself to go to bed earlier. It’s a process and it takes a little time and dedication, but it’s not hard.
How to Go to Bed Earlier
Do it little by little. Determine how much earlier you will need to wake up to fit in your practice. From there, figure out what time you need to fall asleep to make sure you’re getting your usual amount of rest. Make that your target. Then, go to bed 15 minutes earlier than normal and wake 15 minutes earlier. Do that for a few nights, until it feels like normal, then move your bedtime and wake time up by 15 more minutes. Using this formula, it may take a couple of weeks to hit your target bedtime, but you should be able to do so without disrupting your body.
Go cold turkey. If the little by little strategy isn’t your style, take a deep breath and commit to getting up and practicing in the morning. You will be more tired for a few days, but your body will adjust itself and you should be able to fall asleep faster. Within a week or so, you will be on your new schedule.
Make your bedroom a place you want to be. If you like being in bed, you’re more likely to head there earlier and to be able to fall asleep when you do. Make sure you have a comfortable pillow and choose a mattress that suits your body and your sleep style. Put art on the walls that you enjoy looking at. Make sure the space is at a temperature that’s comfortable for you. All of these things will make it easier for you to fall asleep fast.
Avoid caffeine and alcohol in the several hours before bedtime. Both of these can disrupt your sleep, making it even harder to fall asleep at an earlier hour. Replace them with chamomile tea, which will help you feel calm and relaxed as you rest. Drink this about half an hour before you want to sleep, so it has time to take effect before you go to bed.
Try a couple of these strategies at a time, until you figure out what works for you and your body. Once you’ve determined the winning formula, you should be able to commit to your early morning practice without losing sleep and getting even more tired.