Person stretching in bed, waking up early in the morning, lights are on, morning alarm, POC, NB, Genderqueer, Non-binary

What Helps Me Wake Up Early

My diagnosis of narcolepsy did not happen until after I graduated from college. I was fortunate to land a job at the popular local coffee shop my senior year of college, but due to my busy class schedule, I had to work the opening shifts starting at 6:30 AM.

One memory I have as soon as I got the job was posting on Facebook to ask my family and friends for advice on how to wake up so early. I have always struggled with waking up, especially if it’s before the sun rises.

Waking up early for work

Post-graduation (and narcolepsy diagnosis), I was working as a full-time music teacher. I had to be at school at 7 AM, which meant I was having to wake up around 5:45 AM to get ready for work on time. After getting medication that helped me get the restful sleep my body so desperately needed, I started waking up at 5:00 AM and going to the gym before school.

There have been many people (both with and without narcolepsy) who ask me how I did it for so long. Below are the important steps I take to wake up early (and make it places on time!).

1. Turn on the lights

In my bedroom, I have a string of Christmas lights hanging on the wall above my bed, as well as a small lamp on the bedside table. Thanks to my Alexa, I have set up a “routine” that turns on the lights, tells me the weather, and tells me my daily agenda.

Having the lights turned on and something talking to me for a few minutes has been a game-changer when it comes to waking up early.

2. Deep breaths to get the blood flowing

As soon as my eyes attempt to open, I start to breathe big, slow breaths audibly. I don’t know if there is any science to back this up, but this always helps my blood start flowing, and alertness follows.

Once I am more alert, I sit up in bed, continue to breathe, and maybe do some stretches. Getting the blood flowing and my mind alert helps me get the day started.

3. Believe in your own willpower

A friend of mine with narcolepsy says, “People with narcolepsy are the strongest people around,” I have come to truly believe that statement and have made it a personal mantra. I often tell people that I am the strongest sleepyhead around. (It’s even in my Instagram handle!)

Is it hard to wake up early? Yes. Are there going to be days that you truly don’t know if you will be able to wake up? Of course. However, telling yourself that you are strong and you CAN wake up goes a long way to believing it yourself.

Do you struggle with waking up early? Do you have any tips or helpful ideas to share with our community? Tell us in the comments below!

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