If you don’t need an alarm clock because your child is an early bird, read on for tips and reclaim some morning shut-eye!
Some children are natural early birds, but only 10% to 15% actually have a biological tendency to be early risers. Many children wake up early because of reasons other than their biological alarm, and these can be changed. How do you know where your child fits on this scale? There are specific things to look for.
Signs that Your Little One is a Natural Early Riser
- She wakes up early no matter what time she goes to bed.
- She wakes up on her own and is cheerful and chatty.
- She has the most energy in the late morning to early afternoon.
- She sleeps well throughout the night.
- She gets tired soon after dinner.
- She goes to bed early and easily.
If this seems to describe your child, you might have a little lark on your hands. However, you might be able to encourage a little extra sleep time in the mornings by changing your child’s routines slightly, and we’ll cover those in a minute. If your child does not match the above description, then the following tips should definitely help your child sleep a little later in the mornings.
Common Reasons for Waking Up Early
- Your child has had enough sleep.
- Sources of light are interrupting their sleep – daylight, street lights, or house lights.
- Some children are easily awoken by noises – voices, traffic outside, pets, neighbors, or sibligs.
- Your child may need to use the bathroom early or be uncomfortable in a wet diaper.
- Discomfort can create early waking. The heat kicked in, and he is too hot. Or his covers fell off, and he is too cold, or his feet are chilly.
- Her sleep may be interrupted because she is truly hungry.
- Early waking has turned into a habit, and your child’s internal alarm clock has been reset for this earlier time.
- Naps may be interfering with sleep – they could be too early, too late, too often, or too long.
Gently Encourage Your Child to Sleep Longer
- First, problem-solve any of the issues listed above. Cover windows, dampen noises, encourage potty independence, adjust temperature settings and dress properly, give your child a healthy snack before bed or set crackers on their bed stand, and experiment with naps.
- Work on gradually resetting your child’s biological clock. You can do this by keeping the hour before bedtime dimly lit, sleeping time dark, and breakfast time bright.
- Keep your child’s room dark during all the hours you want her to sleep. Use blinds, curtains, or even a blanket or big pieces of cardboard to keep out unwanted light. Do your pre-bedtime reading by the dimmest light possible, and finish it up with story-telling in the dark.
- Schedule playtime in the afternoon or early evening outside when you can. When you can’t get outside keep the play area brightly lit. You may even want to invest in a natural sunlight lamp which emits a sun-like glow.
- Try treating the early morning awakening as if it’s 2:00 A.M. and respond to your child as you do with a night waking. If the windows are covered and the room is dark your child may accept that it’s the middle of the night and not the morning.
- Children who wake early often nap early, too, going for a nap within an hour or two of waking up. This is actually the end of their nighttime sleep! Try holding off the morning nap by 15 to 30 minutes every day until it falls an hour or two hours later in the day than it is now. After a week or two you should see a new pattern emerge.
- Hold off breakfast for thirty minutes to an hour after your child wakes up. She may have set her “hunger alert” to go off at 6:00 A.M. By holding off breakfast in the morning you may be able to re-set the time she gets hungry. If she can’t wait that long, try a small snack, like a few crackers, and delay a full breakfast for a bit.
- Maintain a consistent bedtime and awaking time seven days a week. Changing the schedule each weekend will likely prevent you from finding success at getting a reasonable wake up time during the week.
If Your Child is Still Waking too Early…
Give these ideas time to work before giving up on them. Stay consistent and see if you can gently encourage your child to improve their sleep patterns. However, you may find that your child is a natural early riser and you are certainly not. In those cases, here are a few more tips…
- Every night, after your child goes to sleep put a box of toys next to her bed. Rotate these so that there’s always something new and interesting in the box. Tell her that when she wakes up she can check her box and play with whatever she finds in there. Be creative, but make sure the toys are safe, and of course, nothing noisy! (If your child is still sleeping in a crib you can leave a few child-safe toys at the foot of the crib.)
- For an older child, set a clock-radio to a pleasant music station and have it turn on at your acceptable wake up time. Tell your child that she can’t leave her bedroom to wake you up until she hears the music.
- Leave a sippy cup of water and a snack, such as crackers, on her bedside so that when she wakes up she will have something to eat. (No choking hazards, of course.)
- Make a tape recording of your child’s favorite songs or stories and show her how to operate the machine. Let her listen to her special tape when she wakes up.
- Invite her into your room or your bed. Tell her that if she wakes up she can come quietly into your room. Let her climb in bed and snuggle with you, or create a little resting area with a sleeping bag on the floor for her. You might even create a fort, such as using a blanket over a card table, and call it her morning nest. Put a few toys and books inside and see if she’ll play quietly for a while before waking you.
- Childproof, childproof, childproof! Make sure that your entire house is safe for your early riser so if she’s wandering around while you’re still asleep she won’t get herself into trouble.
You’ll want to stock up on cherries (really).
I used to hate waking up for work. Three alarms, two cups of coffee, and one commute later, I’d still feel groggy and unproductive a few hours into my day. My solution: Stop waking up for work and start waking up for myself. Now I get up earlier, but to head to the gym — not the office. Rethinking mornings as time for myself made getting up so much easier and, yep, now I count myself firmly in the morning person camp.
Waking up earlier isn’t for everyone, despite the Silicon Valley techies who prescribe “sleep hacking” and subsisting on five hours per night.
“Our sleep needs are biologically determined,” says Pradeep Bollu, M.D., a board-certified sleep specialist and neurologist with MU Health Care. “In order to feel refreshed in the morning, we need to pay off our sleep debt i.e., the biological sleep requirement every night. “Most adults require about 7-8 hours of shuteye per a 24-hour period. Less than 5% need less than 6 hours, and another 5% should actually get more than 8 hours.
In other words, in order to wake up earlier, you’ll have to go to bed earlier too. Short-changing yourself on sleep can affect your judgment, mood, ability to learn, and in the long run can lead to health problems like obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease, according to Harvard Medical School Division of Sleep Medicine.
But if you’re ready to skip your fave late-night shows and join the morning bird crowd, there’s a lot you can do to make the rise-and-grind easier. Here’s where to start:
How I Became an Early Riser
By Leo Babauta
I’ve found that waking early has been one of the best things I’ve done as I’ve changed my life recently, and I thought I’d share my tips. I just posted about my morning routine, and thought you might like to know how I get up at 4:30 a.m.
For many years, I was a late riser. I loved to sleep in. Then things changed, because I had to wake up between 6-6:30 a.m. to fix my kids’ lunches and get them ready for school. But last year, when I decided to train for my first marathon, I decided that I needed to start running in the mornings if I was to have any time left for my family.
So, I set out to make waking up early a habit. I started by getting up at 5:30 a.m., then at 5 a.m. When that became a habit, and I had to wake up at 4 a.m. or 3:30 a.m. for an early long run, it wasn’t a problem. And last November, when I decided to participate in NaNoWriMo, I decided to get up at 4 a.m. to write for at least an hour a day. Now that I completed that novel-writing goal, I don’t need to wake that early anymore, but have settled on a happy compromise of waking at 4:30 a.m. Some days, when I’m really tired (if I go to sleep late), I’ll wake at 5:00 or 5:30, but that’s still earlier than I used to wake up.
Here are my tips for becoming an early riser:
- Don’t make drastic changes . Start slowly, by waking just 15-30 minutes earlier than usual. Get used to this for a few days. Then cut back another 15 minutes. Do this gradually until you get to your goal time.
- Allow yourself to sleep earlier . You might be used to staying up late, perhaps watching TV or surfing the Internet. But if you continue this habit, while trying to get up earlier, sooner or later one is going to give. And if it is the early rising that gives, then you will crash and sleep late and have to start over. I suggest going to bed earlier, even if you don’t think you’ll sleep, and read while in bed . If you’re really tired, you just might fall asleep much sooner than you think.
- Put your alarm clock far from you bed . If it’s right next to your bed, you’ll shut it off or hit snooze. Never hit snooze. If it’s far from your bed, you have to get up out of bed to shut it off. By then, you’re up. Now you just have to stay up.
- Go out of the bedroom as soon as you shut off the alarm . Don’t allow yourself to rationalize going back to bed. Just force yourself to go out of the room. My habit is to stumble into the bathroom and go pee. By the time I’ve done that, and flushed the toilet and washed my hands and looked at my ugly mug in the mirror, I’m awake enough to face the day.
- Do not rationalize . If you allow your brain to talk you out of getting up early, you’ll never do it. Don’t make getting back in bed an option.
- Allow yourself to sleep in once in awhile . Despite what I just said in the previous point, once in awhile it’s nice to sleep in. As long as it’s not a regular thing. I do it maybe once a week or so.
- Make waking up early a reward . Yes, it might seem at first that you’re forcing yourself to do something hard, but if you make it pleasurable, soon you will look forward to waking up early. My reward used to be to make a hot cup of coffee and read a book. I’ve recently cut out coffee, but I still enjoy reading my book. Other rewards might be a tasty treat for breakfast (smoothies! yum!) or watching the sunrise, or meditating. Find something that’s pleasurable for you, and allow yourself to do it as part of your morning routine.
- Take advantage of all that extra time . Don’t wake up an hour or two early just to read your blogs, unless that’s a major goal of yours. Don’t wake up early and waste that extra time. Get a jump start on your day! I like to use that time to get a head start on preparing my kids’ lunches, on planning for the rest of the day (when I set my MITs), on exercising or meditating, and on reading. By the time 6:30 rolls around, I’ve done more than many people do the entire day.
- Enjoy the break of dawn ! As much as you can, look outside (or better yet, get outside!) and watch the sky turn light. It’s beautiful. And it’s quiet and peaceful. It’s now my favorite time of day. Getting up early is a reward in itself for me.
I used to wake up early : in the past, you are okay with waking up earlier but now, you are not waking up early again.
I am used to waking up early : up until now, you are still waking up early and okay with that.
- English (US)
I used to get up early ( before ) now you dont get up early. I am used to wake up early means you still wakking up early
- Arabic Near fluent
- I need to wake up at 8:30 AM, at the latest. does this sound natural?
- It’s already 1 am here and I am still wake up. I don’t lobs whey I cannot sleep early like others.
- What is the difference between wake and awake ?
- What is the difference between He’s starting to get angry and He’s getting angry ?
- What is the difference between holler and scream and shout ?
- What is the difference between what’s everyone having for breakfast today? and what did you have.
- What is the difference between thick and fat ?
- What is the difference between crash helmet and helmet ?
- What is the difference between below and underneath ?
- What is the difference between PERCEIVE GLIMPSE and CATCH A GLIMPSE ?
- What is the difference between stall and door ?
- What is the difference between Shifty and Fishy and Shady and Sketchy and Suspicious ?
- What is the difference between firm and hard ?
- What is the difference between man and men ?
- What is the difference between stay safe and keep safe ?
- What is the difference between tits and boobs ?
- What is the difference between “You’re most welcome.” and “You’re very much welcome.” and “You’re.
- What is the difference between Okay and Okey ?
- Please show me example sentences with 自我介紹.
- How do you say this in Swedish? . are more likely to be targeted
The Language Level symbol shows a user’s proficiency in the languages they’re interested in. Setting your Language Level helps other users provide you with answers that aren’t too complex or too simple.
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Can ask all types of general questions and can understand longer answers.
Can understand long, complex answers.
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Honorary Associate in Sleep, Circadian and Memory Neuroscience, The Open University
Paul Kelley does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.
The Open University provides funding as a founding partner of The Conversation UK.
The Conversation UK receives funding from these organisations
- Bahasa Indonesia
In societies the world over, teenagers are blamed for staying up late, then struggling to wake up in the morning. While it’s true that plenty of teenagers (like many adults) do have bad bedtime habits, researchers have long since proven that this global problem has a biological cause.
In 2004, researchers at the University of Munich proved that teenagers actually have a different sense of time. Their study showed that the 24-hour cycle which determines when you wake and sleep gets later during your teens, reaching its latest point by the age of 20.
After 20, the body’s waking and sleeping times gradually get earlier again, until at 55 you naturally wake about the same time as you did when you were 10. The link between the movements of this biological clock and the process of puberty was so strong that the researchers suggested this “peak lateness” at the end of the teenage years could be the biological marker for the end of puberty.
At about the same time the Munich study came out, Russell Foster at the University of Oxford made a key breakthrough in the neuroscience of time. By raising blind mice, Foster was able to show that all mammals’ sleep times depended on sunlight only. This means that biological time – which determines when you feel sleepy – is different from social time, which is set by clocks and customs about when things should be done.
When biological time and social time clash, it can lead to sleep deprivation. The social starting times for school and university – typically between 7.30am and 8.30am – are too early for teenagers the world over. The biological changes that teenagers go through mean they need to go to bed later, wake up later and get up to eight or nine hours of sleep.
As it stands, many teenagers are losing two to three hours of sleep every school night. As Steven Lockley at the University of Harvard concluded, this is systematic, unrecoverable sleep loss – and a danger to teenagers’ health.
An easy fix?
The solution is simple in theory: starting times should be adjusted to reflect the fact that teenagers need later starts as they get older. But in practice, there are three major challenges: proving that early starts directly damage teenagers’ health, identifying the best starting time, and overcoming education officials’ reluctance to change traditional early starts.
Health warning. CDC., Author provided
The US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention has drawn together many scientific studies to demonstrate that US schools should set later starting times. There is extensive medical evidence about the harms of starting school or university too early: doing so places teenage students at greater risk of obesity, depression, drug use and bad grades.
The American Medical Association now recommends that no classes for teenagers should begin before 8.30am. Yet early starts are still common in many countries around the world, among them Australia, UK, France and Sweden. There is further evidence that later starts are even better: studies show there are clear health benefits for 13 to 16-year-olds who start school at 10am.
Mariah Evans at the University of Nevada, Reno used new methods to identify the best times for teenagers aged 18 to 19. Her conclusion was dramatic: much later starting times of 11am or even 12pm are best for cognition.
Schools and parents all over the world need to change how they treat teenagers: rather than blaming them for being sleepy in the mornings, let them wake and sleep later to match their biological time. By starting schools and universities later we’ll raise safer, healthier and smarter teens at no real cost. It’s only a matter of time.
Using the different forms of “used to” correctly is a grammar topic that gives students a lot of difficulty. In this lesson, students review the different ways we can use “used to” in English.
Go over the chart with your students and then have them do the practice activity and conversation questions.
The Different Ways to Use “used to”
Look at the chart below and notice the different ways that we can use “used to” in English.
I didn’t use to wake up early.
I didn’t used to wake up early.
Did you use to wake up early?
Did you used to wake up early?
I’m not used to waking up early.
1. ________________a meeting at 8 a.m., but now it’s at 9 a.m.
A. We‘re used to having
B. We used to have
C. We got used to have
2. Being a customer service representative was difficult at first, but then I ________________ with customer complaints.
A. got used to dealing
B. got used to deal
C. was used to dealing
3. Karen just got back from India. She looks tired. I think _________________the time change.
A. she’s getting used to
B. she’s used to
C. she used to
4. I don’t like international travel because ________________ away from my family.
A. I’m getting used to being
B. I don’t use to be
C. I’m not used to being
5. ________________ my email at home, but now I always check my email at night.
A. I wasn’t used to check
B. I didn’t use to checking
C. I didn’t use to check
6. She doesn’t like the city because ________________ in a small town.
A. She’s used to live
B. She’s used to living
C. She used to living
With a partner, discuss the following:
1. Compare your current self to how you were as a senior in college. How have you changed? What did you use to be like? How are you different now?
2. How have you grown as a professional? What did you use to be like? How are you better now?
3. Think about the job you have now. What was challenging when you first got the job? What are some things you had to get used to? Is there anything you are still getting used to doing?
4. Moving to another country would be difficult because I’m used to…
5. Moving to another country would be difficult because I’m not used to…
6. If you were self-employed, what would be different? What would you have to get used to?
7. Tell your group about your hometown. How has your hometown changed in the last 10 years? What did it use to be like? What is it like now?
Essay by suzq756 , High School, 11th grade , A+ , December 2002
Don’t you hate waking up early in the morning? Almost every weekday, high school students are waking up around six o’clock in the morning to get ready for school, some even earlier. It’s not practical for high school classes to start at 7:44. It’s just too early for teenage minds to function properly. Our school should start at least an hour later than that. With the extra hour, our attendance would improve, as well as our grades and attitudes. The facts are all there, so why shouldn’t the hours change?
For the 1997-1998 school year, the University of Minnesota conducted a study on Minneapolis high schools. Their starting times were changed from 7:15 to 8:40. The results of this change were obvious. Teachers reported that students were more alert during the first two periods of the day and that attendance improved by five percent. After such a revealing study, why aren’t more schools catching on?
It’s a proven fact that teenagers need between 8 ÃÂ½ and nine hours of sleep each night.
It’s also a proven fact that only fifteen percent of teenagers get the sleep that they need. Can you believe that more than twenty-five percent of teenagers sleep less than seven hours a night? Are you one of those teenagers? Well, part of the reason why this is happening is because school starts so early in the morning. If school hours were changed, teenagers would be much healthier and feel better about themselves.
Furthermore, school officials are always complaining that so many of their students are constantly tardy to school. They even have a policy in our school that states, if you are tardy five times to a certain class you have to stay an hour after school sitting in detention. Out of the many reasons students receive an office detention for being tardy, it’s usually due to their first period class. They don’t get to school on time because they oversleep. With an extra hour, don’t you think it would be much easier to get to school on time? According to the Michigan study, attendance for every grade in all of their Minneapolis high schools improved. So if these school officials don’t like students being tardy, why don’t they consider having school start later?
Additionally, with the high standards for getting into college nowadays, it is necessary to get good grades. Studies show that students are more alert after nine o’clock. With school starting at 7:44, the first two periods seem like a waste. Students aren’t learning to their full potential, and as a result aren’t getting the grades they are capable of. Over twenty percent of all high school students fall asleep in school at one time or another. It’s hard to learn while you’re sleeping. Also, part of the reason why students don’t get enough sleep is because they are up late studying. You can’t expect students to come home from school, study, eat dinner, do their homework and then go to bed right away. Teenagers need to watch TV, talk to their friends, and run errands after school. We aren’t machines; we need fun in our lives. With an extra hour of sleep, we will be refreshed and ready to learn for our first couple of classes.
While many people say that if schools started an hour later, kids would just be staying up longer and goofing off, they’re wrong. When teenagers get cars, they need to be able to pay for the gas, insurance and other expenses. Therefore, they need to get a job. However, to handle a job and your schoolwork is tricky. Having that extra hour, students could have time to relax and wouldn’t feel as rushed to do everything they have to do. Another argument against having schools start later is that there would be no time for after school programs. They don’t realize that an hour later isn’t that big of a deal. School would end at 3:15, and sports would begin around 3:30. For the sports that have to go outside to practice, it’s during the early fall and spring. During that time, it doesn’t get dark until about six. So sports would be the same, and have the same routine. So what’s the problem? There is none. School officials need to stop making excuses against this.
In a nutshell, I believe all schools including ours should adopt this schedule of beginning the school day an hour later. With an extra hour of sleep, students would have better attendance, better grades, and a better attitude towards school. What is the use of trying to teach kids that can’t learn? Sending kids to school before they have had ample time to wake up will only result in them not learning to their full potential.
It’s almost impossible to wake my 17-year-old son up for school. He says that he wants my help getting up, but in the mornings, I have to threaten to leave without him to get him moving. We leave the house angry and out of sorts. How can I get him out of bed without having these daily battles?
The adolescent brain would be much happier if school started at ten or eleven in the morning (if at all!). Instead of falling asleep at a reasonable hour that lets teens wake up cheerful and rested, many get their second wind at 10:00 p.m., staying up late and waking up cranky and out of sorts.
Here’s my advice:
• Find wake up alternatives. Many kids tune out a well-meaning parent’s efforts to get them to rise and shine, going back to sleep over and over. Others find it jarring to awaken to the piercing buzz of an alarm, launching them out of bed in a foul mood. Perhaps your son wants to waken to music; easy enough these days with alarm clocks that work off an iPod. Or he may want to gradually wake up with a clock that slowly introduces light into the room. Encourage your son to look for ways to awaken that aren’t dependent on you.
• Give him a problem. If you are the only one who cares whether your son wakes up on time, you are going to come across as desperate and needy each morning. Instead, help him identify reasons for getting up on time that matter to him, so that he sees you as an ally who helps when he’s struggling with grogginess, rather than an enemy who is yanking him out of his warm and cozy bed.
• Rule out other issues. Teens who are depressed find it difficult to get motivated to go to school. Those who are anxious may want to hide under the covers where they feel safe. And kids who are using alcohol, pot or other substances can also demonstrate significant difficulties with rolling out of the bed in the morning. Make sure your son is legitimately tired, and that there are no other factors influencing his sluggishness.
• Don’t fuel the drama. The less you take your son’s behavior personally, the better able you’ll be to deal with him calmly. When kids are foggy and irritable, they to lash out at those they love. Don’t engage with him or defend yourself when he’s trying to blame you for his difficulties getting up. It will only make things worse.
• Don’t talk too much! A sleepy adolescent is not capable of intelligent conversation or thoughtful reflection. Avoid reminding your son how foolish it was to stay up late the night before. Give up on having a meaningful discussion about how to make the mornings go more smoothly. While it will be important to strategize a new plan, the time do that is not when he’s rushed, angry, or barely able to function.
• Wake up his brain. Play some loud rock and roll to help your son get out of his sleepy state. Offer him a protein shake or a few bites of breakfast to help give him a jump start. Some kids need nourishment to help them get moving in the morning when they haven’t eaten since the evening before.
• Let go. Some parents have discovered that until their youngster suffers the consequences of sleeping through the alarm, they simply won’t make the effort to wake up on their own. Let your son know in advance that you are no longer willing to engage in power struggles with him in the morning, and that you will try once to wake him up and then he’s on his own. Missing the bus or having to walk because you’ve left for work may be what it takes for him to start taking responsibility for waking up without relying on you.
While you can require a younger teen to shut off his computer and hand in his cell phone, at seventeen, your son is nearly an adult who may soon be out on his own. Help him move toward independence by taking responsibility for waking up, offering support but relinquishing control.
Do you have a question for the Parent Coach? Send it to [email protected] and you could be featured in an upcoming column.
Susan Stiffelman is the author of Parenting Without Power Struggles: Raising Joyful, Resilient Kids While Staying Cool, Calm and Connected. She is a family therapist, parent coach, and internationally recognized speaker on all subjects related to children, teens and parenting. To learn more, visit her Facebook page or sign up for her free newsletter.