wikiHow to Survive an Early Work Schedule

Three Parts:Waking UpFunctioning at Your ShiftPreparing the Night Before

An early work schedule can be difficult, especially if you're not typically a morning person. As you want to do well at your job, it's important that you work on getting energized for work in the morning. Avoid hitting the snooze button and do some energizing activities in the morning, like light exercise. At work, try drinking caffeine in moderation to stay alert and take short breaks when possible. The night before, work on getting high quality sleep. In the future, you should strive to develop a healthy sleep schedule to help you get enough sleep each night for work.

Part 1
Waking Up

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    Avoid the snooze button. Many people crave the extra 6 to 8 minutes of sleep provided by the snooze button. However, hitting the snooze button will actually make you feel more tired. When you hit snooze, you immediately go into an early sleep stage. Being interpreted early in the sleep cycle causes you to become more groggy and tired than you would have been without those extra minutes.[1]
    • Set your alarm for when you really plan to get up. Do not set it a few minutes ahead of time to give yourself the pleasure of hitting snooze.
    • When your alarm goes off, get out of bed immediately. It may feel awkward and uncomfortable, but remind yourself that you're doing yourself a favor. Keep thinking of the extra energy you'll feel forgoing the snooze button.
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    Drink a glass of water. You often end up mildly dehydrated in the morning, as your body has gone so long without water. Dehydration can make you feel tired or groggy. As soon as you wake up, drink a glass of ice water. This will help make you feel alert and energized as you proceed through your morning routine.[2]
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    Expose yourself to sunlight. Natural sunlight can help you feel awake in the morning. As soon as you get up, do something to get some sunlight. Try pulling back the curtains in your bedroom or stepping out on the porch for a few minutes. This may help wake you up, allowing you to proceed through the morning with more focus.[3]
    • During winter months, you may want to invest in a light therapy box. This is a device that simulates sunlight that you can purchase online or at a department store.
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    Time your routine. Use a timer on your phone or alarm clock. Set the timer to go off every 10 to 15 minutes, and keep an eye on the time. Try to keep every aspect of your routine, such as breakfast and showering, within short time frames. This will help you keep your pace up, allowing you to get out the door in time for your early shift.[4]
    • Keep in mind, this may be tricky for the first few days. You may not hit all your timeframes exactly, but stick with it and eventually you'll be breezing through your morning routine.
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    Have an energizing and efficient breakfast. If you have an early shift, do not skip breakfast to save time. Breakfast is a vital component of a morning routine. As you've gone 8 hours without food, you'll have an energy deficit in the morning that can be fixed with a healthy breakfast.[5]
    • Pick a healthy breakfast that energizes you. If you tend to feel an energy boost after some protein, try hardboiled eggs. If you tend to thrive on carbs, choose a healthy and complex carbohydrate like oatmeal.
    • Also, in the interest of time, pick something quick to prepare. Try instant oatmeal or purchase precooked hardboiled eggs at the store.
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    Do some light exercise. If you have time, a mild amount of physical activity can help wake you up. Exercise increases blood flow, providing an instant boost of energy.[6]
    • If you regularly hit the gym before work, that can help. However, you do not need to engage in intense physical activity in the morning. Even quick, light activity can wake you up for a day of work.
    • You can try taking a brisk walk around the block, doing some light gardening, or even striking a few yoga poses in your living room. All of this can help wake you up in the morning.
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    Listen to music. Some studies indicate your brain releases dopamine in response to music you enjoy. Try listening to your favorite song or band in the morning. This may have a stimulating effect on your brain, allowing you to go into the day with energy.[7]
    • Consider having a morning playlist that you listen to first thing in the morning.
    • You can also set your alarm to be one of your favorite songs. This can give you an instant energy boost as soon as you climb out of bed.
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    Shower fast. If you're in a hurry to make an early shift, it's a good idea to try and shower more efficiently. If you can cut down your shower time, you can sleep for a few extra minutes each morning.[8]
    • Instead of using shampoo and then conditioner, try a 2-in1 combination.
    • Time yourself as you shower. Set a timer and keep an eye on it, striving to keep your shower time within that frame.
    • Use lukewarm water instead of hot water. This will motivate you to get out of the shower quickly.

Part 2
Functioning at Your Shift

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    Try caffeine in moderation. Caffeine can be helpful to get you through an early shift. However, moderation is key. About two or four cups of coffee should provide you with a boost in energy. Anymore will likely result in your feeling jittery and may cause a crash later on.[9]
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    Avoid sugar. Sugary energy drinks, sodas, and other sweets may give you a quick boost of energy. This will not last. You'll end up crashing later, feeling more tired than you were before that soda or donut. Instead, stick to healthy, energizing snacks throughout your shift.[10]
    • A salad with lean protein, like chicken, can be an energizing lunch for a long day. Anything rich in lean protein, complex carbs, and vegetables is a great lunch to keep you energized during work.
    • If you have a sweet tooth you want to indulge, go for fruit or yogurt over products with a lot of added cane sugar.
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    Take short breaks, if possible. If you had to wake up earlier than usual, your attention span may waver during work. If you get breaks, take them when you begin to feel restless. Brief breaks can help you stay focused during an early morning shift.[11]
    • Try going for a 15 minute walk during break time. A small amount of exercise can give you a boost of energy.
    • You can also use a short break to go into the break room and have a healthy snack. You may also want to grab a cup of coffee, if you had not had more than 2 cups that morning.
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    Stay hydrated. Drinking water throughout the day can help you feel alert for several reasons. First, if you're getting up to refill a glass of water every hour or so, you're staying active. This can keep you engaged. Second, you may have to use the bathroom more. You're less likely to nod off during work if you have a full bladder.[12]
    • You can keep a water bottle at your desk and occasionally refill it in the break room. You can also make use of any water fountains in your office. Take any chance you have to stop and get a drink of water.

Part 3
Preparing the Night Before

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    Prepare what you need in the morning. You'll thank yourself when rushing through your morning routine if you've prepared beforehand. Pick out the clothes you're wearing for the next day and set them out on a desk or shelf. That way, you won't have to scramble to choose an outfit in the morning. You could also set up your coffee maker to go off in the morning. If you wear makeup, pick out the types you'll be using that day. Set up a makeup station for yourself before a mirror.
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    Engage in a relaxing activity before bed. If you want to stay alert for your morning shift, work on getting high quality sleep the night before. In the 45 minutes before bed, try to engage in an activity that relaxes you. This will signal to your brain that it's time to wind down and sleep. It will also help you take your mind off any stressful thoughts that may keep you up at night.[13]
    • Do something that you enjoy and that helps you calm down. You can read a book, take a warm bath, or do a crossword puzzle.
    • Watching television may be a bad idea, as the light from the TV can stimulate the brain. However, a short amount of a relaxing program may be helpful. If you want to watch TV before bed, stick to lighthearted programs over dramas or news shows.
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    Avoid electronics an hour before bed. The light from computer screens, laptops, and phones can stimulate the brain, much like sunlight. Using electronics shortly before bed can make sleeping difficult. Keep things like laptops out of your room and do not use them when you're trying to wind down for rest.[14]
    • If you have trouble staying away from your computer or phone at night, there are many programs and applications you can download that block some of the light from the screen. These programs can help you use your electronics close to bed time without them having as harsh an effect on your sleep.[15]
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    Make sure your environment is comfortable. It's a good idea to evaluate your room to make sure it's optimal for high quality sleep. An uncomfortable sleeping environment can keep you up at night.[16]
    • Make sure your room is the right temperature. A temperature between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit is optimal for positive sleep. If your room is warmer, consider a fan or air conditioning.
    • Make sure your bed is comfortable. Avoid sheets and pillows made from materials that cause irritation.
    • Work on blocking out noise and light. Make sure your curtains close all the way, preventing the light from a streetlamp from getting into your room. If there's a lot of noise from outdoors coming in, turn on a fan or white noise machine to block out the sound.
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    Try relaxation techniques if you have trouble sleeping. If you're having trouble falling asleep, try some relaxation techniques. Things like breathing and meditative exercise can help turn your mind down, allowing you to fall asleep faster.[17]
    • Try tensing your toes, counting to ten, and then releasing them. Count to 10 again and then repeat the process 10 times.
    • Tune into your sense. Pay attention to your breathing, any sounds you hear, how your body feels against the mattress, and other sensations.
    • You can also make a list before bed. If you have trouble sleeping due to stress about the coming day, try making a short list before bed of everything you need to do tomorrow. This can help get your mind off the coming day, allowing you to relax and fall asleep.
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    Set a sleep schedule for the future. If you frequently work early morning shifts, work on setting up a sleep schedule for yourself. Your body has a natural circadian rhythm that responds to a regular sleep/wake cycle. If you go to bed and wake up at roughly the same time each day, even weekends, you'll end up feeling energized in the morning and tired at bedtime. This can help you easily adapt to an early work schedule.[18]

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