Aside from catching an early flight, caring for a sick child or perhaps getting up to watch a World Cup match, you may have never considered getting up as early as 5am. For most of us it sounds like torture. But a few weeks ago I bit the bullet and began doing it anyway.
Overwhelmingly, people’s initial reaction is “Why?” with an added look of bewilderment. Now, I’ll admit that I love sleep. A lot. I too never understood why someone would voluntarily wake up early. If we could sleep in late, shouldn’t we just let our body rest? I saw it as some act of deprivation.
The truth is, there was no underlying reason for it. I undertook this as a personal challenge for myself. Philip Doddridge wrote; “The difference between rising at 5am and 7am in the morning, for 40 years, supposing you went to bed at the same hour at night, is nearly equivalent to the addition of 10 years to a man’s life.”
I know I’ve wasted hours of my life that I will never get back because I kept hitting the snooze button.
When you wake up at 5am, you start your day earlier than 99.9% of the world
Going About It
It’s not easy, trust me. Waking up early can be a daunting task, especially when you first attempt it. In fact, I had attempted this once before, failing and giving up in the first week! I could give you tips like; “Put your alarm clock on the other side of the room” or “start off small, setting your alarm 10 minutes earlier each morning”. Which are decent tricks to help you succeed. The truth is, YOU are your biggest obstacle. If the drive to get up isn’t there, you won’t succeed. This is true with anything. One important tip I did learn; Don’t give your brain time to rationalise. If you allow your brain to think, it will talk you out of getting up early.
Don't Let The Sun Catch You In Bed!
Once you do manage to get yourself awake and out of bed, it is vital to have scheduled some important or exciting plans for the morning – Wake up with purpose! Morning rituals have become an important part of my morning routine – if you win the morning, you win the day. Getting up at 5am on the dot and making the bed. That’s a big win for me. Then I’ll eat a big breakfast. If you are getting up early and spend that time pottering around aimlessly until your day starts at 9am, then you have just wasted 4 hours.
Make Your Day Top Heavy
We all have that one item on our ‘to do’ list that we dread. It looms over you all day (or week) until you finally suck it up and do it after much procrastination. Not only should you wake up with purpose and a plan but do one of the least desirable tasks on your list first. The morning is the time when you are (generally) more well rested and your energy levels are up. Therefore, you are more equipped to handle more difficult projects. And look at it this way, your day will get progressively easier, not the other way round. By the time your work day is ending, you’re winding down with easier to do jobs and heading into your free time more relaxed.
Unfortunately, there are none. None that I know of anyway. There are a ton of benefits though! Here are just 4.
Doing this experience, I have realised waking up early is so difficult for many because it’s a holistic lifestyle change, beyond just changing your waking time. There is a sense of control acquired from beating your inner voice. When the alarm goes off and the voice tells you that you went to bed far too late to get up this early, or that 5 minutes won’t hurt, don’t listen. When you are in charge of your inner voice, things start on a high and usually only get better.
Yes, when you first start you are going to be tired, mainly because the time your head hits the pillow hasn’t shifted any earlier. This is part of the process. You need to feel tired at the end of the day, so lights out can come sooner.
“Life is too short,” she panicked, “I want more.” He nodded slowly, “Wake up earlier.” – Dr. SunWolf
However, If you can muster the will. If you can train your body and conquer your mental resistance, the benefits to an early start are incredibly rewarding.
Dr Edward Benson-Cooper,