What I Learned From Waking Up One Hour Earlier
As someone who is notoriously not a morning person, hearing people tell me they’ve been up since 5:30am leaves me perplexed. What could possibly possess someone to wake up earlier than they have to? What exists at 5:30am? Better be something bloody good.
When I ask what they do with this spare time, the top answers are usually exercising, cook a nice breakfast, or simply getting a head start to the day. I scoff before remembering I start most days in panic after sleeping through my alarm; having mastered the skill of showering, getting dressed and eating breakfast in close to 25 minutes. Some call it laziness, I call it skill.
According to a paper published in the US National Library of Medicine, snoozing your alarm in an attempt to grab a few extra minutes of sleep actually makes the wake-up process more difficult and drawn out. If you manage to drift off again, you’re likely plunging your brain back into the beginning of the sleep cycle, which is the worst point to be woken up.
I don’t really argue with scientists so I want to break the mould, and as hard as it is to say… be a morning person. So I set myself the personal challenge of waking up an hour early for one week to see how it influences my life – for better or worse.
My skin is clear, my pores are unclogged and I am very much awake and ready to start this beautiful Monday!
Okay, honestly, I woke up in a panic having forgot I had set this 6AM alarm and wondered why it’s still dark outside? Is this the apocalypse? Are we night-people now? I can’t remember the last time I woke up before the sun and am still unsure why anyone would.
My Monday was a little rough. I definitely felt the lack of sleep throughout the working day. When I got home, I didn’t feel like doing much. Regardless, I forced myself to go grocery shopping, go for a run and cook dinner. After all that I collapsed and fell asleep at the ripe time of 9pm.
Because I fell asleep earlier than usual, waking up wasn’t as rough. Don’t get me wrong – it didn’t feel good – but not as bad as the morning prior.
I felt like getting out and about, so I went for a walk along the water, listened to some tunes and was home with enough time to cook myself breakfast – something I don’t usually eat (don’t tell my mum).
Work was really productive and when I got home I didn’t feel guilty about chilling out with some TV, having already exercised that day.
Wednesday – Thursday
Wednesday and Thursday were kind of the same, except this time I got ready earlier in the morning and walked to the train station.
It’s a really nice walk – around 30 minutes – and I was in no rush. It was a nice alternative to starting the day, and saved me money (I usually catch the ferry, which is notably more expensive).
At work, I felt focussed and put-together.
In general, I felt like I had more energy. I’ll put that down to actually doing stuff before my day started. I usually wake up at around 7:20am and had to be on public transport by 8AM, leaving not much time to do stuff.
Today I struggled. I almost caved and was extremely close to hitting that snooze button but I’m no quitter.
I went for a run, cooked myself a yum breakfast and had a really productive day.
Saturday – Sunday
Sorry, I simply will not wake up at 6AM on the weekend. I’m willing… but not insane.
The Take Away
I’d like to think waking up that hour earlier is 100% what made my week a success because an what easy fix, right? But, I don’t think I can owe it completely to ditching my sleep-ins.
I will say that having time before work to think about things and mentally prepare myself certainly boosted my productivity levels and creativity.
I certainly exercised more too, which is always a good thing. Getting home at the end of the day, exercise feels like a chore, and often the last thing on my mind.
Exercising in the morning is my favourite time; it’s just difficult when you love a sleep-in as much as I do.
I’d also say that it’s certainly something that takes some getting used to. They say it takes a minimum of 21 days to form a new habit and I believe it. Even on Friday, although I was getting shit done, I certainly wasn’t prone to getting a bad case of the yawns.
Will I continue to wake up an hour early?
Yeah, but on my terms.
It’s something you can utilise for your benefit without having to compromise something you enjoy (for me, sleeping in).
I am going to meet myself half way and wake up half an hour earlier, and an hour on days I feel like a workout.
I challenge you to try too!
(Lead Image: Gilmore Girls)
Bradley is a writer from Newcastle who enjoys travel, Tina Fey and is a connoisseur of cheap red wine.