by Liberty Stembridge, Lifestyle Columnist
Published in Lifestyle on 17th September, 2018
Why would anyone choose to wake up at the ungodly hour of 5 in the morning unless they absolutely had to? For most of us sane, everyday people it sounds tantamount to torture. Well, turns out - there's lots of reasons to wake up at 5 am, so here's how to do it, and why.
The Key To Success?
Might sound like a bit of a stretch, but there is evidence to show that successful people tend to rise earlier and that those who wake up earlier in college tend to be more academically successful. There are many documented cases of successful people such as Tim Cook, Benjamin Franklin, Ernest Hemingway, Barack Obama, Richard Branson and Benjamin franklin all being early risers.
Several studies have shown that we tend to be most productive in the morning, and getting up at 5 am gives you even more time to get stuff done. 5 am fans have found that once they got into the habit of rising early, they found that they had more energy and were more productive overall. In a way, waking up at 5 am exchanges all the time you would have spent winding down in the evening for time to be productive in the morning.
More Time For Self-Care
If you want to have a good day, have a good morning. You don't necessarily have to be doing work in order to be productive, having time for yourself is also highly beneficial and will affect the rest of your day. Many early risers do so specifically so that they can have a morning routine dedicated to self-care rituals such as cleaning, meditation, yoga, or just a healthy breakfast.
Peace And Quiet
There is something undeniably special about waking up before anyone else, before even the birds are chirping. It provides peace, quiet and the space for us to truly relax and start the day off correctly.
A 5 am start can actually have a hugely beneficial impact on your sleep quality and sleep cycle. If you've been finding that you've been going to bed late, and waking up groggy and stressed in the morning, switching to an early bed time and early rise can help to sync your body up with it's natural circadian rhythm. In other words, your body likes to sleep when the sun goes down and wake when the sun comes up - and the 5 am morning can help you do this.
If you're just getting started with the 5 am morning and you've never woken up this early consistently before, it's going to be a shock to begin with and you will feel resistance to it - which is why you need to sort out your alarm clock.
First off, keep your alarm clock as far away as possible, but still close enough to hear it in the morning. Make sure that you at least have to fully get out of bed and walk to go and turn it off. You will hate yourself for doing this in the morning, but it will pay off in the end because it works. If you're struggling to hear or wake up to your alarm clock every time, change it to the loudest setting and the most ear-ringing horrible noise you can find. Yes it will be horrible and you will probably want to cry a little, but it'll wake you up and get you into a routine. You can switch to the nice light-based, gentle alarm clocks later down the line. In fact, it's actually recommended that you learn to wake up naturally without your alarm clock. Over time, you should naturally get accustomed to wake up at 5 am and you're body will wake up naturally - all in good time however, because right now you need to get your body into a good sleep schedule.
If you're still feeling like you could easily flop back into bed and sleep for another three hours once you've turning off you're alarm clock then you're probably not quite fully awake, and you need to be in order to get your morning started properly.
The key to this is getting your mind to wake up by getting the body moving. A quick and easy method is to keep a strong or tangy drink by your bed to take in the morning straight away. Orange juice, sparkling water or ginger and apple juices work great for this, as they're cold, tingly and will instantly set off all the receptors in your mouth to alert your brain of what's going on - essentially forcing it to wake up a little more.
Next, get changed: the best thing we can do to feel like we've really started our day is to get changed into non-pajama clothing. It doesn't have to be your work clothes just yet, it can be as simple as some shorts and a sweatshirt - just so long as you're wearing actual clothes.
If you're still struggling with not feeling awake, move on to shocking your body into action. Brushing your teeth and washing your face works well, as the minty flavor of toothpaste wakes our brain up and a quick splash on the face with cold water can give us an instant energy shot. If you're feeling really brave, or you really can't seem to wake up at all, you might want to try taking a cold plunge. Dipping your whole (or even just half) body into cold water in the morning isn't super pleasant, but it will wake you up for sure.
Lastly, get active. Not everyone is able to just wake up and go on a run, but once you've woken up properly and gotten warmed up, doing some yoga, dancing round the room or going for a run will get the blood pumping around your body and is an excellent way to start off the day.
Routine, routine, routine. It's the magic word that will make it easy for you to wake up early in the morning. Difficult to create, but once you've got your routine down it'll become so natural you won't even have to think about it.
Essentially, the key to maintaining a 5am wake up is your routine, which doesn't just include what you do as you wake up: but also the night before. You will find it a lot easier to wake up at 5 am if you are waking up at 5 am everyday, and going to sleep early the night before Different people have different sleep requirements but on average you should be getting about 7-8 hours sleep, which means you should be going to bed at around 9 or 10 the night before. If going to bed so early is scaring you, do it anyway. It'll benefit you in the long run, and you'll find yourself having much more productive, happier days. If you have an easy to follow morning routine that you do every day, gradually it'll become mechanical and your body will start to follow it no matter what. Even if you've been out before and you wake up tired, you'll drag your feet out of bed to go brush your teeth and do some yoga completely out of habit.
It's probably annoying to hear, but a healthy diet really can help you with your routine. Balancing your body with a good, nutritious diet will give you more energy and make it easier to wake up. Making sure that you're getting enough in the way of essential vitamins and minerals will go a long way towards boosting your energy and improving your sleep quality. Remember to avoid coffee and sugar in the evening, as this will keep you up at night and make it far harder to wake up properly in the morning, perpetuating a cycle of unease. If you can, try to resist the allure of a hot coffee on an early morning, but don't beat yourself up about it - most of us can't resist a good coffee in the morning.