5 Tips for Waking Up at 5am
Oh, 5am. I somehow love and hate you. I am 10 days into my 66 day challenge and I am finally starting to see the benefits. I have accumulated some tips that have helped me make the transition from a night owl to a morning person and I am here to share them with you! While this has not been a "perfect" experience, it has been one of self discovery and perseverance. Grab your coffee and read on to see how!
1. When is Bedtime?
I once read that the most radical act of adulthood is giving yourself a bedtime. In the case of the 5am Club, they are absolutely right. I never thought I could wake up this early because I NEED my 8 hours of sleep to feel like a regular human being. Turns out going to bed earlier solves that problem! I aim to be in bed between 9pm and 9:30pm and I often wake a bit groggy but not extremely exhausted like in the beginning. It takes time for sleep rhythms to adjust and I am still in this adjustment period. Until they adjust, there is always coffee!
2. Say YES to the Day!
Hi, my name is Raquel. I am a recovering snoozer. I hit the snooze button faster than you can say lazy. Hitting the snooze button can be a euphoric experience, there is no denying that. But the drawbacks are far more important here. First, sleep inertia is that groggy feeling upon waking that can persist for 2-4 hours after waking that occurs when our bodies stop and start in the morning. Second, snoozing has not been shown to be genuinely restful sleep because it messes with our bodies internal clock and natural circadian rhythms. And finally, hitting snooze first thing in the morning is basically a cosmic scream that says "NO, NOT YET!". By saying no over and over again, there is an unconscious (or conscious) unwillingness to get moving that can have negative ramifications throughout the day. Your mindset is so vitally important in order to be productive and successful. Instead, set your alarm to the latest possible time you can get up, and still make all your commitments (to others and yourself). Start saying YES and you will see major differences in your energy and attitude.
3. When Do You Eat?
In the morning I like to eat after 7:30am simply because I don't feel hungry until then. This could be different for you! I have also found that eating certain foods and avoiding eating 2 hours before bed at night leads to falling asleep more quickly and helps relieve restlessness. Dinner is usually around 6pm and so far that seems to be working for me. Sometimes it does feel like I should qualify for the senior dinner special, but I digress.
4. My Saving Grace - Naps!
Naps have been so incredibly vital to my success thus far. Put it this way - If I was giving a speech after winning a 5am Club Award, I would be thanking naps FIRST. After having a productive morning, I treat myself to an afternoon nap. I can only do this on days where I am not working or have other commitments. But on those beautiful days - you best believe I curl up in a fuzzy blanket on the couch with a book and swiftly pass out. I should remind you that effective naps are usually between 20-40 minutes. These naps tout amazing benefits for cognition, memory, alertness, and can increase motor performance. I'm sure by now you are confused as to my age - no, I am not 70 years old. I'm just a 27 year old woman who likes to go to bed early and have naps, mmkay?
5. Family & Spouse Support
It helps immensely if your family, friends, and spouse are on board for this shift to your habits. In reality, change is hard and they may not like it at first. But hey, they aren't the ones getting up at 5am! I found that communicating my reasons about how these early mornings were going to help me achieve my goals was an important step. My husband has been very supportive and even goes to bed at my old-lady time most nights. At first he definitely thought I was crazy for wanting to do this, but slowly came around to the concept. He does still try to get me to stay in bed in the morning - but they are futile requests that I imagine will drop off soon.
BONUS: Increased Cortisol Levels
Cortisol is our bodies stress hormone. It is released from our adrenals in reaction to threat in moments of fight or flight. It is also released in varying degrees throughout the day, with the highest amount seen in the early morning (after 20-30 minutes of waking). To tap into this early morning energy you have to be awake!The earlier you wake up, the higher the levels. High cortisol can help with focus, energy, and even creativity. Waking up early naturally taps into these benefits over time.
One thing I would like you to consider if you are thinking of joining the 5am Club:
If you can miraculously get up early for your job, or for a commitment to someone else, you can definitely get up for YOU. Pick up that book you have been meaning to read, start that business, or write your cookbook. Give yourself the gift of time and make something happen!
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