If you would have told me 5 years ago that I’d be getting up before the sun on a regular basis & enjoying it, I would’ve told you to be quiet and go back to bed.
Fast foward to 2017 and here we are. It’s 6:13am (on a SUNDAY), I’ve been up for just over an hour and already kicked off my day. The cool thing is that once you start doing this consistently, you won’t even need to set an alarm & it won’t be a big deal if you’re not in bed asleep by 9am sharp.
If you’re looking to kick start your productivity, sleep better or utilise that extra hour you keep saying you need, take a look at the benefits of waking up just a little bit earlier than most.
Need I say more?
Clarity is that feeling of knowing you’re doing the right thing at the right time, walking into a room feeling completely prepared and at peace (not realising you left 2 things you need in the previous room or your car) and that overall feeling of presence.
Having some clarity on what you want the outcome of your day to be, not just your to do list, is not only transformative for your life but will make you incredibly productive. Defining your outcome comes down to why you’re doing what you’re doing. For example, if you have 4 things on your to do list relating to your work, it’s clear your outcome is to get caught up on that project, nail the presentation you have coming up or whatever else it may be. Now, you may accomplish that by doing those 4 things on your to do list, HOWEVER, what if there’s a better way? What if there’s an easier way to get your desired outcome by focusing on the end result and letting your to do list come from that place, as opposed to being a slave to the dreaded to do list?
What I’ve found getting up early, is that it gives me time to reflect on why I’m doing what I’m doing, what my true desired outcome is for this situation. More often than not, it will change (and shorten) my to do list when I realise there’s a better resource I can utilise to get where I’m going.
2. Improved Sleep Quality & Energy
This may come as a surprise considering sleep quality is very commonly associated with how long we sleep. I have always been someone who’s struggled with sleep quality, sometimes I could fall asleep, sometimes I couldn’t, sometimes I could stay asleep, sometimes I couldn’t, blah blah blah. Incredibly annoying and disruptive to my day to day life.
The single best tip I ever received was from my Uncle Frank, who told me to start getting up at the same time every single day. He was undergoing treatment at the hospital at this time and the tip came from one of his nurses. Since then, his difficulties falling asleep have been drastically reduced.
Here’s the thing, a lot of the time people who get up early consistently have an easier time falling asleep and maintaining good sleep quality because their minds & bodies and linked up to a cycle. When you struggle to wake up at 7am on weekdays and completely switch to a 9-11am wakeup on weekends, it makes it hard to maintain consistency and can screw with your rhythm. What I’ve found is because of the improved sleep quality I have from waking up around the same time everyday, I don’t need a full 8 hours of sleep every night for optimal performance.
I listen to my body, if I’m exhausted and having trouble focusing I’ll shut off my phone by 8:30pm or so and real, lay on my acupressure mat, read a book, etc. If I fall asleep by 8:45pm, cool. If not, cool. The biggest gift this has given me is I’m not a slave to the clock anymore and can live my life more actively around my sleep schedule. In the same sense, the nights where I have energy or have a social engagement, I can go to bed at 10 or 11 knowing that I’ll wake up fresh because if I really was tired or needed those extra hours of sleep, my body would’ve let me know. Make sense?
3. Relishing That Morning Time
If you consider yourself a night owl, chances are, there’s something about the twilight that appeals to you. Maybe it’s the solace of being up when most people aren’t or the peacefulness of it all.
Early morning has all those benefits, with the addition of clear energy that comes from a rested mind.
I feel like there’s an appeal to being a night person, something that gives you a touch of mystery and demure. In the same sense, I used to imagine a morning person as someone over 40, rocking their circa 1980’s cardio workout gear (think bright & waterproof) who tells cheesy jokes. The truth is, none of this is accurate and you have to find what works for you.
I worked in nightlife for quite a few years and would have considered myself an eternal night owl without blinking an eye. On the flip side, what I’ve found is that allowing myself to have that extra time in the morning as opposed to the evening allows me to align my day with what I truly want to get out of it. It takes the guess work out of ‘is this the right thing to do?’ type of mentality.
Weather or not you get up at a certain time everyday absolutely does not predict your quality of life, happiness or productivity. Just throwing out a little food for thought from a former night owl. I know…I’ve lost my mystery. Le sigh.