“It is a matter of shame that in the morning the birds should be awake earlier than you.”
~ Abu Bakr
I was a sleepy head all my life. Moreover, for the biggest part of my life, I sincerely believed that all people are indeed divided into two types — “early birds” and “night owls”. At one point in my life, I busted this myth going through another experiment on myself — I was waking up at 4:30 am every single morning for four months. This experience was enough for me to acquire a taste for early mornings and although I don’t wake up at 4:30 am anymore, I still wake up early enough to enjoy the full benefits of being an early riser. Let me share them with you.
Benefits of Being an Early Riser.
#1. Early risers implement “sleep hygiene”.
They know that if they don’t get enough hours of sleep every day, they will end up being crushed the following day losing a day of productivity. Early risers follow a strict sleep regimen to ensure they stay in good health and maintain high working performance.
#2. You get access to silence.
The quietude of the early morning instills peace for the whole day and that in the long term improves your mental health. Early morning is the perfect time for meditation and that practice alone will have a life-changing effect if you find the discipline to stay committed.
The silence of the early morning is not for everyone. It is a gem hidden from those who laze in the bed and this makes the opportunity to experience it even more precious and exclusive.
#3. You wake up into different energy.
Remember from one of your school days, when you had an exam and you entered a room full of students sitting in tension and silence? At that moment you could almost physically feel how their minds are brimming over with memorized information. This is exactly what you experience when you wake up late — you wake up into the cacophony of thousands of buzzing minds.
What you experience in the early morning is the complete opposite. It is serenity. You enter the space of pure energy clean from the white noise of thoughts of other people. You dissolve in this space and it becomes a part of you. The time when even birds are sleeping gives you unparalleled calmness and focus to make important decisions.
#4. You have time to prepare for the day.
Waking up early lets you slowly and thoroughly plan out the day and eliminates the stress of a morning rush. You have time to write your to-do list and assign all time-blocks all the way until bed-time ensuring the smooth progression of your day.
#5. You have time to take care of your health.
Being an early riser, you finally have time for jogging, exercising, yoga and cooking yourself a nice healthy breakfast. You have time to take care of your hygiene and any other wellbeing procedures of interest.
#6. Being an early riser makes you more organized and disciplined.
If you don’t create a strict rule to get up in the morning at a designated time, sleeping “just 5 more minutes” in the morning will always be tempting eventually resulting in oversleeping. When you condition yourself to wake up at the same time every single day the only way to get more z’s is to plan your sleep ahead and go to bed early. Managing the downtime and ambition to forge discipline to rise early are the traits of all highly successful people.
“Most of the successful men we look up to, are early risers.”
#7. Well-trained planning and time-management skills make you more productive.
Having a 3–4-hour block of time available for important work will change your workflow. It will allow you to slay your main tasks in the morning and give you a chance to appreciate your free time even more.
#8. Early rising leads to more fulfillment and life satisfaction.
Early rising is a real challenge and as with all challenges, your willpower will get an upgrade if you succeed to overcome it. All long-term goals can be achieved through the thorough implementation of a set of purposeful ritualistic activities. Do you know what is so-called “magic of early mornings?”
Having things done by the time most people start their day — that’s what it is.
#9. Lastly, early rising lets you see the beauty.
Witnessing mesmerizing sunrises every single day makes your sense of beauty evolve. You feel grateful realizing that seeing a sunrise is a gift. You feel privileged knowing that although many people have this opportunity, few choose to seize it. You start to appreciate little things in life. A new dawn brings a new insight — if you woke up today you are lucky.
Tips on How to Rise Early.
#1. Change your mindset.
There are no such things as being an “early bird” or a “night owl”. Human is one of the most adaptable animals in the world and something as simplistic as a sleeping pattern is not a predetermination, it is merely a habit. A claim to be a “night owl” and a belief that sleeping late is preprogrammed into “night owls” by nature serve as excuses for those who refuse to develop the discipline to get up early.
#2. Create an external condition that would obligate you to get up early.
In May 2016, I took a part-time gig in addition to my full-time job. The only time I could work on the gig was before the start of the full-time working day. I was waking up every morning at 4:30 am, going to the only 24/7 cafeteria in the neighborhood, buying breakfast and walking to a nearby park to sit down on the bench and enjoy my food looking at the rising sun. At 6 am I was sitting in my office ready for a 3-hour freelance shift. This remained my working mode for 4 months and by the end of the fourth month, the habit of rising early was deeply ingrained.
#3. Deploy a 30-days challenge.
Challenge yourself to wake up at 5:30 am every morning for 30 days and see what is going to change. For most people, 30 days is enough to develop a habit. Reaching the next step when the habit evolves to become second nature is just a matter of a longer practice.
#4. Sleep early.
Stick to the plan. Many people have a regimen of waking up early from Monday to Friday but when the TGIF mood hits them they party all night hoping to catch up lost hours of sleep staying unconscious till Saturday afternoon. Nothing can be worse for the stability of your early rising rhythm as disrupting your sleeping pattern in such a way.
#5. Set the right alarm.
If you are sensitive like me and even slightest noises wake you up then some gentle ambient sounds on the alarm will do the job. Some people need the sound of an explosion to get through the barrier of deep sleep. Make sure the alarm can’t be ignored. Alternatively, set the first alarm as the gentle one and the following as a serious push out of bed.
#6. Get into a vertical position right away.
Stand up or at least sit up as soon as you wake up. By positioning your body straight up you are signaling your body that the day has started and it is time to move and do stuff. A friend of mine who had problems with waking up early used to prepare from the evening setting his alarm in another room so that in the morning he had no choice but to get up and make several steps to silence torturous sounds. I never tried this method but maybe it will work for you.
#7. Contact with cold water.
Drink a glass of cold water right after you open your eyes. It will wake you up better than a shot of coffee and jump-start your digestive system. Take a cold shower and there is no way you will feel sleepy after it.
#8. Do some light exercise right after the shower.
You have to make the blood rush through your veins and trigger the brain. Some yoga, calisthenics, and breathwork are great for this.
#9. Find yourself a buddy.
Find a friend who will make sure you get up. Pick a friend who is more disciplined than you and it is important that you feel accountable to him.
#10. Last and the most important thing — Be on a Mission.
All people who sacrifice the comfort of a warm bed for the opportunities of early mornings have a strong reason to do so. They have a purpose that doesn’t let them slug in the bed — an idea that sets them on fire. If you don’t know the reason why you wake up none of the tips or tricks will help you to rise early. The habit of early rising can never be manifested by a lethargic mind. It’s a hallmark of the strong-willed. The mind is the key. The body is simply readjusting itself to the needs of stern resolve. Ask yourself a question:
What is your “Why”?
What gets you up from that bed in the morning?
We will all sleep in the afterlife. Let’s not waste your precious time.
Thank you for reading my book “Meditations of the Millennial”.
If you want to support me on my mission, please, share this book with someone you love. Maybe they will find what they seek on its pages.