How to Be a 5AM Riser

Here’s a simple way to transform your life in just a couple of weeks: start waking up at 5AM. If you love sleeping, this seems a monumental task but you’ll be surprised at how easy it really is.

Here are just some of the reasons why being an early riser can improve your life beyond all recognition.

The benefits of waking up early

  1. You’ll live more of your life. You really can sleep your life away. When you wake up early you do more, you experience more and the days are much longer. This quickly translates into the feeling – no, the reality – that you are living more and not just squandering your time.
  2. You’ll sleep better and be healthier. Waking up early forces you to correct poor sleeping habits. The result is that you will feel more rested and your sleep quality also improves. The benefits of a good night’s sleep is well-known and includes better physical – and mental – health.
  3. You’ll have better energy. The groggy feeling you experience when waking up is the result of waking during a deep sleep cycle. As you’ll learn, waking up early involves getting during a lighter sleep cycle, minimising that exhausted feeling. The result is that you feel more energetic.
  4. You’ll feel more relaxed. When you wake at five, you have plenty of time to shower, have breakfast, meditate, contemplate, exercise, plan your day and so on. No more stressful morning rushes. Even your commute will be easier. You will experience much a much more peaceful start to your day. The day is also wonderfully quiet at that time.
  5. You’ll have far more productive days. You will be amazed at how much you can get done. By noon, you would have completed what most people do in a typical working day. A lot of successful people are early risers.

You too can harness the power of waking up early. It really isn’t that difficult – you just need some planning, a routine and a period of adjustment.

How to start waking at 5AM

  1. Get to bed by 10pm at the latest. Waking up early is predicated on the fact that you get sufficient sleep in the first place. If you try to tough it out, it won’t work. Your body does need its quota of sleep. For some it’s as little as 4 hours, for others it’s as much as 9. We suggest aiming for 7 hours when you’re starting out.
  2. Download a sleep app. You can download sleep apps that are designed to wake you up during your lighter sleep cycles thereby minimising feelings of grogginess. You tell the app what time you want to wake up (i.e. 5AM) and it will trigger an alarm during the correct sleep cycle, up to 30 minutes before your chosen time (so you might wake up at 4.30AM, lucky you!) If you don’t have access to an app, you can do this yourself by waking up 15 minutes earlier each day until you find a time when you awake moderately refreshed.
  3. Preferably no electronics in the bedroom. Phones, laptops, tablets have become such a part of our lives that separation from these devices can cause anxiety or a heightened awareness of their absence that keeps us awake. Here’s a compromise: you can have one device but the moment you feel drowsy, turn off all devices, put them out of reach and go to sleep – no more fighting to keep your eyes open.
  4. No caffeine after 4pm. Quit caffeine or switch to decaffeinated alternatives after 4pm. Even if caffeine does not keep you awake, it can disrupt your sleep patterns.
  5. Persevere. It will likely take a few attempts to become a 5AM riser. This is to be expected and it’s more to do with adjusting to a new habit than it “not being for you”. If your sleep patterns are way out of sync, there will be days where you will have to fight the fatigue (rather than napping in the afternoon) so that you can reach that 10PM bed time. Stick with it. The rewards are worth it.

Takeaway points

  1. Waking up early is the habit of champions. High-achievers from all walks of life credit early rising as an important part of their success.
  2. Waking up early requires you to get a sufficient amount of sleep in the first place. You can’t force it, at least not in the long-term.
  3. The benefits of waking early are several and significant: physical and mental; increased productivity; a greater sense of peace; living more of your life.

Action steps

  1. Be disciplined and protect your sleep times. It’s important to hit that 10PM bed time each night whenever possible. Establish a routine.
  2. Download a sleep app. Any that monitors your sleep cycles will do.
  3. Use your early hours to work on important projects. For maximum benefit, work on goals that will improve your life – those important tasks that are often left undone in favour of urgent (but unimportant) things. Working on a project; exercising or meditating are good uses of your extra hours.

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