Why You Should Get Up at 5 am and How to do it
Have you ever wondered why people who get up early like to do so? Perhaps you have thought to yourself you could never be a morning person. Maybe you’ve been curious about how getting up early may benefit your health and your overall well-being? Perhaps, you believe you could never be one of those "crazy morning people". If you have struggled with any of these thoughts then you are going to want to stick around because in this post I am going to dip into some of the science and the benefits of rocking the 5 a.m. hour. The best part? I’ll give you practical tips on how you too can rock this magic hour, with me. Hopefully, by the end of this post, you will be motivated to try this ritual on for size. It could seriously give you the edge on living your best life that you have always wanted. Based on this research alone, one can deduce that by getting up early you will have more opportunities to improve your performance, your business, your health, your intellectual growth and your spiritual awareness. Essentially, you will have the advantage over the rest of the world. As you approach your mornings, so you approach your life. You have an advantage over everyone else to become more like the leader you wish to be and less like a victim. Will it be difficult to get up early at first? Of course, it will. However, I’ve got you. In this post, I provide you with some reasonable ways to help you become part of the 5 a.m. Club.
Have you ever wondered why people who get up early like to do so? Perhaps you have thought to yourself you could never be a morning person. Maybe you’ve been curious about how the early morning hours may benefit your health and your overall well-being? Perhaps, you believe you may never be one of those "crazy morning people". If you have struggled with any of these thoughts then you are going to want to stick around because in today’s post I am going to dip into some of the science and benefits of waking up at 5 am. The best part? I’ll give you practical tips on how to do it. By the end of this post, you will be motivated to try this ritual on for size. It could seriously give you the edge for living your best life that you have always wanted.
I haven’t always been an early riser. In fact, only in more recent years have I started the habit of getting up at 5 am. It started with a desire to have enough time to gather my thoughts, to work out, and to have some time alone before I headed off to work. It really happened by accident when I woke up early and couldn’t get back to sleep. So, I got up and made some coffee. I started reading a book I meant to read for some time. To top it off, I fit my workout in. That day was one of the best in a long time. I was more focused and happier that day. I took care of myself and it felt really satisfying. If the goal was to preserve the feelings of success, I knew I must make waking early a priority. The days I slept in were completely in opposition to these productive days. Sleeping in left me feeling one step behind, disappointed that I didn't work out, and depressed because I hadn’t taken care of my soul.
As one who enjoys researching health-related topics, I looked into the science of waking early. If I understood the “why”, it may help to motivate me to make this early morning thing a new habit. I think Benjamin Franklin had it right when he said, "Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise". I’m not sure I’m much wealthier or wiser; but, I feel healthier, a bit more intuitive, and I certainly have time to work on my business, now.
Biologist Kristoff Randler found in his research that people who get up early, biologically reprogram their brain to react differently than those who don’t take advantage of the early hours. Early risers tend to be more proactive, more optimistic, and more conscientious. In fact, MRI scans show that the prefrontal cortex is most active in the early morning right after waking. Your prefrontal cortex is the area of the brain responsible for decision making, planning, goal making, personality, and willpower.
Regarding willpower, the researchers at the University of Nottingham and the National Institute of Education in Singapore found that there is a significant drop in self-control as the day wears on. Their testing concludes that blood glucose, perceived exertion, and productivity all suffer as the hours pass in a day. Based on this research alone, one can deduce that by getting up early one can truly have a leg-up on the rest of the world. The early morning becomes the best time to improve your performance; your business; your health; and your intellectual and spiritual growth. In other words: getting up early becomes the secret weapon that most people never take advantage of. With this knowledge, we are going to learn how to tap into the magic power of the early morning!
Before you start anything new, you need to determine the benefits. If you don’t have a “why” in mind for any new habit you wish to adopt, you will set yourself up for failure. So, in an effort to help you out, I’m going to supply you with a barrage of reasons why you should adopt the early morning habit, STAT (affectionate medical speak for "do it now or else…"). If you wish to improve your health, fitness, and finances, then the first hours of the morning are your best odds for breaking any performance barriers. In addition, if you want to be more consistent in your workouts, to find the time to pursue creative interests or to sit still for 10 minutes to meditate, you will not find a better time to do so than the early morning hours. Why? Because it is quiet. No one is texting you. Nothing worth watching is on TV (except for Golden Girls). No one is demanding an e-mail response from you. No one is calling you. If you want the opportunity to pursue personal growth at exponential levels, this is your ticket!
HOW TO START:
So how do you go about changing your habit of habitually sleeping in? First, determine the method that has worked for you in the past when changing your routine. Are you an all-in kind of person or do you prefer easing into it? If you are an all-in kind of person, then set your alarm for 5 am and set your phone or alarm across the room where you cannot easily turn the snooze button on. Go to bed at the same time that you normally do. The next day, don’t take a nap. You will be very tired that evening and you will want to go to bed earlier. Your body will quickly adapt to your new schedule; but, the initial plunge is shocking to the system.
However, if you are the type of person that does not dive into the water; but, instead you gradually acclimate one appendage at a time to the temperature, you may prefer to ease into a new morning schedule. To gently acclimate to an early schedule, set your alarm for 15 minutes earlier than the typical time. In addition, head to bed 15 minutes earlier than usual. Do this for a few days and then reset your alarm for another 15 minutes earlier for a few days until you eventually reach 5 am. It may take a few weeks but you will gradually get there. Regardless of your method (ripping off the bandaid or progressively pulling it off), make sure that when the alarm goes off you use the power of the 5-Second Rule. Mel Robbins, the author of The 5 Second Rule, states that the brain is designed to stop you from changing or doing something scary, new, or uncertain. It naturally protects you by overthinking. This overthinking mechanism prevents us from living more courageously and from doing things that are beneficial; but, require effort. To beat this built-in metacognition phenomenon, you must trick the brain into acting before it has time to reason you out of it. There is an overflow of psychological research that supports this method of changing our habits. One term researchers use is "Do Good, Be Good". The concept with "do good, be good" is that you cannot think your way into being different. You have to do it first and allow your body to become it, later. Another concept is called, "The Golden Rule of Habits". Charles Duhigg discussed in his book, The Power of Habit, that you cannot change your triggers you or how you feel about them; but, you can choose how you behave. In other words: you cannot break a habit; but, you can replace it with a new behavior. In chemistry, there is a term called, "activation energy". Activation energy is the energy required to start a reaction. It must be great in order to bring the molecules to a lower activation energy. In terms of habit, it takes more energy to start a habit than to maintain it.
Given these scientific concepts, the way to beat this reality is by counting down from 5 and like a rocket launch at the count of one, you GO! The reason this simple behavior works is that it becomes the new pattern to replace the old habit of reasoning yourself into staying under your warm covers. The rocket launch method becomes your starting ritual to get your fanny out of bed. In addition, the 5-second rule becomes your new "locus of control". In psychology, the locus of control is the concept that the happier individual believes that you create your life and you are in control of it, rather than adopting the belief that life happens to you. Furthermore, the 5-second rule helps to develop a "bias toward action" which psychologist describe as the ability to act rather than overthink—and this, in turn, becomes a stronger locus of control for you.
While it is fun to adopt Jedi mind tricks to help win the day, I want to provide you with some ancillary tips to win the day.
1. First, you must determine your "why". Review the benefits I described earlier in this post or create your own. Regardless, you must know why this new habit is important to you.
2. You cannot start sleeping less. This means you will need to go to bed earlier.
3. You must have quality sleep. To win the day, you must sleep like a champ. In order for your pineal gland to release melatonin, you must be screen-free for a minimum of one-two hours before you hit the pillow.
4. Set your alarm away from your bed so that you must get up.
5. Keep your phone on airplane mode and DND while you sleep to prevent exposure to radio frequency waves.
6. Determine what you want to look forward to. For example, have your coffee set up the night before. Find a page-turner book that you cannot wait to read. Is there a creative project that you are excited to start? Discover a new exercise program that you are excited to try. Whatever it takes to help you move your mind over your mattress, you need to do it.
7. Use blackout shades and/or an eye mask.
8. Use an aromatherapy diffuser (without the light on) to fill your room with fragrances that help you sleep.
9. Keep your room at a colder temperature between 62 and 68 degrees.
10. Purchase a high-quality mattress with zero off-gassing.
11. Invest in a set of high thread count cotton, bamboo or any natural fiber that feels cozy to you.
If you still have trouble achieving quality sleep, seek a holistic practitioner who can test your circadian rhythms and biorhythmic patterns. Your cortisol levels may be spiking in the middle of the night. You may need to change your eating habits at dinner or take some supplements to help modulate your cortisol spikes. Hormone testing may be useful if low progesterone or estrogen levels are preventing restful sleep. Furthermore, your practitioner may determine that you need a sleep study to rule out sleep apnea.
For more tips on sleeping well, you can check out the pdf I have linked for you HERE. Also, I’d like you to check out this video from my friend, The Healing Cave Lady on how to create ideal sleeping conditions.
THE COMMON MISTAKES:
Before you let the idea of 5 a.m. overwhelm you, start with a simple assignment. The most common mistakes folks make when adopting a new habit are: 1) not creating a reason why it is important and 2) not creating a plan. Here is what I want you to do as soon as you finish this post:
1. Write down three reasons why you want to get up early on a 3x5 card.
2. Then plan out what you want to accomplish tomorrow with your extra time. Write down three things that excite you.
3. Set your alarm clock for 5 am and set it across the room.
4. When you go to bed tonight tell yourself you will sleep soundly and that you will awaken feeling rested.
5. Remind yourself as soon as you hear your alarm to count down from 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 and say "Go!". Then, jump out of bed and get your fabulous day started!
THE TAKE HOME MESSAGE:
As you approach your mornings, so you approach your life. You have an advantage over everyone else to become more like the leader you wish to be and less like a victim. Will it be difficult to get up early at first? Of course, it will! It will be painful in the beginning, frustrating in the middle and an incredible joy once it becomes part of your habit every morning. At the University College of London, it was determined that it actually takes 66 days for a new habit to become hard-wired with new neural pathways. Therefore, in order for 5 a.m. to become part of who you are, you will need to commit to 67 days.
To get the results of the top 5% of the population, you’ve got to have the courage to do what the 5% are doing. So, become one of the 5% and overcome your bias toward action by improving your locus of control. Once you conquer your morning schedule, you will be able to conquer every other aspect of your life. You can do this! If I can, so can you! It is not about perfection, it is about progress.
I can’t wait to hear how getting up earlier has improved your life. Leave me a comment below and let me know what works for you!
Remember that perfection is who you are today; your body mind and soul. Imperfection is allowing time to pass without any effort to improve upon these.
Much love to you, my friend!