Why is waking up early important?
To wake up early in the morning we must first understand why is it even important.
If you are not working a normal 9-5 chances are that you do not mind sleeping until say 10-11 in the morning. Why is it important for us to wake up early?
1) It helps you sleep early
Yes, who would have thought? If you wake up early and you are productive throughout the day, you will be more tired by the time the clock strikes 11.
It will help you create a more stable sleep cycle and healthier lifecycle.
2) It helps you focus on other things
Often times our job or our business takes too much out of us throughout the day.
By the end of our day, we are exhausted and lack the motivation to do anything else.
It might be easy to think I can hustle up and grind after my job but in actuality, it is ‘almost’ impossible.
By waking up early, you can focus on the things that matter to you. You are the most active and most focussed.
Any task you plan on doing, whether it is a business or a hobby, you are much more likely to be consistent with it if it is early in the morning.
3) You get a chance to bounce back
Sometimes when you have bad days, days where you were not productive. They have a tendency to cascade over into the next day.
It can easily make you lose momentum especially if you are not waking up early.
Since you wake up at the time required, you have no choice but to go through the motions of you day and cannot step back and think it through.
A bad day becomes a bad week and a bad week becomes a bad month.
Waking up at say 5 am will give you a serene and peaceful solitude where you can start working on your day, planning your actions, without distractions.
You will have a much better chance of bouncing back.
4) Brings intentionality in your days
Waking up early is the first victory of your day. When you do that, you are in the driver’s seat for the rest of your day.
You will have much more confidence and a head start for the rest of your day.
Often times you will begin to notice minor gaps throughout your day that you never noticed before.
Since you woke up early and started your day top-heavy, the major portion of your work planned for the day is complete by the evening.
It opens up small 15 min chunks for the rest of your day where you might be able to read a few pages of a book, do some exercise, catch up with a friend.
But it is so pleasant
Marcus Aurelius in his journal called Meditations has an internal dialogue with himself in book 5 and I am paraphrasing.
Whenever you are unwilling to wake up tell yourself that you are rising to do the work of a human being. Why should you be dissatisfied if you are going to do the things for which you exist? Things for which you were born into the world.
Were you born in the world to lie in bed and keep yourself warm?
He argues with himself the way we do, saying that it is more pleasant.
However, then he questions himself.
Is he born in the world to take pleasure and not at all for action or exertion?
He says that it is important to take rest but nature has fixed bounds for this just as it has for drinking and eating and he already had sufficient sleep.
Every living thing in nature is fulfilling its purpose, be it the plants, the ants, little birds, spiders, the bees working together.
Then why should we be lagging to do the work of a human being and why aren’t we in a hurry to do what is in accordance with our nature.
Purpose to wake up
Thus, Marcus Aurelius argues that in the morning we have to wake up to fulfil our purpose as humans.
It is necessary to know why we exist and what fulfills us. He says that those who love their arts exhaust themselves in working at them.
They forget to eat food, wash their clothes. All they want to do is to perfect the things which they care for.
In our blog on Ikigai, we talk in-depth about how to find our purpose in life.
Ikigai is a word in Japanese philosophy, which means something that gets us out of bed in the morning.
To find your Ikigai you need to ask yourself four questions.
- What do you love
- What does the world need
- What can you be rewarded for
- What are you good at
How do we wake up early?
So now you know what the benefits of waking up early are and why finding your purpose might help you in it. However, we still don’t know how to do it.
Well here is how you do it
1) Don’t try to pull an all-nighter
If you believe the conventional wisdom, your first instinctive thought is to pull off an all-nighter.
You will stay up the entire night and sleep at 10 or 11 and viola, your sleep cycle is back on track.
Well if you have tried that you have probably failed, and this is because there was a fault in the premise itself.
When you reach the point, where you are awake for more than 24 hours you feel a sudden lack of energy in your body and even if you try your hardest to stay up, your body tries to pass out.
When that happens, you have an even messed up sleep cycle than the one you had before.
2) Focus on your long term habits to wake up early
Even if you did succeed in resetting your sleep cycle by staying up all night, you are bound to stay up late again.
We fall back into our patterns and end up staying up late again because that is where our entire day leads.
If you have a habit of staying up watching a movie or talking to friends etc. you are bound to do that within the next few days.
Instead, what you can do is start sleeping 15-30 minutes early each day.
To do that, push your entire day’s schedule up.
Each task that you do, try doing that 15-30 minutes early.
This will help your body’s circadian rhythm to adjust as well. More on that later.
3) Take a cold shower when you wake up
It has been a year now since I started taking cold showers in the morning.
They snap you out of your sleepiness and bring your body to a high state of alertness. The moment you wake up, go, and take a cold shower.
It will stop the subconscious brain from rationalizing to you, why you should stay asleep, but moreover, it will force your body to take deeper breaths.
This decreases the level of CO2 in your blood and improves focus and concentration throughout your day.
4) Stop using blue light screens at night to wake up early
Our body has an internal clock that is 24 hours and 11 minutes as shown by Czeisler et al. at Harvard.
This internal clock is called Circadian rhythm. It is different for each person and might vary by approximately 15 minutes depending on person to person.
This internal clock resets every morning when we see the Sun.
However, when we use blue light at night our bodies can’t differentiate between day and night and that is why we don’t feel sleepy when we play videogames or watch something on television late at night.
Other factors that reset this internal clock might be food or even social interactions. That is why blind people are able to maintain their internal clocks.
This is why it is beneficial when we shift our entire schedule up while trying to sleep early.
5) Before you sleep plan the next day
Place your alarm clock further away so you can’t snooze it the moment you wake up and set your clothes for the next day and write down at least 3 things you have to accomplish tomorrow.
When you do that it will be much easier to wake up in the morning. You are in a way reducing the resistance you feel when you wake up.
When you have a set goal for tomorrow, not only does it strike you first in the morning it also creates a sense of purpose and commitment for the day.
This makes the actions you take more accountable and brings intentionality to your day.
If you already wake up early in the morning, I don’t know how you went through all that and reached this point in my blog.
I assume you have trouble getting in the rhythm and waking early each day.
Apply the steps mentioned above for 30 days. The first ten days will be the hardest, especially bringing yourself to take a cold shower.
However, you will feel it getting easier as the days go by. In the next 10 days, you might still feel some discomfort but it will be relatively easier.
The last 10 days however it won’t be difficult at all.
Getting up early is easier the longer you do it, just like almost everything else.
We urge you to explore what your callings are. Do you possess the courage to chase them?
We provide a free eBook called The perfect beginning that might help you in finding those callings.
That is all for this week. I hope you have a good day and a good life.