Wow, it has been a month since I started my waking up at 5 am experiment, and I think it’s a good time to draw some conclusions.
First, I want to say that I started this experiment to see what would have happened if I started to wake up early. As a 23 years old guy, I knew that it would have been hard, but I decided to try anyway. After all, I knew I could have quit after 30 days if I wanted to, so it was not a lifetime commitment.
If you are just looking for the quick answer, yes, I’ll continue to wake up at 5 am now that the experiment is over. Keep reading if you want to find out why.
Waking up at 5 am may seem difficult to do, but it’s not. If you’re going to bed a bit earlier, then it’s really like changing a timezone.
Before starting this experiment, I used to sleep 8-9 hours per night, but now I get 7-8 instead, and I still feel very energetic. This means I go to bed between 9 and 10 pm.
One thing that’s worth mentioning is that I have no problems doing high intensity activities during the day. For example I have a martial arts class at 9pm on wednesday, but I can still do it without feeling tired.
Having said that, if I want an immediate boost of energy I would simply take a 20 minutes nap. Napping is a powerful art that lets you recharge your batteries in a very short amount of time. Since I already sleep 8 hours per night, I rarely need napping, except maybe for wednesday, where I want to have more energy.
What about social life? This seems to be a major concern for most people who would like to get up early. After all, how can you go out and party until late at night while still waking up at 5?
The good news is that there are solutions for this. One of them is to embrace polyphasic sleep and get a 4-5 hours of core sleep at night, and then another 2 or 3 hours during the day. I don’t do this but my father does, and it works very well for him.
Another solution is to allow yourself to sleep in when necessary. If you only want to go out once or twice per week, then you can avoid getting up early the day after. In my case I decided in advance that on thursday morning I was allowed to sleep in, but now that the experiment is over I can extend it to other days when necessary.
Waking up early is a tool, not a religion, and you are free to adapt it as you want.
The benefits of waking up early
So what are the benefits of waking up early? In one word, time.
By waking up at 5 am I get a very big amount of time where I can do what I want. To understand why this is important, take a look at the pictures below:
You can already see from the graph that when I wake up at 5 am I have more free time available. I left out time for eating, running errand, and other stuff that might happen during the day (blank spaces).
But that’s only half of the truth. In fact, I can rarely get much stuff done in the evening because I am tired from the day. In the morning tough, that’s another story. Indeed, when I just wake up I don’t have to think about calls to return, errands to make, etc. It’s also very rare to be interrupted by someone at 5 am!
I can rarely get much stuff done in the evening because I am tired from the day. In the morning tough, that’s another story.
I can now say that I finally have the time to do all the stuff that I was putting aside. It’s incredible but it’s the truth.
It’s an awesome sensation being able to do all the stuff that you previously couldn’t, like going out for a two hours bike-ride, or to simply get some exercise. In the previous month I used this time mostly for writing, completing a few projects and studying new topics. Now that spring is finally arrived I plan to go out more. I will finally be able to exercise 1+ hour per day.
How to wake up early in the morning
I understand that I’ve not been doing this for a long time, but I also know that the firsts weeks are the hardest. If you want to start waking up early and start to enjoy this new lifestyle, these tips will hopefully help you to get there.
- Set a goal. The first thing to do is to set a goal. If you want to wake up early, you have to be clear about it. Take a piece of paper and write down something like “I’m going to wake up at 5 am for 30 days no matter what”. Be crystal clear about the details of your experiment, and decide in advance in which days you’re allowed to sleep in.
- Be public. One thing that will help you a lot is having to report back to someone else. If you have a blog, you can do it there, otherwise you have to be creative (forums are another great tool). Use the comments here as your journal if you want.
- Have something to do. The reason you want to wake up early is that you probably want more time to do the things that matter to you. Don’t wait until your alarm clock goes off to decide what you’re going to do. Instead, plan for it the day before. If in doubt, go outside for a morning walk.
These are not rules, they’re just tips that have worked for me. You are free and encouraged to find out what works for you.
Right for you?
Of couse this can’t be appropriate for everyone. If you work in evening, or you are a night owl, then you can probably use your time differently.
The point is not about waking up early, but rather to have the time to do whatever you want without feeling tired, and while still having a day job perhaps.
If you have any question or you want to get some support, feel free to leave a comment below. The Next 30 days challenge wil start on friday.