I Tried Waking Up Everyday at 5 am, Here's What Happened

Imagine this scenario: You wake up at 5 am, you go to your kitchen to make yourself fresh coffee from your newly bought grind and brew coffee maker like the ones. And then you slice some vegetables for your vegan breakfast burrito while listening to jazz. Wouldn’t that sound nice? It’s probably the complete opposite of waking at 6 am begrudgingly, and when you are stuck at traffic cursing, you realize you forgot your phone at home.

Well, the former scenario happened to me. My mind has been wondering while brushing my teeth. Then when I parked my car at work, I realized I’m not even wearing my socks on. Now, I’m not sure if that became my literal “wake-up” call to improve my morning routine, but I did it. I decided I’ll try to wake up 30 minutes earlier than usual.

I Tried Waking Up Every Day at 5, Here’s What Happened:

I Feel in Control

The first morning, I have to admit that it wasn’t easy. There’s just something different, even if I just adjusted my wake-up time for only 30 minutes. I am tempted to put the snooze on and give myself the 30 minutes I feel like I deserve. However, I don’t want to feel disappointed in myself, so I did it and got out of bed at 5 am. 

It might not seem like much, but I feel slightly accomplished. What can I do with those extra 30 minutes. Should I scroll through my phone? Should I cook something more appetizing instead of the usual French toast?

What I realize is that while it feels like you are robbing yourself of sweet, sweet sleep, you are also rewarding yourself. If you want to give in and use your phone, you can, and you won’t risk running late for school or work. If you want to spend more time in choosing the clothes you wear, you can. Those 30 minutes can actually make you feel like you have control over your day. 

I Feel More Enthusiastic

I do feel more enthusiastic about my day, and it’s not because I managed to sneak in a quick jog around the block. More than having the time to exercise, having extra time upon waking up gives me enough time to relax. I know it’s ironic since sleeping is probably the best relaxation. But to me, instead of waking up needing to do things quickly, I have more time for myself. I can do things like play with my dog before making breakfast because I’m not pressured to rush. 

Sometimes, we feel stuck in doing the daily grind. We feel like robots on autopilot, so we don’t feel excited about the day. Sure, I could use the 30-minute sleep, but I have noticed that I’m in a much better mood when I got those extra 30 minutes already out of bed. 

I Feel Healthier

Sleeping and waking up at a consistent schedule takes discipline and self-control. I know that it will be harder to get my feet moving at 5 am if I don’t put down my phone at 9 pm. I have to sleep long enough so I won’t feel too sluggish. In a way, even if my body protests that it needs more sleep, I am constantly getting 8 to 9 hours of sleep every day.

For the extra 30 minutes, I managed to sneak in a 10-minute exercise. Sometimes I walk my dog, do yoga, or just use the dumbbells while I’m still in my pajamas. Either way, I am being consistent that I’m burning calories and moving before 5:30 am. 

Other than the exercise, I have additional minutes to enjoy my breakfast. Instead of going on drive-throughs for a cup of sugary bread and coffee, I get to make different recipes every day. And over time, it’s surprisingly getting easier. When my alarm hits at 5, I don’t have to convince myself. I truly believe that you can strengthen discipline just like how you can strengthen your muscles.

Why is Waking Up Earlier So Much Harder?

The quick explanation for this is because you are cutting your deep sleep. This time happens around in the early morning, so waking up much earlier makes you feel as if you don’t get enough sleep. This is also the same reason why simply putting an earlier alarm doesn’t work for some people. You can easily ignore it or not even wake up from it at all. Remember that your body is used to a specific pattern, which includes a consistent waking up schedule.

Perhaps you are used to waking up at 6 am, and now you’re suddenly making a huge 1 hour change. You can’t be surprised that your body clock is going to make you feel that it’s uncomfortable. However, you can always ease yourself slowly and gently towards this new wake-up time. 

For starters, you have to have a reason or a strong motivation to get yourself out of bed this early. Otherwise, in the morning where the bed feels extra inviting, it will be very easy to dismiss your alarm clock. At the same time, make it a habit to make getting out of bed more inspiring. With me, as corny as it seems, a motivational quote at the whiteboard facing my bed reminds me why I have to do a quick jog right now.

Should You Wake Up Earlier?

The answer to this depends on you. While there are studies that show how morning people are more productive, this is not going to be true for everybody. For example, if your work schedule doesn’t match your sleeping and morning routine, you’re still not going to perform better.

Let’s say that you wake up at 5 am, but you go to bed at 2 am because of your work schedule and other tasks. You are cutting your sleeping period and expecting yourself to be an early riser. But in reality, you don’t even have to be awake this early because your responsibilities start at 10 am anyway. Do you get the idea?

The bottomline is you don’t have to jump in the productivity bandwagon if it doesn’t match with your lifestyle. You might benefit from waking up at 5, but it’s also okay if you are the type who wakes up just in time for breakfast.