Throughout April I set myself a challenge: to get up before 8am every single day. I know, I live a crazy life. I have accomplished this on all but one day, the morning after I got home late from a concert. That’s a pretty high success rate I think! But what is the point of all of this? And more importantly, should you sacrifice your lie-ins?
I’ve been quite an early riser for much of my life really; I’ve only been on the other side of the school system for a couple of years, so early starts are all I’ve really known for the majority of my own lived experience. Even on the weekends though I was never too late up, and I never had that typical ‘teen’ phase of sleeping in past 12 on a Sunday.
However, even though I never really stayed in bed for too long each day, I was starting to feel like the morning itself was controlling me and dictating my mood for the rest of the day, rather than me taking charge of the time in a way that suits me. This was the moment I realised: getting up early every day isn’t important in isolation, the positive impacts of this action are found in the detail, or rather, inserted into the phrase. It is important to get up early at a similar time each day.
Routine is a vital part of getting this challenge to impact your lifestyle positively, and once I had come to terms with this, I decided I needed to pay attention to getting up before 8am each day for a fixed period. Which is how April was allocated early starts: I wanted to start this challenge with a tangible goal, an achievable goal.
I guess what people reading this really want to know is – does it actually work? Does getting up early really help you in other aspects of your life? From my experience over the last thirty days, I’d say yes. It has helped me and I think it could help you too.
Why should I get up early every day?
- Increase productivity – perhaps the most obvious benefit, but how could I not mention it? You have more time so you can get more done, it really is that simple.
- Reduce stress – rushing around in the mornings can make us feel panicky, and like we’re really not on top of things. Giving yourself that extra thirty minutes can give your mind the time it needs to process the day ahead and prioritise what needs doing.
- Reduce anxiety – for much the same reason as above, running up and down the stairs six more times than necessary in the morning can make you feel overwhelmed and like you’re not coping. Having time to plan can stop these unwelcome feelings arising.
- Boost mood – so now you’re feeling on top of things, you’re probably going to feel better about yourself, right? Even just feeling that you’re making the most of the morning or that you’re awake ahead of the rest of the world can improve your positivity about the rest of the day.
- Better organisation – all of these qualities lead to a day in which tasks have a little more space to breathe, and nothing has to be rushed through.
- Dedicate time to self-care – even if you’re not using those extra couple of hours each morning to do things typically seen as being ‘productive’, you can make use of the time by dedicating it to self-care activities.
- Sleep better – humans love routine, and our bodies are no different. If you can get yourself into a regular bedtime pattern, your body is going to show its appreciation by giving you a better night sleep.
- Feel a sense of achievement – this is something you’re accomplishing every single day, you should be proud of that!
How do I get up early every day?
- Get enough exercise throughout the day – if your body feels well used, it’s going to welcome sleep more easily, and this is what you want if you’re attempting to get up early the next day.
- Establish a night routine – start to wind down some time before the actual ‘lights out’ moment by getting your mind and body to do similar things each night. Maybe that’s some bedtime yoga, reading, having a bath or shower, or even just chatting to your family for a while.
- Have an earlier bed time – it follows the logic that if you’re getting up earlier you should probably be going to bed earlier too. That’s just basic mathematics.
- Put your alarm out of reach – this is a mean one, but can really work for some people; if you have to physically leave bed to stop that annoyingly loud and repetitive noise then there’s less chance you’re rolling over and going back to sleep.
- Open your curtains straight away – the alarm has gone off, you’re letting out a groan and your eyes crave the dark. Don’t give in. Let in the sunshine, or at the very least (in England) some dreary grey attempt at daylight, and allow your eyes to adjust.
- Know what you’re having for breakfast – and make it something you’re looking forward to, preferably something that is also healthy though. This puts the solid thought in your head that you have an action to get done straight away that’s also achievable.
Read: Ice Cream For Breakfast?
- Have something nice to wake up to – as I mentioned before, it isn’t vital to be productive from the moment you stick your toes out from under the covers. If you’re giving yourself some extra time, you could always use it to read some blog posts or listen to some music. In other words, entice yourself awake.
- Write a to-do list the night before – so that frazzled, panicky feeling has no chance to make an appearance. If you go to bed knowing what the next day has in store for you, it’s going to be a lot easier to get up and face it.
Do you think getting up early is beneficial? How do you convince yourself to stick with it?
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