Since starting my current morning routine, I have noticed a significant impact on my general mood, happiness and productivity. I have become way more efficient and manage to get a lot more done throughout my day.
My morning routine begins once Alexa wakes me up at 6:00 each morning. I reach over to grab my kindle to start reading for about half an hour. After reading, I set out for a run. This run is about 3 kilometres each morning, which is also my commute to work. I cannot emphasise the benefits of running to work every morning enough. It is fantastic and great for our planet.
I get it - not everyone lives close enough to get the opportunity to run or cycle to work. If you have showers at work or a nearby gym, an option could be for you to start your commute as usual, stopping a few kilometres early to run into work.
Fortunately, I have a gym in the office which I go to each morning for a 45-minute workout, following my run. By 7:30 each morning, I have read, ran, worked out at the gym, had breakfast and ready to begin working. Most people are still hitting the snooze button or just about scrambling out of bed at this time.
As an added benefit, my morning routine frees up my evening to do anything I want. I don't need to make time for the gym after work in the evenings when I'm generally more tired.
Morning People Record Better Career and Academic Achievements
Midday or quite literally, the middle of the day is at 12:00 each day. In my late teens and the first couple of years at university, I was hardly ever awake before the middle of my day. Most of the day had escaped me by the time I'm up.
However, this all changed in my final 2 years, where I developed a sustainable morning routine. Unsurprisingly, my grades really started to take off.
I achieved this by waking up and studying in the morning before lectures or tutorials. I was always at my freshest and most productive at this point. It made learning much easier as I was able to grasp the content quicker and with better understanding. The studying I was able to do during this period was probably more than most of my peers would have done throughout their entire day.
It turns out that there are a lot of scientific evidence concluding that those who wake up earlier in the day tend to record better academic achievements. David Goldstein, an American geneticist, evidenced that night owls appear to be at risk for poor academic performance, and they also appear to be at risk for behavioural adjustment problems.
Studies have also shown morning people are better positioned for education or career success and tend to be more proactive than evening people. Further, they are more likely to spend time identifying long-range goals for themselves and feel in charge of making them happen.
Morning people also tend to have more stable personalities. It gives consistency in a work environment, that can result in morning people being more trusted and approachable in the workplace - vital traits in building a successful career.
Being up earlier is also likely to result in a less stressful commute. Trains are less crowded, and there's less traffic on the roads.
A 2014 study on British subjects evidenced that on average, those with longer commutes have lower life satisfaction, a lower sense that their daily activities are worthwhile, lower levels of happiness and higher anxiety. An extra 20-minute commute is akin to have the same negative effect as getting a 19% pay cut.
Get up earlier and beat the daily commute. Your academic or professional performance will massively improve.
Energy, Motivation and Will Power Are Higher in The Mornings
Sleep experts often suggest that going to bed earlier and getting up earlier ensures your body is better in sync with the earths circadian rhythm. They go on to say that this ensures you get better quality sleep which is more restorative.
Most people (if not all) people are morning people. Those who identify as night owls have learned to be one and it can be unlearned.
Prioritising key tasks for the morning when we're full of energy and feeling most refreshed, avoids having to muster enough energy to complete the task later on in the day when our adenosine levels are higher, and we're generally more tired. It's is one of the main reason I like to prioritise my most important tasks for my morning. I find that my will power and motivation is strongest in the morning. Therefore, I always try to keep my morning sacred for my most important tasks and activities.
Researchers from the University of Nottingham and National Institute of Education, Singapore conducted a study into will power. Their research, a meta-analysis of 83 studies found that self-control is a limited resource which depletes during the day. Your self-control experiences fatigue later on in the day. It means that it's easier to motivate yourself to do more difficult tasks in the morning than later in the evening.
When you get up early and have accomplished a lot, this can have a snowball effect on the rest of your day - a catalyst for a truly positive and productive day.
So How Do I Wake Up Early?
If you want to wake up early, say at 6 am every morning. Just do it. It's as simple as that.
We all know what to do, and like many things, it sounds straightforward in theory but challenging to implement in practice. Going cold turkey would mean you'll feel tired for about a week or so until your body adjusts, but you'll soon get used to it.
An alternative method could be to wake up 10 to 15 minutes earlier each day or week until you reach your ideal time. It is a much slower method that will take longer before you can start to realise the benefits.
If you can commit and get past the first few weeks, the cold turkey method is by far the best. You must also commit to this routine during the weekends.
You mustn't take any naps if you're feeling tired during the first couple of weeks. There's a total ban on naps during the day, to allow your body to get used to the new sleep routine of going to bed and waking up at the same time each day.
Initially, sleep may be difficult to come by if you go to bed early. If you're used to going to bed late, you may find it very difficult to get some sleep because your body is used to a later bedtime. You're likely to toss and turn for hours until your usual sleeping time.
No matter how much sleep you get, you must always wake up at your desired time. If your desired time is 6 in the morning , even if you don't fall asleep until 1 am, as soon as your alarm goes off at 6 am you need to get up.
No snooze button. No "5 more minutes." Once the alarm sounds, get up. It's literally as simple as that.
You'll feel awful in the morning and for a few hours until it gets to the time where your body is usually awake again. But this is a short term feeling during the transitionary period.
Eventually, you will be on a sleep deficit. Your body will start craving sleep, which will allow you to get to sleep earlier, adjusting to your new sleep routine. Your sleep quality will also be better for it.
Within a couple of weeks, your new routine should be the norm. You may not even need an alarm to wake you up in the morning, providing you wake up and go to bed at the same time each night.
This method is only a short term solution to get you adjusted to a new sleep routine. We need to be getting at least 7 to 9 hours of good quality sleep each nigh, crucial for our health and wellbeing.
The Importance of Getting Enough Sleep
Waking up early does not mean you should sacrifice your sleep. Sleep is important. Matthew Walker, a professor of neuroscience and psychology, has articulated this better than I ever could in his book on why we sleep. He highlights the importance of getting between 7 and 9 hours of high quality sleep each night.
The cold turkey method should only be a short term measure. Long term sleep deprivation is extremely dangerous and can lead to death. Although extreme, it is a possibility. Look after yourself and ensure you get enough sleep.
Within a week or 2 of getting your required sleep each night that your body needs, you should have adjusted to the new sleep routine. Once fully adjusted, you can then start to realise the benefits of waking up early as I have discussed above.
I'm sure you'll be surprised at just how productive you can be if you're able to adjust your routine to wake up early every morning. Clearly, this wouldn't work for everyone, such as shift workers.
But for those of you with defined school/work times, why not give waking up early a try. You've got nothing to lose, and you may be pleasantly surprised by the results.
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