The Case for Waking Up at 4:30 AM
Waking up early is something that each of us has at least tried at one point. Whether it's to exercise before work, be more productive early in the day, or some other reason, most people try waking up extremely early at some point and rarely does the haibt stick. The truth is, those who actually stick to early waking up (4-5 AM) are typically the most successful individuals in our society. Why?
They are already productive before the world even wakes up. The quiet time that comes with waking up allows early birds to focus on a routine and planning tasks for the day.
They experience better sleep and lower stress. Individuals who wake up early consistently, go to bed earlier. This routine usually leads to deeper REM and SWS cycles so they wake up refreshed. Also, waking up at 4 AM makes it difficult to be late to work so the frantic morning start can be avoided and this can set the tone for the rest of the day.
Going to bed early most likely means that social events are a no-no during the week. This form of self care allows early birds to remained focused throughout the week, making their days more contiguous.
If you're interested in becoming an early riser yourself, you are most likely going to be tempted to jump right in on a Monday (exactly what I did). But, if you want your change to last, the best way to make that change long term is to slowly shift your sleep cycle. It is recommended to only shift 15 minutes at a time. Figure out what your current schedule is and go to bed/wake up 15 minutes earlier. This shift can be faster or slower depending on how your body is reacting to the shift. Stay on one stair step until you can wake up refreshed and then shift again!
Like I said, jumping right in can work for some people, and it isn't impossible. If you're a feet first person, I strongly suggest changing your evening routine. After your last meal, go for a walk to aid in digestion, don't over indulge on water (unless you want to wake up 3 times to pee) and turn your phone off, or set it down 1-2 hours before bed. Spend time with your family and at the end of the night, spend some quiet time reading, meditating or praying.
An important thing to remember is that you tend to wake up in a similar mood as you fell asleep, so during your final meditation or prayer time, spend a good chunk of time listing what you are grateful for. The opportunity to wake up early after a good night's sleep is a privilege and it's important to frame this new habit as something you GET to do rather than something you HAVE to do.
Lastly, avoid using supplementation like melatonin, as it has been shown to reduce the natural levels your body creates and it isn't utilized as efficiently in the body. Although it works in the short term, the long term effects can be difficult to deal with.
If you have questions, as always don't hesitate to reach out to the Barkes Team for more information!