BEEP! BEEP! BEEP!
The alarm clock reads 8:00 AM. You quickly tap the snooze button, still more than half-asleep.
BEEP! BEEP! BEEP! 8:10 AM. You turn off the alarm clock, lying to yourself that you’ll get up in just ten more minutes. Then you go back to sleep, knowing you don’t have class until 10 AM.
Sometime much, much later, you roll over on your comfy Tempur-Pedic mattress pad and your eyes slowly open. You see the time: 9:40 AM.
With adrenaline rushing through your veins, you quickly jump out of bed and rush to the bathroom with your toiletries faster than you can count to 3. You brush your teeth inadequately for the sake of time and splash yourself with cold water instead of washing your face. In meager hopes of catching a bus, you decide not to change your clothes (I can go to class in my red polka dot pajama pants again, right?) and run out of your dorm. I mean… you’re in college after all.
Many people, myself included, have gone through a similar situation. How many times have I woken up too late for yet another consecutive morning and promised myself, “tomorrow will be different”?
Personally, I never used to enjoy waking up early. It made no sense to me why some people woke up at 5 or 6 AM. I would fall back on the overused “I’m just not a morning person” excuse and redeem my personal satisfaction of catching a couple more hours of sleep.
However, once academics, relationships, family, friends, and personal hobbies started to pile up on top of me, I had to find a way to balance this all out while also maintaining a healthy state of mind. I didn’t want to destroy any relationships, abandon any of my personal hobbies, or devote less time to my academics in order to find the perfect balance I wanted. So I reluctantly came to the conclusion that in order to add more hours to my day, I needed to start waking up earlier.
And I’m never going back.
Here are five reasons why I’ve found it to be beneficial to wake up at 5 AM.
As the rest of the world sleeps, you get to experience one of the most peaceful moments ever. With no cars running, no children screaming, no birds chirping, and no radio playing, you get to enjoy a harmonious, silent, and amazingly tranquil atmosphere. When else besides 5 AM can you walk outside and be consumed by the beautiful quietude of the universe? This serves as a perfect, distraction-less time to plan out the approaching day, meditate, or read and respond to your emails. (Though no promises on whether the recipients of said emails will be really impressed or think you might be a little insane)
The most common excuses people have for not exercising as much as they’d like to is that they don’t have the time. However by waking up earlier, you’ve not only found the time to exercise, but also reduce your likelihood of interrupting or missing a workout due to random, erratic circumstances that might come up throughout the day. At 5 am, there’s no such thing as forgotten assignments or unexpected meetings. It’s just you and that exercise mat, right through till the end.
Whether you have an assignment due later in the day or want to continue working on a project that you already started, the morning’s soothing environment welcomes you to be productive. With no distractions from the outside world, you can get more done in a shorter period of time. In my personal experience, my brain functions best in the morning after a good night’s sleep, allowing me to be much more productive than I am later in the day when I am already worn down from class and other responsibilities.
It’s such a shame — too many people miss the most important meal of the day because they wake up late. In the midst of rushing to get ready to go to work or class, you’re likely to end up skipping breakfast for lack of time. This is super unfortunate, not only because food is great but also because it is important to jumpstart your brain and body with the fuel they need after not eating for 6-8 hours in the form of a healthy meal.
5. To do the things you don’t like doing
Mike Rashid, bodybuilder & former pro boxer, said in one of his Youtube videos that we should get up early in the morning to do the things that we don’t want to do in order to have an advantage over others.
This could be studying for a class you don’t enjoy, completing applications for scholarships or internships, or (like Mike did) jogging outside in heavy boots. Mike Rashid stressed the importance that we should do things that we don’t like– things that make us uncomfortable– in order to forge character and create discipline within ourselves. Sometimes, we put off these uncomfortable activities for a later time but then forget to ever tackle them due to other unpredictable circumstances that arise throughout the day. Therefore by engaging in these undesirable activities first thing in the morning, you not only have an advantage of your peers who decided to stay in their comfort zone and sleep in, but you are also bettering yourself by constructing valuable and lasting virtues.
You might not be able to get there in a day– that’s okay! To develop this healthy habit, you should take slow steps by waking up 30 minutes earlier and going to bed 30 minutes earlier than usual. After some time, you can gradually increase to 1 hour and so on. Within no time, you will get used to waking up at 5 AM.
As Benjamin Franklin once said: “Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.” What a guy, huh?