As a student, I could not wait to sleep in on weekends. High school started before 7:15 and sleeping in was a privilege. In college, I had a 5:45AM nanny job to get to and classes from 9:10 on. After graduation, I started a work from home job with no scheduled hours, which meant that an alarm clock no longer had any place in my life – finally! So why, with a freelance career, have I decided to go back to getting up early? Waking up and starting my day in the morning has numerous perks beyond the basic health benefits from regularly sleeping the same seven to eight hours a night. I’ve also learned that the best way to get myself out of bed in the morning is to have something to look forward to.
Waking up early means I’m less likely to skip my workout. The earlier it is, the more I have left of my day, meaning I can fit more into it. In the morning, “I don’t have time” isn’t an excuse not to work out, and I know it will promote health in both my body and my mind. Who wouldn’t want to start the day that way?
Accomplishing something (like working out) early in the day boosts my mood in the morning, setting the tone for the day, and gets my metabolism and digestive system running all day. This, in turn, means I’m more likely to maintain healthy blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and weight.
I’ve found that my motivation is usually higher in the morning than it is later in the day. This applies to working out, eating healthy and skipping junk food, tackling the difficult tasks at work, and meeting other goals that I set for myself. When I sleep through the day, I wake up feeling like I don’t have the time to finish what I need to do and have time left to relax before I have to go to sleep again. Getting up early allows me to get the more challenging tasks done with a fresh, well rested mind.
Early risers practice self-control. Committing to an early wake-up generally means going to bed early, which can sometimes mean choosing sleep over other nighttime activities. The saying that nothing good ever happens after 2AM (or 11PM, as it may be) may apply here; choosing to go to bed early may be the healthy and smart choice.
Whether I’m trying to go to the farmers market before all the good produce is gone, working on a new yoga pose or racing to beat my personal cycling records, rising early is best done when I’m looking forward to the day’s goals. Setting my intentions the night before goes a long way in motivating myself to get out of bed when the sun shines in the window in the morning. (Sunlight and vitamin D are both known mood boosters!)
Sometimes a simple routine (eat a healthy breakfast with your loved ones, shower, poop, get dressed, dance to two songs before leaving the house) is all you need. Hold yourself accountable. What are you looking forward to tomorrow?