Maybe it's because my bed faces the large, rectangular window in my room, or because I leave my window cracked at night and this lovely, boisterous bird decides to chirp the same melodic song every. damn. morning. (I'm not annoyed, you are). But for the past 4-5 months, I've been waking up (naturally, might I add) between 6:45 and 7:30 am. Seriously, I set my alarm for 8 am every day, but because of this, I'm already eating breakfast by the time it goes off. Now, I've always been a morning person; I find I'm more productive, more energetic, happier, etc. in the morning rather than the night. However, I'm realizing now more than ever just how beneficial waking up this early has been for my overall wellbeing. Before I get into the post, if you're a night person and you find that that works best for you, great!! I'm not here to tell you how to live your life (well, sort-of). I just know that rising early has helped my mood, my physical and mental health, my productivity, and so much more! So, if you're struggling with fatigue, dips in your mood, fogginess, lack of motivation, and just find that your current routine isn't working for you, you've come to the right place and I want to help you figure ya shit out!! Here are 5 reasons why you should wake up early:
1. Get Better Sleep*
Are you someone who doesn't go to bed until midnight or even 1 or 2 am? Do you find it hard to fall asleep at night or get up in the morning? When you do get up in the morning, are you groggy, still tired, and maybe a bit foggy? What if I told you there's a scientific reason for all of that and by simply shifting your bedtime/wake up time, you can eliminate these feelings? Would you be interested? If you said yes, then good. Because if you said no, I was going to tell you anyway. Ever heard of your circadian rhythm? It's basically your body's 24 hour internal clock. This circadian rhythm is what determines your sleepiness or your alertness, and it is directly affected by things like light and how rested you are. Let me explain how it works: a portion of your brain called the hypothalamus controls your circadian rhythm. When it's dark at night, your eyes will send a signal to the hypothalamus letting it know that it's time to start feeling tired. Your brain will respond to this signal by releasing melatonin, so that you can, in turn, fall asleep and get some rest. When it's time to wake up in the morning, the exposure of light will stop the release of melatonin and your body will start to feel more alert: so you know it's time to wake up and get moving!
Are you following? Good. So, let me paint a picture: when 8 or 9 pm rolls around and your body starts to feel tired, but you stay up studying, watching netflix, partying, or doing literally anything other than getting ready for bed/sleeping, you're essentially throwing off your circadian rhythm. Your brain is being told to release melatonin because it's dark and it's nighttime, however you're going against it and staying awake. Your circadian rhythm works best when you have regular sleep habits, so if you're staying up late and waking up even later, you're disrupting your body's internal clock and this can cause feelings like grogginess, fogginess, and not being fully rested. This is probably the number one reason, in my opinion, that it is essential to rise with the sun and rest as it goes down! I'm not saying to literally go to bed at 8 pm and wake up at 6 every morning, but creating a nighttime routine that enables your body to rest and wind down around 8-9 pm is so important. It will help regulate your circadian rhythm so you can feel your absolute best! Start by going to bed, or at least getting into bed, an hour or even just 30 minutes earlier than usual. What also helps me is keeping my blinds open or cracked at night, so that in the morning when the sun rises and my body is exposed to light, it knows it's time to start waking up and to do so gradually!
2. Lower Stress
One of my absolute least favorite feelings is the feeling of being rushed. Not having enough time in the morning to eat breakfast, take my supplements, or even just get dressed is STRESSFUL. It actually increases my cortisol levels and starting off my day with heightened cortisol is NOT a good feeling. It will literally set me up for a day full of irritability, increased proneness to anxiety, uneasiness, and just an overwhelming feeling of bleh. Getting up early gives me more time to get myself situated, so that I'm not rushed or heading out the door with two different shoes on. Or without brushing my teeth. Give yourselves time to brush your damn teeth. I mean, c'mon guys were (trying to be) adults here!!
3. Mental & Physical health
This goes hand in hand with the lowered stress reason. When you give yourself time to do things in the morning, you're eliminating unnecessary stress which improves your mental and physical wellbeing. Waking up earlier will also give you time to not only do the things you need to do, but also the things you want to do. The mornings are my ME time. This is when I'll brainstorm blog post ideas, write a blog post or journal, enjoy my yummy breakfast & iced coffee, go for a workout, plan out my day/week, & (maybe) read. It's the time I set aside where I get to do what I like to call "soul work." Sure, if I have school shiz to do, I'll get my homework done. But I always, always make sure to set aside time for some soul work. Whatever your passion is: writing, working out, cooking, making music, etc., give yourself the time to do it because I promise you it'll benefit both your mental and physical health. Too often we neglect doing the things that we love (I actually made a blog post about this and you can read it here). So, If the only reason you decide to start your day earlier is so that you have more time to tend to your passions, then so be it.
4. Have more hours in the day
I don't think I have to explain this one too much, but think about how much more you could get done if you woke up at 8 am instead of 10 am every morning. Two more whole hours!!! You can fit a workout in in that amount time, get a doctors appointment out of the way, catch up on homework, or even just grab some coffee and brekkie with a friend! I don't know if it's just me, but sometimes I find myself thinking where in the heck did the day go?? If you do too, try giving yourself a few more hours in the day by getting up and getting productive in the AM! Even if you spend the two extra hours just waking up and getting ready for the day, at least you're ready at 10 am instead of noon!
5. Eliminate unhealthy habits
Like I said, the night is the time for our bodies to start winding down and getting ready for bed. If you wake up earlier, you'll feel tired earlier and your sleep schedule will be on track! When you wake up later and go to bed later in the night, you set yourself up for unhealthy habits. Yep, I'm talking about late night eating, netflix until 2 am, those kind of unhealthy habits. Now, I'm not saying these things are necessarily harming you, but these things are absolutely not benefitting you in any way. Late night eating isn't bad; but I know personally, if I'm eating at 10 or 11 pm, I'm having some sort of dessert or indulgent food. Seriously, who is eating celery and peanut butter at midnight: no one. If you are, you are a super awesome human. However, I know I'm not the only one that can only eat yummy snacks if it's that late. If you're waking up earlier and going to bed earlier, you can prevent late night trips to Mickey D's. Moreover, not that staying up late and watching a show or movie is going to kill you, but staring at a screen late at night when we're already tired is so hard on our eyes. Staring at a blue screen late at night is also super stimulating to our brains which can further throw off our circadian rhythms. To put it simply, getting up earlier will result in an earlier bedtime which will eliminate the unhealthy late night habits we've created! Trust me, you might love ice cream, but you won't want to eat it at 8 am.
BEFORE YOU GO
If I didn't convince you to set your alarms a little earlier, here's an awesome short video that explains your circadian rhythm further: