Should I Get Up At 5am?

I have read many books espousing the benefits of getting up early in the morning to get things done. The military do it, high achievers do it, top athletes do it, and most successful business people do it - they all wake up early in the morning to get a head start on the day.

I used to get up at 5am, drive to work to beat the traffic, go to the gym for an hour, and still be at work before everyone else. In a quiet office you get a lot of work done before the masses arrive. The down side of course is that by 3pm the engine is starting to run out of fuel and I got tired, so tired in fact that I was unable to adequately function and simply went through the motions.

So is getting up early really that good for you? Here's what research tells us;

  1. Numerous studies show that students who wake up early have higher grades than those who don't.
  2. From 3am onwards, your brain is in its creative period where ideas flow and problems are solved much easier.
  3. Early risers generally have better sleep routines therefore sleep more soundly as a consequence.
  4. Waking up earlier eliminates the need to rush around in the morning hence reducing the accompanying stress. Plus, you won't be stressing about being late or stuck in traffic.
  5. You are less likely to skip breakfast if you get up early. If you skip breakfast, you are more likely to overeat and crave unhealthy foods.

So, research indicates that getting up early is good for us and the benefits of doing so are many. How do you become an early riser, the answer is ‘slowly’. Your brain doesn’t like to be surprised too often. Set your alarm clock 15 minutes earlier each week and go to bed 15 minutes earlier each night.

Then it is about a pattern of behaviour – go to the gym, meditate, produce a blog, eat breakfast, have a shower, etc. Do the same things each morning to get yourself into a pattern of behaviour.

While some say it is better to adhere to that same pattern in the weekends, I do not. Weekends are for relaxing, doing what you want to do, and catching with any lost sleep you might need. You might want to still wake at 5am but you might also want to have an afternoon nap.