The Beautiful Benefits of Being an Early Riser

The Beautiful Benefits to Being an Early Riser

I used to be Queen of the Snooze Button.

BEEP, BEEP… Slap.

Just five more minutes… I was up late last night.

BEEP, BEEP… Slap.

Roll over. Chastise myself.

BEEP, BEEP. Slap.

Oh well, damage done. May as well sleep in til my 'real wake-up time'.

 

Does that sound familiar to you? Do you want to wake earlier but find yourself hitting snooze every morning?

I have by no means perfected the art of rising early, but more mornings than not you will find me up and out of bed between 4:30 and 5:00am.

I don't say that to brag. In fact, the only reason I first began waking early was because I was losing my mind at the lack of alone time during my days and evenings. But the habit has stuck and the benefits are beautiful.

For example, I'm currently sitting on the lounge, hot coffee next to me, sun yet to peek over the horizon. And it's quiet. So lovely and quiet. Some mornings I sit outside and listen to the day unfold. Other times I spend 20 minutes sitting cross-legged on the lounge, emptying my mind. I may plan my day, read a book or work on a writing project.

Whatever I find myself doing in the early hours, I do it for me. And while I feel like a selfish jerk even writing those words, I know that I am a better parent, wife, daughter and friend if I get time to myself every day. Over time, it's become a non-negotiable.

It's not always easy to get up, especially now during winter, and if I'm short on sleep or feeling burnt out, I happily let sleep back in. It's all about sitting comfortably in my rhythm rather than forcing a routine on to myself, and it works for me. But the benefits make it worthwhile – which is often all I need to rememeber when I'm tempted to hit the snooze button.

Beautiful Benefits to Rising Early

Waking at sparrows means you can experience any number of beautiful things. You can:

  • watch the sun rise
  • enjoy the quiet, uninterrupted time
  • work on a project for an hour or two before the day has begun
  • work on a hobby
  • exercise in the morning air
  • listen to the birdsong
  • relish the fact that the day has started on your terms
  • meditate, pray or practice mindfulness
  • enjoy the simple pleasure of a tea or coffee
  • be up, dressed and ready for the day before the rest of the house wakes

 

Tips on Rising Early

1. Choose to adjust gradually, or do it suddenly.

Leo Babauta recently wrote a helpful guide on becoming an early riser. He suggests a gradual shift of 10-15 minutes every few days until you reach your ideal wake-up time. This means you're less likely to suffer from exhaustion or hitting the snooze button repeatedly.

This gradual approach may work perfectly for you. But when I started waking early I simply set my alarm for 4:30am and got up. If I was going to hit the snooze button and drag my feet, I'd do it at any time of the morning. So I just jumped right in.

2. Make yourself get out of bed.

I use my iPad as my alarm. Leaving it to charge overnight means it's on the other side of the room, so when the alarm goes off (quietly enough not to wake anyone else) I jump out of bed to turn it off as quickly as possible. Sometimes I get back into bed if I'm feeling particularly tired, but otherwise I move into my morning rhythm.

3. Go to bed earlier.

Lately I've slipped into a bad habit of going to bed a little later. Sparky and I have been enjoying some Breaking Bad and Game of Thrones once the kids are in bed, and the hour less sleep is showing – mostly under my eyes.

7-8 hours sleep is what I aim for, which means I need to be in bed by 9:30. Usually I am so tired that getting in to bed by then shouldn't be a problem, but I really look forward to the time I get to spend with Ben and it's so easy to get pulled later in to the evening.

Establish how much sleep you need to function well and work backwards. What's your bedtime goal? Then aim to meet it every night for a week and see how you feel.

4. Have a good reason to get up.

I get up for the quiet and I get up to write. Both of those things are important to me, so I am excited to wake up in the mornings. (Usually.)

If you need added motivation to get out of bed earlier, have something to look forward to or a particular reason for getting up. Be it exercise, a hot coffee on the back deck, reading a book uninterrupted, yoga, a warm shower… Whatever it is that sparks a little fire in your belly – make that your reason to get up early. Trust me, it helps on those chilly mornings.

 

Waking early has given me so much. Without the early starts I wouldn't have written my book and I would still be feeling resentful at the lack of alone time I get during the day. Instead, I took matters into my own hands, set the alarm and found a whole list of beautiful reasons to rise early. Now if I could just get our kids to sleep through the night…

 

Tell me, are you an early riser? Or do you prefer the night hours?

 

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28 Responses to The Beautiful Benefits of Being an Early Riser

  1. Jill Foley says:

    I get up before everyone else in my house and I love it! I usually get a solid hour to myself. Even if my kids are awake, they know not to come downstairs because it’s “mommy time” still. I look forward to mornings simply because it’s when I can read and write uninterrupted.

    I let myself sleep in on Saturdays and I enjoy that luxury once a week almost as much as I enjoy my early mornings the rest of the week.

  2. Kathy in Chicago says:

    I “sleep in” to 5:30 a.m. I love the solitude. I usually go for a bike ride, enjoying the sunshine & the birds. I am home before my husband leaves for work, and I feel like so much has been accomplished, even though it’s mostly my brain that has enjoyed the quietness.

  3. mel says:

    I’m a devoted sunrise watcher. I rise each day to watch the sunrise and photograph it. I have seen some truly amazing sights that come and go so quickly. I walk on the beach most mornings. I see this as my mental health workout as it gives me time to clear the cobwebs from my head, breathe deeply, stretch and reflect. I just love this ‘me’ time. If for some reason I’m not able to do this in the morning I feel slightly out of sorts, like I’ve missed an opportunity so that keeps me excited to start over again the next day. The quiet solitude of an early start is addictive.

  4. Ree Klein says:

    Hi Brooke, like you I was not a morning person. But as I grow older, I find I love the mornings even when they start in darkness.

    Two things caused me to change and once I did I’ve never gone back. First, my partner got a job that required him to leave at 4:45 am. I like to make his lunch and send him off with a smooch so I started getting up earlier, too. Then I started blogging and found that mornings work for me so much better than later in the day.

    Someone once told me that Interest=Energy. Man, that’s true. If you love doing something, it’s easy to get up early!

    Great post…
    Ree ~ I blog at EscapingDodge.com

  5. Anne says:

    I’m an early riser so that I can get some alone time as well. It seems as though I’m needing to get up earlier, however because my 7-yr old has decided that he wants to be up at 5am to have some park time with me before his older siblings are awake. Hopefully he will soon realize that sleep is a good thing.

  6. I’m definitely NOT an early bird. Definitely not. But I’m not a night owl either. My daughter-in-law and I were recently having a conversation about this and I labeled myself a “day owl”. I get up about 8:00 a.m. and go to bed about 10:30 or 11. But I have sleep problems so it takes me about 10 hours to get 6 hours of sleep. I’ve tried all kinds of different sleep schedules but nothing helps. Either my mind is racing or my legs are being restless. At any rate, I’ve thought about trying to become a morning person since I can’t seem to get anything done during the day but so far I haven’t taken the plunge. It’s definitely a morning person world, though.

  7. I am definitely not an early bird by nature, but whenever I do get up early I love how productive and proactive my day is, rather than simply reacting to the world around me. I went through an early rising phase recently, but late nights due to social activities etc have thwarted my resolution. I am completely useless without a good 8 hours so unless I’ve gotten to bed early there is no way I’m dragging myself out of bed at the crack of dawn. We don’t have any plans tonight so I’ll make sure I get an early night to help me get back on track.

  8. Elizabeth says:

    I’ve been trying to wake a little earlier each day, but I’m generally such a night owl! It’s a tough habit to break!

  9. I have been an early morning persons all my life. As an adult I use the time to center and prepare for the day. Also it leads into my high energy time of the day where work takes priority. I have night owl friends who are able to remain productive until the wee hours of the morning but not me. I start early and head to bed early.

  10. amber says:

    i’ve been trying to convince myself to do this ‘wake up early’ stuff. I need to JUST DO IT! It’s so hard, i’m such a night owl.

  11. [...] The Beautiful Benefits of Being an Early Riser – I really need to start getting my A$$ outta bed earlier @ Slow Your Home [...]

  12. [...] He was absolutely right. Begin your days on your terms apart from distraction. If possible, wake first in your household. Drink your coffee or tea or fix yourself a warm breakfast. Journal or read or [...]

  13. [...] was absolutely right. Begin your days on your terms apart from distraction. If possible, wake first in your household. Drink your coffee or tea or fix yourself a warm breakfast. Journal or read or [...]

  14. Jules says:

    I am not at all an early riser, but becoming one has been my dream for a while.
    Thank you for summing it all up! Your idea about something to look forward to in the morning – should try that. I guess, it really is about simply doing it.

  15. sunny says:

    Thank you for this post. I’ve read similar posts by others but am left with the feeling it’s all or nothing….. get up early or don’t bother. Rather I like your approach of – if you need the sleep that morning, then get the sleep. If you can, get up and appreciate the quiet morning.

    Sounds simple and quite lovely!

  16. Anni says:

    lol.
    I have to get up at 4 every morning just to get to work in time.
    No hot coffee or beautiful sunrise or “me-time”. Just shower, get dressed, run for my bus.

    You are so lucky.

  17. I really want to be an early riser. I have managed to start getting up at 6.30 lately and am aiming for 5am starts. But man it’s hard to get out of a warm bed to a cold house!

  18. [...] day.” He was absolutely right. Begin your days on your terms apart from distraction. If possible, wake first in your household. Drink your coffee or tea or fix yourself a warm breakfast. Journal or read or [...]

  19. […] research and what not, that talk about the various different perks of being an early riser. All packed with plenty of helpful, practical and rather relevant hints and tips on how to make it work […]

  20. […] Your Home – A favourite post of mine the beautiful benefits of being an early riser sits amongst many […]

  21. Ethan says:

    Hi Brooke, great site and article. I’ve been trying to wake up early too for the benefits, but had problems. In the end I challenged myself. Here are the results

    http://keystooptimalliving.com/6-am-challenge-the-benefits-of-waking-up-early/

  22. […] I try to get up early most mornings (although since the holidays, my strike rate is a little shaky) and this pre-dawn wakeup is generally only achievable with strong coffee. Needless to say, the first few days without my caffeine fix were tough and I felt the lack of convenience sharply. But then I rediscovered our French press in the back of the cupboard, largely unused since the coffee machine arrived on our bench. […]

  23. Paula says:

    I know waking up early is god for me. When I manage to do it, I feel good and I start my day with a positive energy. I can meditate, have a healthy breakfast, and I have more time so I am not rushed all day. However, most days I just can’t manage to do it. I have tried to go to bed earlier, but if I do it I just end up sleeping more…I have been working on this habit for a long time (around 3 years…every morning trying again) but still most days I can’t do it. I wonder if some of you would share your strategies on how you managed to establish the habit…Thank you!

  24. […] my favourite chicks have a great morning routine and their stories inspire me to keep on track. See Brooke McAlary, Sarah Wilson and Marie […]

  25. Rosie says:

    I have always been a night owl; leaving everything to the last minute and suddenly having a peak of energy and motivation at around 11 pm. Then, in the morning, I feel exhausted and keep hitting snooze, meaning I’m always late for everything! I hate being that girl who always turns up an hour after everyone else had! This post really helped motivate me to get my work done as soon as I come home, as does reading anything about the benefite of sleep or waking up early. I have a thin blind to let sunlight in in the morning and some flowers by my bed which motivates me to get up. Then, I turn on the radio and just listen to some music while getting dressed etc. I open my windows to let the fresh air in and just breath deeply and relax. All of this takes me only five minutes but makes a massive difference to my attitude towards the day and the people I meet, so I really encourage it. Just motivate yourself and you can do it!

  26. Rosie says:

    Ways to motivate yourself:

    Including a reward
    Something to look forward to
    An inviting bedroom at night
    A tidy room
    Organising everything the night before
    Exercise
    Reading about your goal
    Thinking of the positives
    Getting up an hour earlier than usual means you will have a relaxing calm morning as if its a weekend. Think of school or work in this way: As if everyday is a weekend and going to work or school is just like going to that club you go to every saturday mornings. Dont let work feel like it’s taking up your day. Imagine it as something you enjoy doing and you chose to do and be as crewtive with every day as possible to make each day different and exciting. Download something off 4od to watch on the train to work or school whilst drinking a coffee. Or make a tasty healthy snack to eat mid morning with your friends. Just keeping it interesting, creative and something to look forward to will motivate you instantly to GET UP!!

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