You often hear about the benefits of waking up early, but I’ll be the first to tell you that early mornings wake-up calls are the worst. I’m in a comfortable bed cuddling with my boys, so why on earth would I want to leave before I absolutely have to? Well, lots of reasons, actually. There are so many benefits of waking up early and I’m not exaggerating when I say that starting the habit will improve your life and health. Really.

Benefits of waking up early

I primarily work from home and got into the habit of rolling out of bed right before I needed to log into my work laptop. This was a terrible idea. Not only did the extra sleep not make me feel more relaxed (it was never a deep sleep after I’d already been woken up), but I was frazzled, stressed and rushed…with my workplace 12 feet from my bed.

I’m back on the 5 a.m. wake-up wagon and while it’s going to be painful to transition back into the good habit (especially in the winter – it’s cold and dark, ugh), I already feel more productive and accomplished. Join me? Read below and see if any of the benefits of waking up early resonate with you and then give it a go!

Hint: make sure you’re going to bed early and avoiding blue light before you sleep. You can light the way with a salt lamp or protect your eyes with glasses.

Waking up early every morning

You’ll never feel like you wasted a day again

Life is short and time doesn’t stop ticking. You might as well make the most out of every minute of the day, right? This is especially true if you work for someone else and a lot of your time isn’t your own. If you get rid of time vampires (or at least reduce them) like social media, television and absently scrolling your phone while you research random things, you’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish.

You’ll have an improved sleep cycle

I have the most amazing family doctor. We’ve determined that the sweet spot for sleep is 7 solid hours per night. For a 5 a.m. wake-up, I need to be asleep by 10 p.m. and in bed about a half hour before. At first, I resisted this idea. Evenings were already short enough after wasting my whole day working for someone else. Why would I sleep through any of it?

Well, I considered what I was actually doing during those late hours. We don’t watch TV, but I was wasting time scrolling through Instagram and texting with friends when the messages could have waited for the next day. Going to bed early and waking up early actually gives you more productive hours in a day even if you feel like a toddler with a bedtime at first.

How to get better sleep

You’ll never have to rush again

Most people have at least a short commute to work. When you’re running late from hitting snooze, infinitely more stress is added to the journey. For years, I had over an hour commute each way and I can’t count how many times I was literally running to catch a train. Somehow, I was already behind and it wasn’t even 8 a.m. If you’ve been awake for hours, then you can leave at a reasonable time and beat the rush without actually rushing.

You’ll get a head start on everyone else

You could argue that you can redirect the early morning hours to late at night for the same benefit. But it doesn’t work that way in my experience. When you’re awake at 5 a.m., nothing has happened yet. Your boss hasn’t annoyed you, your friend hasn’t been insensitive, you haven’t had a chance to feel tired, stressed or create excuses for vegging on the couch.

Those twilight hours are just for you. You’re kicking ass before anyone else you know is even awake and it’s a good feeling. While others are sluggish at the office and trying to wake up, you’ll already have accomplished so much. I love getting my stuff – working out, meditating, and writing – completed for the day so my evenings can be spent with James.

Of course, if I’m on a deadline, then I might need to put more writing hours in during the evening. But I already got a jump on my word count and it feels less rushed and frantic. Early mornings are my most productive time of the day and I feel ready for whatever comes next when I start the day my own way.

Funny things writers do

You’ll start your day gently

Your body body can take two to four hours to fully wake up. Remember when I rolled out of bed and logged straight into my work laptop? Yeah, terrible idea when my brain was still foggy and tired, making me instantly more irritable. Give yourself the time you need to slowly wake up and treat your body with gentleness. Don’t jump right into the day and start a negative cycle where you feel like you never have time to do anything.

You’ll get to indulge in self-care

Many of us – especially women – put ourselves last because we’re so busy taking care of everyone else. If you wake up early, then there’s no one around to bother you or make demands on your time. You’ll have sacred hours to put towards self-care, however that looks for you. It’s my favorite time of the day, after I’m done grumbling about being awake before the roosters. You’ll get used to it – promise.

How to find your writing tribe

You’ll have lots of time for a hearty breakfast

Many of my friends and colleagues talk about being too rushed to eat breakfast. This is a foreign concept to me because I love breakfast. I’d be late for work before I’d skip the most important meal of the day. Your body needs fuel to function and coffee definitely doesn’t count. I’ve switched to decaf to avoid taxing my adrenal glands and instead opting to let my body get energy naturally, but that’s another story.

If you’re awake at 5 a.m., there’s no excuse not to make some toast (bonus if you add healthy strawberry chia seed jam).

Healthy Strawberry Jam

Have I convinced you about the benefits of waking up early?

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