Does your 5 am morning routine boost or kill your productivity?
I am excited to discuss this topic with you today because I am currently reconsidering my stance on it. For a long time, I have been a proponent of having an early morning routine. However, last month, on Friday the 13th, I was involved in two minor car accidents. I believe this was due to my extreme exhaustion. Therefore, this conversation is particularly relevant as we approach daylight savings time, during which we will lose an hour of sleep. I look forward to exploring the advantages and disadvantages of waking up at 5 am.
Let's begin by examining the science behind an early morning routine, with the caveat that the research generally supports an early morning routine rather than specifically a 5 am routine. The Sleep Foundation describes circadian rhythms as 24-hour cycles that are part of our body's internal clock, which carries out vital functions and processes. One of the most crucial and well-known circadian rhythms is the sleep-wake cycle, which determines when we wake up and go to bed.
As some of you may know, my daughter has both ADHD and Tourette's, and finding medications that work for her is a delicate balancing act. Tourette's medications make her sleepy, while ADHD medications exacerbate her Tourette's symptoms, creating a seesaw effect. As a result of my sleep research, we began exploring natural ways to help her wake up, and one of these methods involves sun exposure, which triggers a cascade of events in the body to activate the sleep-wake cycle. Therefore, we started having breakfast outside early in the morning, and we noticed a significant improvement in her alertness during classes.
Let's explore the potential benefits of a 5 am routine, beginning with improved sleep. Consistently waking up and going to bed at the same time, whether it's at 5 am or 7 am, can enhance your sleep quality by staying true to your body's sleep-wake cycle. Individuals who have adopted an early morning routine have also reported a decrease in stress. This benefit resonates with me personally, as my morning routine begins with meditation, which aids in reducing stress by promoting deep breathing and self-reflection. Additionally, waking up early allows more time for exercise, meal preparation, and mental preparation for the day ahead, which ultimately contributes to better overall health. It's important to note that the research supports the benefits of waking up early in general, rather than specifically at 5 am. Research suggests that individuals typically require about an hour to incorporate exercise and stress-reducing activities into their morning routines.
Let's dive into the science behind the potential drawbacks of waking up too early, starting with my personal experience of being in a car accident due to sleep deprivation. It's important to note that sleepiness is a leading cause of car accidents, so if you're feeling sleep-deprived, creating a morning routine may not be the best idea. I recently read the book "Why We Sleep" by Matthew Walker, which explains in detail the numerous drawbacks of not getting enough sleep. Sleep deprivation can affect your mood, cause relationship problems, and contribute to depression and anxiety. It can also impact your physical health, including Alzheimer's, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, obesity, and type two diabetes. Tiredness causes us to have less willpower and crave unhealthy carbohydrate- and sugar-rich foods when we are tired. In light of these possible drawbacks, it is essential that we prioritize sufficient sleep and listen to our bodies.
Let's discuss some tips for establishing an early morning routine. Before proceeding, consider weighing the pros and cons to determine if it is suitable for you. If you decide to proceed, let me provide some tips for establishing a 5 am early morning routine.
The first tip is to gradually shift your wake-up time by 5-10 minute increments. For example, if you currently wake up at 7 am, don't jump to 5 am immediately. Instead, take small steps to shift your wake-up time over a week or two. This approach is similar to what parents do when transitioning their kids from summer vacation to back-to-school schedules.
The second tip is to maintain a consistent sleep schedule. Although this can be challenging as we age, it's crucial to avoid storing up sleep. If you miss sleep during the week, you cannot compensate by sleeping more on weekends. Thus, it's essential to maintain a regular sleep cycle by waking up and going to bed at roughly the same time daily.
To create a morning routine that works for you, consider what's currently missing from your life. If you're feeling anxious, consider incorporating meditation or breathing exercises into your routine. If you're looking to be more productive, add a morning workout or dedicate some time to reviewing your schedule for the day.
One useful resource for creating a morning routine is Hal Elrod's book, "The Miracle Morning," which includes an app with research-based routines. However, you can also create a personalized routine by identifying your unique needs and interests.
Establishing an early morning routine requires dedication and consistency. But with these tips, you'll be well on your way to starting your day on the right foot.
What are the benefits of establishing a 5 am routine for entrepreneurs and creatives? While it's been a secret to success for famous figures like Ben Franklin and Richard Branson, there is truth to its benefits. For instance, you'll have improved focus and concentration in the morning since there are fewer distractions. As others are still asleep, you'll have less to worry about being constantly inundated with messages. This is especially useful if you're working from home or in a physical office where other workers have not yet arrived. Also, waking up early gives you more time for exercise and other self-care activities like meditation, which can help prevent burnout. This leads to increased productivity and the achievement of your goals since you have more time in your day to get things done. However, it's worth noting that morning productivity isn't for everyone, as some prefer working in the evening.
Let me share a story from my own experience. As part of my morning routine, I review my schedule for the day, which takes about five minutes. This simple act helps me be more effective in reaching my goals. For instance, this morning, I had a job interview scheduled for 9 am. Because I work remotely, I do my morning routine first thing in the morning, get my kids and everyone else ready, and then start working around 8:30-9 am. However, I realized that I hadn't been able to fix my printer last night, and I needed it to print out my resume for the interview. Luckily, I had gifted myself some extra time in the morning, and with my husband's help, we fixed the printer and printed out my resume. This would have been a disaster if I hadn't established a morning routine that gave me that extra time.
Let's now examine some arguments against having an early morning routine. One of the reasons that motivated me to create this video is that on Friday the 13th of February, I had two car accidents in one day. I have been struggling with sleep for a while and battling some insomnia issues, and this event made me realize how bad it had gotten. If you are waking up early but spending the whole day feeling tired and unproductive, then it's not worth sacrificing sleep. In fact, lack of sleep can negatively affect productivity. It might be better to sleep in for an extra hour and adjust your schedule accordingly to make the most of the time you have available for work. Additionally, it's crucial to consider individual differences in sleep needs and preferences. Our sleep requirements change over time, and everyone has different sleep needs even if they are in the same phase of life. While some people may need eight hours of sleep, others may function well with only six. Lastly, it's important to acknowledge the challenge of maintaining a 5am routine in the face of work or family obligations. If you have to travel across time zones or have a sick child to take care of in the middle of the night, sacrificing your morning routine might be necessary.
Currently, I'm managing my sleep struggles by keeping my alarm set for 5:30 AM, provided I go to bed at the time I need to get enough sleep. As I am currently battling insomnia, I aim for at least eight hours of sleep each night. However, if I experience a restless night or if someone disturbs my sleep, such as my child, dog, or husband, I reset the alarm. If I wake up feeling unable to get out of bed, I don't force myself to do so just for the sake of sticking to my routine. It's important to strike a balance between the benefits of waking up early and having the energy to face and live through the day.
Here are some tips to overcome the challenges of a 5 am routine. First up, we've talked about establishing a consistent bedtime and wake-up routine - gotta get those Z's in! Second, it's all about practicing good sleep hygiene, like getting ready for bed with some cozy PJs, brushing those pearly whites, and making time to wind down with some stretching, journaling, or reading. Don't forget about setting up a cool, dark, and quiet sleep environment too!
Try waking up early to see how it goes! And if you're already a morning person but feeling drained during the day, consider adjusting your sleep routine to give your body the rest it deserves. It's all about finding that sweet spot between getting enough sleep and having extra time for yourself in the morning.
And guess what? I've got another post that might just help you out with that afternoon slump. Check it out and make it a great day!
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