There’s no doubt about it. There are some absolutely life-changing benefits of waking up early, but by the same token, there are some disadvantages of early rising that can be quite annoying. Let’s address both so that you know what you’re in for if you decide to embark on your own early morning adventures.
I recommend that you carefully weigh all the pros and cons, which I’ll go into more detail about below, and decide what if waking up early is the best choice for your morning routine. For me personally, the benefits of getting up early far outweigh any minor inconveniences I encounter.
A lot of times, I just have to shift my schedule or communicate better with others so they understand my lifestyle choice. This works for me and is a small price to pay because I’m able to accomplish a lot more by getting up at 5:30 or 6 am than I ever did by waking up later around 8 or 9 am.
Benefits of Waking Up Early
I’ve been waking up early for a while now, and feel I am well qualified to discuss this topic. Below are the benefits of being an early riser, based on my experience. Later on, in the next section, I’ll highlight some of the annoying parts about waking up earlier than the average person.
You’ll Finally Be Able to Focus
Ahh… This is one of my favorite early morning benefits. When I need to do something in a no-nonsense fashion and can’t afford to be interrupted by people, early in the morning at 5:30 am is when I do it. I never realized just how distracted I was on a daily basis doing even the most basic things I’ve done a million times like writing a personal blog post (such as the one you’re reading now, but for other blogs), creating spreadsheets for work, and writing copy for work.
When I used to do things of that nature during mid-morning or afternoon like a “normal” person, I completed the task much slower and didn’t do as stellar of a job. I know this to be true because I timed myself and tracked my boss’ reactions to work I did early versus later. Early outperformed later for me every single time.
During the early morning hours, I am able to focus on one task at a time in a quiet environment. As an introvert, I excel in a space that promotes peace and quiet.
No one ever tries to impose or break my focus early in the morning because no one I know is even awake. And if I do ever make friends with someone who also gets up that early, they’re unlikely to interrupt me because they’ll probably be busy focusing on their own things! I think there must be some kind of unwritten code among early risers that you must allow your fellow early risers to do their own thing without getting in the way… 🙂
I love having a designated time where I know I can start on a task, focus on it for a bit, and get it done. There’s no better feeling than crossing a normally difficult item off my to-do list before I’m even getting started for the day.
You’ll Get More in Touch With Nature
One thing I know for certain is that nature heals whatever is ailing you. By getting immersed in nature, you are giving your body, mind, and soul a chance to recuperate from the stresses of the previous day as well as those that await us during the remainder of the day. Nature gives us the opportunity to become grounded in a way that our soul-draining society never allows. Nature gives us permission to just sit there and breathe with no demands. The patience, kindness, and acceptance of nature are magical, which I believe has healed many illnesses.
Early mornings are the best time to engage with nature and experience its stillness. Why? You guessed it… It’s because hardly anyone is awake except maybe the birds. Sometimes not even the birds if you get up early enough.
To experience the fullness of nature, it needs to be quiet outside and supply you with clean air for deep breathing. Unless you live in a very remote area, the time that’s going have the cleanest air and provide an adequately quiet environment is early in the morning.
Gorgeous sunsets, mystical mist, and the refreshing air of the early mornings can be rewards in and of themselves, encouraging you to embrace and cherish this daily quiet time with Mother Nature.
You’ll Become More Productive
After spending a few minutes with nature and clear intentions start flowing in your consciousness, you’ll find that you can’t help but start looking for tasks that need to get done. Translation: You become effortlessly productive.
It took me a couple weeks for my body’s circadian rhythm to adjust to my early rising schedule, but after that 2-week period, I’ve found that I am in such a lucid state of mind after about 30 minutes of being awake and being exposed to light that I’ve become hyper-productive by default. It’s fantastic.
I’ve also found that my overall stress levels have plummeted even though my workload and responsibilities have remained the same. Because I always get the most difficult tasks out of the way first thing in the morning, most days I can pretty much just coast the rest of the day. If I get anything else done in the afternoon it’s a bonus, and if I don’t, it doesn’t matter because I already accomplished all that was required of me before noon.
What if you have a job that requires you to work 9 to 5?
Not everyone has a flexible work schedule. A lot of us are in the situation where we have to work certain hours and there is often no way around it. That’s fine, but that also doesn’t mean you have to give up being productive in your personal life.
Work 9 to 5 and give your job any remainder of energy you have left at 9 am – after attending to your own personal needs and goals from 5:30 am until whenever you have to leave for work. Make yourself and your family the top priority and you will see your life improve drastically in a very short time.
Most people just go to work and don’t set aside time to care for themselves or chip away at goals. By the time most people get home in the evening, they are too tired to think about anything except dinner and unwinding from the stressful work day.
Give your best, most creative and productive hours to yourself each morning and wake up way before your 9-to-5 shift starts. This will give you a chance in the mornings to finally pursue passion projects, start a side business that will help you escape the Rat Race, enjoy good company with family and friends, or pamper yourself in whatever ways suit you. Stop prioritizing a job by giving it the best hours of your life, and start prioritizing yourself and your well-being instead.
Set up your morning routine so that you can start tackling your own personal hopes and dreams first thing… And screw your job in the long term. Unless you love your job, of course; in which case… carry on. 🙂
Even if you love your job, it’s still beneficial to set aside personal time before going in to work. We are all human and need to have adequate leisure time.
You’ll Start Going After Goals – and Achieving Them!
Because you’ve become a productive beast in the morning, you will inevitably start setting goals for yourself – and actually achieving them. It comes with the territory, I’ve found!
This will be very different from what most people are used to. Most people are used to maintaining the status quo and doing the minimum to get by. Most people are complacent.
Early risers tend to raise the bar and happily juggle more than they ever thought possible. This leads to achieving goals that increase in scope exponentially over time.
You’ll Start to Crave Peace and Quiet
Even if you’re an ultra extrovert and even if you don’t meditate, you might just find that you still crave the peace and quiet atmosphere that greets you early in the morning. After you get a taste of it, you want more.
By getting up at 4 am, this allows you to take full advantage of the peace and quiet that the morning has to offer. I would recommend going to bed an hour or two earlier than 10 pm, though, if you get up at 4 just so that you are getting enough sleep. 6 hours of sleep per night is not enough for most people. Getting up super early does not mean you should be sleep deprived.
You’ll Find Time to Try New Hobbies
Up until the time you committed to waking up early, you probably felt like you never had any time to try something new – like a hobby. You probably have been waking up just in time to get to work, then you come home to do chores and mope on the couch about how tired you are, before going to bed to start the whole process all over again the next day.
Now that you have carved out a little extra time for yourself in the morning where no one will disturb you, it’s totally doable to pursue a new hobby or three. Having new interests to keep you stimulated in the early morning will, ironically, give you a new perspective on life that will make you feel more energetic throughout the day. Suddenly, life won’t seem so bleak anymore.
If you keep at it long enough, you might even get really good at your new pursuits. It’s possible that it might even open up new career opportunities or social encounters for you.
I like using early mornings for some shameless Me Time, which gives me plenty of opportunities to dabble in new hobbies, crafts, and activities that I never considered in the past.
Drawbacks of Waking Up Early
The benefits of waking up early are plenty, but what about the not-so-great parts? Nothing in this life is all roses and sunshine. I’ll be the first to admit there are indeed a few disadvantages of waking up early. There’s not that many, though, at least from my perspective. I will point out, by the way, that the cons might weigh a heavier burden on extroverts. I’m an introvert all the way, so keep that in mind.
Say Goodbye to Nightlife and Your Nighttime Social Life
If you plan to wake up early on a permanent basis, you might as well kiss any clubbing, partying, and bar hopping goodbye. Nightlife and early rising do not mix because that is a recipe for disaster health-wise. Staying up too late and failing to get your 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night leads to severe sleep deprivation and all the problems associated with it.
Obviously, you’re probably going to be out past your bedtime on occasion, even after you’ve been embracing waking up early for a while because that’s just life. However, it’s important to point out that early risers avoid doing so as much as possible.
Personally, avoiding nightlife doesn’t bother me at all because I can’t even stay awake past 10 pm these days, but it is a dealbreaker for many people – especially younger people. If the only time you can ever possibly spend with friends or family happens to be late at night, you might want to delay your early rising lifestyle for a few years until you can implement it properly.
Be honest with yourself if you want to make this sacrifice or not. Successful early rising requires abiding by the same bedtime and wake-up time 7 days a week. Remember that before making your decision.
No More Afternoon Caffeine
As an early riser, you must realize that your entire schedule is now shifted earlier by at least a couple hours – maybe more if you get up extremely early around 4 or 5 am.
This means you can’t enjoy afternoon coffee, tea, soda, or energy drinks without suffering dire consequences. Since you are now going to bed earlier, if you’re still consuming caffeine into the afternoon hours, it’s going to mess with your sleep cycle. AKA you probably won’t be sleepy enough at bedtime, which will make you go to bed too late.
Then guess what? You’ll wake up to your alarm at the normal early time feeling groggy and sleep deprived. You’ll say, “screw it” and go back to sleep, destroying any chance you had of making your new early rising habit stick! All this because of one “harmless” iced coffee at 3 pm!
If you’re on board with the early rising lifestyle, quit it with the afternoon caffeine or you’re going to regret the whole thing. Just saying…
Relationships Can Be Negatively Affected
This one is a biggie. If your spouse, partner, friends, and family are not early risers, your relationship with them will require some special attention and care. They will need to understand that your bedtime is firm. You will likely have to make plans to spend time with them earlier in the evening and on weekends – unless they want to do it super early in the morning (not likely!).
Be careful here that your close relationships do not suffer at the hand of your early rising habit. If there is too much of a conflict, you might want to reconsider waking up early, or at the very least, not waking up quite so early so that your personal relationships can continue to flourish.
For example, if you have a teenager, they might enjoy interacting with you at 11 pm because that’s when they are most alert, but if you get up at 5 am, you would be fast asleep by then. You have to decide if there’s another viable time to bond with your teenager, or if 11 pm will have to do – and then save your early rising for after they go off to college. Sometimes, as a parent, you have to cherish any given opportunity to talk and bond with your teens, even if it’s at an inopportune time. You’re lucky if a teenager even wants to speak to you at all, in fact – regardless of the time. LOL!
No Firing Off Texts or Making Phone Calls at the Crack of Dawn
As an early riser, you might be distraught to learn that the rest of the world does not necessarily operate on your early morning schedule. It would be rude to call or text someone at 5 am unless you know they are awake.
This can be a disadvantage because if you’re up and at ’em at 5 and you’re getting tasks done, you might have a question for someone. Or maybe you feel like chatting it up with someone. Except you can’t (or shouldn’t) contact them at that moment. You’ll have to wait until later when you know it’s okay to call. This is something you’ll have to get used to.
To resist temptation, I like to pretend my phone doesn’t even exist before 9 am. I leave it plugged in at its charging station until I’m literally walking out the door for work. Ignoring my phone in the early morning hours has other perks as well, such as increasing my productivity since I’m not wasting time on social media when I want to be tackling my goals and dreams instead.
Take an honest look at what early rising can do for you. Compare the benefits of waking up early to any potential drawbacks you foresee. For most people, I’d say it’s definitely worth the effort to train yourself to wake up early every day. In fact, waking up early can change your life for the better.