While it’s true that getting up early or not is a personal thing, and while I realize there are two different camps (those who love it and those who don’t), I’m starting to get worried about the amount of backlash and excuses I’m reading online about the whole idea of early rising. Some people are dismissing its effectiveness. Some people are even insisting early rising is downright dangerous.
For example, this article claims that early risers are more dishonest and have more stress hormones than late risers and this article accuses people like me of being a greedy capitalist simply because I get up early. I could nitpick other things about both articles (especially the one written by Ms. Goldhill), but I won’t.
For night owls, the obvious answer is that waking up early is bad. For everyone else, when done right, waking up early is good.
I do realize that some people are biologically not morning people and can’t spring out of bed at 5AM consistently. Some people are night owls and do their best work at night, and I respect night owls.
The truth, however, is that most people have never actually tried the 5 or 6AM gig. And most people are not genuine night owls. Most people are somewhere in between, and with the right attitude and consistency, most people can happily wake up whenever they want.
And no, not necessarily to make more money like Ms. Spinks so boldly suggests in her Quartz article I linked to in the first paragraph. Gimme a break, lady. You can go watch your TV shows in a state of trance late at night and I’ll keep rising early to do my writing and yoga, ok? Writing and yoga make me happy.
If you are indeed waking up early to get your side hustle up and running so you can quit your soul-draining job (you darn capitalists) 🙂 – what the heck is wrong with that, Ms. Spinks? The typical 9-to-5 job isn’t exactly conducive to giving us extra time or energy after work to pursue our passions or a better life, now is it?
Passion projects and entrepreneurship are best tackled first thing in the morning while our willpower and energy levels are at their highest (and while other family members are asleep – especially young children). Unless we want to stay stuck in the Rat Race until we croak… Or die with no hobbies…
Pros and Cons of Waking Up Early
Out of respect to both the night owls and morning larks among us, let’s examine the pros and cons of early rising. Nothing is all good or all bad, after all. I can think of plenty of good and bad reasons to wake up early, but it just so happens that the pros greatly outweigh the cons for me. Obviously, you can decide for yourself. So let’s get to it.
Pros of Waking Up Early
- Opportunity to have peace and quiet. No hustle and bustle outside the window or inside the house.
- Beautiful sunrises.
- Immediate sense of accomplishment since the first thing I do is just get out of bed without arguing with myself.
- Me Time. Hardly anyone is awake and I can do whatever I want without interruptions. This would be a great time for me to catch up on a TV show or two, Ms. Spinks. Boom! 🙂
- Less stress and anxiety. Since I have all the time in the world to get ready for work, I’m not rushing around and stressing out. I’m cool. Like Fonzie. 🙂
- Plenty of time to crank out those tasks I’ve been meaning to do.
- No one from work ever tries calling or emailing me with an “emergency” because they’re still sleeping.
- I get to work on time.
- Easier to fall asleep at night because I’m usually very tired by 9 or 9:30PM.
Cons of Waking Up Early
- Must be strict about bedtime 7 days a week. No late night partying, Netflix, YouTube videos, or working through the night.
- Have to put away phone and tablet at least an hour before bedtime in order for my eyes to start getting the clue that bedtime is approaching.
- Mornings can be cold, and my bed is ohhh so warm and comfy…
- Have to be extra quiet if no one in the house is awake yet.
- It takes a month or two for the early rising habit to become ingrained. During the initial stages, it’s very tempting to “keep sleeping and get up early tomorrow”.
- People might try calling or texting when I’m already in bed. I make sure to have the phone on silent or Airplane Mode so I’m not disturbed.
- The first week or two, while adjusting to early rising, I felt more tired than usual. I had to power through it and eat lots of fruit.
Does waking up early make you smarter?
No, I really don’t think so, but it does make you work and play smarter. Have you ever heard the saying work smarter, not harder?
For me, waking early has also given me a renewed passion for life. This is a huge pro that I never expected when I first committed myself to developing the habit of waking up early.
I’m happier than I’ve ever been because I’m pleased with my self-discipline and ability to self-soothe my anxiety by getting a jumpstart on the day.
Benefits of Waking Up Early on Skin
As a side note: It might sound odd, but since waking up early my skin has improved. I think it’s because I have set aside more Me Time and actually have time to properly wash my face and moisturize.
Before, I would just rush through my morning routine 15 minutes before I had to leave and that left no time to care for my skin. I would quickly splash my face with water, brush my teeth for less than 30 seconds, and head off to the kitchen for some crappy cereal.
Now, I slowly exfoliate with warm water, charcoal soap and an exfoliating sponge. I brush my teeth for probably closer to 2 minutes and one morning had time to go on Amazon and research a better fluoride-free toothpaste that I now can’t live without. (That link is to the 12-pack BTW, because that’s how I order it, but maybe buy 1 tube to try it out first?)
And finally, I have time to make some oatmeal topped with fresh fruit, or an egg, or whatever I feel like eating. Or if I feel like going out to the diner to treat myself to breakfast, there’s time for that, too!
Don’t let those articles I linked to at the beginning of this blog post scare you into avoiding early rising. Waking up early is not dangerous. In fact, the thought of that is downright silly to me.
Life is good. Why wouldn’t you want to experience the peaceful aspects of it by rising just a little earlier each morning? We get enough stress and chaos throughout the rest of the day. If you never get up early, you won’t ever experience the stillness of dawn or have a few extra minutes all to yourself before the demands of the day begin.
In short, waking up early can be good or bad, depending on your attitude. For me, waking up early has been one of the best habits I’ve ever developed.