Waking Up at 5am Is the Best and Worst Thing That Ever Happened to Me

Waking Up at 5am Is the Best and Worst Thing That Ever Happened to Me

Nothing in life is all good or all bad and waking up at 5am is no exception. This wonderful early rising habit that I have come to love has its perks as well as quirks – and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. The truth is, I have a love-hate relationship with my friend, 5am.

Let me just tell you this right off the bat: Waking up at 5 am is officially the most life-changing habit I have ever stuck with in my entire 33 years of existence. But it’s been both heaven and hell. Keep reading and I’ll explain.

Why I Love Waking Up At 5am

5am is quiet

All is Quiet

I’m an introvert. That’s just how I’m wired. I absolutely love the fact that the world is quiet when I wake up at 5am. Quiet is my ideal environment to get tasks done without interruptions. It’s also the ideal time for me to grab some time for myself to meditate and self-reflect.

I know my family and coworkers usually have the best of intentions, but holy cow… They have no idea how much they interrupt and slow me down sometimes throughout the rest of the day; I say this out of love and respect, but it’s the truth and must be said. Good thing I’m not usually up to much in the afternoon and evening and can give them my attention without feeling like I’m behind on my work. 😉

more time at 5 am

I Have More Time

I know, I know… It’s impossible to have more time than we already have in a day, but waking up at 5am makes it seem like there’s more time. At least to me it does.

I guess what I’m saying is that waking up at 5 am gives me a more efficient use of my 24 hours. It gives me more “workable” time or “me” time – depending on what my goal that day is. It makes me feel like I have more time for whatever I deem important in my life, and allows me to fit in more things if I want to.

The words, “I don’t have time” never come out of my mouth anymore. It’s so liberating.

important tasks done 5am

Everything Important Gets Done

When I first started getting up at 5am, nothing really got done on my early morning wish list as I called it back then. I was intentionally taking it slow and making sure I simply got out of bed so that the habit would become ingrained. I would wake up and do whatever I felt like in those early days, which wasn’t much other than drinking tea, watching YouTube videos, planning the rest of the day, and sometimes taking a short walk around the block. 

After a couple months of getting used to 5am rising, my wish list finally turned into a to-do list. To my delight and after much patience, I discovered that I’m hyperalert and productive at that time. After a short stint in the bathroom, 5:15-ish is “go time” for me. I now put a huge dent in my to-do list before 7 am, and boy does it feel great! 

less stress anxiety waking up at 5am

Less Anxiety and Stress

In the past, I would roll out of bed half an hour before I needed to report to work. That meant no breakfast, halfway combed hair, and a huge potential for being late because of the obscene amount of congested intersections that exist between home and work. That also meant I’d be stressed out all day every day, starting the second I jolted out of bed.

All that constant cortisol got me all out of whack, which led to a few anxiety attacks and trouble falling asleep at night. I was a mess. I’ve always hated early mornings, so it took a very long time to occur to me that getting up early was the solution to my anxiety and stress.

Once I started getting up at 5, my anxiety, stress, and sleep issues started to melt away. I can’t say my stress levels are non-existent because that would be impossible, but I can definitely say my anxiety is non-existent now – and the stress is way less. I’m much happier, more pleasant for others to be around, and I’m finally chipping away at some new goals…

achieve goals by waking up at 5am

New Goals

The “sleep until 8amme would have only dreamed of setting new goals. 
The “wake up at 5amme is not only setting new goals for myself, but also finding the time to work on those goals.

It’s amazing what an extra 2.5 hours in the morning has done for my life. I’ve been using the time to have 30 minutes or so to myself for meditating and writing, and the remaining 2 hours is being dedicated to working on a side hustle that will eventually allow me to quit my job.

Which of your goals could you achieve with an extra 2.5 hours added to the beginning of your day? You won’t accomplish everything in one day or even in one week, but each day you will have a small win that will add up to big results in a shorter time than you can imagine.

self-confidence booster waking up at 5am

It’s One Heck of a Self-Confidence Booster

At the end of the day when I look back at my mornings and what I’ve accomplished before 8am, I find myself feeling very confident in myself and my abilities. This is something I never would have felt in the past when I jolted out of bed at the last minute. 

Getting up early feels great and makes me feel like I can do anything. I highly recommend it!

self-acceptance 5am

I’ve Learned Self-Acceptance

Whether I get up early or not, I always have a natural tendency to move and act in slow motion in the afternoon. No matter what I try to do to combat this, it happens anyway. I’ve tried for years to fix it, but I guess it’s just how I’m wired. I’m like a sloth in afternoon meetings and my boss finally got the clue and started only scheduling morning meetings for me unless it’s an emergency.

This is something I have finally learned to accept about myself and my circadian rhythm. Since I get up at 5 in the morning, it’s no longer such a big deal. The way I see it, the only way for me to be a high achiever and get everything done is to get up at 5am. So that’s what I do.

Oh well. At least I can lollygag all afternoon without dire consequences. In fact, I’m starting to enjoy my lazy afternoons now. This self-acceptance has turned into a really great reason for me to love waking up at 5am. Anything that encourages self-acceptance is fantastic in my book…

Why I Hate Waking Up At 5am

This section of my post is about why I hate waking up at 5am. Without a doubt, waking up at 5am is not all sunshine and roses. I downright hate it sometimes. And I must admit, when my alarm goes off, most mornings I really, really want to go back to sleep… even now with my current mindset. I don’t think this resistance ever goes away.

That’s when I have to use Mel Robbins’ 5 Second Rule and count backward 5-4-3-2-1 to give myself the push I need to get up. It’s simple, but it works.

Here are some of the crappy parts about waking up at 5 am:

no staying up late if waking up at 5am

Goodbye Nightlife, Hello Social Outcast

Good thing I’m really into this 5am thing because staying out late is definitely something I’m not able to do as much as I did when I was in my 20s. My early rising habit has completely transformed my circadian rhythm, which tends to prevent me from socializing with friends, and that makes me sad sometimes.

Maybe I should go play bingo at the senior citizen club so that I can be home by 8 o’clock. Of course, I’m joking… 😀

In all seriousness, I do sometimes make exceptions for birthdays and special occasions, but it can be really difficult for me to stay awake past 10pm. I’ve fallen asleep at clubs, bars, and restaurants before, which is really embarrassing and awkward. It could be dangerous, too.

Being a social outcast is a definite disadvantage of waking up at 5am.

self-doubt getting up early

Self-Doubt Can Creep In…

There have been times when I’ve told people that I wake up at 5am (because they asked what time I wake up) and some of them look at me like I’m crazy or have literally asked me if I’m crazy. This has happened enough times that I will occasionally wonder if I am indeed crazy.

Of course, then I snap out of it and remember how many amazing things waking up early has helped me accomplish in a short time. 

Those people are just insensitive and maybe one day they’ll realize it. Even if they don’t ever realize their rudeness, it’s no skin off my back. They can be freaking annoying, though. 

idea notebook 5am

No One to Bounce Ideas Off In the Moment

I’ve had to become best friends with my idea notebook. Yes, a physical notebook because I don’t even pull out my phone until after 8am when I’m gearing up for the day at my current job. 5am to 8am is Me Time and Side Hustle Time…

When I’m up at 5am and a genius idea strikes me, it’s my first instinct to call up a friend to validate the idea, but then it suddenly strikes me that I can’t… Because then I’d wake them up and they wouldn’t be too happy with me… So I write it down in the notebook and bring it up to them later if necessary. No big deal, but kinda inconvenient.

apartment be quiet 5am

Small Apartments and Waking Up At 5am Don’t Mix Well

I live in an apartment in Los Angeles with a couple of other people who don’t get up nearly as early as I do. This means, of course, that I have to tiptoe to the bathroom when I wake up, avoid the kitchen, and do most of my work-related activities in my bedroom with the door closed. 

We have a desk in the living room and a dining table next to the kitchen, but one of my roommates sleeps right next to all that, so I can’t go out there in the morning. I can’t even go to the kitchen to get a cup of tea without waking them up, in fact! What a drag…

It would be a nightmare to sit on my bed with my laptop because I’d be prone to falling back asleep due to poor posture and the coziness of my bed. Getting up at 5am just to sit on my bed would essentially be a waste of my time and energy. My bed is for sleeping, period.

No Excuses – I Found a Workaround

It would have been really easy to say, “Forget it, my situation isn’t conducive to waking up early.” That’s what most people would say, but I didn’t. I found a workaround. That’s how badly I want my side hustle to pan out; that’s how badly I want my life to change.

Sometimes I do my meditation while sitting on a pillow on the floor. Doing that on the bed would make me fall asleep, too…

To solve the laptop problem, I had to end up buying a desk and chair to put in the corner of my bedroom and keep my electric kettle in my room to boil water for my tea. What a pain. It works, though. 

I get up at 5 without waking everyone else up and I still get my work done without being slumped over on my bed falling asleep.

To wake up at 5am consistently and actually work toward one’s goals requires creativity and persistence – both of which I have. Do you?

loud neighbors early bedtime

Strained Relationship With Neighbors

I like to go to bed no later than 9:30pm and well… my neighbors don’t. They like going to bed at God knows when. 2am? That’s cool; that’s their business, but it would be nice if that didn’t frequently interfere with my sleep.

Even though I’m always nice as well as patient when I speak with a problem neighbor, it doesn’t always go well. Most of them are apologetic when I explain that I get up at 5 and they do quiet down, but I’ve had a few minor spats with a couple neighbors who are just the type who don’t care. I don’t mind if they’re loud until about 10pm or on until whenever on weekends, but c’mon… 2am on a Tuesday? 🙁

It has put me in some awkward situations that I don’t at all enjoy. I really do not like confrontations.

The situation with neighbors has been something I’ve had to deal with in various ways. I use the white noise feature on my sunrise alarm clock, which you can read more about on the Best Sunrise Alarm Clock page, or I’ll use earplugs in extreme situations.

The reason I bring this up isn’t because I want to complain about inconsiderate neighbors, but because it’s definitely one of the reasons I hate waking up at 5am. If you are considering joining the 5am club yourself, this is something to keep in mind if you live in close proximity to your neighbors.

Why Waking Up At 5am Wins Out… For Me

The quiet environment at 5am really helps keep me ahead of the game so I can focus on my to-do list and focus on family in the latter part of the day. Waking up at 5am makes me feel like I can have it all in my life. It makes me feel empowered. My dear friend, 5am, helps me ditch the petty excuses I used to make about why I could never do this or that and gives me the time and space to do those things.

I recommend asking yourself: If not 5am, when? 🙂

Be Honest With Yourself

You see, waking up at 5am isn’t for everyone. In fact, I venture to say it isn’t for most. Is it for you? Are you willing to make the necessary sacrifices for it; i.e., saying no to late nights? Are you willing to love 5am, warts and all?

I wake up at 5am because I want to – because it enriches my life. You’ll need to weigh the options and decide for yourself what is best for you.

Rising at the crack of dawn wasn’t something I was able to consistently do in earlier years because I didn’t want to. Or rather, I wanted to, but I didn’t see the value in it. Plus, I was lazy and lacked ambition. So I didn’t do it. I was honest with myself and about where I was emotionally.

To be honest, I’m glad I didn’t do it back then. If I did do it back then, I would’ve resisted the process and probably taken even longer to get where I am today. What you resist, persists.

If you’re in this same boat where you want to get up early to have time for your own hobbies or ambitions, but you’re just too lazy or can’t see the value in it – or even if you do see the value, but always manage to talk yourself out of it when the alarm goes off, don’t be too hard on yourself. One day you will be able to do it once you realize you will never feel like getting up early and that you will just have to do it anyway. 

When you don’t see the value in something, I don’t recommend you do it. Unless you have to, of course, which is a whole other story…

But What If You Are Forced to Get Up at 5am…?

Speaking of which… I pity and respect those who get up at 5am because they have to, for fear of losing a job. Been there, done that. I know there is nothing worse than waking up day after day sleep deprived, hating life, and stumbling out of bed for yet another day of running on the hamster wheel in the Rat Race.

If you find yourself in a similar situation, I hope you will remedy the sitch first (find a different job or whatever remedying means for you) and set your attitude straight before committing to waking up at 5 am for your own personal development.


I’ve mentioned everything I’ve found to be good and annoying about waking up at 5 am in this blog post, but your experience may vary. In fact, it probably will. If you’re up for it, try waking up at 5 and see how you fare.

There is a world of difference between waking up at 5am because you have to and waking up at 5am because you want to. My advice is to be in the “because you want to” camp.

Do you want to? If you don’t, then don’t do it. But remember: You will never feel like getting up when that alarm goes off. Learn how to discern not seeing the value in getting up early versus just wanting to stay in a warm bed.

If you recognize that you’re resisting just because you don’t want to get out of that warm bed and that you do indeed have goals that need tending to, get your butt out of bed! Count backward from 5-4-3-2-1 and as you say 1, blast yourself out of bed like a rocket. Don’t think about it. Just do it.

Wake Up Early… For You

Don’t wake up at 5am because some yogi or Elon Musk (or whoever) said so or because it seems like a good idea. It must be because you said so. It must be because you know it is a good idea. It must be because you have a plan.

Hopefully this was helpful if you’re on the fence about waking up at 5am (or whatever early hour.) There are good and bad aspects to everything in life – including early rising, but overall, there are many more upsides to waking up early than there are to hitting the snooze button and sleeping away your life.

I'm the owner of WhyGetUpEarly.com and an enthusiastic early riser. Let's discuss why that is... and maybe I can make you a believer in magical mornings as well!

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