Is Getting Up At 5:00AM Worth It?

With the start of the new school year, it was pretty clear that I’d have a lot to do. Currently, I’m teaching five classes at two different universities, wrapping up my dissertation in political theory, and writing fairly actively for a number of clients. All of that, combined with maintaining a decent life and a relationship with my partner meant that I’d have to make the most of every day to make it work.

Usually, I’m not a morning person at all. I’ve never been late to work or class in my life, but a 2 AM-10 AM sleep schedule seems to be what my body likes. For the past three weeks, I’ve been getting up at 5 AM, and here’s what I’ve learned.

First and foremost, getting up this early has allowed me to have some free time. On most days, my first class is at noon, so when I get up while it’s still good and dark, it feels like I have a day ahead of me before I have any professional responsibilities.

During that time, I’ve been working out, doing some emailing, making any necessary phone calls for the day, and prepping lectures two weeks ahead of time. Once all of that’s done, usually by about 10:00, I get some good, focused writing time in before class. After class, then, I get to go home and enjoy some guilt-free time to make a nice dinner, relax, and take care of chores.

Also, it’s really quiet at 5 in the morning. Having that time where no one is calling, emailing, or asking class-related questions has helped immensely with the growing anxiety I often felt getting up later and immediately facing work (albeit from home). Knowing it will be at least 3-4 hours before anyone wants anything from me allows me to get ahead.

Of course, the first week of doing this meant sleeping pretty poorly, as I was virtually reversing my sleep schedule. After that, though, I’ve noticed my energy levels are up and caffeine consumption is way down. Being tired by 9 at night has meant great sleep most of the time, which has eluded me for years. Getting my body more in-tune with the rhythms of the sun, apparently, is having great effects on my energy levels.

Lastly, it’s been an exercise in self-discipline. While I’ve always loved self-directed things that require discipline, whether it’s freelancing, academia, or learning new skills, getting up early has always been a struggle for me.

Now, I usually get up about 90 seconds before the alarm. This lets me have a first little win for the day, and knowing I’ll have the bed made, a hot breakfast, and a good workout in before the sun comes up has given me a little sense of pride I didn’t have before.

I still love sleepy Sundays, getting up about 10AM before getting to cleaning, cooking, and writing for ManLife, but even once my schedule gets less full, I think I’ll keep getting up nice and early. It makes me feel better about my days, and that’s a good enough reason for me.
About author
Garrett is a writer and commentator based in the South. His areas of expertise lie in cooking, fashion, and the outdoors among others. He has been writing and educating professionally for years, and enjoys creating online discourses around positively masculine spaces.


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