There’s a new trend going around claiming that 5am is the optimal time to wake up. Although I’ve been defending the theory that there is no universal “best time” to wake up for years, my mom – beating everyone to the punch – has been getting up before dawn for as long as I can remember. It’s inhuman, but then again, the woman goes to bed at 8pm.
Lately I’ve been highly impressionable and susceptible to any theories that promise high levels of productivity, so of course waking up at 5am sounds extremely excruciating for my ears; but also kind of intriguing. Like, kind of an impossible challenge I would like to tackle intriguing. It didn’t take much to convince me either: listening to an episode of the Marie Forleo podcast, where she interviews Robin Sharma about his book The 5 AM Club, he raises some interesting points.
Waking up at 5am is transformational, because it’s the time of greatest quietude and tranquility is the new luxury on our planet. It is a time of intimate creativity, you’ve just been rested and your brain is fresh. New science studies say that when you sleep, your brain actually has a mechanism to wash itself, so when you wake up in the morning, your willpower is strongest and you got a full well of mental focus. And in today’s world focus is a commodity more precious than intelligence.
Getting up so early allows you valuable time to think and plan. But it’s not about just lying in bed staring at the ceiling or scrolling on your phone. It’s about using your time wisely. You can play with your phone or change the world. You don’t get to do both.
The best way to start the day is getting up and moving, because that way you’re going to release serotonin and dopamine, which are going to make you feel better. And you’re gonna release norepinephrine, which will boost your focus. You’ll promote neurogenesis. You can actually grow new brain cells.
The next step is dedicated to reflection and intention, something billionaires and the great creatives do. Take time to write in a journal, visualize, pray, meditate and contemplate how you’re going to live your day.
It takes 66 days of practice to wire in a new habit, and grit, persistence and morning rituals are the price of admission for world class. Sharma says, the gift of genius is not genius. The gift of genius is actually neuroplasticity. In other words, we have a brain that can grow. It’s plastic. It’s malleable. The good news is that’s not just for Kanye, and Beyonce, and Federer, and Oprah and Phil Knight. Every one of us has that capability in our brain to build genius. So what I’m suggesting is anyone who wants to get up early so they get an extra hour and they can do the things that we’re talking about, practice it for 66 days until you will reach what researchers call a state of automaticity, where it actually gets easier to get up at 5:00 AM than not to get up at 5:00 AM. All change is hard at first, and it’s messy in the middle, and it’s gorgeous at the end.
Today I tried getting up at 7am and failed. I went to bed late, quarantine has me all over the place and I was quick to convince myself when my alarm rudely went off this morning that it was okay to just go back to bed! But making excuses is so easy and comfortable. We become victims and declare them so often they become truths. I’m not saying we should all start waking up at 5 am. Heck, I’m not even sure if I can make it 6am! But one thing is true: we can cling to our excuses, or we can go out there and have an impact, live a fulfilling, magic life, and be highly creative. And that comes from stretching ourselves and changing our mindset. Change your thinking, change your life.
Will I be waking up at 5am tomorrow? Well, let’s see…I’m really good at making excuses and I need to prepare myself mentally for this potentially huge change in my life..so I’ll aim for 7am! That’s a huge step for someone who loves her sleep just as much as she loves her excuses so we’ll take the slow and steady wins the race approach…well, here’s to health, wealth, and happiness!
And a whole lot of self-discipline.
What’s YOUR take on waking up at 5am?