“The early bird catches the worm” is a saying of age-old wisdom, forewarning those who wish to seize an opportunity, that to arrive early and prepared will grant them a greater chance of success. Today’s most influential people aren’t shy to share the secret of their success: they are habitual early risers, their day having begun in the hours before the coffee machine begins to whir. But unlike most influencer trends that fade out of sight as fast as they arrive, waking up before the alarm has genuine benefits to your physical and mental well-being. Here is a list of five reasons why you might want to rethink those extra five minutes of morning shut-eye.
1. Practicing morning rituals
Not everyone is a morning person. Some arise from rumpled sheets, bleary eyes searching for lost items sat upon the bedside table, zombie-like until that first taste of strong, black coffee. For others, waking up before the alarm to practice their morning rituals (hydrate, stretch, sunlight, gratitude,coffee) is an essential and transformative part of their day. Prioritizing a mindful activity that brings you a sense of calmness, be that drinking a cup of coffee over a chapter of a book, or practicing ten minutes of yoga, can be a welcome moment of serenity, distant from the onslaught of social media notifications that flood in throughout the day.
2. Getting a head start
Snoozing the alarm one too many times can make anyone feel as if they are playing catch up all day. This extra thirty minutes of shut-eye could be the difference between a ten minute commute versus a forty minute commute. Equally, it could be the difference between getting a head start on a demanding task at work or the feeling of sluggish discontent, when the clock strikes 3pm and you’re yet to make a dent in your to-do list.
3. A moment of solitude
For those who spend their days yearning for a quiet moment to themselves, experiment with keeping your bedroom curtains open. As the morning begins to brighten, your body should awaken gradually while adjusting to the natural light as it filters into the room. This can be the ideal moment of solitude: watching the sunrise, you might wish to reflect on the things in life that you are most grateful for. Meditating on our dreams, and the practical methods of progressing towards them, can help us stay grounded, consistent, and connected to the physical world around us.
[Note: you might wish to keep an alarm on as a precaution, should you be a deep sleeper!]
4. Creating new routines
Balancing the demands of the professional workplace with a healthy lifestyle is not an easy task. Arriving home late, sluggish and overworked, it becomes all too tempting to slack off the evening HIIT class in exchange for a cozy evening in with a film and a glass of wine. Waking up earlier in the morning can help to sustain the healthy new habits that on the first day of every year, you had promised yourself you’d adopt.
Leave the guilt and the New Year’s Resolutions at the door. Wake up early with the intention of working out in the morning or preparing yourself a fulfilling breakfast. It is easier to stay inspired and disciplined first thing in the morning, when you have the energy to do so.
5. The rest of the world is not awake yet
Once the rest of the world is awake, it is easy to blow off tasks and personal commitments with a frustrated sigh (“there just aren’t enough hours in the day!”). And in the modern age, there simply aren’t. Not when your phone is constantly alerting you of the meeting you have to prepare for that afternoon, the dinner reservations you have that evening, or the event scheduled for next week.
The benefit of waking up before everyone else, is that it is easier to make the choice to switch off from the relentless world of social media, news alerts and Facebook events. Without so much to attract and divert your attention, it is easier to dedicate this time to yourself: to remember what is important to you, to focus on your personal goals, and to begin to make progress towards them