The Wellness Wednesday theme for December is sleep! Last week I shared 20 Ways to Induce Sleep Naturally.
6:00 a.m., the alarm goes off.
Am I seriously going to do this? By choice? Stick to an arbitrary wake up time when I could sleep in til 8:00?
I know from years of experience that this moment of decision is my moment of danger.
Far worse than falling down a staircase during REM, these minutes when I’m conscious but comfortable threaten to override all my valiant goals for rising early.
Knowing the danger prompts me to action. Instead of reasoning myself back to dreams, I get up robotically and begin going through the morning motions.
By the time I reach the bathroom I’m already feeling more awake; I’ve passed out of the shadow zone.
I know, some of you are reading this and thinking “6:00 a.m.?? If only! I get up at 4:00!!”
I’m impressed. And I’m sure someday I’ll share those seasons of life.
But for now, working at home and setting my own schedule, it’s a big deal for me to wake up a full two hours earlier than I’m accustomed to.
I’m doing it because of those valiant goals I referenced earlier. I want to wake up early so I can:
- Get to work when I work best- Deep down, I’m a morning person, and that’s when I’m most productive. Lengthening my mornings means extending my productivity.
- Get a jump on the day- By 8 I’ve breakfasted, gotten dressed, had my coffee, and gotten in at least a solid hour of work already. I’m prepared to hit the grocery store before it gets busy, or claim a washing machine in our apartment complex.
- Be more intentional about the hours I sleep- If I get up early, I have to be careful about when I go to sleep. I’ve never been a person who can function on a pittance of shuteye. If I don’t sleep, I look ugly and I ask people to repeat themselves 5 times.
I’ve been surprised about the effect of that last one. Because I know I’m getting up at 6:00, I have to plan my day so that I get to sleep by 10. I have to make a focused choice to stop working in the afternoon so I can tidy the house, make super, and begin winding down. I have to practise those good sleep habits I talked about last week.
Setting an early wake up time has brought much-needed structure to my whole day.
Calling the shots–if possible–about when you wake up and when you go to bed will make sleep more of a priority for you. And sleep is important enough that you should set protective boundaries around it. (Next week I’m writing about all of the cool and utterly necessary things that sleep does for your body.)
Aside from accomplishing those goals, there’s something else that’s special about rising early. I’ve heard this from early risers many times: The first hours of the morning have a special, peaceful quality all their own, worth experiencing.
Sitting with my coffee in hand, watching snow fall through a dark window framed with Christmas lights, I totally agree.