Becoming an Early Riser

Becoming an Early Riser

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.


  1. I changed my sleep cycle too this year, and it was amazing to me how challenging it was for me to do. I have to eat a very restricted diet due to autoimmune disease, and that transition was way easier than going to bed earlier! But, I’m now on a regular sleep schedule, and my body is benefiting, so it’s worth the effort. It’s fascinating to me how much sleep affects every aspect of our life – not just the time we have available and the need to focus – but also our physical and mental health. Here’s to trying new things!

    1. This morning I didn’t want to get up! I’m always glad when I do, though. Sleep is so interesting…I mean, we spend so many hours of our lives doing it, and you’re right–it effects everything. Fascinating.

  2. It is nice hearing that I am not the only one struggling to become a morning person. It seems like it is so easy for so many people, especially amongst many in the blogging community…they often seem superhuman! I also really know that I feel better and my days are more productive when I make the effort to get up early, but I still struggle. The comfortable bed still wins out more often than I would like. But I am not going to give up! I hope that someday it will become for natural for me!

    1. It didn’t feel natural for me this morning, ha! But my French press is steeping and the cat’s being adorable…so I’m feeling more awake. I do treasure these morning hours–they’re worth the stricter schedule! I’m hoping to get lots of work done this week so I can take Christmas week off(:

  3. Before children, I was such a morning person. I’d be awake just from hearing the alarm clock make a slight “click” noise before starting to sound.

    Now that I’m on baby #5… well… things have been so much more challenging! I find it takes me many months, even up to a year, after one baby is born to get back into a habit of waking up at a consistent (or mildly consistent) time, and not too long after that, I’m usually expecting another blessing! It’s something I really want to be better at, so I find myself trying to balance a genuine need for a lot of rest and a desire to be up before or at least with my older children. I do love how my days go when I’m up early!

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