Why I Stopped Waking up at 5:45 Every Morning

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What time do you wake up? I’ve always considered myself a morning person. And I still consider myself one. I’ve always been the person that doesn’t sleep in. And when I do, it’s never past 8:30AM. There have been days when I go to bed at 3AM and my internal clock wakes me up at 7.

I was always the one up earlier than everyone else and I was known for it. Even when I worked in a restaurant it was customary for me to be scheduled early because managers knew I would be up anyways.

Growing up, I was used to being up at the crack of dawn. My mom is a teacher, so we’d be up early and to school before 7 most mornings. I always considered waking up early as a sign of a highly successful person. You hear and read about these CEOs that are up at 4AM every morning. They manage to fit in a morning workout and about 100 other things before the sun even comes up. And I thought in order to prove that I am extraordinarily driven and a hard worker, I needed to be up before everyone else too.

Until a few months ago, I would wake up at 5:45 every morning. But for some reason as soon as this winter hit, I couldn’t do it anymore. It’s like a flip switched. I would, day-after-day, set my alarm for 5:45, and then find myself snoozing til it was almost 7. And then I would feel bad about hitting snooze so many times and sleeping in later. Sleep isn’t something that should stress us out. We experience so many external stressors on a daily basis, the last thing we need is to feel bad about needing more sleep.

We all know those people who can get four hours of sleep a night and be a completely functioning human being. I am not one of those people. But at one point, I desperately tried to be.  I don’t get “grumpy” per-say, but I become too tired to think. I’m sure a lot of creatives can relate when I say that creativity levels peak at night. A lot of times creatives are “night owls”. So when I see that some of my favorite creative people to follow are staying up until 2AM and then getting up at 6, that’s what I thought I should be doing in order to be more productive. But like I said, I am just not one of those people who can do that. I NEED my 8 hours of sleep in order to function. Otherwise the only thing on my brain all day is how tired I am and how excited I am for bed. And that only makes me less productive.

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It wasn’t until I read an interview by The Newsette about the co-founder of Billie’s morning routine that it dawned on me that the time of day you wake up at has nothing to do with how successful you are. Georgina Gooley is the co-founder of a highly successful women’s razor company that has disrupted a multi-billion dollar industry. And guess what, she doesn’t wake up at 4AM. She sets her first alarm for 7:10. If she can manage to run an internationally known company and get up at 7:10, then there is no reason for me to force my body to get up when it doesn’t want to.

So, I changed my routine. I started setting my alarm for later. Right now it’s set at 6:45, mainly because I know I am going to hit snooze at least twice. And I get up around 7:15 every morning. I used to look forward to the weekend so I could sleep in, but now I don’t even have those thoughts. Like I mentioned, I’ve never been a sleep-til-noon person. But because I am not forcing myself up every weekday, I don’t dread waking up every weekday.

I understand that I am at a luxury when it comes to this. I don’t need to be in an office at a certain time, and I don’t “have” to get ready – though most days I do put on normal clothes instead of just sit around in my sweats. But I didn’t write this to convince anybody that what they are doing is wrong. I wrote this to make the point that just because someone successful lives their life a certain way, doesn’t mean you will be successful if you live your life in the exact same way. For so long I lived thinking that if I did what someone else was doing, then I would make it. But what they forget to tell us, is that everyone is different. Tim Cook might get up at 4AM every morning, but he’s Tim Cook. If I were to wake up at 4AM everyday, I can tell you right now I would need a nap at some point during the day and I would probably go to bed at 7PM most nights. Everybody is different, but differences aren’t what determine success, the amount of work you put in does.