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How Waking Up Early Improved My Life

Updated on July 8, 2014
Just a photo of me
Just a photo of me | Source

The Early Bird Special

At this point I'm convinced that waking up early has saved my mental health. Not all the way, mind you, as I've been battling depression almost all of my 30+ years--but it has definitely helped out more than I could ever put to words in a hub.

The reasons are numerous and I'd never be able to detail them all, but here are the main reasons why waking up at 5AM every day has improved my lifestyle and psychological well-being.

Bug-eyed dog, representing insomnia.
Bug-eyed dog, representing insomnia. | Source

My Insomnia Is Almost Cured

Since about the age of 13 I have been battling really shitty insomnia. There are nights where I'm up the entire time staring at the ceiling and worrying, or trying to distract myself by reading a Robert McCammon novel or Lawrence Krauss book. And there are also nights where I'd wake up 5-6 times throughout the night, sometimes for a half hour to 90-minutes at a time.

I don't have to explain how and why that wreaks havoc on every other aspect of one's life.

However, since I began waking up at 5 O'clock in the morning on a regular basis, I have all but cured my sleeping woes. Why? For one, it establishes a routine. My body got used to it. And secondly, it's almost impossible to have insomnia when you're up that damn early every morning.

It wasn't easy at first. I had a couple of weeks where I was dead tired, hardly able to drag myself around. But I did it, stuck to it, and the results have been nothing short of amazing.

It Has Given Me More Discipline

There is much less procrastination now, and much more getting down to business and getting everything done. And I mean everything. I no longer leave tasks for the Magical Tomorrow, where everyone's motivation seems to lie.

Another side effect of this new-found discipline is a healthier diet. Clean foods Monday through Friday. Weekends, well, that's a different story.

Early Morning Workouts, Relaxation, Breakfast, and Coffee!

I get up, chug a gigantic cup of water, put my coffee on, and hit the road by 5:15AM.

By 5:45AM I'm back from my run, have a small bite to eat, and begin my weight-lifting routine. At 6:45AM, that's over with and I sit down for a little while, have a cup of coffee, relax, and have another bite to eat.

I feel rested, relaxed, yet awake, alert and ready to go. Anxiety and depression at a minimum, caffeine and endorphins kicking in. It gives great mental clarity. This is of paramount importance for a healthy lifestyle--especially for a person suffering from debilitating depression and shitloads of crippling anxiety.

My Professional Life Is Much More Productive

Because of the mental clarity and happy endorphin boost I get from an early morning workout, my productivity has sky rocketed. I work faster, better, and get much more done.

As of right now and for the last couple of years, I am a freelancer. Mostly writing, but other side gigs as well.

Since I started waking up early, my professional life took a turn for the much-better. By 11 O'clock in the morning, I have more done than I would by 8PM when my schedule was all over the place. I had a lot of financial issues before. Now I don't.

Gone Fishing

Mid-afternoon fishing.
Mid-afternoon fishing. | Source

Mid-Afternoon Leisure

This is one of my favorite aspects of being an early bird. Now, I understand that most of you probably work a 9-5 gig and don't have the opportunity. But for those of you who work from home, you get to actually enjoy mid-day.

From noon until 4PM I do whatever the hell I feel like doing. Why? Because I've already had a long workout and worked for 5 hours. Being able to get out into the sun and enjoy mid-day--especially in the Spring and Summer--is amazing.

Go for a walk, have another workout, read a book, go for a hike, take a nap, take a drive, meet up with friends for lunch--do whatever you want to do and enjoy the day. It's important that everyone enjoys themselves as much as they possibly can. For those of you with psychological troubles, it's even more important.

By early evening, I'm rejuvenated and ready to put in my last 2-3 hours of work.

I Worry Less At Night Now

This one is huge. I used to dread the following day almost every evening. Way before I got to bed and the wheels started to turn. By 8PM I was a ball of anxiety and depression and my fight or flight reflex was terrorizing me in every way possible. I could literally feel the cortisol dump into my shitty blood stream.

However, since I started waking up early, the nights are a chill time for me. I finish up my work, and just relax for a bit. Have a nice dinner. Maybe go for a walk or watch some TV. Anything that I feel like doing, really.

10:00-10:30 PM I shut all technology down and really start to wind down for the night.

The Weekends

Figured I'd just touch on the weekends for a minute. This is where I have my free-for-all. I eat whatever I want, drink whatever I want, and fall asleep at whatever time I want. I'm still usually up by no later than 9AM, so it doesn't disrupt my weekly routine. In fact, I tend to feel quite tired by Sunday nights from punishing myself all weekend long.

This is important, I think, because when a lifestyle is too strict it takes the joy out of everything else. You have to have a few days to just let loose.

Bottom Line

I recommend early rising to everyone. Establish a routine, and give it a try. It's hard at first, but you get used to it and then you feel rewarded. I know some of you won't even consider doing so, but at least give it a passing thought.

I wish I would have started doing this at the age of 20. I think I'd be a lot more successful than I am right now. I swear on everything I know, this has turned my entire life around. It could do the same for you.


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    • Easy Exercise profile image

      Kelly A Burnett 3 years ago from United States

      I love waking up early and I can relate to these benefits. I now wish I would exercise early. I procrastinate the exercise routine but at least I know where I must improve. Voted up!

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 3 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      An uplifting and inspiring piece of work, Blake! Thanks for sharing your discovery to a better, more productive way of life. And congratulations on your self-motivation. The best way to integrate new ideas into your life is to try them out for yourself and come to the realization that they work out really well! Thus.....we see how experience is the best teacher.

      I couldn't agree with your outlook and choices, more. Way to go, Blake.........Up+++

    • Dolores Monet profile image

      Dolores Monet 3 years ago from East Coast, United States

      Insomnia can be terrible and it seems worse if you are young, just establishing the routines of life. I know young people who have suffered from this inability to sleep, the anxiety and depression that can follow. I think that it can lead to substance abuse. Thanks for your tips. As Ben Franklin once said (at least I think it was Franklin) "Early to bed, early to rise makes a man healthy and wealthy and wise."

    • Blake83 profile image

      Blake 3 years ago from Poughkeepsie, NY

      My pleasure. Thanks for commenting.

    • torrilynn profile image

      torrilynn 3 years ago

      I am not an early bird type of person. I do understand however that I do wake up early to go to school so that I am able to get everything done right away and to have my afternoon free. I do believe that having a routine when you sleep does help with your mental health significantly. thanks for the read.

    • Blake83 profile image

      Blake 3 years ago from Poughkeepsie, NY

      Thanks for the comments. Now I'm actually starting to feel like I belong here a little haha.

    • thumbi7 profile image

      JR Krishna 3 years ago from India

      Nice. For long time, I wanted to get up early. But I can't get up before 6

    • Made profile image

      Madeleine Salin 3 years ago from Finland

      Very interesting! I really like sleeping in the morgnings, but those days when I get up early, I feel wonderful. It's nice to get things done early in the morning. I'm glad you feel so much better now.