Relationships

Monthly Challenge: Become an Early Bird

Corgi by Emily Wang

In the Disney movies of my youth, there was always a glorious “early morning sequence.” As the cartoon sun began to rise, some unbearably cheerful bluebird or woodland creature — or heck, the entire animal kingdom — would emerge from their slumber to greet the day. They were charming. They were productive. They were more convincing than any ad I’ve seen, before or since…

I have long believed that mornings harbor some kind of magic.

But you know what else is magical? Sleeping. See also: blankets. Blankets are great. In fact, they are so nice that on most mornings, I elect to remain in their company for as long as possible. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve gotten better at mornings — I show up! On time! With clean hair! — but I would hardly call myself an early bird.

Last summer, while completing a yoga teacher training that commenced in the early hours, I learned to semi-embrace waking up in darkness. Meanwhile, our teacher (who spent most of his life living in the Himalayas with hardcore yogis) would regale us with stories of his personal routines, including waking at 4 a.m. (or earlier!) to meditate, practice sun salutations, read enriching books and prepare for the day ahead. For him, morning is a deeply spiritual time. He was the picture of vibrance, and I’ve never felt more inspired.

My friend B., a novelist, wakes up at 5 a.m. to write before heading to her day job. “My mind feels more clear and creative early in the morning,” she explains. “And it really helps that no one else is awake to distract me.”

When I get home in the evening, I have every intention to be a productive human. I want to work out, organize the closet, do some writing, answer personal emails… the list goes on. But typically, I’m too zonked from the day to do much more than read, watch TV or just pass out.

Lately, I’ve started to wonder: What would I do with additional hours on the early side? Meditate? Run? Eat a proper breakfast? CONQUER THE WORLD? There is only one way to find out.

So, this month, I’m challenging myself to be an early bird, and to love every minute of it. (Or at least, to try.) My plan is to rise with the sun each day, like an alarmingly chipper cartoon bluebird. I can’t wait to see what happens.

Who wants to try this along with me? (Please?) Are you already an early riser? (If you have any tips, by all means, please share!)

P.S. More fun challenges and what happens when an introvert talks to strangers.

(Photo by Emily Wang.)

  1. Jess says...

    Shortly after completing my high school gap year of traveling, I picked up a job at a local Curves. It was just 3 four-hour shifts every other day, but they started at 4:30am to open by 5. I was the only employee who would be there, so if I didn’t make it, nobody was working out that morning. It was brutal, especially when it was dark and bitter cold outside, but, combined with the workout I inevitably participated in on those days, I can honestly say I have never felt more energized and content in my life.

  2. Valeria says...

    Going to try this out too, startint tomorrow morning

  3. Mallory says...

    I tried it when I had to be at work at 8:00. Got up at 5:00 am…had breakfast, walked the dogs, etc…and became the most haggy person ever! Esp in winter when it is dark and gloomy, even here in CA. That part of my life lasted for 8 years and I can honestly say that I am happiest when my wake up time is 7:30 or 8:00. It wasn’t for me but it may be for you. Good Luck!

  4. Katie Rosenberg says...

    Chiming in daaaays late (because I have a nearly 4 month old) and am just now catching up to say I know how to become a morning person:

    Have baby. Take care of baby. (Coffee helps.)
    Voila!

  5. Josephene says...

    Am I the only one who was waiting for another post about this? I guess I need some guidance :) I’ve found I need accountability to do things I don’t want to do and waking up early is not in my top 5 “things I want to do”!

  6. I’m more of a morning person by default rather than choice (I’m not a good sleeper), but here are a few things that help me:

    – waking up to sunlight. I have east-facing windows and I leave the blinds open so that I can wake up with the light. I also have a sunlight simulating alarm clock and whenever I use it I actually wake up before the sound even goes off.
    – starting slow. Instead of going straight for the earliest hour, getting up just 15 min earlier can seem more doable.
    – for me, focusing on going to bed earlier just makes me anxious about the morning and I have a hard time sleeping, so I don’t focus on when I need to go to bed and instead I just have some sleep-deprived days. I know that’s not great, but it works better for me.
    – just getting up. The willpower of actually getting out of bed when I wake up is sometimes the hardest part, but you just have to do it.

  7. Would love to hear your experience with yoga teacher training! I’m toying with the idea of doing it but I’m not really great at yoga or even want to teach it. I just want the challenge.

  8. Great post! I’ve always been a night owl hence never got up early unless I had to. Lately I’ve been waking up extra late and have been wanting to change that for a long time and become an early bird. I’ve tried changing my habits before, but it never worked in the long run. Maybe I should try again. :)

  9. Janel says...

    As a few others have also shared, I became a morning person in college. My roommate (bless her) convinced me to move my afternoon workouts to the morning before class. We were at the gym at 6:30am for all four years of college. It was a struggle for the first few weeks but quickly became my savior! Now, as a working 25-year-old, my early” mornings have become even earlier: 5am. I know this lifestyle isn’t for everyone but if you have been considering it, I recommend it! It feels great to start your day having accomplished something. And for me, there is nothing worse than feeling rushed in the morning.

    A few tips:
    1) Embrace going to bed early. I get in bed to read at 8:45 and am passed TFO by 9/9:15.
    2) Be intentional. Think about and reflect upon why you are waking up early (to work out, to pray, to read, to have self-love time, etc.).
    3) Listen to your body. If it’s telling you that you need more sleep, sleep in!
    4) Give yourself grace. Today I slept in and then ate like 5 Italian cookies at work. You will not be perfect so enjoy those days too!

    • Gabrielle says...

      Love and appreciate these tips! The perspective shift is amazing.

  10. Katharina says...

    I love that! Thank you so much, Caroline!

  11. I wish I could be a natural morning person, but I’m over here just trying to fake it till I make it!!

    I LOVE how peaceful and quiet mornings are, and I’m actually my most productive when it’s calm out and my brain is fresh.

    It’s just the challenge of getting out of my bed first thing in the morning that’s the problem!

    Although I have discovered that if I have a really healthy, light dinner, it is easier to wake up when my alarm first goes off! Anyone else?

  12. I have a three year old who regularly gets up at 4.30. I can be group leader.

    • Rosa says...

      My 2.5 yr old wakes between 4 30 and 5 30 every single day…I thought it would end but nothing works. I can be group secretary hahaha

  13. Hani says...

    Doubtless I would be 100x more amenable to early rising if the world was similarly amenable to afternoon siestas at work!

  14. Hani says...

    Guys, I appreciate all the peppy and good motives behind becoming a morning person and I wish you all the best of success.
    I tried countless times, countless methods, really countless–the longest stretch of ‘success’ was the postpartum period. Even then, I always HAD to crash hard at some point later in the day. Surely the world does not need me in that condition!
    I’m 32, and I accept the parameters of my best functionality, and it’s not in the am.

  15. Malia says...

    How do you early risers get yourself to bed early, too? That is by far the hardest part for me. All the tips, please!!!

  16. Kathleen says...

    Your body clock is biological, the science says. So why is it that morning people and early risers get the moral high ground while the rest of us late night owls can’t shake the stigma that comes with this biorhythm? All hail night owls, may we relish the energy of the evening and the luxury of a slower morning, and stand strong in the face of unfair prejudice against us! :)

    • Leah says...

      Yes!!!! I’m with you (night owl) sister!
      I’m most productive at night. Let me work when the stars are shining and the world calms down from its hassle. Just as magical as early morning…

    • Hani says...

      This a 1000 times! I mean, good for morning people, more power to ’em. Some people simply aren’t wired for 5am; the nocturnally inclined folks of my acquaintance(I include myself in this) are every bit as creative, human, and ingenious as the early risers I know. Why does the time of day in which you are at your best matter to anyone? Unless to yourself?
      …I guess it gets my goat up a bit because in my family of peppy morning folk, I was labeled ‘lazy’ for not being exactly like them.
      I work, parent, create, exercise, enjoy life and nature, contribute to community–just in a slightly different rythym than they do. Sigh.

    • Meg says...

      AMEN!!!!! I am so tired of being treated like a lazy person just because I sleep past 9 am! I have no reason or desire to wake up early. There is definetly night owl discrimination :)

  17. 6 months ago I was up working till 3a – literally. I’d nap a couple hours with my son to get him to bed then I’d wake up at midnight when my husband went to bed to work. When my son woke up at 7/730, we’d be too tired to wake up (Dan is not a morning person) so Lucas would watch tv while we’d sleep a little longer.

    I hated that so it forced me to become a morning person. Now I go to bed at 10pm and get up at 4am to work (hopefully one date run, read or clean #startuplife).

    I stopped eating sugar which gives me more energy generally and limit my gluten. I also went to bed earlier at first so that I’d be well rested and ready to wake up early to create the habit.

  18. I too, have been seeking an earlier morning regimen this week. I have found that waking early also means going to sleep earlier-which is so good for me! I have spent much less time comparing myself to others and wasting time on social media this week? I wonder why!!

  19. Courtney says...

    As a life-long early bird, and a person who frequently rises at 5am to attend a 6am yoga class, I’ve got PLENTY of tips. I’ll stick to the basics. (1) Go to bed. Choose a bedtime, and set an alarm to remind you its time for sleep. You may not feel tired when you’re out in your kitchen doing whatever, but once you get in between your sheets, habits take over and you’ll conk out. The more you stick to the bedtime, the easier it will be! (2) In the morning, have incentives to get out of bed (early-rising pets help!). For a long time I had a self-timing coffee machine that would start brewing a pot 10 minutes before my alarm went off. Nothing like the smell of coffee to wake you up! Lately I’ve taken to keeping books about yoga and pictures of yoga teachers I admire to remind me why I get up so darn early. (3) Instead of letting yourself think about how tired you are, try to enjoy the little things. I think the mornings are a really special time to take stock of what you have, and the world that surrounds you. The birds are awake and chirping, and all the people are asleep. Its the ultimate kind of alone time, and it can be so rejuvenating.

    Link to the coffee machine! https://www.amazon.com/Mr-Coffee-Advanced-Programmable-Chrome/dp/B002Z1Z79G/ref=pd_day0_79_3?_encoding=UTF8&pd_rd_i=B002Z1Z79G&pd_rd_r=0F2C218B18A15BSC179Z&pd_rd_w=0fb8a&pd_rd_wg=P2fcn&psc=1&refRID=0F2C218B18A15BSC179Z

    • SB says...

      I wish there was a tea brewer…….

  20. Nicole says...

    With 367 comments at the time I’m posting here I’m hoping the CoJ team will write a readers comments article. There one of my favorite styles of posts here (that, and anything by Caroline <3).

  21. Angie says...

    Ah! I’m turning 30 this month (I might cry), and I’m determined to develop better personal care habits such as exercising in some fashion, which means I must make up earlier! This is th death of me but I’m determined to start out this year on a positive note! So count me in!

    • Stacey says...

      Life begins after 30! Says a wise old woman at the age of 35 :) Good luck to you

    • Meg says...

      Honey, I just turned 50! The thirties were an awesome decade! Embrace it and enjoy it! Before you know it, you’ll be 50 :)

  22. Christina says...

    I became a morning person, because it was the only way I could exercise and therefore maintain sanity. I get up at 5:12 am three+ days a week to exercise. I get home as my children are waking up. The trick for me is an early bedtime. If I don’t get to bed on time (between 9:30-10pm) then I will figure out another exercise plan. It’s really great to feel that sense of accomplishment before you even get started on your day! But 25 year old me would never have believed it.

    • Gemima says...

      25 year old me was just getting into bed at 5:00am! Lol

  23. I’m sort of becoming a reluctant morning person by accident. My 6-month-old baby is still figuring out the in’s and out’s of sleep, and I’ve been getting up with him around 5:30 lately. On days when he makes it to 7 (his desired wake time; meaning my wife and I got him to bed on time), I wake up to an alarm at 6:30. That extra 30 minutes all-to-my-damn-self is everything. Even when I spend it eating Reese’s Puffs and reading a magazine, it sets the tone for my day.

  24. Julia says...

    I’m a nurse and work day shift and wake up at 4:45 am. What I have found helpful is to immediately jump in the shower. This helps wake me up. I also prioritize coffee. There have been days when I have done this and then been cancelled from work because the hospital was over staffed and it’s so nice to feel awake and ready to do whatever before others are even up. It is really peaceful.

  25. Meg says...

    A few years ago, for a few weeks, I used an anti-snooze app on my phone. It was clever, and it is fun to set up a wide-awake state. It conjures enthusiasm! And it is easy! You take a photo of an object in your home that is far from your bed – it can be anything, like a coffee maker or a shower head, for example. It’s fun to make this decision, and you decide on the coffee maker, and you take the photo it. And in the morning, in the very dark, cold morning, you rise at the sound of an alarm to replicate the photo of the coffee maker with the camera on your phone. This process disables the alarm. And gets you out of bed!

    So, in the morning, you don’t snooze. You cannot snooze. You must take a photo of your coffee maker because the alarm stops only if you take the photo just right. And it knows when you do not do it right, and the alarm only gives you, like, 60 seconds to do this before it sounds again. So, the alarm goes off, and your body plunges into an acute stress response, the one that releases all of the worst hormones. The hormones that are useful, say, in a race, like when a guy at a start line fires a gun. Except this gun shot wakes you out of sleep, and taking a photo of the coffee maker becomes like a race to disarm a bomb: so important and so stressful. Except that you have to disarm the bomb while you’re mostly asleep. And also no one has ever taught you to disarm a bomb.

    And I cannot remember the name of this app to recommend it to anyone, as it is buried under layers of trauma. And I am not a morning person.

    • sarah K says...

      This might be the best-written comment I have ever read. At first it made me so excited about this app! I had to know the name. By the time I finished reading the comment I was ready to run the other way. :) First-thing-in-the-morning-heart-attack does not sound fun. Thanks for telling this entertaining story, though!

    • justine says...

      hahahaha

    • This is an amazing comment! That app sounds horrifying!

    • Gemima says...

      Laughing out loud on the bus at 8:42pm and thinking of the film, Speed.

      Thank you, it’s freezing here on East-Coast Australia.

    • Melanie says...

      I used this too! It’s called Kiwake. I still have it installed but I’m too afraid to use it anymore, haha. I wake up a little more gently now, but that app sure got me out of bed.

  26. Meghan says...

    I wake every morning at 4:36 to go and workout. It’s the only time I don’t feel guilty leaving my family to go to the gym since the only one it really impacts is me. I even get the dog walked before everyone wakes up. It’s made my mornings easier and I fall asleep faster. I highly recommend becoming an early riser.

    • janine says...

      What time do you go to sleep? I find that the hardest thing!

    • Ana Simoes says...

      I am waking up at 6am, precisely for the same reasons. The only time I feel I have for myself without neglecting any of the other useful/fun time with family and keeping up with work.
      I found out I don’t need to go to bed early, ’cause I’ll pass out anywhere when my 7 hours of sleep approach in the evening (sofa, parents’ sofa; parents-in-law’s sofa; children’s beds, on the floor while everyone else is on the sofa….)
      Works beautifully for me, I get to do everything I used to and I just regard it as winning some well-deserved me-time. Next year, my youngest will start school at 8 and I’ll have to adjust accordingly, so I think I’ll be part of the 5 club ;)

  27. Danielle says...

    Going to bed earlier (or if you can’t fall asleep, at least BEING in bed, physically, and winding down) helps a ton. Not sure if you are a morning workout person, but try signing up for a new workout class in the AM. If you’ve already signed up and paid for it, you’re less likely to skip it. You’ll be amazing how much energy it gives you for the rest of the day.

    I will also say – I used to have “black out” curtains, or at least darker ones – but I switched to pretty white sheer curtains that let all the light in – it may sound miserable at first, but it helps me ease into getting out of bed.

    I used to not be a morning person, but over the last 5 years I definitely morphed into one. Find what works for you and you’ll get there. Good luck!!

  28. Tara Bee! says...

    I am a crazy woman when it comes to getting my eight/nine hours sleep so I usually rise at 7AM! However, this week I have just gotten back from my honeymoon (Indonesia) and my body clock is all over the shop!! I have been going to a bed a little earlier and waking up at 4-5 am feeling fresh and ready to take on the day! Its been sooo nice as I can go for a run or swim or even just switch on NY1 and chill eating breakfast!

    Feel much calmer not having to rush like a maniac to get ready for work and brace the subway!

    Long may it last!!

  29. Mary says...

    I saw a similar comment below, but couldn’t find it so I’m adding my own comment here.

    I don’t want to pile on more things to try, but I have found an incredibly link between eating very low sugar and having an easier time waking up early. Every since January I’ve been trying to stay away from all added sugars, and an unexpected (and very pleasant) side effect has been that I now regularly wake up 30 minutes before my alarm feeling refreshed and well-rested. On days when I slip (or decide a splurge is worth it), I find it SO HARD to get out of bed in the morning. I would highly highly recommend spending a week avoiding added sugar (easier in June when there are so many delicious summer fruits starting to come in!) to see if that makes mornings easier.

    • Amanda says...

      This is great advice! Now that you mention it, I have found the days I don’t have any wine/alcohol or sugar I wake up (early… around 5:45am) feeling refreshed. The nights when I have a glass of wine or chocolate, I *cannot* get out of bed! Thanks for articulating this! Love cup of jo comments so much.

    • ann says...

      I call it a carb hangover.

  30. Tammy says...

    My early riser tip is two product endorsements, which sounds so lame…I know. But I’m telling you, once discovered, they completely changed my start to the day. As soon as I get up, I immediately wash my face with Burt’s Bees Soap Bark & Chamomile face wash (breathe deep) and brush my teeth with Arm and Hammer Truly Radiant toothpaste. With a big glass of lemon ice water, who needs coffee? Well, I do. BUT, the fog is lifted right away. I also like to load up a Ted Talk the night before to listen to while I get ready in the morning.

  31. I used to wake up at 5 every morning in college (for work) and I loved the early days. I could finish an entire day of work and school before most people were even starting their days. Summertime is by far the best time to start waking up early, so I’m with you on this challenge!

    • Frieda says...

      I would like to add, that getting up early in Winter time can also be kind of a life saver. I spended the last winter in Middle Finland where Winterdays are already quite short of day light. (Only three hours at midwinter, and the fact that it’s ALWAYS cloudy doesn’t make it any easier.) Many of the Finnish professors at my uni already start working at 5 a.m. which seemed extremly odd at first. But that way, they can leave office in the early afternoon while it’s still bright outside (or as bright as it gets). I soon followed this habit because that little bit of being outside in the daylight can be such an energy boost. And falling a sleep at 8:30 p.m. was really no problem since it’s dark outside anyway. :D

      P.S. Now in Summer, with sun shining till 11 p.m. and rising at 3 a.m. that’s of course a much different story. :P

  32. Aish says...

    I so enjoy the productivity that comes with early morning rising – but can’t seem to drag myself out of bed (or get into it on time!!)
    I’m in!

  33. Grace says...

    I am an early riser and my number one tip is to go to bed earlier! It can be easy to fall into the “just one more episode/ chapter/ game of uno” trap when it’s 10 pm but if you’re trying to wake up at 6 you need to cut yourself off and wind down quietly in bed.

    I make my morning time as cozy as possible, we have fairy lights hanging in the kitchen that I turn on instead of the overhead. I make my coffee (sometimes I slip a little cocoa powder in) and then read my book on the couch while I sip. It means by the time I have to get dressed for work, I feel like I’ve claimed a little of the day for myself, as opposed to scrambling out of bed and out the door immediately.

    • Gemima says...

      Goodness, fairy lights in the kitchen! I knew my morning ritual was missing something.

      This is what I tell our kids. Early to bed, early to rise. So very appropriate considering when they wake-up later, they complain they didn’t get enough daylight to play with their friends. Exactly dudes!

    • Sarah says...

      You are a GD genius and just made mornings sound…pleasant.

  34. Antonia says...

    Oooh, I love this! I’ve been in a terrible rhythm lately where I go to bed at 1:30 am (make dinner, clean up, be a responsible adult and answer emails but also do something for me and read blogs and books) and then sleep until the last possible minute. It’s not good and I really want to change it but — how? Ideally I’d go to bed at 10 pm and wake up at 6 am to do a workout and have time to slowly get ready for the day. But then all the other tasks are still waiting for me at night (dinner, clean-up, emails, time for me) and I also want to meet friends and go out… Seriously, any tips on how to translate this into real life are more than welcome!

    • freya says...

      same!!!

    • Sammie says...

      I love this too! I’ve been trying to tackle small goals to get me on track. Early this year I committed to going to spin classes 4 times a week. It was hell getting up at 6 am to eat a little bit before my 7 am class, but after a week, I was so tired from the extra movement I couldn’t keep my eyes open past 10 pm! So now that I’ve gotten into a rhythm of going to bed early, waking up early, my new goal is to do one thing for myself and one thing for my family/household each day before work. I don’t have kids yet, but this has translated into getting up, eating some toast or yogurt, doing one 15-20 min task (wipe down the bathroom, hang up discarded clothes, wash last night’s dishes, vacuum the living room, you get the picture) and then heading out the door to spin! This way when I get home from work, I don’t feel as bad about enjoying dinner time and clean-up and then just relaxing. By the time the week is over you’ve done most of your chores!!

    • Samantha says...

      Can anything be done during your day? Answering emails at work/at lunch? Maybe prepping dinner for the week on Sunday, even if it’s just pre cutting veggies or whatever, makes clean up shorter. Or crock pot meals that you could put on in the morning to be ready when you get home. Have clean up time include me time by listening to podcasts, put on a face mask while cleaning!

  35. Hannah says...

    About two years ago, I switched to working out in the morning instead of the evening, because I really want to spend my evenings with my boyfriend (or just falling face-first onto our sofa after a hard, long day at work). So now I get up around 6:50-7am, work out, realise I am bit late, hurry with the shower and cycle to work as quick as I can to arive sometime between 9 and 9:10am (theoretically, my work-day starts at 9). I usually have breakfast at work.

    Maybe I’ll use this challenge to get up a little earlier in order to have calmer mornings. A coffee on our balcony in the early, warm hours of summer-mornings instead of hurrying through my morning routine sounds fantastic!

  36. This is not very helpful, but the only way I’ve found to beat the snooze and get up earlier is to have a partner who is able to do that! The day I stopped rolling over grumpily when my boyfriend got up for work and making him get dressed in the dark, and just got up too I found an extra hour in my day! So maybe force Alex to become a morning person and go from there? Haha

  37. Jo says...

    I wake up around 430 or 5 every day. My tips are: go to bed early and at the same time every night. Hydrate well in the evening so when you wake up you want to get up to pee.

    And the #1 tip: NEVER SNOOZE. Each time you snooze you are deciding that the decision you previously made to get up early was wrong/crazy/not worth it/etc. When I snooze, I regret it, because I missed out on the things I planned to wake up early for in the first place. Plus, when do you ever feel well rested from snoozing?

    When you skip snoozing and just physically get out of bed, you are deciding to fulfill your own desires. You feel awake as soon as you wash your face and drink a few sips of water. It is deeply satisfying to accomplish things in the time when you would normally be snoozing.

    • Gemima says...

      Jo, you sound just like me! Plenty of water & tea before bed. Makes it easy to get out of bed, than wet the bed. LOL
      Yes to a glass of water after bathroom routine. You just know that water is recharging all your vital body parts.

  38. Lesley says...

    I normally wake up around 615 and have about half an hour before I have to start waking everybody else up for school. I’ve been thinking about trying to get up around 5 so I can have some more quiet time to plan my day or workout before things get crazy! I hate if I don’t get my to do list done during my normal work hours and feel like if I took some time to plan and be more intentional with my day it might help me. I need to start this!! My problem is I also like to stay up too late I need to hit the hay earlier I think! ??

  39. Joy says...

    I’m with you on this! These past few weeks I’ve been under the weather and doesn’t feel like doing anything in the morning except to take get ready for work. I feel bad since I no can no longer do things for my two-year old and husband. Now that I’m almost past the first trimester, I will try to be back on track and be able to prepare things for my husband and son. Excited!

  40. Jojo says...

    What about those of us who share a bedroom? I’d like to wake up a bit earlier, but that means an earlier bedtime, and it’s impossible to get my husband into bed before midnight. (And I can’t fall asleep before him; I’ve tried and I end up lying there waiting for him to come in …)

    • Eleonoor says...

      I have the same thing. My partner helps me sleep by going with me when I go to bed. He waits until I fall asleep, (with him next to me I fall asleep spectacularly quickly) and then goes back to the living room for a few hours until he is ready for bed himself.
      It sounds like a hassle, but it’s a lovely routine.

  41. Kait says...

    Yes! I have trialed putting on a morning person persona here and there since graduating college. It’s been seven years and I STILL don’t want to leave the warm comforts of my bed when the alarm strikes. Having coffee set on a timer has helped, as has having something nice to watch (I used to tune into the news, but I found it was a bitter start to the day, so now I tune into friends or a good doc). Most of all, having delicious breakfast choices is critical for forcing my bum out of bed.

  42. Rachael says...

    I love getting up early. I treasure that quiet time and am much more productive.
    My secret to getting up at 5:30 am is to set a bedtime alarm (the iPhone clock app has this feature). I set my sleep time for 8 hours, I think it’s really genius that the app tells you how many hours/minutes of sleep you are planning to get. Then when the alarm goes off at 9:15, I just say it’s my bedtime and hop into bed. Having that eeternal cue just seems to help me be accountable to myself.

  43. Amanda says...

    What if you’re not an early morning or night-owl person? I’m somewhere in between, and it’s frustrating because most of my energy for things like exercise hits me from noon to 3pm — when I’m at work.

    I’ve never been able to get up before 6 without feeling a bit nauseous in an almost jet-lag kind of way. I tried doing early morning yoga where I had to get up at 5am to be there by 5:30am. As much as I love the idea of it, it threw my body all out of whack.

    During the work week, I get up around 6:30am. My husband and I grab a cup of coffee and sit on the back porch to chat, water flowers, and watch the birds before he has to head off at 7am and I have to start getting ready for work.

    My sweet spot for sleeping in on the weekends is 7:30am. That extra hour to hour-and-a-half makes such a difference. Honestly, I think part of it is my anxiety. It takes me a while to fall asleep because my mind WON’T STOP.

    • Emma says...

      Wow this is me, too! I get that early morning nauseous feeling as well, I’ve never heard anyone else describe it like that. I took a quiz one time (unsure of how accurate it was) that said I fell right in the middle of a morning and night person. 7am wake up and 10:30/11pm bedtime is perfect for me and I find myself productive most of the day when I stick to this routine.

    • This is me too! And we have a gym at work so I try to sneak in a lot of 12 pm workouts.

  44. Karen says...

    I’ve always been an early riser. I love the mornings. I’m productive in the mornings. I’m excited to go to bed at night so I can wake up and have my coffee the next day.
    But something horrible happened. My two young children are also early risers and they’re ruining my solo party. So I started setting my alarm earlier than they wake and most days I stick to it.
    I’m not enthused about waking before my natural alarm clock but having a cup of coffee in me before I clock in as my full time job: Child Waitress, has been worth it.

    • Pat says...

      Haha! Child Waitress! ;)

  45. Sherry says...

    I too feel the need to rise early, currently my alarm goes off at 5:50am however in order to get my 5 miles in and not have to put off my workout until after work I’m going to need to wake up earlier, I’m going to aim for 4:45 I wish you luck and I wish me luck and I hope all of us deciding to do this early bird thing reap some big benefits. I do love the early morning peacefulness and on vacation at the beach I’m up at 4:30 so as not to miss the sunrise back home though is a whole different story. All we can do is try!

  46. Joslyn says...

    My 6 month old daughter likes to wake up at 530 in the morning and she is such a morning person. I swear she is going to have no friends in college. But it’s turning me into a better morning person because I enjoy that time I get to spend with her before taking her to daycare. I would like to take even more advantage of the time and make myself coffee and breakfast and sit outside like I used to do. So I am in for this challenge.

    • Lyn says...

      Gosh, yes. Now that i have a toddler whose body clock has always been set at 6-6.30 am, no matter what bedtime…. Mornings are less difficult. He is such a morning person. So chirpy and happy to see us too (no matter how bleary or rearranged my face looks at that early hour!).

  47. Michele says...

    I go to work at 530am half the week and 6am the other half. That 30minutes seems exponential in how rested I feel! So my advice is find your sweet spot and treat yourself to a couple of extra hours on the weekend.

    • This sounds like a good idea! I’m def trying it.

  48. Sheena says...

    I was not a morning person until I became one last October. I think a big aid in making the change is my new alarm clock. I got a light clock that simulates the sun rising. Before it, I would hit snooze 100 times and drag myself out of bed in a rush for work. Now I am up at 5am daily no problem and go to the gym before work! I would never have believed it a year ago!

    I also live north of the 60th parallel where it is almost 24 hours of darkness in December. I genuinely think this clock has changed my life!

    • Kim says...

      Oooh, I’ve been so curious about these! I too live fairly far north..but not that north ;)
      Which brand did you get?
      Thanks!
      K

  49. Elizabeth says...

    I just read Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker, and it taught me it’s okay to not be the first one out of bed. People have different rhythms, and while I can get up early to write, I prefer (and feel better!) to sleep in and stay up late, owl-style. :)

  50. Courtney says...

    So I’ve always struggled with mornings since I was young. It’s just not natural for me to wake up and pop out of bed like a pop tart but I have always wanted to try and become a morning person (as much as possible) because I know it would make my life easier and my days, from the start, more enjoyable. So this year, I decided to wake up at the same time every morning with a daily alarm and do a short yoga session followed by a 10-minute meditation. I do yoga on the free YouTube channel, Yoga with Adriene, and use the Calm app, which is worth every penny for a subscription.

    This morning practice has honestly changed my life and made me look forward to mornings, which never used to be the case. I highly recommend thinking about what would help you “ease” into your day, what would feel good to start with in the morning, start slowly, give yourself grace (so you miss a day – that’s ok), and keep going. Eventually the reward of starting the day how you’d like to instead of running around in a panic will be the motivation to keep going. At least it was for me!

  51. Sarah says...

    I’m a hard-wired night owl, and it feels like I’m constantly fighting against my true nature to survive in early bird society.

    I just want to say that I know everyone says you gotta work in the morning, but I want to represent those of us for whom it truly would never work. If I tried to carve out time in the morning for exercise I would never do it. Instead of hating life, I work out after work, and I just do not let things get in the way. When you can’t do it in the morning, you have to be very protective of your evening workouts.

  52. jill says...

    I cherish the pre-dawn hours from 4-6 as non-negotiable me-time. I do meditate, but I also use that for organizing and to wrap my head around the day ahead, which usually involves a bit of sipping green tea while staring silently into the void. Invaluable. My new goal is to add running from 6 to 7, then shower then breakfast.

  53. Chelsea says...

    I’m in!

    A friend has a practice of pumping her arms and shouting “WAKE UP! WAKE UP! WAKE UP!” to herself each morning as a kick in the face to any impulse to pull the covers over her head. I love it and will make my own version for this month!

  54. Kayla says...

    Funnily enough when I’m on vacation I try to get up really early (at least one day of the trip) to go out to observe and explore. There is something oddly peaceful about waking up before the majority of a city, having the streets somewhat to yourself and bearing witness to the everyday happenings that you might miss otherwise. Once when I was in Venice it was magical watching the garbage and delivery boats go to work for the day and little shops opening and appearing out of what was previously a nondescript doorway.

    • Maria says...

      I can just picture that. It sounds so incredible! I look forward to doing this once my kids are old enough to handle not waking up near me when being in a foreign bed!

  55. Eliza says...

    I didn’t get a chance to read the comments…but I’ve been waking up at 4 a.m. for about a year for work and i STILL hate it. I go to bed early, i take a 20 minute nap during the day and I’m still exhausted every morning/during the day. I’d love some practical tips from those “successful people” we hear about who wake up so early! Do they go to bed at 8 p.m.? Do they have a fancy scientist evaluate the exact amount of sleep they need? Do they take Ambien? Do they have a super power?

  56. Kate says...

    I recommend Joshua Tree!
    My husband and I visited last spring. We wanted to hit the trails early to beat the heat and the crowds (we accidentally visited during L.A.’s spring break!), and between the quiet, cold nights, and escaping to the desert after a long winter, it just worked. I’ve been able to stick to getting up a full hour earlier than I used to, which is a big achievement since I’m naturally more of a night person. Plus it’s such an incredibly place.

  57. Brianna says...

    I cannot get up before 7 a.m. I will, but it’s not pretty. I’m contemplating a job that would have me in the office at 6 a.m., but I just don’t know how long I can handle the 4:30 a.m. wakeup to leave and get across town in time. The bonus would be no traffic and out of work at 2:30, but I’m trading off late summer nights for what would probably be a 7 p.m. bedtime. That said, I’m a mix between a morning person and a night owl. I wouldn’t call myself chipper in the morning, but I’m functional enough.

    • Samantha says...

      I used to get to work at 6:30 am, and be done at 3. I loved it- I would get home and take maybe a 30/45 min power nap then still have a regular night and go to bed by 9/930. best of both worlds!

  58. Genevieve says...

    This morning I actually got woken up by a squirrel that was IN MY BEDROOM. On the 3rd floor, in a city, no trees nearby. It was absolutely absurd and surreal and in no way magical… Disney lied! (Thankfully after knocking over a load of picture frames it managed to scrabble back out of the window it came in through.)

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      oh my gosh, genevieve!!!!!!!!!!!! that is nuts!!!!!!!! also your line “disney lied” made me LOL.

      i remember a reader once commented saying that she was sleeping and her hair felt kind of tangled and reached up and IT WAS A MOUSE ON HER HEAD. i literally think about that like every two weeks.

    • HH says...

      LOL! I just spit my coffee out on my desk at both of these posts. Mice in hair?! Squirrels in bedroom!? Ai yi yi!!!

      That would be an effective way to be woken up instantly at an absurdly early hour. Rodents in bed with you. I’m going to be giggling about both of these stories for some time!

  59. Owl says...

    I am so tired of people saying we all have to be morning birds. Please. Some people are highly creative at night, and that is when they have the most energy and get the most work done. There is research that shows night owls have their unique strengths, including that they are often highly intelligent. I have always been and always will be a night owl. My work demands early mornings, so I do it. However, when I can sleep in a bit and stay up later, I feel fantastic. Ps: Seriously, both evenings and mornings are beautiful and magical in their own way. My evening bikerides by the lake are pure magic.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      yes!!! i love being an evening person — I take the boys to the park in the evenings and afterward love staying up late with alex or watching shows or reading books. I love late dinners, too!

      this experiment is more aimed for caroline (and others like her) who feel draggy at night and want to try to experiment with a morning routine.

      but for all us evening people, keep on keeping on! :)

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      PS “My evening bikerides by the lake are pure magic.” = i want to come!!

  60. Jenny says...

    I’m not at all a morning person and generally get out of bed 20 minutes before I have to leave the house. It was a game changer to discover dragging myself out of bed at 6.15 to workout made me feel awake, full of energy and on time for work. It’s still a daily struggle to get up but I worked out that I hit the snooze for the same reason I procrastinate going to bed at night: I can’t be bothered with the routine (contacts out, make-up off, brush teeth, moisturise, set alarm etc). I try to do my night time routine in stages now, and pack my gym bag before bed so I can roll into my workout clothes and be out the door. Then it’s easy. Also, whoever said clean your kitchen is spot on. The thought of last night’s dishes stacked in the sink when I’m trying to be a morning domestic goddess with freshly brewed coffee makes me roll over and go back go sleep.

  61. Sara says...

    I made myself get up early for years, but I realized I was doing it more out of push than pull power. Now I set an alarm as late as possible so if I wake up early it’s a bonus.

    • Maggie says...

      Ooooo Sara, I love this description of what you move towards – push vs. pull power. It’s a much more eloquent way of how I described feeling a bit different after a recent big birthday. I was describing it as a lean forward vs. a lean back approach. (Or in my music theory nerdery terminology, it’s more of sitting in the groove of a jazz pocket than ahead of the beat as a Sousa march.)

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      i love that music theory nerdery!!

  62. Maelle says...

    in theory i love the idea, in practice: how are you not completely wrecked by the end of your day??

    I have to wake up at 6 in the morning and leave for work at 7, and for the love of everything i hold sacred in this world i could not wake up anytime earlier than that. I just can’t. My body wouldn’t allow it, and i will be a mess by the end of the day – i am already exhausted and in bed by 10pm most nights. I need to sleep. A lot. This is not laziness or luxury, it is pure survival. Working as a teacher and therefore tending to the needs and never ending questions of little people all day, i need to be well-rested. If i’m tired, i get cranky and impatient and it has some major negative impact within my classroom and on the 24 children in my care all day.

    So, i’m curious, if you wake up at 5am, what time do you go to bed at night? Does that change and you go to bed earlier or do you keep the same routine?

    And finally, hats off to you 5am risers, i do not know where you find all that energy and you are my heroes!

    • Megan says...

      I have that same question! I recently changed jobs and am now out for about 12 hours – 6:30am-6:30pm door to door – and if I try to plan a dinner date or happy hour mid-week I am wrecked not only the next day but the rest of the week. I get home, eat, shower, and pass out. I could totally be a “morning person” if I could nap during the day, but that hasn’t quite worked out in the workforce yet, sadly!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      “Working as a teacher and therefore tending to the needs and never ending questions of little people all day, i need to be well-rested. If i’m tired, i get cranky and impatient and it has some major negative impact within my classroom and on the 24 children in my care all day.” = you sound like such a caring, thoughtful teacher.

    • ellen says...

      This is the secret that most early risers won’t tell you — we go to bed by 9 pm. No joke, I get in bed around 8:30 most nights so I can wake naturally around 5 or 5:30. So while mornings are wonderful and definitely my best time, I can rarely enjoy late dinners, concerts and other fun nighttime stuff b/c I’m exhausted by 8 pm. The grass is always greener, I suppose!

    • Anne Mallen says...

      Ditto what Ellen said. I love getting into bed early. I’m usually in bed by 8 or 8:30pm winding down and falling asleep. This is what lets me get up at 4:45 or 5am and as I fall asleep I’m looking forward to the feeling of being rested the following morning.

      For me, early mornings feel sacred and quiet and special. So all the things I miss late at night are okay with me. It means I’m falling asleep at movie nights with friends and I rarely do late dinners or nights out at fun bars but for me, mornings are worth it. I imagine that evening people feel something similar about closing out a day and reflecting on it in the quiet. To each their own.

    • Maelle says...

      aaaw thank you Joanna! <3

      and Ellen and Anne, thank you for letting us in on your secret! ;)
      i used to feel so guilty when people would mention they would wake up at 5am to work, like i wasn't doing enough or working enough myself, etc… but if you go to bed earlier, that makes sense!

  63. Celia says...

    For years my husband has tried to convert me to the concept of a “leisurely morning.” It finally occurred to me that if I started thinking of the early morning as glorious alone time to think, read and journal with clarity (while the two small children are sleeping); I would start to look forward to the early hours and cherish them. It’s been wonderful, it sets the patient calm tone for the whole day.

  64. Kelly says...

    waahhh!!! I have always been a morning person, it is my favorite, most productive time of day! but my kiddos wake up if I get out of bed or even move around too much for some reason! Now I still wake up at 5 but have to try to lie still and read news on my phone until they wake up, all the while thinking of all the things I would love to be doing. It’s brutal. Someone please teach me how to get them to sleep through me tiptoeing around in the am!

    • JennP says...

      You co-sleep with your babies? Me too! I do the same thing, reading on my phone/tablet and meditating until they wake up, which is usually around 7am. I keep thinking, “this, too, shall pass” and so I’m savoring this time I have with my babies until they grow big and leave for their own beds.

    • Michal says...

      How old are they? From 2.5 or so onward, my kids started using the O.K. To Wake clock, and it took a bit of work to help them learn to stay in bed, but it’s magic now. They wake up between 6:45-7:15 (I know! I am so lucky. It used to be 5:45.) and stay in bed til 7:15. If they don’t, I can send them back to bed “til their clock is green.”

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      yes! our kids use a light-up clock and it has changed our lives. they used to come in around 5:45/6 a.m., and now they don’t come in until 7:30!!! dream come true.

    • Allison says...

      i feel you – my husband and i decided to finally start working out at 5:15 am (only way we’d have the time), and lo and behold – my kids started waking up then too. my kids have always been early risers, i think its just biological – i cannot get them to sleep past 6am no matter what time they go to bed. i’m working on using the clock that lets them know when they can get up – but my daughter just ignores it. looking forward to the teenage years when hopefully i’ll need to drag them out of bed…

  65. For many years I was an early-bird because of my job, and I always enjoyed it, especially in the summer. Seeing the sunrise with no traffic is always magical. Now, however, I am a full-time grad student and don’t technically have to be anywhere in the morning, so I sleep in late all the time and I hate it but it’s hard to stop! This post is further motivation, and this is the perfect time of year to try!

  66. Nadia says...

    I’m in! Firstly, I had a bad insomnia forcing me to wake up right at 3 or 4 in the morning. I haven’t got bravery just to leave my bed and become my day.
    I will tomorrow

  67. Michelle says...

    I agree with the Philips wake-up light! It’s the only way I can get out of bed in the morning, and it’s so gentle (jarring wakeups = migraines for me!). I’ll also leave a big glass of water on my bedside table to drink when I wake up, which also helps.

    One last thing that works for me – I buy delicious Kona coffee that I REALLY look forward to having in the mornings!

    Good luck to you!

    • Klara says...

      Same here: wake-up light + water first thing! And good granola to look forward to :o)

  68. Andrea says...

    I’m curious what time you’d need to go to bed at night if you wake up 1 or 2 hours earlier than you usually do? I’m a late night creature, so waking up earlier than 7 AM is basically impossible for me.

    I don’t like watching TV very much, so I’m highly productive after work (I go to the gym, meal prep for the rest of the week, see friends, do laundry, walk my dog, plan vacations, etc.).

  69. Katherine Cox says...

    Thanks for posting this. I’ve always struggled with mornings. There are now two factors working against me in this department. I’m now a freelance pet sitter/writer and I suffer chronic back pain. Because of this condition, I either get no sleep or not enough sleep. Having the flexibility to make my own hours, on the one hand, is a blessing because I don’t have to show up at an office only having had two hours of sleep. But sleeping till noon I feel like the day is wasted and I don’t have time my writing or other projects. How do I find the right balance here?

  70. Melissa says...

    Has anyone here tried the Alarmy app? The tagline is “the world’s most annoying alarm clock,” and I can attest to that. You can choose what method you want to use to turn it off, including solving math equations or taking a photo of something specific. In what feels like a stroke of genius, I’ve set the app’s alarm to turn off when I take a photo of my coffee maker. Every night, I set the machine to brew at 6am the next day. So when my alarm goes off at 6:10, I have to go allllllll the way to the kitchen to take a picture of the machine to make the alarm stop ringing–but lo, there’s fresh coffee right in front of me! Instant perk-up.

    • bridget l. says...

      GENIUS.

    • Ha! So smart!

    • Megan says...

      OMG, yes! I wrote a comment on this post earlier today about this app. I used it for 3 weeks, and it inspired a full-body stress response in me. It made me feel anxious about sleeping.

    • Meg says...

      That sounds like pure torture!

  71. Liz says...

    My husband gets up at 5:50 am and leaves for work at 7 am…I completely sleep through his alarm and morning routine!! I now set my own alarm to ensure I get a shower before the chaos starts. Staying at home with our kids is seriously the most exhausting job on the planet.

  72. Agnes says...

    I am an early bird. Out of sheer force of need and will! My tip for getting up un-tired at 5.45-6am is to have lights out before 10.30pm. My second thing is that as a counselor going through bereavement and a breakup within the space of 3 months, I have no hope in hell (ha!) of being any sort of good counselor to my kids without an hour of prayer in the mornings. So, voila. I am an early bird now. And (I hope) my clients aren’t affected by my strained emotional resources, which are strengthened and prepared daily through prayer and worship. That’s all I got. I remember when I was happier (6 months ago) it was harder to get up because that hour felt slightly optional. It’s no longer an option.

  73. This is so interesting! I love the suggestions! I think some are tricky if you share a room/bed. I realized my fitbit has a silent alarm which vibrates on my wrist (which also means I’m not waking my husband or sleeping dogs!) Also weird time settings seem to get me up better (5:37 versus 5:30) instead of hitting snooze. Now that I’m uber pregnant I’m not up early to run, but I recently got up to read for 20 minutes to finish a book club book in time and it was lovely even for a small amount of time!

  74. Grace A. says...

    I like to set my coffee maker 15 minutes before my alarm, so I have hot coffee ready and waiting for me when I stumble out to the living room. Then I spend 15-20 mins enjoying it before I do anything else!

  75. Lauren E. says...

    I’ve started writing in earnest the past year with the hopes of being published someday, and there’s a Twitter crew for early morning writing! Use the #5AMwritersclub and you’ll never feel alone when you’re up in the wee hours :)

  76. Elizabeth says...

    As a teacher, “sleeping in” means waking up at 7:30, so I’ve become tuned to the mornings in adult life, and the older I get, the more I love them. I live quite rural, so sitting out on the deck with coffee, birds singing all around, the rooster crowing, the dew on the leaves in the vegetable garden–it’s magical. There’s nothing like getting to bear witness to the land and its inhabitants waking up for the day; for me, this conscious observation of nature is part of the meaning and gift of life, and there’s no time quite like the mornings for it.

    • Rue says...

      I love this! Observing nature in the early morning is my favorite part about camping and early morning runs, but I find it hard to consistently give myself a dose of this from inside my apartment. I’ll have to consider ways to incorporate it more intentionally into a “normal” morning.

  77. Erin Hodgson says...

    I’d love to know how this turns out. Might be an idea for a post- to give updates on each monthly challenge. I’m so curious how everyone fared!

    • YES! Mid-month and end-of-month updates would be the best!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      that’s a fun idea! maybe we can give updates on instagram during the month. right now, we do the post about the challenge, and then the wrap-up post at the end of the challenge:
      https://cupofjo.com/tag/challenges/

  78. Leah says...

    The harder it is to peel out of bed, the better it will feel fifteen minutes later. It’s almost always worth it. Waking up when everything is still is so dreamy and hazy. I don’t always push it, but feeling the sun rise usually makes the rest of the day amazing. I absolutely love late nights too, but late-night feels heavy. Early mornings feel so so light.

  79. Caitlin says...

    I’ve been on a quest to be a morning person FOREVER! (or more accurately a person who gets up with more than 20 minutes before I have to be out the door) My boyfriend and I joke that every morning for me is like that scene in “Home Alone 2” where the parents wake up and scream “we did it again!” Since becoming pregnant a few months ago I have been going to sleep at like 9pm and popping awake around 6:30am, which is HUGE and amazing for me. Turns out all this time I really just needed to go to be earlier and do alllll those things they tell you to do to get better sleep (cut out alcohol close to bed, put away the screens, etc). As a lifelong terrible sleeper it has been a true gift.

  80. Heather says...

    I’m not a morning person by nature, nor have I historically considered myself a runner, but over the last week I’ve become one of those people who wakes up at 5:15 to go running. Last November I was feeling pretty depressed. I happened to be out walking along the Charles River in Boston one night, and looked at each runner puffing by with envy. They must have it all together, right? My sister had lately taken up running, and she told me her favorite part of running at night was seeing all the bunnies. I turned a corner on the path, and there were three little bunnies scampering past. I took it as a sign, and went the next day to buy proper running shoes. I downloaded the Pear App and started a “zero to running” program. I truly started at zero, being able to run maybe 30 seconds at a time, but over time I gained endurance and strength. I soon found I could actually chase my toddlers at the playground without getting winded. And I felt so much better. As someone who has dealt with bouts of depression – especially in the winter – most of my adult life, I got through an entire winter without another depressive episode. My head is typically an anxious tangle of thoughts, and running seemed to shake all the thoughts down, sort them out, make them less threatening. I felt so strongly that the running was helping with my mood that I ran even on the coldest days (in 10 degrees with balm smeared on my face so it wouldn’t chap!), even in the snow. Lately, with my work schedule shifting earlier and the temps getting hotter, running to/from work wasn’t happening, and I had to figure out how to get my run in a few times a week. I HAD to. So a week ago I started pushing myself to go to sleep at 9:30 and wake up at 5:15 to go for a run around our neighborhood. It’s a groggy awakening for sure, and I miss that time at night when my husband and I could hang out without the kids, but running in the morning has been an unexpected gift. It feels meditative and dreamy, all halflight and birdsong and moonflowers and soft honeysuckle-scented air. Also, it has added a new layer to the confidence running has given me, that if I truly set my mind to something (even waking up REALLY early), I can do it.

    • Elizabeth says...

      I read an article recently that stated that in some countries they actually prescribe exercise as a treatment for mild depression. I’m a runner and I feel like life falls into place when I run. If I get off my running schedule (3x a week…nothing major) then I feel anxiety creeping up. When I read that article it all clicked into place and I realized that my running was actually keeping that at bay.

  81. Alicia says...

    I actually became a morning person *in college*, which probably tells you everything you need to know about my social life then. It was the one time of day the teeny college gym was not crowded, and I was so often the only one there they actually gave me a job of opening it in the morning. The habit stuck, in part because I really need a lot of quiet, personal time. I keep my gym clothes next to my bed so they are right there, ready to go. I also prep as much as possible the night before: coffee maker is filled, kids lunches are made, clothes are picked out, etc, so I can take as much time as possible in the morning for what I want to do. I often get a full 2 hours in the morning largely to myself, which is a great way to start the day with clear focus.

  82. Helle says...

    I love mornings! I feel inspired and at ease in the morning, and I carefully take in the slight variation in weather and light from the morning before. I live in Norway, where the seasons are extreme in both ends, so every morning I’m excited to see how much more summery and bright it is compared to yesterday – or if it’s darker than yesterday and perhaps some snow in the air. As the day progresses I get more self-absorbed and taken over by work and family logistics to keep the same awareness of my natural surroundings, which I think it’s a shame. So my tip is: start looking forward to, and get curious about, something as simple yet fulfilling as tracking what weather this new day has brought you :) PS. Also, the boring one, but it sure works: go to bed early!

  83. Alex says...

    This is also a life goal for me, I’ve tried before but never been able to keep it going long term. Last summer I woke up at 6am 3 days a week and road my bike 15 miles before going back home to get my kid up and fed, and myself ready for work. On those days I always felt soooooo amazing striding into the office at 9:30am and feeling like I’d already accomplished so much. Plus I slept better at night! But then winter came and bike season ended (i am a florida girl and cannot deal with the cold) and I went back to my night-owl ways.

    This post inspired me to try again! So thank you!

  84. A couple of years ago, I realized I was lying to myself by telling me that I needed several hours of late night garbage tv to ‘decompress’. I started to wonder if I could trade those hours for the morning. I tried it. I did it. Now, bedtime is 10pm sharp (sorry Jimmy Kimmel!). The alarm goes off at 6 am. I have an hour to get the workout in (thankyou Cathe Friedrich!) That was 4 years ago.

  85. sadie says...

    So… My early morning routine developed out of a yoga experience. I did a 21-day sunrise yoga thing many years ago that required us to GO to the studio to practice, it wasn’t a do-at-home thing. It sucked at first, but then I came to LOVE the early morning quiet. WHAT! I was a morning person, too?? (I’d always been a self-proclaimed night person. Still am to some degree.)

    I ended up sticking with early mornings (on work days)… Not sleeping until the last minute, getting up with time to make coffee and read for 30 minutes (at least) and slowly get ready. It’s the best.

    You got this, Caroline! A good friend of mine suggested, for those dark morning months, putting a lamp in a nearby room on a timer to turn on just before you’re to wake up. The warm, soft light peeking in from around the corner REALLY made waking up more inviting. :)

    • emme says...

      Yes! I have a Philip’s Wake Up Light that imitates sunrise (rather than using a jarring beeping noise) to wake up. It’s the best!

  86. I’m only ever a morning person in the spring and summers because the light outside shines into my room and wakes me up! I’ll go from my alarm-induced wake up at 7 am in the winter to a startling 6, sometimes 5 am, wake up.

    If you can, I’d definitely try to find a way to let the morning sun into your room! It’ll help your body naturally wake up with the light and when you do, it feels so much calmer than any alarm.

    • Allie says...

      This is happening to me right now!! Been consistently waking up at 5.40a because we leave a window cracked up for the nice cool summer night air, and boom, sun is up so I’m up!

  87. Nataly says...

    I always assumed I hated mornings, but something that’s recently changed my mind about that is working through Julia Cameron’s book The Artist’s Way. One of the practices throughout the process is called Morning Pages (3 pages of free writing first thing in the morning). This was hard to get used to at first, but I’ve grown to love the honest, unfiltered thoughts that happen in the morning before my defenses are up. Getting up is still HARD AF (poor sleep hygiene) and some mornings I just end up writing about how tired I am, but mostly it’s really wonderful. On weekdays I’ll write in bed, but on weekends I like to make a cup of coffee and write at my desk while enjoying the soft morning light. This practice helps get my anxieties/morning grouchiness out on paper, process emotions, check in with myself, write down ideas even if they don’t go anywhere, and let myself dream. It’s nice to walk away from the page and continue the day with a clearer mind!

    Even though I’ve learned to love mornings, I still don’t feel well rested when I wake up, so this post is inspiring me to make some much needed changes to my sleep hygiene!

    • Yulia says...

      Sounds so neat!

      COJ Team–a month of morning pages would be a great monthly challenge to try. Please do, and let’s do it together!

  88. Tracy Marcello says...

    I live in a fairly small house with my husband and two young sons, and the minute one of the adults makes even the slightest noise in the house, everyone is up! If only I could start the tea kettle and slip onto the back porch alone… #goals.

    • Laura says...

      Yes to this! 930 square foot house, 2 adults, 3 boys…once one is up, we’re all up. If I’m lucky to be up first I try to sneak around, but it never works! Someday :)

    • Kara says...

      Same here! After having my second kid and realizing everyone was waking up around 7, I decided I would wake up at 6 and get ready for the day, have a little”me time” before the chaos began….now everyone wakes up at 6. ? I’ve been debating trying a 5am wake up, but perhaps I need to accept that in this season of life, mornings will not include solitude.

  89. Jess. says...

    I have been trying (and praying!) to be a morning person for years. Decades. This year, my High Schooler has an early-morning obligation that gets us out of bed at 5:20 a.m. on school days, and I was freaking out that I wouldn’t be able to do it. Come to find out, needing to get out of bed is what gets me out of bed. But! Getting up early means going to bed early, or it just doesn’t work. For me, that means going to bed when the kids go to bed at 9 p.m. Lights out! Phone off! Otherwise, everything is miserable the next day. xox

  90. Carrie says...

    I already wake up at 6:15 for work. So …. earlier? No thanks. I think the challenge should be to go to bed earlier which I would joyfully and emphatically embrace. After 31 years of life I’ve finally realized I can do with no less than 9 hours (but probably shouldn’t do with too much more than that either). I like the bedtime feature on my iphone, it’ll give me the cutest little chime when I should get to bed so I can make sure to get my 9 hours.

    • Amanda says...

      I’m the exact same way! I know I need 9 hours to be even semi-functional. And going to bed earlier…I already go to bed at 10 and the sun doesn’t really set in the summer until around 8 here.
      I wish I could be a morning person…but I’m a sleep person :)

    • Laryssa says...

      agree! i already have to get up at 5am for work so it’s hard (impossible) to envision squeezing anything into my spartan morning “routine” (bathe & throw clothes on. fly out the door to catch train.) but yes yes yes to going to bed earlier. i know this would dramatically improve my life.

      spin off thought: i’d love to hear about what others do to “optimize” their daily commute. i always feel like i should be doing something smarter with the time, but usually just end up farting around on my phone. :/

    • Lauren says...

      I’m the same age and have come to the same realization that I need 9 hours between bedtime and my alarm. I did, however, recently start wearing a Fitbit that tracks my sleep stages, and I’ve come to realize that I am awake a lot more throughout the night than I remember (lots of 1-minute spurts), and usually that adds up to just around an hour of wakefulness throughout the night that I never even notice. So, what seems like 9 hours is actually 8 hours of good sleep, and that explains why leaving myself only 8 hours between bedtime and my alarm never felt enough – I was actually only getting 7 hours of real sleep.