Why I have stopped trying to wake up early

I have aspired for years about waking up with the sunrise without an alarm. Up by 5am, following a strict morning routine, prepared and ready to dace the day. That is what all the successful people do right? Thus, if I also wanted to see some success, I needed to do the same.

Well, I have tried and failed numerous times and now, I have decided to stop trying and just let my body clock tell me what to do. 

I had a pretty good streak in January and February 2021 where I would wake up early to study for the GAMSAT before going into work. And it felt amazing. 3 hours of solid study before work, kicking goals whilst most people are asleep, it was great. But since then, I have tried and failed miserably. Twice I woke up early and went down to Bondi Beach with a friend for an ocean swim. Again, It was amazing and I felt on top of the world. But the next day, my dreams of repeating the experience died.

Now, instead of beating myself up and trying to wake up early I have decided to let it go. Here’s why:

  1. I go to bed too late. Most nights I am in bed around 1am so waking up at 5am doesn’t really work. Unfortunately, I am unable to go to bed earlier because I teach English till midnight most nights. So, if I must sleep late due to work I will either sacrifice sleep to wake up early (which is never a good idea) or accept that I will have to wake up late. Whilst I teach till late, I need to sleep till late
  2. I have found through my various late nights at university that I work very well and productively late at night. From 3-5pm I fade and became an unproductive sloth but then I get a second wind at 10pm and can go strong till 2am. Whereas I am not as productive in the morning.
  3. Waking up later just before I need to leave the house to go to work means that I don’t fall into a bad habit of hitting snooze on the alarm clock 20 times. If I know I only have one alarm that I must adhere to otherwise I will be late for work makes it more likely I will take up on time. When I am aspirational and try to wake up at 6am then I find I hit snooze and end up crawling out of bed at the latest time possible

I used to see going to bed late and waking up late as a bad habit. How many wellness blogs and tips are there around waking up early with the sunrise? I believed this for years and thought I had failed when I woke up late (even though late in my eyes is still 7am). The reality is that I have a job that requires me to work late and thus I must sleep late lest I only get 4 hours of sleep. Whilst that is my life and my schedule, I will continue to be a late riser. If there comes a time when I can sleep earlier then I will look at waking up earlier.

If there is one thing I have learnt about productivity and habits over the last few years, it is that being adaptable and flexible is the most important thing. Just because a system works in one part of your life such as school or university doesn’t mean it will keep working when you move to another chapter of your life such as work. The key is to identify these chapters and make changes accordingly. For now, I am in a work late sleep late chapter and that is okay. Who knows, maybe next year it will be different.

2 thoughts on “Why I have stopped trying to wake up early

  1. My husband and i have moved onto the retired person chapters. I used to get up at five every morning so I could get pages done before work. I did this for at least 10 years. now, I get up around seven and my morning pages are done in the afternoon.

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