How to implement a 5 a.m. morning routine – even if you aren’t an early riser

21 January 2020 by Natanja

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  • Having more time in a day to be productive, to exercise more or simply being able to get to bed a bit earlier are oftentimes things we wish for. By developing a healthy and early morning routine, you can do just that.

    Rising out of bed early

    I want to start off by saying that a 5 a.m. morning routine is possible for even the latest risers out there. I used to be someone who loved sleeping in and never got up early if I didn’t absolutely have to. If you would have pitched the idea of 5 a.m. morning routine to me a few years ago, I would have thought you are crazy. Waking up unnecessarily early…to work…uhm no thanks! 

    My life has, however, changed a lot the past couple of years and I found myself in a routine that often left me wishing I had more time to get things done. In fact, it felt like I couldn’t possibly get everything done in a week that I needed to. So a few months ago, I started implementing a 5 a.m. morning routine to increase my productivity and to get a better grip on my daily workload. I won’t lie, it hasn’t been a walk in the park. Waking up early isn’t fun, and if you generally aren’t an early riser, challenging at first. However, the benefits have been incredibly rewarding. Such as:

    • No more rushing in the morning
    • Getting a good nights sleep (because you’re actually tired in the evening)
    • Having more time to live a healthy lifestyle (more time to exercise, meal prep, meditate,..)
    • Feeling less stressed
    • Getting more stuff done
    • Being able to work more focused (when your brain is still sharp and alert)
    • Having some time to yourself before the day starts

    For me, the benefits really outweigh the discomfort. Plus once you really get into a routine, getting up early doesn’t feel that uncomfortable anymore since your body gets used to it. 

    Stretching on bed in the early morning

    This morning routine is something I do on 4 days out of 7. I don’t do it on Sundays because I think it’s totally acceptable to have a day where you allow yourself to sleep in. I also don’t do it on Wednesdays and Thursdays, which are the days where I work the entire day and then have classes at uni till the late evening. Those are already really tough days where it’s hard to be focused for the entire time, so I don’t see the need to make those even longer. What I am trying to say is, your 5 a.m. morning routine can be completely customised to your own needs. Don’t feel any pressure to pull it off 7 days a week if that’s not possible for you. I recommend doing it more than 3 days a week though, so your body can adjust to it. 

    It will feel challenging in the beginning. However, and this is the important thing, you’ll greatly benefit from it! Try to focus on the positive sides of it, especially when you are dreading it the first few days. Remind yourself of why you are doing this. This brings me to my first tip on how to ease yourself into the process:

    Have a goal in mind

    If you are reading this, you are probably interested because there is something you would like to do more of, that you don’t find the time to do. Visualize that goal, write it down or tell a friend about it. Keep yourself focused on that goal. Getting up at 5 a.m. is tough but it will help me achieve (insert your goal here). Maybe you want to get a better grip on your workload too, or maybe you want learn a new language, exercise more,… whatever it is, focus on that.

    Sitting at a desk and writing

    Get a good night’s sleep 

    Your 5am morning routine ideally shouldn’t start in the morning, but the night before. By implementing a healthy night routine, you are really setting yourself up for success the next day. Getting enough sleep should be a priority, especially if you plan on getting up before the sun rises. That means going to bed earlier than you are probably used to. But don’t worry, after being up so for so many hours, you’ll definitely be asleep quick! If not, read my tips on how to fall asleep fast.

    Reward yourself

    Getting out of your comfy bed is a lot easier when you have something to look forward to. Whether that is a hot cup of coffee, a matcha latte or delicious pancakes, if it’s worth getting out of bed for, it’ll help you do so a lot faster. You can also work with a reward system such as ‘if I pull off my 5 a.m. routine for the next two weeks, I’ll enjoy __ on the weekend’.

    Matcha latte recipe for early mornings

    Take a cold shower

    This may not be for everyone. If you typically always shower in the evenings, this may be too uncomfortable for you. However, if you are a morning shower person, switching to a lower temperature may help you feel more alert early in the morning. 

    Eat a healthy breakfast

    Fuelling your body in the morning is another way to set yourself up for success. Giving your body energy (especially in form of long-chain sugars) helps it to stay awake and get stuff done. Give this carrot-apple and orange smoothie or these vegan breakfast cookies a try.

    Cutting up fruit for a smoothie

    Don’t snooze

    Snoozing is losing. Even if it feels good in the moment, it doesn’t help your body get any more REM phases, which means that it’s really just a waste of time. You may even feel more tired if you wake up again after snoozing. Resist hitting that button and in turn get a better start to your day.

    Use a smart alarm

    Waking up with a smart alarm, such as the Phillips Wake Up Light, makes a huge difference. Instead of an annoying beeping sound, it gently wakes you up by simulating the sunrise. This tricks your body into thinking it is daytime, causing you to wake up naturally. You feel a lot more refreshed and alert upon waking up. I’ve been using mine for over a year now and am totally happy with it.

    Waking up with a smart alarm

    Go Outside

    There’s a good chance you’ll feel tired after a few hours of being awake. Going back to sleep, especially if your bed is dangerously close, will seem extremely tempting. To beat the tiredness, take a brisk walk outside, or even get some exercise in. Being outside so early in the morning when it seems the world is still asleep, is a beautiful thing. Enjoy the nature around you!

    These are just a few tips that can help ease you into a good morning routine. You can find even more tips on my blogpost about how to establish a healthy morning routine. If getting up at 5 a.m. still seems like an impossible task, you don’t necessarily have to start with that exact time. Say 6:30 a.m. is usually the time you rise, then you can start by getting up at 6:15. Then two days later, try getting up at 6:00, and so on, until you are at 5 a.m. This way your body can slowly adjust to it and it won’t feel like such a daunting task. 

    I hope you’ll find some of these tips helpful and decide to give the 5 a.m. morning routine a try. If you do, let me know in the comment section down below! 


    Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, but these are all products I highly recommend. I won’t put anything on this page that I haven’t verified and/or personally used.

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