Google ‘wake up at 4AM’ for me, don’t worry, I’ll wait…
What did you find? Two things, (1) a whole bunch of ‘motivational’ articles screaming the benefits of how waking up at 4AM will help you succeed at life, and (2) another set of articles from rightly worried people asking why they can’t get back to sleep at that god-awful hour.
Guess which articles keep coming up in my feed, angering me enough to write this?
Now don’t get me wrong, waking up early is great – and for some people, 4AM will be the golden hour where they get all of their most productive work done while everyone else sleeps happily away. My problem is the endless echo chamber of motivational ‘gurus’ who mindlessly repeat the same mantra without even considering that:
- You might be a late night person, not a morning person (you could argue that 4AM is late night too I suppose)
- If you get 8 hours of sleep (shut up, you should be), that means a bedtime of 8PM – which is roughly the bedtime of a 12-year-old
- Maybe I’m just loud and clumsy (I am), but if I got up at 4AM I would wake up everyone else in the house too, making me very unpopular
- And finally, 4AM?! What is wrong with you? Go back to bed!
If waking up early is good for your productivity and wellbeing then go for it.
But what most of these gurus don’t advise their readers on is that they should balance their priorities and physical/mental health appropriately to ensure that they are actually happy with their lifestyle, not just grinding away for the sake of it. Too many people adopt harmful lifestyles simply because they are looking for a quick fix to what is often a complex problem, or because it makes them feel cool or superior to others.
Me? I get up at 6AM which gives me lots of time to get to work before the traffic builds up, write a few words for my book or short stories, and get several hundred cups of tea in me before my day starts properly. I get to bed each night around 10-11PM which means I don’t get as much sleep as I should, but I’m working on it. And I get up at a time that doesn’t cause Becky to murder me when I inevitably trip over the cat and wake her up.
Some people will read the above and call me crazy for getting up at 6AM, or lame (is that still a word in use?) for going to bed at 10PM.
So what’s my advice? You just do you.