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Food & Health

The Early Bird Catcheth the Worm: The Benefits of Waking Up at 5AM

The positives are plain to see, but is it worth sacrificing your coveted lie in?

I want to ask you how your day starts. As students it typically starts with a hazy jab at the
snooze button, before rolling out of bed a few moments before a 9AM lecture. Now this is a
common morning routine that is only good for one thing – converting us into zombies.
Now before you remove this article from your browser with a shuddering hand at the thought
of waking up early, consider the benefits I am about to outline first, and then decide which
would give you a happier and more productive day.

Ernest Hemingway

The first benefit of changing your sleeping schedule and waking up earlier is that there is more time to complete tasks that you enjoy. How many of us complain that we don’t have enough time to do the hobbies that we love because of limited hours in the day? Writer Ernest Hemingway for example made a habit of rising at 4AM and spent the first seven hours of the day crafting his pieces of writing. Imagine being able to pursue the normal mundane tasks of the day with the knowledge that you’ve already made the choice to share that day with the things you love.

The second is that waking up early removes the chance of being caught in a frenzy of panic
when trying to plan your day. We’ve all had the unexpected problem arise that throws your
day into a whirlwind. Your friend suddenly needs you to help them finish that project. Your
lecturer sets you an extra unexpected task. Your work calls you in to do an extra bit of
overtime that takes away your evening. Our days are filled with uncontrollable intangibles
that we have no control over. The remedy to this is to have an earlier start and earn a few
more hours in the day to do what needs to be done. This will chip away at your stress levels
as the weeks go by, making you a healthier and more relaxed person.

“With a better control over your sleeping pattern you are better able to balance the levels of melatonin and cortisol in your body which too have a significant effect on mood.”

The third is that it allows you the chance to form a critical routine of exercise. Now I know what you’re thinking, the morning is my lie in time so why on earth would I want to sacrifice it to sweat away that Domino’s I enjoyed last night? Research shows that productivity and mood can soar in the mornings after a minimum of thirty minutes of exercise. Imagine skipping into your lecture hall feeling energetic and being able to concentrate on what the tutor is saying. Particularly for men, lifting weights in the morning can boost healthy testosterone levels and can cause moods to skyrocket.

The fourth is an improved pattern of sleeping. One of the merits of setting your alarm clock
to 5AM each morning is that you have to make getting the right eight hours of sleep a priority. Now this won’t always be achievable, particularly as a student with the allure of glittering clubs up and down the streets, but if there are no important events happening in the evening then that should be a time to prioritise sleep. With a better control over your sleeping pattern you are better able to balance the levels of melatonin and cortisol in your body which too have a significant effect on mood.

Finally, the fifth is the chance to see a sunrise. When was the last time you saw a day bloom
into existence? The vibrant colours and sounds paired with the flood of early morning sun never fails to encourage a smile. A sunrise paired with a perfect morning playlist can flood our bodies with a cocktail of endorphins that will give you the best start to a day.

Now I am no practising psychologist and I have no right to dictate how people should live their days. For some, being a night owl is a more appropriate lifestyle depending on what your day requires. I myself have been waking up at 5:00AM for the past four months and I have felt the benefits every single day. My days are more energised than ever, and I want to pass this feeling on to you. The choice from here about how you want to live your mornings rests with you.

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