My Journey to Becoming a Early Riser

It is rooted in my genetics to be a night owl. My siblings, my parents, my cousins, my aunts and uncles… My family is just known as that family who sleeps at two or three in the morning as if it is the normal hour to sleep. I’ve joked about how my family is permanently stuck on Philippines time and I used to accept the night owl life as something I can’t fight. However, in the last two days of spending loads of time with my cousin Hannah, I learned that it is possible to become a morning person despite living in a house full of Filipinos who refuse to sleep at a “normal” hour.

Out with the Old Sleeping Routine

I don’t know how my family does it. They somehow can sleep at 3:00am and wakeup at 7:00am. How is that possible? I’m not like that. If I sleep at 3:00am, I will surely wake up at noon. I’ve gotten used to this routine of sleeping at the crack of dawn and waking up at high noon. I know, it sounds so unhealthy, but it’s not like I’m doing mindless things when I’m awake. I’m usually either working on things for Creations for a Cause, editing videos for YouTube, writing in my journal, or finishing writing pieces for freelance jobs. I also met more people on the other side of the world in places like Belgium, the UK, and the Philippines because I would be awake at their “normal” waking hours and talk to them via Twitter. Benefits of staying up late aside, the cons started outweighing the pros.

I wasn’t getting enough Vitamin D from the sun, so I know it affected my mental health. I felt more anxious. Negative thoughts were triggered faster. I felt drained even after getting an appropriate 6 to 8 hours of sleep. Things were basically going to shit and I’ve reached my limit up until this week. Thank God for Thanksgiving family dinners though… because if it weren’t for this holiday – a time for my family to get together and take time off of work to just enjoy each other’s company – I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to see my cousin Hannah. I owe it to Hannah for helping me re-realize how important sleep is. She is genetically programmed to be a nigh owl too, but somehow she found her way to work against it and become a morning person.

I’ve always been an advocate of sleep. I’ve been one since college when I discovered Ariana Huffington’s Thrive. In Thrive, she talks about how she was sleep deprived and it took her hitting her head and ending up in the hospital to rethink what her idea of success was. To summarize Huffington’s book, she basically says success can’t just be measured by power and money, success must also include the well-being, wisdom, and wonder. Thrive is a book I live by and is something I always go back to… yet I never actively applied the sleeping aspect to my life (until now).

Regardless of how little of sleep I was getting, I love to sleep. I love sleep so much that if I were an animal in another life, I’d probably be a koala who sleeps 23 hours a day and just wakes up to eat and poops in that one extra hour.

In with the New Sleeping Routine

I slept at 1am last night and woke up at 7am this morning. Six hours of sleep is not so bad, but the goal is to get a consistent eight hours of sleep every night.

How To Be a Morning Person

The best advice I’ve ever heard about trying to be a morning person came from Hannah. She and I both know how hard it is for us, but she told me that if you start with the goal to “start sleeping early” rather than to “start waking up early” it will be easier to do. I was mind blown when she put it that way. You’re probably like… DUH RACHEL. But I have been so focused on making my goal to wake up early, I forgot that I should be more concerned with sleeping early enough to get the right amount of sleep.

Day 1 of Becoming a Morning Person

Night 1 of sleeping early was a fail, but I’ll work my way up to sleeping earlier and earlier. I’ll sleep by 11pm at the latest tonight, then I’ll move up to 10pm the next day, and 9pm the next day. My goal is to sleep between 9:00pm to 10:00pm every night. Then, naturally, I’ll be starting my day at seven, six, and five in the morning. It’s going to be great. It’s going to be hard in the beginning, but it’s going to be great.

I think waking up this morning wasn’t so hard because of how determined I felt before I went to sleep. I will have difficult days where I feel like I need to stay awake at night to finish certain things, but I have to remember to tell myself that it can wait. Unless it’s a life or death situation, my YouTube videos can wait to be posted the next day and my work will still be there for me to take care of in the morning.

If you have more tips and tricks about becoming a morning person, please comment below and share the wealth of knowledge I’ll need in the next coming weeks. You know the saying, it takes 21 consistent days to create a habit. These first 21 days are crucial so any words of encouragement and advice are welcome.

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lotsa virtual hugs,
R A C H E L B.

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