It seems like the world has forever been divided on the preferences of sleep and wake cycles. Those who hiss at the sunrise and shut their eyes as early as 11 p.m. proclaim themselves as night owls, while those who would rather watch the sunrise and can’t be bothered past 9 p.m. are the early birds of society. Never do the two agree on sleeping patterns, but as I once identified as a night owl I found myself in a pit of jealousy against the people that seemed to live rather zen lives because of their 6 or 7 a.m. alarms. And as my mother so strongly pointed out, “Early risers are the successful people.”
Rather than gracefully enter the second semester of my junior year of college, I found myself thrown into the wolves with meeting after meeting and a brand new class schedule. If I wanted to keep my six-day-a-week, hour and a half gym routine in my schedule, it had to be moved to the morning. The early morning. I came to the conclusion that 5 a.m. and 6 a.m. alarms were going to be my new normal to keep up my love of weightlifting. The sacrifice of going to the gym at the crack of dawn came as going to bed during peak Netflix binging time, late at night. Instead of 11 p.m. or later, I was now about to curl up for bed at 9 or 10 p.m. I was surprised at the sense of FOMO (“Fear of missing out”) that washed over me when I decided to start going to bed earlier. While I was going to be catching Z’s, friends would be out, TikToks would be missed and I couldn’t stay up FaceTiming random people. It almost felt like a catastrophic shift…but for the better.
A new schedule
Before I attempted to just magically wake up at 6 a.m. one morning, I had to write it out. If I don’t see it in front of my eyes on a piece of paper or a spreadsheet, I simply won’t believe I have to do it. So on top of the growing mountain of syllabus week obligations, I created a spreadsheet of my new schedule for the foreseeable future; color-coded and everything. For the next five months, I will be waking up at 6 a.m. on Monday through Friday and getting my day started with the gym while it’s still dark out. After that, school and more meetings.
The first morning
When you go from waking up at 10 a.m. to waking up at 6 a.m., it is expected to have feelings of extreme unhappiness thanks to the lack of sunlight and shrill of the alarm sound. However, I was pleasantly surprised by the well-rested feeling that I awoke to and my only slightly-reluctant nature of hitting snooze a million times. It was refreshing and I felt like I was in my own movie about a girl who has her life together. The pre-laid out gym outfit definitely helped coax me into movement and I felt like I was out the door in no time.
Now, I know there are people who refuse to even think about becoming a functioning member of society for the day until they’ve had their morning coffee or tea. I have never taken a liking to coffee; daily tea steeping eluded my routines and only occasionally happened when I felt the need. I relied on a seemingly unhealthy dose of caffeine from my pre-workout powder that I would usually down with water in the afternoon. But this time, I downed it at 5:30 in the morning. The previous worries about an impending lack of energy for my workout were chugged away with every last drop of my pre-workout mixture. I headed off to the gym, expecting it to be deserted, and was met with shock by how many other individuals decided to start their day early. Spoiler alert: it was a lot of people.
After a rather sweaty gym session, I got on with the rest of my day. I found myself energized and filled with motivation that in the past was thwarted by an inconsistent schedule of sleep and obligations. I was finally actually able to have breakfast at my sorority between the designated hours of 7 to 9 a.m.; something I had always slept through during previous semesters. Even after I had prepared myself for the rest of the day, I was consumed with a need to knock stuff off of my to-do list, like washing my grimy makeup brushes. The early wake-up time and workout had propelled me forward through the day with great energy and focus.