We Tried Waking Up Early For 5 Days And This Is What Happened…

By Gabrielle Stjernqvist
20th Jul 2016

We Try Waking Up Early

I am not a morning person. Fact. My husband laughing in my face in response to me informing him of my experiment is proof of this. Rather, I’m a wake up after pressing snooze approximately 500 times kind of gal. Even then, I wouldn’t exactly call it waking up—it’s more like rolling out of bed, pissed off and mad at the day. I’m like that typical cartoon old man shaking his fist at the youngin’—except, it’s me in my PJs shaking my fist at the morning. I’ve perfected my morning routine so I can have as much time in bed as possible, so the thought of prolonging the whole waking up thing terrifies me.

My editor knows how much I detest the mornings, so when she challenged me to give up something I love for 5 days we both knew it had to be sleeping in. We set the rules early on: I’d wake up 90 minutes early and could go to sleep whenever I wanted. “Sounds easy enough,” former me said. Oh, former me, you’re a real idiot.

Let’s see what a whole extra hour and half could do for me in the mornings. Could it turn my hate-hate relationship with waking up into a full on love affair? Here goes nothing.

At 5:50am my Sleep Cycle app ~ gently~ starts to wake me up with calm, tingly music so I can start the day refreshed. Yeah Nah. I just feel pissed off. I’m instantly grumpy and not-so-secretly want to punch my snoring husband next to me.

To add insult to injury it’s pitch black outside. We’re not talking “oh it’s almost sunrise, how beautiful!” type of dark, we’re talking “oh, it’s still 10pm outside, I’ve still got 6 hours to sleep!” type of dark. Oh, and it’s freaking freezing.

So, what does one do on a school day when it’s dark outside? You watch the sunrise, of course. This is a liberty I haven’t taken since 2009. While there aren’t many things from 2009 I wish I still did (hello, Ed Hardy everything), I loved it. It was a calming, blissful way to greet the day. Insert sunrise emoji.

I make myself a real, adult breakfast and eat it at home instead of at my desk, like I usually do. While I feel super adult, it actually tastes like shit. It’s a bland bowl of porridge that makes me gag. I’m even more pissed off when I realise I’ll be hungry again at 8:30.

I do washing, a five minute Pilates routine, think about dinner, get ready for work and am in the office at 7:45 am—to a lot of my colleague’s surprise. My marketing manager even told me I had to “plan things” for the morning not just get up early. Thanks Phil, duly noted. But before I can even think about that, I need coffee. Stat.

Early to bed, early rise, a wise man once said. I tuck myself to bed at 9pm for my 6am hot Pilates class at Harlow Hot Yoga. I figure if I actually have somewhere to be waking up will be easier?

My alarm goes off at 5:40am (!!!), which is the worst. I’m treated to a hint of the day ahead when my attempt to hit snooze actually knocks it behind my bed and I spend five subsequent minutes trying to fish out in the dark.

It’s cold and dark, again. Yay, I love waking up early… To be fair though, starting my day with a Hot Pilates class was an epic way to start my day. AND I still have time shower, cook myself a hot breakfast, blow dry my hair and walk to work all with 5 minutes to spare on the clock. I feel SO accomplished and it’s not even 9:00am yet.

Things take a turn for the worse at 3pm though. I hate my life and all I want to do is nap. Damn you, early mornings!

My alarm goes off. I snooze it. It goes off again. I snooze.

I wake up at 7:30 am. Every muscle in my body hurts from hot Pilates, so I justify my sleep in as being for “recovery purposes.” The fact that I feel beyond amazing after waking up at my usual time convinces me I’m just not meant to wake up early. Oh well, there’s always tomorrow… I have grand plans of taking my dog for a walk, let’s see how that turns out.

My plans change when 6:00am alarm reveals a dark, dreary, rainy day. Not idea for dog walking. To make things worse, my (adorable pug) Pugsly gives me the stank eye for interrupting his slumber. This kid loves a sleep in more than anyone I know #gotitfromhismama. You guessed it, I turn off my alarm and roll over back into the most glorious sleep. I wake up with a jolt and realise it’s 8am. Fail 2.0.

Today is my last day, so it’s really all or nothing. Proving Tuesday’s theory true, having something on in the morning gets me up with ease. I’m headed to Creative Mornings with my work besties which starts at 8am, I really can’t miss this as I pretty much had to give up my first born to snag a ticket. I wake up at 6:30am and am fed, ready and in a surprisingly good mood before I’d usually even be awake. I even score a lift from my husband and pug to the event #winning.

The Verdict

Do I like getting up early? No.

Would I adopt this into my every day routine. No-ish.

I don’t mind the odd early morning walk or exercise class once a week, but (and it’s a big but) a whole extra 1 and half hours is wasted on me. It also didn’t help that I felt pressure to plan things to do in those early hours of the morning. Who needs more plans? Not this gal.

I’ve also heard that being a morning person is a genetic thing—you can’t fight genetics people. You just can’t.

It’s pretty safe to say I’m looking forward to getting back to my 7:30am starts, a desk breakfast and sleep-ins with my pug.

But, mad props to early birds. I wish I was you.

Design and image credit: Gabby Stjernqvist

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