6 Key Reasons Why You Need Get Up Early In The Morning

6 Key Reasons Why You Need Get Up Early In The Morning

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“I’m just glad you didn’t try and tell me to start getting up early.”

My friend was referring to an article I wrote for Mamamia about ‘getting your mornings under control.’

“I’d never dream of telling you get up early,” I laughed back, “I know you’re not  a morning person”.

But she got me thinking. Do you really need to be a morning person to embrace the whole ‘getting up early’ thing?

Not in my experience.

My husband’s not a morning person yet these days he gets up at 4.30am to go for a run. And of course my lovely host Smaggle has recently learned to embrace the early hours of the day.

But why would you want to start rising early if that’s not your natural tendency? I have six reasons for you:

1. It’s the best time of day to exercise

I’ve been an exerciser my whole life so I can say this with absolutely surety: the morning is best time to exercise. There are two main reasons for this.

1. Exercising in the morning wakes you up and sees you starting the day with a clear head (so much so that on the mornings I don’t exercise, it takes me ages to get my brain going).

2. When you plan to exercise in the afternoon, this puts a huge mental load on you for the entire day. Why? Because you spend a large part of the day thinking about the fact that you ‘have’ to exercise ‘later’ and negotiating with yourself about whether you really have to do it or not.

If you exercise in the morning, you’ll probably still negotiate, but only for 10 minutes before deciding to JFDI. If you exercise in the evening, you’ll spend hours on this pointless and draining mental activity.

2. You get to have a good breakfast

We all know breakfast is the most important meal of the day (because it is breaking a fast of 8-10 hours). When our mornings are rushed and pressured however, breakfast is usually the first thing to be sacrificed.

Getting up a little earlier to ensure we have time to eat a healthy breakfast has all kinds of wonderful side effects; it helps us maintain a healthy weight, helps keep our blood sugar stable and sparks our brain into life.

3. It’s the perfect time to work on special projects

You know what I’m talking about – everyone has some kind of special project in their mind they think they don’t have time to action. Whether it’s the photobook from that trip to Europe, fundraising for a charity you love, or writing a book – the early mornings are the best time to work on these things because there is little to distract you.

Best of all – you only need 15 minutes.

15 minutes each morning adds up to a significant amount of time if you’re doing it every day. In no time at all you’ll have gone from wistfully looking at all the photos on your hard drive to flicking through a beautiful and lasting memory from a special time in your life.

4. It’s the perfect time to clear your inbox

Ok – this may be controversial. A lot of people like to say that work should stay at work. But come on, this is 2014, work goes everywhere with us so how about we make that work for us instead of fighting against it.

Early mornings are a great time to get your inbox under control.

I find that if I reply to emails during the day, I’m more likely to get a return email straight away. And then I will feel obliged to email straight back.

We live in a world of instant gratification and it’s been programmed into us to reply to something instantly if it drops in our inbox while we’re on our computers.

If you email people early in the morning when they’re not at their computers, it takes away a bit of reactiveness at the receiver’s end. They’ll be less likely to flick an instant and incomplete answer straight back at you … and you’re less likely to find yourself engaging in unnecessary back and forth.
The other reason I like doing a quick email check first thing when I wake up is because it means when I sit down at my desk to start the work day, I know what’s in there that needs my attention. It also means there are no little surprise time bombs waiting for me!

5. It’s the perfect time to get some time to yourself

I came downstairs the other day at 5.30am to find my husband sitting at the kitchen table reading the paper. I knew he’d gotten up at 4.30am to go for a run so couldn’t figure out why he hadn’t left yet.

‘It’s the one time all day I get to be by myself’ he told me.

Ah.

Now I’m not suggesting YOU get up at 4.30am … but the principle is the same. Simply getting up half an hour earlier than the rest of your house is a true delight. I know I savour those mornings where I’m the only one downstairs. I just revel in the silence and the fact that no one wants me to use my brain by having a conversation with them.

And I admit, sometimes I get a bit carried away with the whole revelling in silence; before I know it a whole hour has evaporated (so dear husband, I totally get it!)

6. Mornings are great for meandering

No matter what you choose to do with your early mornings, the one thing they are great for is meandering. I am a huge fan of meandering; it’s the thing that’s most allowed me to live a less frantic life.

Early mornings allow for meandering because they don’t feature the reactiveness of the rest of the day (anyone who is awake in the morning is too busy doing their own thing to require anything of you. The same is not true for say … lunchtime … or the early evenings.)

Being able to start your day in an un-rushed fashion is a real treat, and it gives the rest of the day the best chance of panning out the same way.
Doesn’t that sound lovely?

Are you a late riser? Have I convinced you to give early mornings a try?

If you want to hear more from Kelly, visit her fabulous blog A Life Less Frantic.

43 Comments

  1. Careeragogo 3 years ago

    Your comment regards planning to exercise in the afternoon putting a huge mental load on your day was a bit of an “A-HA!” moment for me. Its true of procrastination in general, don’t you think?. By putting stuff off that you know you need to do, you just start dragging it with you, through the days, taking up all this mental space and time spent trying to justify your inaction. Why do we do this to ourselves? I too am trying to live by the JDI mantra.

    • Smaggle 3 years ago

      It’s so true! So like today, I didn’t exercise this morning because I slept really badly but now I’m all distracted know that I have to exercise this afternoon. So annoying.

    • Author
      Kelly Exeter 3 years ago

      After having kids I tried doing the sleep in in the morning/exercise in the evening thing. But the mental load of ‘argh, I have to exercise when I get home from work’ was just too much for me!

  2. That’s it! I’m setting my alarm for 5am. No more excuses. That’s just going to be my weekday reality. I want that extra hour to (actually) get to the gym, do a bit of bloggy stuff and meander through my morning.

    • Smaggle 3 years ago

      IT makes SUCH a difference. Since I started getting up at 5.30 am I get everything I need to get done in the day over and done with by 5pm. I actually have my evenings back now and I love it.

    • Author
      Kelly Exeter 3 years ago

      I’ll tell you what I told some people on twitter – getting up early is simply a habit that can be created. No one actually LIKES getting up early … not even morning people. But once you’re in the habit of doing it, it’s easy-er!

    • Miss Chardy 3 years ago

      do you think we can do it Sonia? Report in at 5am!!!!!

      • Miss Chardy 3 years ago

        Are you up and at it Sonia? 5:08am here in the NT (think the same in Adelaide)…..enjoying a coffee (my husband didn’t know what was going on when my alarm went off ha ha ha ha)

  3. Shawna G 3 years ago

    I’ve started getting up about 15 minutes earlier now that I don’t eat pre-packaged foods anymore. This means breakfast is usually some sort of egg variation, requiring a little more time. So worth it! But try as I might, no matter how many times I set my alarm early to exercise pre-work, i can NEVER follow through and get out of bed.

    • Smaggle 3 years ago

      Have you tried booking into a class or doing a bootcamp or meeting a friend? I find that it’s easier if there’s someone that I have to hold myself accountable for.

      • Shawna G 3 years ago

        That I have not. Maybe one day …!

    • Author
      Kelly Exeter 3 years ago

      Do you find that ‘having to exercise after work’ thing hangs over your head all day though? I can’t hack that feeling – waking up early is easier!!

      • Shawna G 3 years ago

        Honestly, it usually doesn’t bug me. There will be some nights where I put it off and I’m hitting the gym at 10pm, or I end up skipping it, but that’s happening a lot less lately since I started working out differently. I do cross fit once a week and go directly from work, I enjoy hikes after work, or the occasional evening yoga. Sometimes time gets away from me and then I’m rushing to get there, but I never feel like it’s “hanging over me” since I really like my workouts!!

        • Author
          Kelly Exeter 3 years ago

          When I learning to do Cross Fit my sessions were in the evening and while it was the last thing in the world I wanted to do when I went off to class – it certainly had the effect of winding me down from my day!

  4. Miss Chardy 3 years ago

    Ok, you may well have convinced me to drag my sorry butt out of earlier from now on….I know I should, it is just so hard to make it happen….I will give it a go though.

    • Smaggle 3 years ago

      Start waking up just 15 minutes earlier and then add an extra 15 minutes every week. Take it slow. Believe me, you can do it! I went from 2am bed times to 9.30 pm bedtimes in just a few weeks!

      • Miss Chardy 3 years ago

        I am on board Smaggle….I am getting this messy life of mine SORTED! Thanks.

    • Author
      Kelly Exeter 3 years ago

      It’s definitely all about the bedtime 🙂 I get up at 5am most mornings … but really need to be asleep by 10pm to do so. Asleep by 10pm means in bed and reading by 9.30pm!

      • Miss Chardy 3 years ago

        Right, you have cracked the whip and I am on board. Have just shared your facebook post on my Miss Chardy fb page. I am setting the alarm for 5 in the morning. I need to change things in my life…..what is the saying “if you keep doing what you have always done you will get what you have always got” thanks for the motivation!

  5. Luxury Retreats Bali 3 years ago

    So agree with you ladies! My life has changed massively since I became an early riser and I can only recommend using the early hours in some ways to everyone! My favourite things to do are 1. watching the sunrise from the beach or water, 2. meeting friends for morning exercise, 3. practising yoga in the privacy of my home. – Nadine xx

    • Author
      Kelly Exeter 3 years ago

      Ah I love what your mornings sound like Nadine!! I do love those mornings where I am running as the sun rises – so lovely!

  6. Cinderella 3 years ago

    Always been a morning person, largely due to work commitments as an adult , having little kids killed that, reaching an equilibrium now, my advice to be an effective morning person is get to bed earlier, no tv, get off internet (like now!), just set that alarm and get up early, walk/gym whatever, work/school drop off, get going.

    • Smaggle 3 years ago

      Exactly. The biggest key is winding down properly in the evening. I think so many people struggle with just simply turning off the TV and hopping into bed with a book. Makes SUCH a big difference.

  7. Laney | Crash Test Mummy 3 years ago

    I’m not much of a morning person, but I’m getting there. Even managed 5am recently. I’m also starting personal training at 6am one a week, starting this Wed! Yikes!

    • Author
      Kelly Exeter 3 years ago

      I know what you mean – I do Cross Fit twice a week at 5am! Madness I know but it means I am home at 6.10am ready to make J’s lunch for school and then have a shower before baby wakes up at 7am!

    • Smaggle 3 years ago

      How’s the personal training going? I usually do a boot camp at least once a year so I’d be interested to hear what you’re up to!

      • Laney | Crash Test Mummy 3 years ago

        I survived the first session, but had to have a lie down on the sofa in the cafe before I could safely drive the car! Back again this Wednesday. It’s similar to Cross Fit with High Intensity Interval Training. Only 30 minutes, so psychologically I know I can get through it. Tonight I’m joining a 45 minute class and I’m scared!

  8. Lauren 3 years ago

    I like your points, however in my experience they haven’t worked. I tried to become an early morning exerciser. It didn’t work for me. My mornings became 10x more hectic than I wanted them to be. Rushing to the gym, rushing home, getting ready in less time than I usually had, then rushing to work. It did not make me feel calm and zen like all the other points seemed to be aimed towards. Given I don’t have kids so maybe my evenings feel very calm and filled with time in order to do thing so Iile exercise and projects. I definitely agree with the mental load afternoon exercise creates though. It can do that.

    • Author
      Kelly Exeter 3 years ago

      Different strokes for different folks for sure Lauren 🙂
      My mornings are finely tuned – but I organise everything the night before so that I am not rushing.

      • Smaggle 3 years ago

        I agree! And even though I’m an early morning person convert, I’m also a freelancer so sometimes that means pulling an all nighter to make a deadline and then I’m definitley NOT a morning person.

    • Smaggle 3 years ago

      I think it’s habit forming too. I was lucky enough to spend a week in Bali solidifying the habit so it was a lot easier for me when I got home but I haven’t been super succesfully at impletmenting it myself in every day life until the retreat and it just kind of flowed in to every day life.

  9. Nina 3 years ago

    Since moving closer to my work, I don’t have to wake up so early, but my body clock still does it for me. This morning I woke up a full hour earlier than needed and have thoroughly enjoyed sitting in bed writing some to do lists for the day and catching up on some reading (like this lovely article)! Now when i have to start getting ready, I’m not going to stumble into the shower half asleep! This is the best!

    • Smaggle 3 years ago

      Oh brilliant I love that! Even though I’m getting up earlier, I certainly don’t have any time to relax in the morning but when I finish for the day, I’m finished. No more blogging at midnight, because I’ve already done it in the morning!

  10. Anne 3 years ago

    Impossible. I’m just not programmed that way. Sorry. I’ve tried. And struggled. And failed more times than I can remember. My default setting is nocturnal. I would make a perfect possum….
    I get up an hour earlier each day since my puppy came on the scene a year ago but apart from quality time with my dog (who IS very much a morning person!) I achieve 2/10’s of bugger all to show for all the sleep deprivation.
    I dream of retirement, for I love those rare days off when I can live like my natural body clock wants – sleep till 10am, wander aimlessly till around midday drinking several cups of tea along the way, eat something, zoom around ‘achieving great things’ for a few hours, then take a nap again around 3 till 4pm, get up and eat again, then zoom again finishing off more ‘great things’ till I start think about what I am cooking dinner at around 7pm, eat around 8pm or later and then try and wind down the zoom to a steady idle from 10pm until I fall into bed at 2am…. If I could live like that THEN I could be a morning person! hahahaha 🙂

    • Smaggle 3 years ago

      Some times mornings just for some people. Mr Smaggle is RUBBISH in the mornings. Not just mornings but when he actually gets up, he just sucks at life. I just find that even though I enjoy staying up late at night and that my body clock naturally leans that way, I am SO MUCH more productive if I get up early. But that’s just me!

  11. Cady 3 years ago

    Written by a morning person. It just won’t work for the rest of us. To prove it, let’s see whether I can convince you to be a night owl (and this is how I live my life, I’m not just refuting your points for the sake of it)…
    1. Dusk is the best time to exercise, or just after dark if you’re in an area where you feel safe. The workday is over and you can start to relax. Walks, treadmills, swims – whatever you do, it’s a beautiful temperature without that pre-dawn tendon-snapping chill, and because it’s warmer it means you can swim for longer into winter if that floats your boat. You can relax about your hair, makeup, flushed face and sweat because you go home after it, bathe, cook and eat a good dinner and go to bed relaxed and drowsy. Whereas if you are a night person and you are fretting about exercising at daybreak, you don’t sleep properly because you’re worried that maybe tomorrow will be the day that all 4 alarm clocks fail at once, and then you feel a failure all day because you didn’t get up at an unreasonable hour to do something unnatural for reasons which you are no longer clear about because your memory is shot because you didn’t get a refreshing sleep. And then your muscles all start aching at 2pm because they’re trying to rebuild and repair themselves and the perfect time for that is when you’re asleep. If you’re a night owl, the only possible way to start the day with a clear head is slowly, not even attempting to come to life before 7am, with a simple breakfast and a cuppa when you start work. And I commute more than an hour each way every day – if you’re not try into cram in exercise and recovery from exercise in the morning, that is all possible.
    2. Get up at 7am (or later if you can) and have a good light breakfast – muesli and yoghurt at the kitchen counter, and an apple on the way to the station does it for me. Because you’ve already eaten since you’ve exercised, your body’s not craving depleted protein or anything else. A healthy lunch and you’re right for the day.
    3 and 5. The perfect time for special projects, reading or being alone is after 10pm. The ferals are asleep, the house is quiet and you have an hour or more before sleep slides in at midnight. That’s partly because you …
    4. Clear your emails before you leave work. That’s what the last half hour of the day is all about. You can send thoughtful replies to things that need them, and it will give the virtuous early starters something to do when they get to work.
    6. And I agree, mornings are great for meandering. And you’ll have time to do it if you’re comfortable about your daily routine and know you’ll get that heart pumping later in the day.

    Joining me on the late shift, Kelly?

    • Smaggle 3 years ago

      I’m not a natural morning person and in the last month I’ve totally changed that and now I get up at 5.20am every day. I LOVE staying up late at night and I’m certainly a creature of the night – I’m a theatre actor and I do several shows a year so I’m often performing until the wee small hours – but as a freelancer getting up early just makes me so much more productive! But every one has to do what works for them. Also 7am is pretty darn early… if you’re functioning at 7am, you’re pretty well! When I was ‘wasn’t a morning person’ I was waking up at 9.30 or 10am! 🙂

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