So yes, you read that right. 4:30. 4:30am. Of all the things I share with y’all on Instagram, I think the thing you seem to message me about the most is my wake up time. I can’t tell you how many versions of “omg, how do you get up so early? i wish i could too. i’ve always wanted to but it’s just so hard. how??” I get every day. So I’m finally going to tell you! All the deets of how I wake up so early, why I do so, and my favorite tips for how you can too.
WHY I Love My 4:30 Alarm
Yes, I’ll tell you how, but I’m going to start by telling you why. Because I’m a huge believer that for everything in life you need a why.
The simplest way to put it is that a 4:30am wakeup time enables me to have the day I want. Because trust me, it ain’t because I just like waking up before the sun and getting sleepy when most people eat dinner. But with this season of life I’m in, the one where I work an 8-5 job and am trying to start a business with my husband, waking up early and utilizing my morning well is almost a necessity. Because if I don’t go to yoga before work, 80% of the time I won’t be able to go after. And if I don’t take some time to breathe and meditate and read scripture in the morning, I’ll find myself a stress ball of anxiety by 11:00am.
It seems like my days are always so full of giving outside of myself, fighting off stimulation and distraction x 10000, and just trying to find a moment to catch a breath among the chaos. But at 4:30am, it’s different. The house is silent besides the gentle tick of our big clock on the living room wall. The TV is off, my phone is still plugged in on the couch, Casmir just tossed over under the covers and Gunner is still snoozin’ inside his crate. It’s quiet. And it’s peaceful. And it’s mine.
I also love that my time after work is open. If a friend asks me to dinner, I don’t have to choose between her and a workout. If the hubs wants to be spontaneous and go see a movie, I don’t have to say “sorry babe, gotta get my sweat in.” (Not sure why that one came to mind, can’t remember the last time we saw a movie… Let’s be honest it’s usually more of if the hubs calls me up and says “babe, we’ve gotta run to the house, buy 10 tons of materials, call the cabinet people, and meet a contractor after work today…”) Regardless of the reason, I like early mornings because they free up the evenings in a lot of ways.
And I just believe so wholeheartedly that how you spend the first hour after you wake up sets the tone for the rest of the day. Waking up early allows me to be proactive instead of reactive. I’m choosing my day. I’m shaping my day. I’m not letting my day shape me. I’m choosing to fill myself up with truth, center my heart, nourish my soul and arm myself for anything the day can and will hold. I’m choosing myself and I’m therefore so much more ready to choose others throughout the day.
HOW I Love My 4:30 Alarm
I’ve always been a morning person, but don’t be tricked into thinking it’s natural for some people to wake up at 4:30am and you just don’t have that in your genes. It’s not. Really, we should be rising and falling with the sun. And I can promise you the sun is never rising at 4:30am.
I’ve got lotssss of sleep tips. Like, so many sleep tips. I’m such a believer that sleep is just as important a health factor as food or exercise and I protect it as such. So I’ll be doing a whole blog post strictly about how to get better sleep soon, but here are a few basics on how I make such an early alarm something I crave:
I don’t hit snooze. Ever. Honestly, my alarm probably doesn’t ring for more than 10 seconds before I’m standing up next to my nightstand. Mostly because I’m a good wife and don’t want to wake the sleeping giant next to me (considering he seriously snoozes for another 3 hours before he even considers getting up). But also because I know if I snooze, or if I lie there for “just one more minute” I won’t get up. I’ll wake up an hour later wondering how I dozed off. I know this because it happens anytime I take more than 10 seconds to be standing. So really, I just don’t give myself a chance to think through it. (Ps- it’s really important to note I don’t use my phone as an alarm. In fact my phone never comes into the bedroom. I used to use this cheap alarm from Amazon but now I love the vibrating alarm from my Nokia Steel HR.)
I love my coffee. Not just my (decaf) coffee, but my ritual around it. I love sipping on my Bulletproof Superfood Coffee while I read my study bible. I love journaling my prayers and meditating on truth. I love planning out my day and committing to ways I can honor my body and soul throughout it. I really do crave my early mornings. When my alarm goes off, even when it hurts a little, my bones just yearn to get up and grab my coffee and head to my desk. My soul needs it just as much as my body, and because of that it’s worth the extra hour before my 6am sweat sesh.
I go to bed early. This one’s the hard one, but it’s also the most important. None of the others work if you don’t do this one. When people gasp in wonder at the fact that I wake up this early and ask how I do it, my answer is always “I still get 8 hours of sleep.” So yes, that means I go to bed at 8:30. (Ok fine, sometimes 9:00.) And yes, that means I’m way more lame than my grandma. But I can’t overstate it – don’t set your alarm earlier than the time you can get adequate sleep with. If you want to go to bed at 10:30 every night after a few episodes of Netflix, don’t you dare even think about trying to program your alarm for anytime before 5:30 am. Because even all the reasons above about why an early alarm is the best aren’t enough reasons for why it’s more important than adequate sleep. It’s just not. Sleep is bae. And not getting enough sleep is a recipe for all kinds of disasters (including yeast overgrowth & leaky gut!).
How YOU Can Wake Up Earlier
Start slow. Seriously, slowwwww. If you currently wake up at 7:00am every day and are now inspired after these thousand words of morning bliss to change that, don’t just run to your alarm and shift it back to 5:00am. Our bodies have internal clocks and they thrive off of routine. If you throw a 2 hour wrench in it and expect it to respond well, it won’t. (This is why daylight savings took me a whole 2 weeks to recover from. I love 4:30am but my body sure as hell didn’t love 3:30am. I had to give it time to adjust before it felt the same.) So if you want to wake up an hour earlier than you do now, start setting your alarm for 10 minutes earlier each day. 7:00. 6:50. 6:40. Maybe even 6:40 again. 6:30… Give your internal body clock time to adjust.
Make it worth it. Think about why you want to give yourself more time in the mornings and use that time well. Spend it in a routine that honors your body and your soul. Spend it in a way that will set you up for success throughout the day. Look at your normal day right now. In fact, take the time to sit down and write out a schedule of how you spend your day, in 10 minute increments. And think about what waking up earlier could do to that schedule. And then use that. Craft your perfect day, within the confines of where you have to be and when, and try it out. Waking up early isn’t worth it to just sit around and watch TV or waste time on instagram. Use it well.
Protect your sleep. Do what you need to do to make the early alarm a little less miserable. For me, this means turning off electronics by 8:00pm and saying no to late night festivities on weeknights (or lets be honest, pretty much all nights). Be really honest with yourself about the habits and hangups you have that harm your sleep, and do your best to find better alternatives. I really mean it when I say sleep is bae (even before exercise and food), so treat it as such.
I hope these simple little tips bless your mornings! I’m planning to write a whole series of posts with more sleep tips (like how to actually fall asleep early enough to wake up so early feeling rested- probably the biggest piece in all this). But I hope these details about my early alarm help you understand how and why it blesses me so much. Cheers to some sweet, sweet mornings! xx, mollie