A few months ago, I came across the list of daily routines of famous creatives. Maybe you saw it too. I noticed that many of them slept for long periods of time. A good portion of them also woke up early to start work.
There has been a lot of research about the benefits of a good night’s rest. Many of us strive to get our full eight hours of sleep. Generally, it is assumed that a full night’s rest is quite good for you – but what about waking early, is that good for you too?
I compiled a list of seven reasons I think that getting up early is in your best interest.
1. Time to think quietly
There is so much that happens in the course of a business day that sometimes we do not get time to just think quietly. We are in meetings, on conference calls, stuck on emails, putting out fires, raising red flags, dealing with palace intrigue, and politicking. Thinking is often reserved for smoke breaks, sitting on the can, standing in the shower, being stuck in traffic, while trying not to touch anyone on the subway, or on the late night walk home. But when you get up early, you can just think. Quietly. Sitting still. No other distractions. Your brain is supple and ready to expand in the early morning.
Sitting down is killing us. We sit at desks, on trains, on planes, and on automobiles. The early morning gives us valuable time to let our legs, arms, neck, and back – stretch. Try yoga or the running stretches you remember from your high school track team. As your muscles get limber and your blood and oxygen get pumping, your mind is early morning exercised too.
3. Leisurely drinking coffee
The grand elixir of productivity! What better moment than the early morning to sip this delicious juice from a bean and what better time than the early morning to make your own cup of Joe! Try a simple system like a chemex, a pour over, or a French press. In the summer time, try a simple DIY cold brew – just google it. While waiting, drink water to prepare your body for the jolt of caffeine. I love a good cup of coffee. I like it with honey and a little almond milk. I particularly love a cortado with equal parts almond milk, espresso, and a few drips of honey. When it’s ready, savor the silence and the drink.
4. Less street noise and sirens
I live next door to a hospital, around the corner from a fire station, and down the block from a police station. My building is also parallel to a freeway, steps from the subway, and near a campus. Needless to say, there’s lots of activity around my place. In the early morning however, there are less sirens, less rumbles, less horns honking, less cars blaring music. I’m sure this applies to your neighborhood, no matter how noisy during the regular workday.
5. Pancakes from scratch
Waking up early gives you time to try making this treat! Knowing the night before that you’ll be enjoying fresh, from scratch pancakes, might help you sleep sooner as well. Try any recipe – I suggest using real melted butter instead of oil and try cardamom powder for a unique and delicious taste. Use a cast iron pan and grade B maple syrup for your topping.
6. Babies are sleeping
If you have babies you understand. If you do not have babies and your sleeping around might make babies – be careful – you may soon be in the “Free Time at 4am Only Club”.
7. Roads are clear and trains run on a schedule
I used to do sports commentary on WNYC. I would take a cab from deep in Bed-Stuy to Tribeca and it never took more than 12 minutes. BQE – clear. Bridge – clear. 6th Ave – clear! On the way back, I took the train – never a problem finding a seat, never a problem with delays because the train is filled with the people who work hard to make capitalism go – food service workers, maids, cooks, construction workers, and MTA personnel. Riding in the early morning is both efficient and an eye into the lives of so many we take for granted.
Don’t take my word for it. Try getting up early for 21 days straight and see what you get done.