I tried to wake up 1 hour early for a week – and here’s what happened

I love my sleep. Before becoming a mom, I would sleep as late as possible before work. That habit sort of carried over after having Charlie – I sleep until I hear Charlie waking up. It used to make perfect sense when Charlie was waking up at 4:30 or 5am, but now that he is sleeping later it wouldn’t be the worst thing to set an alarm. Charlie sleeps until around 6:45-7:15am pretty consistently and I typically get up when I hear his little whines on the monitor, and start my day with him. Since I am working from home, this is doable, but it does make it hard to enjoy a cup of coffee and get a good workout in before work.

I have a friend who used to wake up at 4:30am so she could have the morning to herself to have coffee and workout before her son woke up. I always thought this was the craziest thing a human would ever do to themselves. Now that I am a mom, I totally understand why she did this (although 4:30am and I will never be friends). Last week, I decided to wake up at 6am (1 hour before Charlie) and see if it made any difference to how the rest of my day felt. Here’s how it went:


My alarm went off at 6am and… I hit the snooze button. Only once though! I got out of bed at 6:10am, changed into workout clothes, and made myself a big (think Venti-sized) cup of iced coffee. I sat down on the couch and scrolled through Instagram for a few minutes (without feeling guilty that I was ignoring anyone or had something more important to do). I did a Peloton Bootcamp class with Cody Rigsby and by the time I finished, I heard Charlie stirring. It was nice to be able to get him from his crib with an energetic, post-workout smile on my face and have his bottle already made for him.


I may or may not have hit the snooze button twice this morning. When I eventually got up, I made a big cup of iced coffee. I am obsessed with Stok Cold Brew, especially when I am too lazy to wait for hot coffee to be made.  At 6:45am, by the time I took a few sips of coffee, Charlie was up, which meant no workout. It sort of made me feel like I failed my experiment by the second day, but I was still happy to get to greet Charlie with a caffeinated smile and his bottle in hand.


My week just did not go as planned – my little guy was up at 3am, 4am, 5am and then 6am with a fever. I think the saying goes – “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face”.


This morning I woke up at 6am before my alarm and was excited to get the day started. I felt like my opportunity to have a productive morning was taken from me the last two days, so I was really excited to get up and have the morning to myself today. I made a big cup of coffee and sat outside to do a meditation. Since I also wanted to work out I decided to do a 3 minute positive affirmation on Spotify by The Honest Guys. This 3 minutes literally awakens my soul. Not all mediations have to be long and hard to sit through. By the time it was over I raced down to the gym and was dying to hop on the treadmill. This literally NEVER happens. I’m not a running gal, but it felt good to run for a bit. After only 15 minutes Charlie woke up and since he had a fever the day before I didn’t want to leave him in his crib for too long. It still felt like a successful morning.  


After a week of not really being sure that losing an hour of sleep was worth it – today completely changed my mind. I woke up at 6am, had coffee and did a 30-minute Peloton class. Charlie was still sleeping by the time I finished so I continued to lift some weights and stretch, and then hopped in the shower. At 7:10am, I got a text from my boss saying that he wanted me to present something at an 8:30am Zoom meeting that morning in front of about 60 people. This could have sent me into panic mode, but since I had such a relaxing start to my day I was able to roll with the punches. I got my husband set up with Charlie and his bottle, and had an hour to prepare for the call (and do my hair and makeup for once!). Imagine if I had been just getting up with Charlie at 7am and got that text before I had even had coffee? By 9am, I felt so productive. I had gotten a great work out in, showered, did my hair and makeup, made my bed, and presented a report to 60 people at my firm. Somebody stop me!   


Did five days of early wake-ups change my life? Yes and no. Waking up early, enjoying a cup of coffee, working out and being productive felt really great. I loved having the morning to myself and choosing how I was going to spend the first hour of my day. By the time Charlie woke up, I was able to great him with an energic smile instead of my usually grogginess.

Depending on my work schedule, I plan to set my alarm a few times per week to get up early and get a productive start to the day. On days that I feel particular tired, I will listen to my body and sleep in.

Tips to waking up earlier

  1. Go to bed earlier – This is such a hard one for us moms! 10pm is prime Bravo-watching and Instagram-scrolling time. It is the one time we have to ourselves to veg. If you choose to wake up early a couple of times per week, try to leave the Housewives marathon to a different day so you can get to bed early.
  2. No screens an hour before bed – This is another one that is easier said than done, since it is our time and we should be able to watch TV or be on our phones if we want. If you can’t do an hour, try to read a book for 30 minutes before bed after you are done with your screen time.  
  3. Sleep in your gym clothes – This may sound weird, but I have done this for years, especially when I wanted to wake up for a really early gym class. Here is the scientific reasoning it will work: If you are the idiot who wears gym clothes to bed, you sure as hell are not going to be the idiot who wears gym clothes to bed and doesn’t wake up to work out!
  4. Just get up! – Time for some tough love, my friends. I know you are tired. I know bed is cozy. Don’t think too much about it. If you wanted to wake up enough to set your alarm, then do it!

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