I watched the sun rise for a week

Last week I woke up at 5:30am every weekday, with the exception of Friday – I woke up at 5:00am.

It wasn’t that hard.

I only had one coffee the entire week. Not that I really like coffee very much, but I was actually very confused once I got to work at 8am on the Monday and didn’t know what to do before sitting at my desk. Sitting at my desk at 7:59am felt weird. So the normal thing to do seemed to be to get a coffee from the coffee machine. Which is better than buying one, I guess. Saves money.

But like I said, not that hard.

What made me get up at 5:30am every day? Sleeping badly in the first place.

Of course, it takes a heck of a lot to turn yourself around when you’re a night owl. Are you a night owl by nature? I refused to believe I was, but the thing is – I had made myself one, after years of going to bed at midnight or later, after the whole thing that was 2012 and 2013. I don’t like to think negatively or pinpoint my old sleeping habits to one particular incident, and I suppose I could say it accumulated over time. However, I am pretty sure that if I could identify one culprit, it would have been the fact that I worked full-time and went to university four days a week, and still found the time to go to gigs at least one or two nights a week.

I still ask myself how I did it.

But before last week, I ended up unintentionally napping on the weekend. I was clearly tired. Falling asleep in the afternoon and waking up an hour later made me feel refreshed, but more than anything, it made me irritated that it interrupted my plans. I found myself often sleeping at 7:00pm on the weekends and waking up at midnight. I thought I could wake up and do something productive, then go back to sleep and wake up at a normal time.

I was wrong.

So last week, instead of bothering to wake up at midnight like a lunatic, I put my alarm on for 5:30am. Which might be an even greater sign of lunacy for some people, but for me it seemed normal. Waking up at 6:00am had once been completely normal for me, so what was another thirty minutes?

On Monday, I thought, wow, alright, I did it. I managed to get out of bed, grab a small bite to eat, take my cholesterol medication and hop out the door after a quick shower. Granted, I missed the bus I originally wanted to catch, but I still caught one at about 6:45.

And after a trip on the train and the light rail, I found myself at work at 7:59, halfway through Paper Towns by John Green. Not bad.

Tuesday was a little harder. I had slept at about 10pm the night before, so the amount of sleep I got was adequate. But when my alarm went off, I asked myself, “Why am I doing this?” But the moment I did, I ignored the question and pulled myself out of bed. That’s what you gotta do – ignore questions. Just do. Because I knew I started doing this in the first place for a reason. I wanted to get up earlier, and make the most of mornings. Complaining about it and continually groaning “why am I doing this” would only make me think negatively. Instead, I got up, and the mindset was, “I’m up early again!”

If I could reward myself with a gold star each time, I would.

Gradually, it got easier during the week. I was tired by the time I got home, and I would sleep soon after. Sleeping at 9:30 became somewhat normal, and not “early” like I once thought.

I still find it a bit unusual, being up so early, but the more I do it, the more it feels alright. I’ve yet to do something proper, like squeeze in a run, walk to the station… but I have found that my train rides are much more productive. I’ll plan my day or the rest of the week, jot down ideas for something I might be working on, or just read. Once I get to work I’ll just start working. It’s quite simple. I get a cup of tea, and for some reason I made these bad habits roll into better ones. From coffee, to tea. From sleeping late, to sleeping early.

I like it.

I do feel much better for it. Maybe I don’t exactly have more time, even though I am getting up earlier, but shifting my sleeping schedule has made me feel physically better. Keeping to this was not that hard. I went to bed earlier, I got up earlier. Of course, it started with getting up earlier in the first place. Getting up earlier meant that I slept earlier, and the cycle simply began again. Granted, I wouldn’t be surprised if next week I said I messed it up again – but that is why I am sharing this story.

I did, however, stay awake for about twenty-two hours from Friday 5:00am to Saturday 3:00am after I had a concert to photograph. Needless to say, despite a nap on Saturday afternoon, I’m slightly amused that I managed that. Ask Tristan – apparently I was so talkative I was talking way too fast.

I have no idea how long I can keep this up, but I don’t mind keeping on trying. I will be honest, there are many times I have failed, and it’s typical to say, but the more you try the closer you get, even if you keep failing every time.

Comments on this post

I actually admire you for doing that. If you’re functioning like a normal human being and you’re in a good mood, but you still have those extra hours in the morning, then it’s a pretty good idea! I can imagine it would feel great. (H)

I’m usually good with the times I go to sleep on work nights, so I get the hours I need. But lately I’m finding I just want to sleep more and more. 😴 I usually get up at 6:30am, but by the end of the week I’m kind of drained. /ehh It’s weird. I think it’s just I’ve been in the same work place for so long now that it kind of becomes more difficult to maintain. I need a change haha! I’m not your classic night owl, but neither am I a morning person. I think you’re right, you train yourself to the hours that you’re comfortable with. /wave

I am also one to wake up late especially during the weekends but for the last couple of months or so I have had an excuse since I’ve been working the night shift since the second half of last year.

I’m glad that you’ve found a way to change your body clock. I believe it is healthy and it has a lesser risk for someone to lack sleep or oversleep. Productivity is ideal of course! ;)

I intend to wake up late due to the fact that I fall asleep late. Ever since 2004, I’ve noticed that I’ve been falling asleep later, and it is due to me napping during the days.

I’ve read that if you nap during the days at least nap for 10 minutes 30 minutes max. If you go over 30 minutes per say, an hour. It will definitely cut into your sleeping time at night. Also, when you nap it is a sign that your (think of your body like a cell phone) battery has worn down and you need to recharge your battery. That’s how I look at my body. It acts like a cell phone (without all the fancy apps of course ha!), when it is charged all the way, I can’t go to sleep. But when it gets down to per say – 5% that’s when I know I have to take a 5 to 10 minute napper or none at all.

I genuinely like napping. You do feel refreshed, and it’s healthy (so I’ve heard and read). I used to be a night owl when I was learning the computer inside and out. Of course I didn’t have work then, but still.