Benefits of waking up early (6am) for millennials

  • Ross Edlin
  • 18th Mar 2019

Getting up at 6am was never my strength, I was that night owl, the guy who’d be up on my computer late at night until 4am in the morning. The lack of sleep would finally catch up with me and I’d head to my bed and not get up until midday.

When I woke, I’d feel groggy, that feeling of being tired even though I had 8 hours sleep. My family would complain and call me lazy, I still remember my mother coming into my bedroom once when I was 17 years old.

She was angry and disappointed.
Those dreadful words came out of her mouth...

It’s 12 o'clock, why are you still in bed you lazy boy.

I kept telling myself that I wasn’t lazy; I was only having 8 hours sleep which was true, but...

I felt lazy too, the feeling of getting up and seeing the clock and it’s halfway through the day, it didn’t make me feel very productive.

Why I started getting up at 6am

To achieve more.

I’d recently read The Bullet Proof Diet from Dave Asprey.
The magic of Bullet Proof Coffee got me thinking a lot more about health and fitness and my mind wanted to find a solution to a long problem I had in my life.

Not feeling productive for the first few hours in a day.

I’d made a commitment to myself that I wanted to start a business, to become a self-made man.
But the common message I was getting from my peers was simple.

If you want to succeed, you need to start your day right!

Okay, so what did that mean...

Initially, I thought they meant getting up and doing work but it was much more than that.
When I looked into the psychology, I found about dopamine.

What is dopamine?

It’s the “feel good” chemical released when you get a achieve something, but it’s also released when you use your phone or you’re on social media.
When reading more, I found out that dopamine is highly addictive, it’s why we waste so much time on social media, it’s why we chase likes on social media, for that quick fix of dopamine.

So if dopamine is the feel-good chemical and it can be achieved in many ways, including doing productive tasks, let’s make the first thing I do in my day, release dopamine

If you want to succeed, you need to start your day right!

If the first thing you do in your day is a productive task that releases dopamine.
Then you must make that a priority.

By doing so, you trick your brain into associating pleasure (dopamine) with productive tasks, not social media.

So I get up at 6am and make my bed, straight away.

By getting up at 6am, I already feel good because I got up, it’s the first task of the day.
Then I immediately make my bed.

The first time I did it, I consciously felt the dopamine released and felt good.

It was 6am; I was up, looking at a nicely made bed, I felt good.
I wanted to continually feel good and my brain was now associating the feel-good chemical with productive tasks.

It’s a snowball effect, you do one task and you feel good, so you do another, and another, and another.
You keep going until you’re exhausted and you need rest but you feel so good because you’ve accomplished so much.

How I started getting up at 6am

I won’t lie, this was difficult.
But by using a few tactics I made it so I had very little choice.

Telling everyone what I was going to do

I heard about the power of accountability, that if people know about your goals and can see the results, you will feel guilty if you fail.
This feeling definitely motivated me to get up.

I told everyone; I posted about it on my Instagram stories; I told my friends to expect to see a story.

When I woke up, my first thoughts are, damn, if I don’t get up now, all my friends will think I’m a failure.

Butter coffee

Yes, I’m one of those people who drinks butter with my coffee.

Sounds strange right...

I thought so too, but then I read the Bullet Proof Diet by Dave Asprey.
It talked about the massive health benefits of drinking butter with high-quality coffee, but not just any butter.

Grass-fed, unsalted butter.

According to the experts, grass-fed butter is extremely healthy for you, whether this is the case, I don’t know.
I added it to my morning routine, first thing after my shower, I pop the kettle on and start brewing.
Every time I drink it, my brain gets a big kick of energy which doesn’t fade until around 6pm.

Best of all, I wasn’t hungry until lunchtime (benefits of the butter) so no need for breakfast.

I’m intending on getting several medical tests done to check I’m not killing myself with butter every day I take everything with a pinch of salt so when someone claims think is healthy; I don’t 100% believe it until I see medical data to back up the claim.

I cleaned up my room

I cleaned the room up, wiped the desks, removed everything from the floor and put everything in the cupboards.

Sounds a little silly but waking up to a clean room gave me a sense of pride and relief that I didn’t have “that task” todo today.

I prepared everything the night before

Packing my bags ready to be grabbed just as I’m walking out the door was a huge relief, knowing that I could simply get up, shower and get dressed and leave made it much easier to get up at 6am.

Charging my phone / alarm away from my bed

This was HUGE, I can not emphasis how instrumental this was.

For starters I could not play with my phone into the early hours of the morning.

Secondly, when it goes off in the morning, I have to physically get up and walk across the room to turn it off.
Since I’m up, it’s 10x easier to just drink the bottle of water I left next to my phone which gives you a massive boost in the morning.

Read this article on why you should drink water when you wake up.

The good

The benefits of getting up at 6am can not be understated, it was a huge game changer for me.

The first and most immediate effect was the sheer amount of work I accomplished, being up that early and already achieving multiple tasks that day (making my bed) filling me with positive feelings (dopamine) which propelled me forward.

By the time 9am hit, I’d already put in 2 hours of work and ticked off multiple tasks from my list.

Not being distracted by other people also gave me incredible focus since most people weren’t up or they were on their way to work.
Most importantly, I was able to focus on my tasks and no one else’s.

A nice side effect was I lost weight, in my first 30 days I lost 2kg and since I put on some “extra”, it was the icing on the cake.

The bad

Although getting up at 6am had huge benefits, it came with some bad.

One of the biggest issues I found was if you have to get up at 6am in the morning, to get a proper nights sleep, you need to get to bed for 10pm to get your proper 8 hours.

So any social activities that go beyond 9:30pm either result in you not going or you having less sleep which can be a problem the next day.

This was frustrating when I was at the cinema and the film ran late, you end up getting back at 11pm.
By the time you’re asleep, it’s nearly 12 midnight so you only get 6 hours.

Just imagine a night out drinking to late hours, not going to happen.

My overall feelings

Overall, getting up at 6am was a huge benefit to getting work done.
But that came with some sacrifice, so you’ll need to decide what’s more important to you.

Your evening or your morning?

For me, my morning, because I can achieve more in the day which fills me with immense joy and satisfaction.
I can still socialise in the evenings and weekends but I need to be strict with myself about not staying out too late.

Anyway, keep learning and challenging yourself!
Until next time.