5am wake up

The 5am Experiment and My New Sleep Schedule

Everyone’s heard the saying time is money.  Some even believe time is more valuable than money, since you can’t create more time in your life to the same extent that you can generate more wealth.  If you agree with this ideology, I urge you to try waking up at 5am! 

I understand that waking up at 5am isn’t for everyone.  But with Daylight Savings Time fast approaching, it might be the right time to give it a go. 

In this post, I’ll share why I chose to wake up at 5am for a month straight, whether I successfully achieved this goal, the supposed benefits of waking up at 5am, and whether I plan to follow this same wake up routine in the future.

Why Waking Up at 5am Appealed to Me

Over the course of the last month, my fiancé and I embarked on an experiment: wake up at 5am every day.  Why?!  Well, we began to realize how valuable those extra hours could be.  I often feel the most productive in the first few hours after waking up.  And who reaped the benefit?  None other than my corporate 8-5 job.  Yuck!  Meanwhile, I spent my evenings exhausted and holed up on the couch watching TV for hours.

What a waste of time!

The 5am Impulse

I actually came up with the idea to wake up at 5am as I was listening to a blogging-related podcast.  The podcast talked about how important it was to devote time to your business, consistently.  This doesn’t mean writing a post whenever the mood strikes, but writing every single day.

Sitting there, I was thinking how nice that notion sounded!  But how would I fit that in with my current schedule?  I spend at least 40 hours a week working at my corporate accounting job, and sometimes more than that.  Add in commuting time and that’s 46 hours per week minimum.  Nor does that factor in the time I need to plan my wedding, time with my dog, or any much-needed relaxation time.  Once you account for all of it, my available hours are shot!  

Of course, everyone has their own commitments, but the point is we’re all busy.  And time represents a limited commodity!

My Remedy

I quickly realized I couldn’t create more hours in my day.  My remedy?  Reallocating my hours in a way that worked best for my schedule.  Excited by newfound idea, I texted my fiancé with a proposition.

The exact text read, “What if we start waking up at 5am?”.  His response, “I like that idea!  I’m all about it”.  And so with both of us on board, our 5am wake-up experiment was underway.  But for two twenty-something year olds, this was no easy task!

waking up at 5am
My alarm set to go off at 5am

Week 1

The first week was a colossal FAILURE!  I can’t emphasize that enough.  We woke up at 5am only once.  And it was the first day after we decided to give it a go.  But, we felt so great about it that we vowed to wake up at 5am every day from there on out. 

Despite these noble intentions, our exhaustion grew with each passing day and the number of times we pressed the snooze button on our alarms, rapidly increased.  We began waking up at 6am or 5:40am or even 8am, all on days when we attempted to wake up at the agreed-upon 5am.

The problem?  We were still going to bed at the same time, i.e. too late!  By the time we got home from work, ate dinner, spent some time relaxing and playing with our dog, and watched an episode of our show, we weren’t getting to bed until almost 11pm. 

Weeks 2 and 3

After our epic failure in the first week, we spent time reflecting on why we were adopting this schedule in the first place.  For me, the extra hours gave me the time I sought to write blog posts, market my blog, and connect with my audience in a more intimate setting through my email list.  For my fiancé, he saw the extra hours as a means to exercising more, getting an early start on his workday, or reading. 

With the understanding that this time is invaluable to us, we attempted to be more disciplined in the second week of the 5am experiment.  Bed time changed from 11pm to 10pm.  

But even then, I still struggled waking up at 5am.  I was, however, having an easier time waking up at 5:30 am consistently.  Excited by my progress, I reaffirmed my ideal wake-up time as 5am and by week 3, I was going to bed by 9pm and consistently waking up at……5:30am!

Week 4

So, what happened in week 4, the last week of my month-long experiment?  Unfortunately, week 4 mirrored week 3 for me.  No matter how hard I tried, I just couldn’t bring myself to wake up earlier than 5:30 am.  I needed a solid half an hour of hitting the snooze button before I begrudgingly rolled out of bed.

My fiancé, on the other hand, could’ve won a prize for most chipper at 5am!  By the start of week 3, he’d pop out of bed at 5am on the dot, no problem.

The worst performer hands-down goes to our dog, Layla.  Our precious little pup would remain fast asleep for hours after the 5am alarms! 

waking up at 5am

To be fair, she was never onboard from the start.  So can you really blame her?

Conclusion to the 5am Experiment

You might wonder what this little story of mine has to do with personal finance.  For starters, waking up at 5am is a form of investment.  Investment in myself.  

I would argue this form of investment is even more important than financial investment.  There are countless articles online – including one written by Fortune – hypothesizing that waking up at 5am can improve your life by promoting feelings of achievement and reducing stress levels. 

Based on my experience, I would tend to agree.  After all, it’s a much different start to the morning when you wake up at 5am than when you sleep in and have to rush out the door for fear of being late.

I also saw some amazing sunrises!

wake up at 5am

Is there anything better than a picturesque sunrise to remind us to slow down and appreciate the small things?

What's Next For Me

Now that the month-long experiment is over, I realize I quite like having those few extra hours in the morning.  I’m planning to continue waking up at – you guessed it! – 5:30am.  I’ve realized the 5am wake up time is just a little too unrealistic with my schedule. 

After all, I still need my beauty sleep!

Ready to Start Waking up at 5am?

So, are you convinced?  Do you want to start waking up at 5am?  Try it out and let me know what you think.  Are the benefits of the 5am wake up worth shifting your sleep schedule?

And if you liked this post, subscribe to my newsletter for more awesome content!  If you’re not already a member, you can join by completing the form at the bottom of the page 

Hi! I'm Mikaela, a blogger, CPA, soon-to-be bride, dog-mom, and self-proclaimed finance enthusiast. Join me on my journey to uncover some of the best financial practices and investment opportunities.

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