Can being part of the 5AM club turn your life around? 5 tips to help you become an early riser

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Waking up early has been linked to a productive day.
Waking up early has been linked to a productive day.
Photo: Natalia Shabasheva / Getty Images

Wanting a better life is very much a part of being an evolved adult and with all the resources at hand, it seems like something that’s doable given enough time and willpower.

Many self-help books offer the tools to make lasting and healthy changes.

Robin Sharma is a leadership and performance expert who introduced The 5AM Club concept over 20 years ago to his clients to maximise their productivity. 

Early risers and productivity

A study by Ana Adan at the University of Barcelona, found that morning people tend to be more persistent and less likely to experience fatigue, frustrations, and difficulties, compared to night owls.

There are also benefits to early morning exercise, according to Qobo Siwundla, conditioning coach and sport scientist.

Siwundla says, “When you train early, you have no time to make excuses. Your body also benefits from quality sleep.”

READ MORE | 5 benefits of group workouts, plus zumba, kickboxing and other classes that burn calories fast

Early morning habits of successful people

This is how some of your favourite leaders jump-start their days:

President Cyril Ramaphosa

Before he became the leader of the country, President Cyril Ramaphosa was a businessman. One habit he’s carried over into public life is waking up before 5:00 for his daily walk.

Oprah Winfrey

Media mogul Oprah Winfrey’s morning routine starts with spiritual exercises then meditation.

Zozibini Tunzi

Miss Universe 2019 Zozibini Tunzi needs to look and feel good. Her morning routine involves taking care of her skin, moisturising her hair, then exercising before taking up her duties.

Caster Semenya

Athlete Caster Semenya trains early in the morning to avoid running in the heat. The track champion believes in eating traditional food while training and often posts her favourite dish, chicken feet and pap, on social media.

Zoë Kravitz

Actress Zoë Kravitz lives in New York but travels the world for work. Wherever she is, the first thing she does is put on music upon waking up. Jamming to the beat while washing her face and drinking tea is the perfect way to ease into the day.

Can I train myself to be a morning person?

All the above sounds wonderful but the truth is, not everyone is a morning person. This could be out of habit, because of family life, or sleeping disorders.

Dr Rebekka Shuuya, physician at Katutura State Hospital in Namibia, believes it’s possible to train yourself to wake up earlier.

“The key is to be deliberate about getting to bed early, so prepare for that, dim the lights and avoid screens after a certain time. Have a morning routine that ensures you don’t go back to bed,” she says.

READ MORE | Cleancore: studies show spring cleaning can boost your mental health - here's how 

This is great news because the book shares specific ways to achieve your goals such as: small regular steps to build a solid base for success. Meaning, if you want to make a dent in your goals, you need to start working on them on a regular basis.

Another important take away from Sharma is that to truly be great, continue to step outside your comfort zone, even after your life is changing for the better. This book is a must-read for anyone ready to start a new chapter, and especially recommended for anybody who has a side-hustle. The emphasis on resting is overlooked by a lot of part-time business owners.

Tips to help you become an early riser

Transitioning into being a morning person is easier with these life hacks:

1. Have a compelling reason to wake up early 

The key is to make your morning routine a part of your day you can’t do without, which means you’ll be less likely to make excuses to avoid it. Find a reason that means enough so you’ll commit and stick to it.

2. Make gradual changes

Start by setting your alarm clock half an hour earlier. After a few weeks your body will have adjusted so set it back another half an hour. Eventually you’ll reach 5:00 and it won’t feel startling.

3. Create morning rituals 

If you manage to wake up early but have nothing specific planned, it can be tempting to hit the snooze button. Having a plan such as meditation, a quiet cup of coffee before the family rises or working on a project such as a book or even planning a holiday will keep you on the right track.

4. Develop evening routines

The quality and duration of sleep you get the night before will have a major impact on how you spend your morning. Start by winding down at the same time every night. This includes, turning off electronic devices, cleansing the face and combating stress in whatever way works best for you. The idea is to go to bed feeling relaxed.

5. Put the alarm clock far from the bed

This might seem like a no brainer but it’s tempting to roll over and hit the snooze button. Having to physically get up and walk the extra steps to your phone or alarm clock will force you to wake up for real. After that it’s easier to keep marching to the bathroom and get the day started.

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