Early Rising: Falling into a Rhythm

Breeze at dawn in Hawaii

The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you
Don’t go back to sleep
You must ask for what you really want

Don’t go back to sleep

Rumi, 13th century Persian poet

In 2006, I read an article by Steve Pavlina on becoming an early riser. I was instantly enthralled. That happens to me a lot, by the way. Green juicing is another example but the early rising story is much better.

Now I know it is easy to be enthralled with ideas when you are not able to even begin to imagine what it takes to accomplish them.

And enthralled I was.

For the next three years, I was undeterred in becoming an early riser — which, for clarity’s sake, I define as 5am or earlier – a part of my life and no amount of struggle or failure was going to prove that this was possibly a really bad idea. The idea had taken hold and the seeds were planted deep in my head. What’s worse is that I associated early rising with success and as a stepping stone toward my personal development journey.

I simply could not fail even though success was simply unreachable.

It was not for lack of trying, I assure you. I tried every technique imaginable and each for a reasonable period of time but my longest stretch of success was no more than a few days. These are the most popular strategies for my early rising dream:

The Last Thought: I would make the thought of getting up early the very last thought in my mind before falling asleep. I imagined myself as an early riser right before falling asleep. That worked brilliantly for all of two nights.

Same Bed Time: I would make myself go to bed at a certain time and wake up at a certain time. Ever try to make yourself fall asleep when you are wide-awake?

Any Bed Time: I would go to bed whenever I felt sleepy but then wake up at a certain time. I never ended up with enough sleep and felt miserable in the morning.

Yoga at Dawn: I would wake up and do yoga sun salutations and I neither felt awake enough to enjoy it nor inspired enough to continue it for long. No early riser emerged from yoga at dawn.

Alarm Location: I would put my alarm far from the bed and go turn it off in the bathroom. You do not want to know the instances where I would lay down on my white fluffy bathroom rug and wake up half an hour later.

Morning Reading: I would read books — and promptly fall back asleep.

Hot Tea: I would make my way to the kitchen and prepare my Oolong tea when it was still pitch black outside and even with caffeine, I would feel sleepier still.

Snoozing: I would snooze several times and this one quickly became a serious problem with my sleep partner, the husband, who by the way is the lightest sleeper when least convenient but anyway. That’s around the time the betting system started. (See the next one)

Punishment System: I was not allowed back in bed or I had to pay my husband a ridiculous $100 toward his gambling fund. So I slept on the bathroom rug instead!

Ahead Planning: I would plan exactly what I need to do upon rising but all the excitement the night before vanished into thin air at the crack of dawn and I fought temptation to go back to sleep more than anything.

To top it all off, I was in the midst of frequent business travels coast-to-coast across the US, not to mention our own personal world travels, and it just so turns out that jet lag and stress make for poor support on dreams of becoming an early riser.

By 2009, I had largely given up on the consistent early rising dream. Yes, me, given up, let it go, lose interest in the stupid idea altogether and aside from bouts of inspiring 5am mornings here and there, I stopped obsessing and begrudgingly accepted sleeping until the sun was ready to come up. Even though there were periods of week-long success especially during the height of my excitement and health, the pattern never emerged and the habit never established.

Before I talk about the breakthrough, let’s do get one thing straight. This gets usually a great reaction and if you want to argue about it, bring it on.

There is no such thing as Early Bird or Night Owl.

There is no such thing as “morning person” or “night person” (do they call themselves that?). There is no genetic makeup, no biological disposition, and no personality inclination to make us into one or the other. It all comes down to habit and choice. I am not arguing whether one is better than the other. For me, I wanted to find the magic at dawn and the breeze Rumi talks about. I believe in the magic of wee hours in the morning. But I repeat, you are one or the other by choice and by habit. It’s all fine and great whichever you pick but don’t blame your gene or your body, please. That body can be habituated to become the other with the right motivation and practice.

I went from a night owl to an early riser. It took me 4 years and a million failures but it finally happened. As with many other things in my life, I stopped trying oh so hard and stepped away from it and came back to it later. Later seemed to be a better time as you see, I fell into the rhythm when:

My health significantly improved. I had good health in 2006-2009 but I started to enjoy exceptional health after 2009. With cycling, I am stronger and with the intense yoga and daily meditation practice starting in 2010, I am deeply in tuned with my body.

My mental clarity improved. I always knew there is a greater purpose to my existence. With the photography, the writing, the blogging, to name a few, I have found not only my purpose, but as Sid Savara likes to say, “I have found my people and nothing else matters.”

My dream emerged. With dreams of entrepreneurship stuck in my head and forging me ahead, I have a renewed sense of urgency about life and not a moment can be wasted until this dreams can see the light of day.

Now I wake up daily at 4:30am without struggle. I sleep in until 6am once a week and some times, I make exceptions when social life may keep me up til 2am or when I travel but I still manage to get back into the cycle within a day or two.

After shaking it up a few hundred times, my early rising routine has settled. Here is what works now:

1.  Bedtime: I go to bed when I am sleepy — not just tired but very sleepy. This is usually between 10:30-11:30pm. Sometimes, I turn in at 10pm. That means, I operate on about 5.5 to 6 hours of sleep per night but I sleep well and soundly and never wake up in the middle of the night. Really, I have never needed 8 hours of sleep and refuse to give that much of my life up to sleep, period. You may feel differently.

2.    Sleep Cycle: Even though I do not have a strict bedtime. I have discovered that the absolutely best times for me to rise are 4:30am, 6am, or 7:30am. Anything in between and I am miserable all day. Sleep cycles are generally 90-minutes long with 65 minutes of normal, or non-REM (rapid eye movement), sleep; 20 minutes of REM sleep (in which we dream); and a final 5 minutes of non-REM sleep. If you can approximate the end of your sleep cycle, you can make your life much easier.

3.    Alarm: I put my iPhone in the bathroom and once I am up after that first alarm, I never ever go back to bed. This is the best lesson I learned from the failure years!

4.    Mindset: The first thoughts in my mind upon waking are good ones. I am training myself to echo only happy and positive thoughts as my brain slowly wakes up.

5.    Waking Up: I still get on my white fluffy rug but with clear intention and only for 2 minutes to stretch my back, take deep breaths, and open my eyes.

6.    Cleaning Up: I wash up, clean up and change into my cycling clothes on the mornings when I take the 5:45am class (usually 3 times a week). If not, I stay in my PJs!

7.    Fluids: I drink room temperature filtered water. Hydration is so important early in the mornings. Then I make a cup of Oolong tea. I don’t eat right away.

8.    Temptation: Sometimes I have temptation to go back to bed. But I wait it out, whisper Rumi’s words as a mantra and soon, temptation fades and energy fills its place.

The breeze at dawn
Has secrets to tell you
Don’t go back to sleep

You must ask
For what you really want
Don’t go back to sleep

People are going back and forth
Across the door sill
Where the two worlds touch

The door is round and open
Don’t go back to sleep


Rumi, 13th century Persian poet

I believe in the magic of the early mornings but none of this would have happened if a persistent dream and purpose had not emerged before me, urging me to wake up and greet the day long before the sun. What about you?

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  • http://www.offbeatwoman.com Rosemary

    Hey Farnoosh, I LOVE this article which will greatly help me to get back into really early rising. When I was a child I lived in a house overlooking the sea on the east coast of Ireland. In summer I used to wake myself up at 3 or 4am…only not with an iphone or even an alarm clock. I would bang my head off my pillow three times for 3am, 4 times for 4am or whatever hour the first tip ofthe sun was due to rise…which worked. Have you ever tried this? It’s bizarre but it is literally bang on, which makes me realise just how intelligent and in tune with the nature and the earth our subconscious really is. I loved to wake before the first line of light appeared along the edge of the horizon. First the sky would start to lighten a little and some of the stars would begin to disappear; then out of the darkness on the beach, the silhouettes of seabirds already busy along the edge of the tide would etch themselves. Then the line of red would widen and the first tip of the sun would appear. This was a sacred moment! Since then I’ve always loved to ‘steal a march’ on the day (as well as everyone else in the house) by waking early. When frantically trying to meet a deadline as a freelance journalist I very often HAD to wake at 4.30am…but now it is more like 6.30am. Thanks Farnoosh you have really inspired me to organise myself so that I can get back to Rumi’s sacred breeze.

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Dear Rosemary, I was mesmerized by this story, trying to imagine exactly what your mornings were like with the crashing sound of waves and the breeze and the birds and everything else that can be present on Ireland’s east coast. Now one thing confused me: How did you know it was 3am so that you then “bang your head off my pillow 3 times” – would something wake you up or would you wake up and know it’s 3 am? You really lost me there and I really want to know how you did it. Your description of the morning hours is stunning and you make me want to visit Ireland and greet it first thing in the morning. I *know* you can find the secrets the morning breeze has to tell you at 4:30am again, Rosemary. Thanks for being the first to kick off the conversation here on early rising.

      • http://offbeatwoman.com Rosemary

        It is one of life’s many mysteries to me too…but it works. It must be some kind of an inner clock that we are not aware of. I’m going to try to do it again as an experiment…you try it too! I can’t even remember where I learnt to do this but it always worked without fail. First you decide what time you want to wake at, e.g. 4am; then you lie down and hit the pillow with your head 4 times while repeating the time you want to wake and then you go to sleep…and I know it sounds totally insane but it works…next thing you know it’s 4am, and what’s more you come to full consciousness really easily. Actually I just googled it and it seems to be quite widely known as a technique. I’d love to know how it works but I think it’s one of those things that shows us how little we know about our own natural capabilities and instincts. BTW make sure you let me know if you’re planning to come to Ireland…! ;)

        • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

          Dear Rosemary, now that is the strangest thing I have heard – and I found one instance of it in Google too. I have never tried it but I will tomorrow. Now how do I do 1/2 hour intervals? ;)
          I love what you mentioned – yes we know so very little about our bodies and our minds and the accidental discoveries baffle and amuse us. Thanks so much for explaining. I find this fascinating. And you’ll be the first to know when we plan a trip to Ireland, I promise.

  • http://hanofharmony.com The Vizier

    Hi Farnoosh,

    This is a really enjoyable read! :)

    I love how you listed your early experiences with early rising and learned from them. Where you ended up sleeping, the bettings and punishments were hilarious. You know, I also wake up with an alarm next to me. But as we both know, it is easy to switch it off and go back to sleep. I think placing it far from the bed is the logical choice to make.

    I fully agree with you. There is no such thing as an Early Bird or Night Owl. Our choices and habits determine what we are. If we decide we want to change and realize the need for it, we will change.

    I believe that it all boils down to a compelling purpose. One of the breakthroughs that you mentioned is your dream of entrepreneurship. This is your purpose and goal in life. With this all important goal, your inner drive will keep you going no matter what. When we know why we need to wake up early each morning, it becomes that much easier to wake up.

    For me I usually get up around 7am. I did try to get up earlier, but 7am seems to work best for me. Any earlier and I would probably fall asleep when I try to read something in the morning. But like you, I am flexible, sometimes I work late into the night and I end up getting up slightly later the next day. But as long as I know why I need to get up each morning, it becomes that much easier for me to do so.

    Thank you for sharing this article! :)

    Irving the Vizier

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Hi dear Irving, 7am is another time that used to work brilliantly for me and it works great for my husband – except that he gets interrupted at around 4:30am for a few minutes ;)! – so as long as you know what works for you AND you know that you can change it if you wanted to, then stick with the time. Your body will tell you if it needs otherwise. I am so happy the story was entertaining. I had been waiting to write about early rising but was not going to do to it until I had a rhythm. It gets easier and easier every day and I am so happy to find this rhythm. Thank you for being here, for sharing your thoughts and for letting me and others get to know you better. Hey, how is meditation coming along? I am still doing it. I skip maybe one day every 10 days but I am staying true to it. You?

      • http://hanofharmony.com The Vizier

        Hi Farnoosh,

        I only miss my meditation occasionally. As far as possible, if I miss my morning meditation, I try to reschedule another one later in the day to make up for it. If that fails then, I just carry on as usual the next morning.

        Glad to know you are keeping regularly to your meditation! :)

        • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

          Yes me too, I try not to miss. Travel makes it hard but I meditated in the balcony today to the sound of both traffic on one side and ocean on the other. I am falling in love with meditation itself which is a great sign of things to come. Hope you are enjoying it too, Irving, not just doing it. :)

  • http://www.abundancetapestry.com Evelyn Lim

    I used to have consistent bed times and would wake up promptly at 6:30am without an alarm clock. All these changed after I got married and had kids. Having to cater to varying requirements, I have found it hard to stick to regular bedtimes.

    How you spend your day sounds ideal! I am envious. Love the Rumi poem!

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Dear Evelyn,
      Life is full of changes and it’s ok to be thrown off our schedules – travel does that to me and I am going to embrace it more and fuss less about it. I think you will be able to find any rhythm even with your family life. In fact, you may enjoy the earlier mornings much better to have some solitude before being with others. So glad the Rumi poem resonated. It’s one of my favorites. Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts, Evelyn.

  • http://www.tumblewood.blogspot.com Vic Hubbard

    I learned to be an early riser because of my work schedule for years and years. But, I prefer to be awake when the rest of the world around me is asleep. It may just be my imagination, but my most creative hours have always been that way. This time can accessed either extremely early in the morning or extremely late at night. I truly believe it has more to do with how easily distracted I am. The one thing I look forward to more than anything upon retirement is sleeping in cycles.

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Hello again dear Vic, oh there is also the early rising by necessity, right? It is not your imagination – my best creative and amazingly productive hours are early in the morning – although now I usually spend it at the studio cycling or doing plyometrics but no matter, it is the better time than late at night. I have tried both and the early AM always fares better. What is sleeping in cycles? Is it that crazy 2 hour sleep, 3 hour awake repeat repeat process? I hope you have fun trying it. I have wondered about it but I like to be up most of the day.
      Thanks for dropping by, Vic!

  • http://evelynparham.com Evelyn Parham

    Hi Farnoosh,

    Being an early riser is one of my goals for 2011. I started the year off fine, but now I’m back to my old ways. I have to find a balance and do this.

    I was rising at 4:30 a.m., but then I started going to bed later and later. As a result, I could not possibly rise at 4:30 a.m. I am still working on it.

    Thanks of for sharing how you do it!

    Take care,

    Evelyn Parham

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Dear Evelyn, I think you changed your profile photo and I love this one.
      It’s a great goal and I’ll keep you honest. Don’t worry about the little fallback to old ways. Just get right back into it. Once you stay up all day from 4:30am, your sleep time will reset and you will be back into the right cycle. All the best. Keep us posted. I *know* you can do it.

  • http://myfingersarentbroken.com/ GinaMarie / My Fingers Arent Broken

    I was actually forced into being an early riser. I been working at a job that has required me to get up at 3 am so that I can be at work at 4am. I been doing that for the past 4 1/2 years so I’m pretty use to getting up early even on days I don’t work. When I stay up late I still can’t sleep past 6am. If I do I’m no good during the day.

    My job is extremely physical plus I exercise on a regular basis so that physical activity helps keep my energy up but I have yet to mastered good eating skills. I do work better on 7 to 8 hours of sleep but I think if I started eating better I probably could do fine on 6 to 5 hours of sleep.

    I’m going to borrow some of your ideas for a morning routine. My morning routine changes from day to day and sometimes I’m all over the place. LOL

    Love the poem.

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Hi again dear GinaMarie, well, necessity is definitely one way to build the habit. And then your body gets used to the early morning and as you say, you can’t even sleep in if you want to do it! What is the nature of your job? Physical jobs are so demanding. I think it’s wonderful that you exercise on top of that and eat well. With vegan diet, or more raw foods, or cutting sugar and lots of proteins and carbs, I think my energy is much higher. Also how you combine the foods is key to how fast you digest them and how much of your energy they take toward that. Borrow all my ideas. All yours. Thanks GinaMarie and best of luck.

  • http://10stepstofindingyourhappyplace.blogspot.com/ Galen Pearl

    I have been on different sleep cycles at different times of my life. When my kids were little, I liked to get up very early so that I could have some quiet time to myself before they woke up. I treasured those moments of reflection and tea before the busy-ness of the day began.

    This year I am working in the evenings, so I tend to go to bed a bit later and just sleep until I wake up in the morning. No need for an alarm. I like to lie in bed and watch the dawn through the window.

    Once I retire, I am not sure what I’ll do. Generally, if I have a reasonably early bedtime (10-11), I naturally wake up early feeling refreshed. No, not as early as you!

    I agree that the early morning has its own magic and I much prefer it to late nights. Lovely poem. I read it several times.

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Hello dear Galen, “moments of reflection and tea” – sounds just wonderful. I treasure mine too. I have very little idea what it’s like to wake up without alarm, even though the early rising is a recent part of my life. I have always used an alarm. I think following the body’s natural rhythm is the *best* way to go about it. Plus you may surprise yourself, depending on what goes on in your life. Oh the poem was magic, wasn’t it? Thanks Rumi! :) And thank you dear Galen for the thoughts here.

  • http://www.abubakarjamil.com Abubakar Jamil

    I enjoy the mornings—if—I am awake at that time, which usually happens when I haven’t slept till then. :)

    Never had the urge to sleep early in order to wake up early and I’ve always enjoyed staying up late.

    But its is a good article for those who want to rise early.

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Dear Abubakar, how nice to see you here. You are the biggest night owl I know – or rather, the biggest non-sleeper. I think it’s ok if you get up at noon. You have years of sleep to catch up on :)! Thanks for saying hi!

  • http://raamdev.com/ Raam Dev

    This is incredibly inspirational, Farnoosh! I’ve always been such a “night person” and I’ve used that excuse more times than I dare count. But I want to become a morning person!

    I think having a routine is really important… having a set of tasks that you know you’ll enjoy and that will help you start the day off right. I’m not going to let my negative habits and excuses stop me anymore! Thanks to you, I’m more motivated than ever to finally do this.

    Oh, and that poem is absolutely beautiful! I’m going to put that on my iPhone and make it one of the first things I read upon waking early. :)

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Dear Raam, oh I am so delighted to hear it. So delighted that Rumi finds a home in yet another person’s heart. Having a routine is huge, huge. The habit builds over time and it becomes so easy, you wonder what on earth you were killing yourself for – well, not you, mostly me ;)! If you need an accountability buddy, I am here for you. And I am very forgiving and loving to boot.
      Best of luck and who knows, maybe India will help you fall into the rhythm?
      Thanks for stopping by, dear Raam.

  • Gordie

    The only time I’ve been able to be close to an early riser was when I was working as a gardener in 1994 and had to wake up at 5:30 each morning. It shows that I can when I have to, but I still haven’t found the right motivation to get me up so early when I don’t have to.

    The alarm clock away from the bed sounds like a good idea and also perhaps splashing some cool water on my face may freshen me up. :)

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Dear Gordie, welcome back and so nice to hear of your profession as a gardener. I don’t think I know anyone else who worked it as a career. Sounds *so relaxing*!! Oh we totally can when we must and when we will it.
      Motivation to get up early – it has to come from deep within. The alarm clock is the practical side but you need the reason/purpose first… keep me posted please. Best of luck and thanks for dropping by.

  • Rachel

    So you reject the evidence supporting chronotypes and circadian rhythms? On what evidence?

    In the past, I successfully followed a sleep cycle in which I went to bed early and forced myself to get up early (usually around 11 pm to 6 am), but it never felt good. On the other hand, if I go to bed around 2 am, I wake up at 9 am without an alarm clock, feeling rested and wide awake. I have found that such a cycle allows me to be happier and more productive throughout the day. And I think the key is that I can follow that cycle without forcing myself to do it—no alarm, nothing. It feels pretty natural to me. :)

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Hi Rachel, welcome to prolific living. I am glad we chatted more about this offline. So I was *not* rejecting the idea of sleep cycles at all; I was rejecting the notion that the early bird/night owl is somehow “wired” to us. I think it’s just a matter of habit and persistence to fall into whichever mode we wish. That is all. It is not about “forcing” ourselves to do one or the other. Of course it feels like a “force” if we go to bed late and try to get up early or if we have no reason to get up early….and doing whatever feels natural is definitely fine, I can’t agree more with that, but it was not the main point of the article :)!

  • http://JimiJones.com Jimi Jones

    This is not a goal for me but rather, a way of life. I’ve been an early riser since my teens. Military service kept the habit going and I have enjoyed it ever since, awakening each day around 4:30 AM or so without the aid of an alarm. There is something magical about the early morning hours when most others are still deep in slumber.

    You have some interesting info on the sleep cycle. I was never aware of this, good stuff. I also share your sleep pattern, never requiring 8 hours.

    This is a great article for those who want to create a new habit and enjoy the peace and solitude that getting up early has to offer. It can be difficult for some, depending on a number of factors, including current sleep patterns and how long those patterns have been in place. But if you can pull it off, the rewards are well worth it.

    Thanks for the post, Farnoosh.

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      An early riser since your teens? How exciting! How many many productive mornings you must have had, Jimi. Oh I am so glad to hear you share some of these habits. I love finding others with similar habits. Thank you so much for stopping by and do feel free to send it the way of anyone that you think may get a value out of it. Very nice to see you here, Jimi.

  • http://www.foursides.ca James M

    Probably the best alarm clock in the world is a baby. They are always consistent at waking up at the same hour regardless of when they go to bed. My daughter can pass out at 9pm or 11pm and still wake up at 7am, no earlier, no later. One of the benefits to this is that I can function a lot better on less than 7 hours of sleep. Sometimes, I’ll wake up after 5 hours and feel amazingly refreshed. If my girlfriend tends to our daughter and I sleep a full 8 hours, I feel groggy. I don’t think my teenage self would believe me if I told him that.

    Maybe in a few years I can start the transition to being an early riser more consistently when my daughter is more consistent with her going to bed routine. Oh, and Steve Pavlina has been one of my favourite authors for over five years now, too!

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      James, where do I get that alarm clock without going through the trouble? ;)
      Just teasing. I have heard that before and I am glad you have an arrangement which works so well. I don’t know why they recommend 8 hours. It is way too much and we do not need that much at all. I am glad you have some thoughts on becoming an early riser in the future and yes, Steve – while very different these days – was one of my early influencers indeed, glad we share that about him.

  • http://blog.self-improvement-saga.com/ Nea | Self Improvement Saga

    Hi Farnoosh. I’m always thrilled to hear stories of people who have converted themselves into early risers. I have still not find a way to do so- not without misery that is.

    I can force myself to go to bed early and wake up early, but I despise it. On the other hand, if I fall asleep during the day, I can stay up all night. I have a surge of energy when the sun goes down. I begin to feel inspired and invigorated. I feel fully awake and ideas come to me easily, so I perform at my absolute best while everyone else is in dreamland. I can easily work from 4 p.m. to 4 a.m.; but the rest of the world doesn’t operate on my schedule. For that reason, I find that I must force myself to adapt to the environment around me. That means going to sleep before midnight and waking up before the sun. I don’t like it and it seems that I never will.

    Maybe I’ll eventually find a sleep cycle that allows me to comfortably live as an early riser.

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Hmmm, Nea, if you know that about your body and you probably believe it too so it already makes any switch psychologically harder, then have you tried to operate with that schedule? I mean, do your lifestyle and responsibilities allow you to be that flexible? If yes, you can try it for a week and see whether you really like all aspects of being up til 4am and then of course naturally, missing a good chunk of the day sleeping. I have heard of some very unusual sleep patterns but if it works for you, you probably have very little incentive to change it and I always prefer listening to my body especially if it has shown such good signs in the creativity and productivity department….best of luck to you!

  • http://experienceandgrow.com Tom Sorhannus

    Hi Farnoosh, I think it is with sleep as with food. The more you eat the more food you crave, and the more you sleep the more sleep you will need. I agree with you about sleeping away life. There is so much to experience in life, so we should not spend it sleeping too much. But it´s also about having a purpose. If you don´t have a purpose to get up to, you will probably spend a lot of time in the bed. These were some thougths that came to mind after reading your post. Thank you!

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Hi Tom, oh the food part is so true. In fact, reading this is making me very hungry, just so you know, and I just ate a half hour ago.
      Purpose, purpose, it is a key element. I hope you have found yours and that you seize the hours the way I do,Tom. Thanks for sharing those thoughts.

  • http://www.thebridgemaker.com Alex Blackwell

    I’m with you Farnoosh! The early morning provides a tabernacle for my soul to pray, listen and ready myself for what’s next.

    My hope is you continue to receive the grace you deserve during this time.

    Alex

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Dear Alex, what a magnificent way to greet the day. And it’s not everyday that you hear the word “tabernacle” used. Thank you so much. And enjoy the solitude of those early mornings.

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  • Rebekah

    “Dearer to me than the Evening Star,
    A Packard car, a Hershey bar,
    Dearer than all these things, by far,
    Is to lie in bed in the morning.” — Jean Kerr

    And by Jan Morris, writing about Oxford University and Lewis Carroll: “The Mad Hatter himself is said to have been modelled, at least visually, upon a local inventor, Theophilus Carter, whose revolutionary ‘alarm clock bed (it threw you out at reveille) was exhibited at the Great Exhibition in 1851.” — Into a tub of cold water, says the Sunday Times, per Wikipedia.

    My soul ascends from the underworld very slowly on waking, and lying in bed for a while is still very dear to me. It is a badge of being happy, not getting up until the day calls clearly. One would, however, like to get up early enough so there is plenty of day. Yoga, a touch of iodine supplement, and increased freedom in life have been helpful in the past few months for rising earlier, as well as being aware of your Early Rising goals. I loved this post!

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      My little advocate for sleeping in. I love *love* your words “My soul ascends from the underworld very slowly on waking..” – I do. Rebekah, I am so happy you have yoga in your life and that you are feeling stronger and with your recent changes, feel that you can spend more time doing what you love. I am so happy you enjoyed the post. Stay well and in touch. Thanks for sharing your poems and your words here. You may sleep as late as your heart desires, and I shall love you still!

  • http://devacoaching.com Sandi Amorim

    I have been a “morning person” as long as I can remember, but I also realized what made it possible was developing a habit. Over the years as I’ve worked with people in different time zones, I became used to waking earlier and earlier. My first calls with clients are usually 6 or 7am.

    What I’ve been longing for is an extra 30-60 minutes before that first call to meditate. Seems like that extra hour has been elusive, but I’m now willing to go for it again.

    Inspiring piece Farnoosh! See you at dawn!

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Dear Sandi, habits habits – so important are these habits. I have worked with every time zone in my corporate job and none of that however helped me set a habit. I had to set my habits with personal purpose and goals. Waking up early is an intimate thing for me and I really didn’t want work or life obligations to dictate it because if I have to do it, it won’t feel exhilarating. Is that just me? No matter, having time to yourself before those calls is crucial. I hope you find that extra hour in the early dawn period. Thanks for sharing these thoughts.

  • http://www.coloryourlifehappy.com/blog Flora M Brown, Ph.D.

    I’ve always loved the early mornings and have always been an early riser. Since I retired and have the luxury of not entering the world first thing, I’ve enjoyed the quiet of the day and then I ease into my day. When I began walking with my neighbor, however, I was back to getting out early in the morn, but walking is so much more wonderful than dashing to a job.

    I love the poem by Rumi and will be sure to ask for what I want tomorrow morning. Thank you for sharing the poem and your take on early rising.

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Dear Flora, welcome to prolific living! Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts. Another early riser lover, and you don’t even do it out of necessity, even better. I bet you love it. Oh anything is more wonderful than dashing into a job, that’s for sure. Although I sometimes wonder why I dash into cycling at 5:00am but as long as it is an activity we dictate for ourselves.
      So happy the poem resonated with you. It’s a brilliant few lines by Rumi. Thanks for stopping by and hope to see you again.

  • http://wombatphilosopher.blogspot.com Andrew Hill

    Farnoosh, it is wonderful that you have attained your goal for early rising. It is difficult to change well established habits , but you have succeeded. Your joy comes through strongly in this post and your sense of accomplishment and purpose capture attention in a rather infectious way!

    I have had times of early rising in my life. In those times I made time for meditative prayer and exercise and consequently found I was able to complete important tasks early in the day and maintain focus. Those habits lasted for extended periods but were not permanent. I have found that changing interests and responsibilities (such as the arrival of children, for example) have brought about significant changes in routine… Also, that compromises must be made from time to time to resolve conflicts between the routine needs of self and others.

    Thank you for this post – I have found it very refreshing and a welcome reminder of the benefits of early rising.

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Hi Andrew, how nice and kind you are toward me, thank you and I am so happy this post spoke to you.
      Your early rising life sounded ideal and yes, I can only imagine what it is like to give up routine to face new responsibilities in life but I do believe you can find your early rising again no matter what is going on in the family. Hardly anyone will be needing you at 4:30am, right? ;0 Of course it’s not quite that simple but here’s hoping that the inspiration carries you through. I am so glad you enjoyed the post, thanks.

  • http://www.theskooloflife.com Srinivas Rao

    Farnoosh,

    I’ve been an early rise for a good amount of my life. My parents’ forced this habit on us when we were kids. Now it’s one of the greatest things they ever did for me. Fortunately, like you I have a motivation to get up early. The surf conditions are best early in the morning. But I also do almost all of my creative work (writing, brainstorming, etc) in the first 2-3 hours of a day. I jokingly tell people that I only do about 15 minutes of real work in a day. Seems to work for Richard Branson :). That being said, I think it really is a habit that anyone can form. It’s just a matter of taking the time. I still haven’t ditched the coffee, but part of is that it’s just my morning ritual. I like the smell of coffee, the sound of morning music, and fingers against my keyboard tapping away in an effort to create something eloquent.

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Hi Srini, how very very nice to hear from my surfing loving friend. Oh smart parents you have had, good for you. I would probably be that disciplined with my own children if I ever have any. Creativity, productivity, and in your case, the ability to catch the best waves, oh if I lived in California, near the beach, I’d get nothing done but I *would* be up at the crack of dawn too. Why ditch coffee? Some of the healthiest people I know still drink it. I am happy without it but do not speak against coffee at all. I don’t think it’s quite settled whether it’s good or bad for us anyway and until they do, enjoy your cuppa joe!
      Beautiful ending phrase, Srini. Thanks again.

  • Janah Adams

    I’m struggling now with my sleep schedule…I work at home and tend to hit my stride late at night, meaning the past few weeks have been a disaster…morning starts around 5pm and I turn in to bed close to 8 am. It’s destroyed my sense of time. As I write this it is 11 am and I’m coming off a night-long netflix marathon and preparing to go to sleep. Your article is inspiring….I don’t expect I’ll achieve “early-riser” status, but perhaps I can use your tips to set myself back to “normal” waking standards.

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Hi Janah and welcome to prolific living. Interesting. So you have a complete reverse cycle from your own timezone. In fact, you are ideal for a timezone half way around your world. Oh I bet you are confused. It sounds like my life after coming home from Asia. And it’s kinda fun but not practical. Oh I do hope you return to a normalcy and why not early status. Don’t put seeds of doubt, build seeds of hope in your thoughts. You may just surprise yourself. All the best. Thanks for your comment.

  • http://acepek.com acepek

    So much great advice!

    I tried putting my alarm clock in the bathroom and it definitively makes getting up when the alarm goes off mandatory. Very simple yet effective.

    I also found it helpful to buy an alarm clock with no snooze function. I tended to snooze away my mornings when it was an option.

    Thanks for the article!

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Welcome to prolific living and thank you for the comment and the tweet earlier. Yes, that alarm clock on the nightstand is quite ineffective so good for you. And I do hope you are off to a great start with your mornings. Thanks for your comment.

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  • http://www.personalgrowthmap.com Haider

    Hi Farnoosh,

    I can’t tell you how much I agree with your idea of there not being an “early bird” and a “night owl”.

    These are labels we attach to ourselves and feel obliged to conform to. They act as excuses more than anything.

    I think the biggest obstacle to early-rising is carrying your worries with you to bed. Whenever I feel I’m on top of things, I find it easier to wake up early. But if there’s an issue that’s bugging me, I don’t get to have a restful sleep, making rising (not to mention early rising!) a struggle.

    I think it’s the clarity that you experienced about your life that acted as a catalyst. And the wonderful thing is that clarity is something we create. We don’t have to wait for it to happen.

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Dear Haider, how nice to see you. What an amazingly insightful comment.
      Seriously true on the mindset. If I have worries and troubles or just wary thoughts, it is so so much harder to wake up. Sleeping in makes them go ahead but upon waking I have to deal with them. You are right. Here’s hoping we do not have those wary thoughts and that peace greets us every night and morning greets us with hope and excitement. Thank you *so much* for stopping by.

  • http://realsimplepeople.com/ John Sherry

    I’m with you Farnoosh on this. Last summer I started getting up at dawn to write my blog and to my surprise the energy and ideas flowed freely and I found the whole day more productive and pleasing. Plus seeing the golden morning every day stirred my spirit. It’s a world most people miss and truly they don’t know what they are missing. From a convert!

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Hey John, I am so happy to hear of your recent brilliant habit. I think it is definitely a choice where we spent our waking hours but there are few things that compare to the magic of the wee hours of the morning. Energy and ideas for me start about 30 minutes to 45 minutes after being awake but only if I wake up super early. It is wonderful. I am glad you enjoy it too. Thanks for dropping by.

  • http://zeroto60andbeyond.com barbara

    I very rarely use an alarm clock anymore but when it’s needed I find myself awake before it goes off. I think that has a lot to do with the intention that’s in my head before falling asleep. I believe we can create many changes if we properly focus our intention. If the intention is to wake and drink in the sunrise, we’ll make that happen.
    Waking and getting out of bed in the dark, for me, is depressing. I used to be a late night person and watch all the late shows on tv or read until I dropped off. When there were times for career reasons or family that I had to wake before dawn I found myself resenting it. Now I follow my body’s natural rhythm and find I’m getting the sleep I need and enjoying living without alarm clocks.
    I’m happy for you that you’ve accomplished your goal and I hope it brings you infinite wisdom. Thanks for the post Farnoosh!

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Hi dear Barbara, so nice to see you. Gosh I am so jealous. It would be nice not to use an alarm. I must say, that first jolt is never the *best* way to come out from sleep land. But you are so right. When I have an early flight, I put that thought in my head and I am always up before the alarm. And as far as getting in the dark being depressing, for me, the worst part is not getting up in the dark but getting up in the *COLD*!! Of course it’s dark and cold but if I had to give one up ;)! No matter, it’s great to live without the alarm. Maybe someday. I am happy that you have found your lovely rhythm too, Barbara. Thank you for sharing!

  • Jamie Farrell

    Hi Farnoosh, I’m actually surprised to learn that you ever did have a problem being an ‘early riser’ as someone that has your wide range of activities I would think would have to be! Personally, I’m an early riser (around 5 AM), BUT I LOVE to work in the mornings; I get more done between 5 AM and 6 AM than I probably do the rest of the day; and if I ‘finish’ whatever my workload or goal was for the morning, I allow myself 1 more hour of sleep. Unsure if this is healthy or not (actually – probably not as naps are not supposed to be a good thing), but I also can’t go on 5.5-6 hours / sleep. If I get up every morning at 5 AM and try to make a habit of it – I guess I hve to be asleep by about 10 AM. I’m going to talk to my better half this week and see if he wants to try it! Looks like it will be gym in the morning vs in the eve.

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Hi Jamie, so nice to hear from you – I hope you got my email response to your questions. Well, I never *sleep in* – 7am is late and usually I would be up anywhere between 6 to 7 but the early early riser thing has been a struggle, as you can, ahem, tell ;)! Oh 5am is wonderful. Good for you. Yes, I don’t know what it is about the mind focusing on productivity and what really matters in those first hours. And I admit I have taken naps before 11am sometimes. If you get up at 4:30, that’s a long time. But try new things. Set a new rhythm. Try a new habit in the mornings. I bet you’ll find the exact tune for your body, Jamie. Thank you for stopping by.

  • Liz Zirk

    Farnoosh, I grew up thinking of myself as not-a-morning-person. Not that I was a night owl, but that I just didn’t like waking up in the mornings, and therefore couldn’t, etc. I also hated being woken up by alarms clocks, my mother would always come in and shake my awake! In my adult life, however, alarm clocks have become vital to my daily habits. I’ve been on the path of strengthening my body and eating more healthy (digestive dilemmas!). Waking up earlier and caring for my body first thing is something I want to work on next! This post really inspired me – and I’m determined to really make waking up early a habit! This morning I got up at 7am (unusual for me, even though I regularly fall asleep around 10pm) – I was really awake! It felt goooood! Thanks for sharing some of your failures as well – makes me think of this as a process, never an overnight thing. No irony intended! –Liz

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Dear Liz, welcome to prolific living. I know exactly what you mean. I had no business thinking of myself as an early riser before Steve Pavlina put that bug in my ear. Good heavens, I can’t believe she would “shake” you awake. That is a bit intense. If you want to move toward a healthy living style, early rising is so so in-tune with that. You can do so much in those early hours. Prepare a good breakfast, exercise, mild or tough, stretch, meditate, plan your day, relax, so much. I know what you mean about the restful feeling. I can’t say I have that *all the time* but it’s such a treasure when it happens. It *IS* a process. I assure you I have a lot more failing to do and things can change for any of us. Just play around with it. And have faith! Thanks for sharing all of this.

      • Liz Zirk

        Thanks for the welcome! I admire failure actually – I’m a big fan of FailCon and any article discussing the Success of Failure. So, I hope to fail enough to learn what I need to learn!

        BTW, my mom shaking me was tantamount to a soft nudge! And of course I wouldn’t wake up! So, she’d come in again and nudge a little more…. She was a really great snooze button & she’s never held that against me! :-)

        • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

          Liz, I have come to make friends with failure too. Oh and thank you for explaining the whole dynamics of you and your Mom for the morning wake-up routine. I think that’s very common among kids. :)!

  • steve griffin

    Farnoosh –
    I’ve always struggled with early mornings, but one of the best things I did to ease myself into it was to move my wake-up time back 15 minutes every week. I previously woke up around 7:00am and now I get out of bed at 4:45. The extra time in the mornings has definitely allowed me to appreciate the day before I get into the full swing of my schedule.

    Great post and love the poem from Rumi!

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Hello Steve, I have heard of the process of moving back the alarm slowly to adjust the body and look at you, all the way from 7 to 4:45am. Brilliant. And I bet you love those early hours. Rumi is the best. He resonates with everyone. So happy you liked it. Thanks for sharing our story and welcome to prolific living. Come back anytime.

  • http://www.alternaview.com Sibyl-alternaview

    Farnoosh: I totally agree with you that working to be an early morning riser is such a good thing. There is just something about the morning time that I haven’t ever been able to experience at any other point in the day. I actually have always been someone that wakes up early and goes to sleep early, so it didn’t take much conditioning. However, I really appreciated that information you provided on sleep cycles. I had never really thought about that because I don’t really use an alarm clock. I can see the value though in waking up at a specific time. Thanks for passing that info. along and great post.

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Sibyl, I had a feeling you were an efficient early riser. Oh I am envious yet again for no use of alarms. I just can’t trust myself that much just yet and maybe that is a goal for me. So thank you for giving me a new goal to work towards, Sibyl. And as always, you are very welcome. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  • http://jeanburman.com Jean Burman

    Wonderful topic Farnoosh! I’m an early riser as well… okay… maybe not as early as you though [grin]… but agree entirely that “habit” does play a large part in the sleep patterns we establish.

    Though I do also think that our physiology plays a part as well… but yes… anything can be learned!

    Our bodies are way more amazing that we give them credit for… and whether we like it or not… our hormones do dictate to some degree what our sleep patterns will be.

    Cortisol is the hormone that gets us up in the morning. And melatonin is the hormone that puts us to sleep. Both hormones are dictated to by natural daylight and darkness perceived through the retina by the pineal gland… hence the tendency to feel jet lagged when we are out of our time zone and the daylight hours are different.

    Add to that poor dietary choices [like sugar and simple carbohydrates which can cause wakefulness in the early hours because of dangerous dips in blood sugar levels] and our sleep choices become a battle of wits between what we want and what our body determines on our behalf.

    My opinion… [and my opinion only]… is that what comes naturally is good. If we naturally wake early… that’s great. If we feel better with a bit more sleep then that’s okay too. Our body is a marvellous machine that instinctively knows what it needs to survive and thrive. I can’t see a good enough reason to fight it [grin] but like I said… that’s just me!

    Love Rumi’s poem… and the sentiments of early morning are just beautiful.

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Dear Jean, your opinion (and yes your opinion) is always what I want to hear so I am glad you gave it to us :)!! Oh thank you so much for that education on hormones – that was news to me. I try to avoid biology as much as possible not on purpose but it just doesn’t interest me, but what interests me greatly is how our bodies behave and yes, I know they are all related. Thank you for explaining and for sharing a powerful thought: What’s natural IS good, and as long as we are taking care of our bodies and HAPPY with the natural rhythm – rather than wishing day and night that it could be different which in turn puts so much stress on the body and the mind – then natural is best. I think if I were to let myself go, I’d probably sleep til about 6 or 6:30am but unfortunately, I won’t allow me that luxury just yet. I have to hear those secrets from the breeze first… :)!
      You are so sweet to stop by, so kind to share your knowledge, and so generous to humble me with your words, dear Jean. Be well and talk soon.

  • http://positiveprovocations.com Zeenat{Positive Provocations}

    Hey my Early rising, Yoga doing rubber band gal!
    Yet another super post! Love it!
    I think I love the tips the most, cause over time, my sleep patterns have changed considerably. I used to wake up like you at 4a.m. prior to being married. With maybe 4-5 hours of sleep all day! Then after marriage, it was 4.30-5.00am. Then since my little girl is born, all that time table went out the window, and the first few months I struggled with trying to get any sleep! But now that she is all grown up going to school…I am back to 5:30am sometimes earlier depending on the Azaan/prayer times :). But now I need my eight hours…I hate it that my body demands that rest, cause I like you, don’t like spending so much time sleeping (so much fun stuff to do while awake na)…but I guess I’m working it out all that much too! Running behind the little gal and her daddy is hard work. I call them my life long Tread Mill ;) No Holidays there!!
    And you and me both can become early morning BFFs ;) I love morning time too! The clarity, the calmness of thought, the serenity…and believe me, its in these early morning that I have had some of my best conversations with God :)
    Loved your comment on my last article darling! Hugs,
    Lots of love,
    Z~

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Zeenat, that last part, the conversations with God, that gave me goose bumps. I fixed your “Trad Mill” ;) and had a good laugh because I like the sound of that. Your evolution sounds like you are just adjusting to the calling of life and life’s changes and being the angel that you are, you put everyone else first and now your body is dictating what it demands. I have gone through so many phases too. Who knows how long this one and my cycling and my vegan diet will last. For now, my body loves it and I will go with the flow but I sincerely hope to keep the early rising habit going very strong and here’s hoping that you find your way back to 4:30am when it’s just you alone with your prayers and your solitude. Thank you for your beautiful thoughts, dear Zeenat. So happy to see you here, as I knew you love mornings like I do.

  • http://www.kaizenvision.com Aileen

    I just love Rumi and so enjoyed seeing his words here on your page. Such brilliant insights he has.

    I had to laugh when reading about your struggle for early rising – especially the $100 punishment system. I was an early riser for the majority of life – all the way up until I married G. It’s not his fault – I just stay up way too late when I get inspired – which is often and if I don’t go into quiet mode at 10 – if I keep going, I go until I drop around 2 am and then there is no 5 am wakeup. Ahhhhh – I do love morning immeasurably… just need to get re-adjusted and stay on schedule.

    :)

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      I love Rumi so much I signed up for that course I put on Facebook where I get a daily poem by him for a year.
      Oh yes, our betting system was serious and Andy claimed there are still hundreds of dollars which I haven’t yet paid him ;)!
      Well, going to bed at 2am will certainly not help your early rising but I know exactly the energy and second wind at night which you refer here….Good to know you have been an early riser in your life, Aileen. It is wonderful (most mornings. Today I am dreaming of my bed still ;))!

  • nazimwarriach

    Glad to read here the translation of verses of Maulana Rumi. No doubt, he is the greatest Persian Poet. We can rightly say him the Shakespeare of Persian.
    Its fun to read about your “Early Rising”.
    My sleeping habits are very elastic and I can change them very easily as and when desired. But after all Rising up early in the morning is good for health.
    Nazam Warriach

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Nazim, the ultimate Persian Poet, indeed, although that is tough competition, given how many brilliant Persian Poets we were fortunate to inherit in history. Thanks for your thoughts and welcome to Prolific Living. It’s so nice to hear that you can change your habits so easily. I am a bit envious :)! Glad you enjoyed my experience and gladder still you took the time to leave your thoughts here, thank you.

  • http://www.waynejohn.com Wayne John @ Southern California

    I really enjoyed this. I tend to go to bed whenever I’m tired, be it 8PM or 2AM, and I always wake around 7AM. Most nights though I’ll be in bed by 11.

    I’ve always wanted to wake earlier than I do. Maybe take care of email, or even better, workout! I can never, for the life of me, find the energy to throw a quick workout or do some cardio so early in the morning.

    I’m going to re-read this later and see if I can get my brain to work with me. I’m just so sluggish in the morn, and the pillow feels soooo good, wrapped up neatly under the warm blankets….mmm…I want to take a nap now.

    Liked the article Farnoosh, came here from SocialMouths.

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Wayne, a warm welcome to you – warm as that blanket, lol – I had to read this out-loud for my husband. It was funny and well, he relates. And now I am going to suggest this. Instead of waiting to be motivated, schedule something nonnegotiable. I go to 5:45am killer cycling class. Everytime I am driving there, I think this is crazy and when I get on that bike, I am freezing cold and thinking I will just take it easy. Then the teacher arrives, puts on the best of her hard rock, the lights are low and we only have the street lights from outside so it might as well be 9pm at night. And 15 minutes into that class, I feel on top of the world – strong, powerful, awake, sweating, and loving life. So, yes, schedule something and remember what Yoda said. “Do. There is no Try!”.
      Hope you come back after this tough love now :)!

      • http://www.waynejohn.com Wayne John @ Southern California

        How did you know I’d respond to the Yoda remark! Did my inner-geek shine through somehow?

        I love tough love, I need it sometimes to break through my thick armor to get to my more sensible side, hahaha. Long before I read your post, I’ve been chewing on this, so you know what I’m going to do? I’m going to try to make a concerted effort to get my butt out of bed and onto my elliptical early in the morning this weekend.

        If I can do it on a weekend, the weekdays should be easier. To me, it’s about being able to do it consistently for a few days, maybe weeks. Once the routine is there, cake!

        Cheers!!! Thanks for the awesome reply! Love it!

        • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

          Oh let’s see, years of electrical engineering, networking (not the people kind, the computer kind), and doing tech support, living and breathing technology, I can spot a geek from miles away ;)!
          Wayne, that’s a good plan for starts. Give yourself the best chance by going to bed at a decent time, assuming you are tired enough and by making no negotiations in your head when the alarm goes off. Just get up. No conversations. None :)! Good luck. I am rooting for you. I am up at 3:45am tomorrow but it’s to catch a flight :)!
          So glad to have you here as a new reader…

          • http://www.waynejohn.com Wayne John @ Southern California

            Day two of waking at 6AM, quick breakfast and working out. It’s going well! Thanks for the inspiration!

            • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

              Fantastic! The first step is the hardest and the second one – the one that repeats what we first started – is even harder. Your day 3 will be a breeze, just so long as you don’t get complacent….because it’s still not easy to get up early so stay motivated and determined, Wayne. I love that you are keeping me posted.

  • http://www.positiveletters.com Hilary

    Hi Farnoosh .. brilliant post – well hard work – but you made it in the end .. I keep saying to myself I’ll get up and get on with things – having read this perhaps I will .. and get on and do lots of walking – that will help hugely .. the gloom of winter!

    Cheers Hilary

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Dear Hilary, lovely to see you again. Hard work still, hard work every day but so well worth it. Walking is so so good for our health. And yes, let’s all get out of this gloom of winter. The earth should be waking up to breathe a fresh breath of spring soon, I hope….thanks for stopping by and here’s to beautiful early mornings for you, Hilary.

  • T Harv Eker

    Wow thank you for the great tips! I find yoga is the best way for me to start my day.
    Be Well,
    T Harv

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Hi T, welcome to prolific living and you are welcome. Yoga is an ideal way to start the day, end the day, get energy in the middle of the day. You won’t hear me arguing with that one! Thanks for your thoughts.

  • Anne Sales | Coupon Codes

    I have been an early riser since I was a child but isn’t always consistent with it. There are times when I just stay in bed. But early rise is the best for me because I also go to bed early between 8.30 to 9.30 pm and on some occasions 10 pm. Going to bed this late gives me a headache and I would start shivering. In the morning when I normally wake up around 5 am and stayed in bed and fall back to sleep till around 8 am I would also get a headache. My body has a very rigid sleeping program.

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Anne, that is a super early bed time, you should have no problems getting up at the crack of dawn. Too much sleep is not good for the body either. It makes us tired and groggy and just feeling awful. The best balance varies for some people and I am wondering, maybe for you it’s around 8 hours. For me, 6 is more than enough. Happy early rising! Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

      • Anne Sales | Coupon Codes

        Yes, you are right, Farnoosh. Around 8 hours is the best for me. I don’t have problem waking up especially if I went to bed at least 3 hours after my last meal.

        • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

          We are all different and I think it’s perfectly fine if you respond well to the 8 hours. Some people get more tired when they sleep more than their body needs and some people get cranky if they sleep less….Thanks for sharing, Anne. I think it’s within the perfectly normal range too.

  • Rand

    Howdy Farnoosh!

    Been awhile …

    Well, my dad was a Milkman. Growing up I spent many an early morning carring milk bottles to porch, or even inside to a home’s refrigerator!

    I was also a paperboy. I delivered via bike before school. My Sunday route would end up at the bakery for a warm cinnamon roll off the rack and hot chocolate!

    Some of my favorite times training have been during an early canyon trail run, or early morning bike ride up the coast road with the glassy ocean to the the side and fresh cool air in the face!

    I believe working out a bit during the day helps with sleeping deeper. Also the “last thought” has a bearing…try not to bring your worries to bed.

    My work often calls for me to be up and report early. I am sure my pattern set in my former years helps.

    I totally agree with “circumstances”….how they contribute to early rising. On occasion I am coming home from work when the majority are waking up!

    Sometimes jobs overlap where I might only have 3 to 5 hours to sleep…meaning 3 to 5 hours then another 9 to 5 day of work!

    Mental and physical endurance are important here.

    I also find that when this happens a silent, meditative place alone for just 30 minutes really helps to finish the day.

    Thank you Farnoosh!

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Hi Rand, glad to hear of all your early rising adventures – for work and for others reasons. And I can’t agree more with the meditative place for just a few minutes to finish the day. Even though your job sounds extremely strenuous, with mental and physical clarity that you mention, I think you are indeed able to become more of an early riser without obligation and more with willingness.

  • http://www.improvementools.com Gabe

    Hey Farnoosh. Long time no talk. Just wanted to drop by and say hello. I really like this article because you have a lot of good things to say about sleeping and various health items. I’m an advocate of healthy living and it’s good to see that you are also doing yoga and other good things. Keep it up!

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Dear Gabe, welcome back. Hello back at you. Sleep and health make some of my most passionate topics. Yoga is a brilliant way to keep young and I hope that all of these messages encourage you to pursue *your* best health, somehow and somewhere. Thank you so much for the comment and the encouragement.

  • Alyx Falkner

    Hey Farnoosh,

    I really enjoined reading this. I believe I read that post from Steve a couple years back as well. I guess waking up early for me isn’t so hard now since I get up to pray early in the morning. Doing that for the last 7 years has helped me develop into more of a “morning person.” I too believe that awaking early allows you more clarity, a brighter look into the coming events, and the peace of arising before the suns breaks the horizon.
    I remember trying different techniques to stay up so it’s funny to read someone else trying pretty much all the same things. But I think the best part of the early morning is; the solitude, being able to hear my thoughts, a cup of coffee and a good book : )

    Thanks Farnoosh for such a wonderful post, you’re truly an amazing person.

    PS. Thanks again for the Skype call!!!

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Dear Alyx,
      The Skype call was all my pleasure. I do hope it helped set you on the right path. Oh Steve was popular with many; still not to see what influenced you as well as many others. And I think you should definitely continue or get back into your morning routine, no matter how many times you have to try new and crazier techniques yet. In the end, though, get your mind set on a goal and don’t let it go; I think you’d be surprised how well it will get you out of bed. Best of luck and thanks for your thoughts as always!

  • http://lilzbear.wordpress.com Sadia

    I’ve gone between period of waking up bright and early and sleeping in until almost midday. You are absolutely right, there is no such thing as a morning person and an evening person. It is just a matter of habit. And season. It’s a lot more tempting to slink back into bed when it is cold and dark outside than when it sunny and warm. Another lesson I’ve learned recently: Having a baby makes an early riser out of everybody, because darn it, babies just don’t come with a snooze button!

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Sadia, babies change everything I hear and no snooze alarm indeed. I hope that you are adjusting well to mommy hood. And yes to habits indeed because we are creatures of habits. Winter are harder yes but you know what, when you get used to it, it becomes easier over time. Here’s hoping you can train your little one to wake up at the exact moment you want to awaken, Sadia. Lovely to hear your thoughts here.

  • http://verybestsoftware.net steven papas

    WOW Great article Farnoosh! it is indeed, a matter of habit to go early to bed or stay long. With TV and Internet the majority tend to be the “night owls”. I am terrible in waking up in the morning unless I have slept for 7.5 hours. If I am enforced to get up before that, I feel really miserable, maybe for the whole day. I want to find a way to be satisfied with 6 hours sleep. I want to get up early, because I understand the beneficial and revitalizing features of morning. For now, I just snooze. Tell your husband that my wife relates to him with my snoozing habit(3-4 times). I definitely agree that a right and positive mindset helps us get up. Especially if we think of a plan for the next morning we will be motivated to get up easier.

    • http://www.ProlificLiving.com Farnoosh

      Dear Steven, welcome to prolific living. It is indeed all about habit but also discipline because habits are ours to make or break.
      It’s great to know how much sleep you need and you can work around that easily. Have you tried to find out when your sleep cycles end and wake up at different times? Snoozing is *the worst* – I have finally stopped doing it (and my husband thanks you; oh your poor wife! ;)).
      Beyond mindset, it is enough rest, right time (end of sleep cycle) and a healthy mind and body so take care of yourself too and watch your diet. The leaner and better a diet, the less sleep you will need (or else it may just be my own experience).
      Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts! I love that I still get comments on this older post.

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  • http://betweenthetemples.com Chris Harris

    Hi Farnoosh,

    Getting into an early morning routine has been on my mind for a while. The last few companies I worked for I was constantly working late, overnight, and all other weird hours on top of getting up early. That was murder on my adrenals and the chronic fatigue was getting really bad.

    I have been giving in to going to bed when I was tired and getting up when I wasn’t- I really wanted to make up for all those years of bad sleeping patterns, But I have found I have lost my productivity edge by getting up later. I make up for some of it working into the night when everyone else is sleeping- no interruptions. But I don’t like the cycle I have created.

    This will be a new challenge to myself starting tonight. Off the computer at 10 PM for wind down and lights out at 11 PM… lets see how that goes ;-)

    Thanks for the inspiration,

    Chris

    • http://www.ProlificLiving.com Farnoosh

      Hi Chris, trust me I have fallen out of this again but with the 5:45am workout that I was doing, it was starting to feel like a sweet little habit. I will need to start again! The key IS to go to bed earlier.
      I hope you are in a better position now in terms of not working those insane hours – I have done them in my time too but probably not as much as you!
      In the end, I think the brain works much better in the morning and the self-discipline that goes into this to get to bed on time is well worth those early hours. Here’s to seeing many sunrises for both of us. Keep me posted on this one.

      • http://betweenthetemples.com Chris Harris

        Hi Farnoosh,

        I did it… I went to bed around 11 PM after some light reading. My sleep was a little restless, but I did wake up at 5 AM. I think this will be an easy habit provided I stick to earlier bed times as you say. Time will tell.

        Looking forward to day 2 :-)

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  • http://theknittedbrow.blogspot.com/ Kim

    I am really struggling in my quest to become an early riser. Like you, I’ve tried so many different strategies. I have resisted putting the iPhone away from the bed, though, and I think I’m going to give it a shot, and then, maybe just step into the shower…

    Interesting to keep in mind the idea of that 90-minute sleep cycle, because I DO see that there are optimal times for me to wake up and not feel like I’ve been run over by a train ; )

    • http://www.ProlificLiving.com Farnoosh

      Kim, hi! How timely to see you here….. you know, I started a new challenge 13 days ago to wake up 4:30 every day – that’s whether or not I go to my 5:45am classes and so far, so good, I do meditate and I do it lying down on my yoga mat for about 15min but I don’t go back to sleep there and I may take a nap some day. I’ll do a full post on it when I finish the challenge which is originally for 21 days. Yes to 90 minute cycles. Good luck and enjoy!

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  • Crabitha Sternhagen

    Farnoosh — I love that you reply to the comments here — truly generous. I am new to your site, but looking forward to mining the treasures here. This post was particularly helpful, as rising early is something I’ve been working toward for years. I work in a soulless corporate job and every moment free from the office is precious. I know those early mornings are waiting for me, and I want to take full advantage of them to do the writing that brings me real joy. Sleep is hard to resist, but you’ve given me some good strategies to try – thank you. I’m so glad I found your site.

    • http://www.ProlificLiving.com Farnoosh

      Welcome Crabitha! I love my readers and we interact all the time. Darling I hear you, and I can tell you that I fall in and out of my own early rising. These days, unless I am going to my 6am yoga (which requires I get up at 4:45) I may sleep in until 7 and my body has told me it’s the pattern it needs so I am listening …. but i am still in love with early mornings. Good luck and if you want killer career tips, sign up here: http://www.prolificliving.com/career