Why You Should Stop Waking Up At 5am

Sep 10, 2021

Dr. Ashley Margeson

Dr. Ashley Margeson


Waking up early isn’t for everyone. For some people, waking up for 5am works great, but for others (cue me raising my hand!) it’s not the easiest thing in the world. You shouldn’t force yourself to wake up at 5am if it doesn’t come naturally. And this is why.

It could make you unhappy

A lot of successful people wake up early to get a head start on their work. But there’s no research that says waking up early makes you more productive. It also doesn’t mean you’ll be richer–there’s no difference in socioeconomic status between late and early risers. In fact, in a survey on what makes people happiest, the number one factor was getting enough sleep. Far below that was social interaction.

It goes against your biological nature

Our bodies are programmed to function best at certain times of the day. This time preference varies from person to person because we each have slightly different biological clocks. Our biology influences what times of the day we are most productive. The overwhelming majority of all people are not built to consistently wake up at 5 AM.

Unless you are built for waking up early, don’t force yourself. You may be able to do it for a short time, but it is not sustainable. Eventually, you are going to crash.

You lose productivity

Waking up at an unnatural time for you can cause sleep deprivation. When you are tired, you lose productivity. You become more irritable and are less functional.

Studies estimate that the effects of sleep loss can mirror those of intoxication. In fact, one study found that after 17 to 19 hours without rest, people performed the same as or worse than someone who had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level of 0.05 percent. Reaction times were 50 percent slower in people that were sleep deprived in comparison to those that had been drinking. Think about it, if you’re sleep deprived, you’re going to be less productive.

It’s time to stop feeling bad because you aren’t waking up at the crack of dawn. You wouldn’t benefit from forcing yourself to do it anyway. In the long-term, it could negatively disrupt your biological sleep cycle and decrease happiness–without making you more efficient or giving anything truly valuable in return.


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