Early to bed, early to rise

When I first started this productivity drive a few weeks ago I kept wishing I had more hours in the day. I had so much on my to-do list that I wanted to tick off but was finding it hard to fit it all in. So I decided to start getting up earlier. I had recently read a few articles about the benefits of waking early and thought I’d give it a try.

On a week day my usual getting-up time was from quarter past to half past seven. At a weekend, if we had nothing in particular planned we’d get up at about nine. Two weeks ago I decided I would start getting up at half past six. This would give me about an hour extra on weekdays and at least two hours more on weekends – in other words, at least nine hours extra per week.

I felt it was better to do it gradually so I got up at seven o’clock for the first week. I was also going to bed at eleven o’clock. (It had previously been closer to midnight.) I wasn’t sure what to do at the weekend – to be honest, I felt a bit silly getting up really early so I made it half past seven instead. I was surprised how easy it was. I had no difficulty in getting up at all. (I’m fortunate in that I’m someone who has good willpower and if I’ve made a decision to do something I’m pretty good at sticking to it.) Even at the weekend it was easy. And it was lovely just having a little time extra – no one else was up, the house was quiet, it was easy to get on with things.

Last week I got up at ten to seven (twenty past seven at the weekend) and it was no more difficult than the previous week. Today I have started to get up at twenty to seven. Already I have got a load of laundry in the tumble dryer, had breakfast and am writing a blog post! Three weeks ago I would still have been in bed at this time.

I knew by doing this I would have more time to get things done. But there have been other benefits that I hadn’t anticipated. In general the house is running more smoothly because I have plenty of time to make sure school bags are packed and that the children are organised. Our dog is happier because I have time to take him for a walk in the morning. And I am sleeping better – having a more regimented sleep pattern has made a huge difference to my quality of sleep. I’m falling asleep faster, waking less in the night and I’m not too tired in the morning. Next week I’ll have reached my aim of half past six. I’m wondering if I should keep this going and maybe continue to six o’clock. I’m not sure yet.

The downside has been that my husband’s sleep is being disrupted. He’s not joining me on this venture. He is not a morning person and just can’t get up early, especially in the winter when it’s dark. We have two alarms – the first one is a Lumie Bodyclock, set to ten minutes before I want to get up. It doesn’t beep but gradually lights up over half an hour. The idea is that the light wakes you up and you feel more refreshed than if a noisy alarm suddenly woke you. I have a second beeping alarm (but not too awful a noise) that goes off at the time I want to get up, just in case the light doesn’t wake me. Now that I’m sleeping better there has only been one day when I didn’t wake up until the second alarm. So my poor husband still has the light waking him in the morning and doesn’t get proper sleep between then and when he gets up. Not too much of a problem on a work day but it’s kind of messing up his lie-ins at the weekend. I’ve suggested the solution would be for him to get up early too but he’s having none of it!


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