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Do you find yourself waking up an hour or two before your alarm goes off and tossing and turning?

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Simply getting up and turning those hours of frustration into hours of “you” time can be a game-changer.

Not a particularly revelatory realization, but for the longest time, I’ve found myself naturally awakening at approximately 5:00 AM and feeling the desire to catch as much shut-eye as I possibly can before I’m forced to go asleep again the following night. In practice, this usually consists of tossing and turning or spending time scrolling through my phone before falling asleep just before my alarm clock wakes me up again. This is not a smart way to begin the day.

In recent weeks, I’ve made the decision to lean into it, reasoning that if my body keeps telling me I’m awake, I should probably pay attention to it. So any time after 4:00 AM, whenever I wake up naturally, I simply get out of bed and go to work on my day.

One thing that has surprised me is how much more I am able to accomplish with an extra hour and a half or two hours. The family is still asleep, no work emails have arrived yet, and the city is only just waking up. Because of this, I’ve had more time to exercise, pursue new interests, go for leisurely morning walks with my dogs, or get a head start on the day’s work if I need to, all without the distractions of meetings or email. Alternatively, if I just want to relax and play some games or watch a movie, that is also acceptable.

Not only do I have more time on my hands, but these hours have also proven to be the most productive of the day. I’m finding that I’m able to do chores or engage in self-improvement activities that I wouldn’t normally be able to do after work due to a lack of energy or mental bandwidth.

The only drawback thus far is that I occasionally experience a loss of energy in the afternoons, but this is nothing that sleep on the weekend or a cup of coffee during the workday cannot remedy. Another advantage is that I no longer have trouble falling asleep in the night, whereas previously it took me a long time to doze off after my head hits the pillow.

Perhaps this will not be suitable for everyone’s habits, work or daily schedule, but the next time you find yourself fully awake and staring in frustration at your relentlessly ticking alarm clock, it might be worth a go to see if it works for you.

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