How To Wake Up at 5AM

I love to sleep. (Who doesn't?)

In the words of Jhene Aiko, "If I had it my way, I'd roll out of bed, say, 'bout 2:30 mid day."

I was never a morning person growing up. I was known to wait until the last possible minute to get up and go to class or work, and I could always be found still asleep in bed way past noon every Saturday.

But for the past year, I've become super committed to building a successful career and business, and I've learned the importance and value of time. I've read countless business blogs and articles proclaiming how all successful people wake up early. I figured, "if they do it, so should I."

And after stumbling across the Before5AM Instagram page, an account dedicated to early risers, I became obsessed with the idea of waking up before the sun. 

While it was a struggle at first (and quite frankly, still is sometimes) waking up at 5 AM completely changed the way I work and operate each day. I get more work done, and starting my day while most people are still asleep (at least in my time zone) gives me an unexplainable sense of peace. I've literally transformed myself into the "morning person" I never imagined I'd be.

Here's how I do it and how you can too:


Go to bed at night.

Seriously. If you go to bed at 2:30AM, you can kiss that 5AM wake up goodbye. It's important to still get a decent amount of sleep at night if you want to be productive the next day. (If I get home from a late event or stay up all night working, I'll just reset my alarm for a later time, since I already know 5AM won't be happening.) On the average night, I try to get to bed no later than 11PM, so I'll have at least a good 6 hours of sleep.


Have a game plan.

Waking up with no plan of action is a waste of time. You should already know what you're going to use these extra morning hours for before you even go to bed the night before. If you're going to work out, already have your work out clothes laid out and your water bottles filled. If you're going to use the time to get business work done, already have a to-do list of what you want to accomplish. 


Customize your alarm clock.

If you have an iPhone (other phones probably work the same way), you can customize the title of your alarm. Change it to something that will inspire you to get up and get moving when you see it. Mine says: "Your competition is up right now." It's a reminder of the bigger picture, and it encourages me to get up and get to work. You can also customize your alarm clock music. Instead of that traditional, obnoxious beeping sound, I currently alternate mine between "Mask Off" and "Trap Trap Trap." They both work exceptionally well.


Get up. ASAP.

When your alarm goes off, get up. Immediately. If you allow yourself to sink back into your sheets, you will more than likely go back to sleep. Waking up hours before you actually need to takes discipline, and the best way to practice that discipline is by hopping up right away. The first thing I do is grab my phone to turn off the alarm, get up, and turn on my lights. If it helps, put your phone/alarm across the room before bed, so you're forced to get up to turn it off.


Turn on your lights. And some music too.

At 5AM, it's still dark outside and your body is used to being asleep. But if you make your environment mimic daytime hours, you're much more likely to stay awake. I turn on my lights, put on some upbeat music (either gospel or Future, depending on how I feel), and act like it's 5:00 in the afternoon. 


More tips:

  • Find a Team 5AM wake up buddy. You can hold each other accountable.

  • Create a custom morning playlist with all of your favorite songs. You'll be excited to wake up and listen.

  • Turn on the TV or a movie. If you have to bribe yourself at first with something you like to do or watch, that's totally OK.

  • Make your bed immediately. You're less likely to try to get back in.

  • If you have an automatic coffee maker (or you're willing to buy one), set it on a timer. The good smell may entice you to get up.

  • Keep trying. It's not something that will be easy to do immediately. Stay diligent!

Final Note:

Waking up at 5AM isn't for everyone. Some simply aren't morning people. But if you've been trying to hop on the 5AM train, hopefully these tips will help you on your journey.