You may have heard of the many articles discussing how waking up early is something that you must do. If you have, you also may have noticed how it seems like waking up as soon as possible is almost a sure fire way of becoming successful. That’s what some of these articles are trying to prove. But do you believe that? I don’t. Or at least, not completely.
I want to talk about this concept with you today, with a little more focus on how waking up early could benefit you. I’m not going to claim you need to wake up at 04:00 or you’ll never be successful. Because I think we all know you and I are not going to wake up practically in the middle of the night just because some website advises it!
Do I need to wake up at 04:30 to be successful?
The answer to this question is obviously no. There’s a lot of people who wake up at “normal” times and still find success and happiness. Furthermore, merely replicating a single habit of a successful person will not guarantee anything.
But what about the articles that we talked about before? It can almost seem like every successful person in business has a strict wake-up routine, and it usually involves waking up before 06:30. “Here’s 100 successful people and they all wake up at 04:00, so you should too!”
Some articles go that route, but if you read them with a critical eye, you’ll quickly learn these posts are mostly clickbait and trying to reach the biggest “wow-factor.” They want you to think: “Wow, the CEO of Pepsi wakes up at 04:30 for a morning workout, and look how successful he is!”.
What you’re probably thinking though, is “How in the world am I going to use this information? I’m never going to wake up at 04:30 just because some successful person does.” So without further ado, here’s why I still think you need to wake up early (only not at 4:30 AM)!
Waking up early results in more time awake!
For a lot of people, there is a clear correlation between the time spent awake and an early wake-up time. It makes sense because if you wake up early, there’s a more significant part of the day in which you can be awake and get stuff done. Now, let’s use this theory to form a hypothesis: we can only become successful and happy by being awake. Bear with me here:
We become and stay happy and successful by being awake, doing things we are passionate about. Nobody has ever slept his way to success. Therefore, it’s safe to say that to reach success faster; you should stay awake longer. You see where this is going?
If we wake up early, we can then spend more time awake. This results in better odds at becoming successful and happier. This is something that I’ve researched in a lot of detail. I have analyzed my happiness and sleep data from the last 3.5 years to create some fascinating observations.
This graph shows my time of wake-up about the time spent awake for any given day over the last 3.5 years. You can see a significant correlation here. My longest days usually occurred when I woke up early. And the chances are that your data would look very similar.
How waking up early can result in happy mornings
One of the most significant results of my analysis is that, on average, I’m happiest when I start my day between 07:00 and 08:00. This is shown in the box plot below, where I have graphed my happiness ratings against different wake-up times.
If you’re interested in the details of this analysis, you can find it here: Happy Mornings – Research On Personal Happiness And Waking Up – A Happiness Essay. You might be able to use the observations of this analysis to better shape your sleep habits!
Great, so now what?
I’m not going to claim you need to wake up between 07:00 and 08:00 as well. That would be silly. Instead, I want you to think about your happiness and passions for a moment.
An average adult human being needs about 7 to 8 hours of sleep per night. Even though it’s only a guideline, I do my best to follow it, since we all know how important rest is. This article is not about how you need to cut down on sleep and wake up as early as possible. It’s more about thinking and reconsidering your sleep habits.
What if you’re averaging more than 8 hours of sleep per day? Then I’d advise you to experiment for a while. Try to set the alarm – every day – based on a total sleep duration of 8 hours. This way, you’ll be able to spend more time being awake. And we now know this increases your available time to spend on doing things you’re passionate about.
So without having to wake up at 04:30, or some other alien time, you are still actively trying to become happier or more successful by slightly improving your sleeping habits. I bet that sounds doable, right?
Other – more high-profile – examples
What about other people who seem to have a lot going for them? There is a lot of other – high profile – people who seem to have their sleep habits under control. Let’s have a look at Elon Musk, for example.
The CEO of Tesla & SpaceX
Elon seems to be the most exciting guy on the planet at the moment, looking at all the media coverage he is currently getting. He is constantly in the news for a lot of wacky things, like the whole Thailand cave debacle, or him smoking weed on a podcast. And that’s not even looking at the thousands of skeptics who say he is unfit to lead a company, let alone multiple companies!
But in the meantime, no one can deny that he is a productivity machine. The man is a visionary and can do stuff that a lot of others never will. He sends rockets to space and initiated a shift towards renewable energy sources in one of the biggest industries with Tesla.
Sure, he is in the news a lot, but it can’t be denied that the man is exceptionally successful. And if you remember correctly, a lot of articles only care about clickbait headlines. Controversy sells! Anyway, he manages to be so productive partially due to a strict morning routine. He’s optimized his sleep habits to be as productive as possible.
What about another example?
The CEO of Amazon
An even better example is Jeff Bezos, the CEO of Amazon. He is amongst the most successful people of this time, and he has continuously excelled in one of the most competitive sectors. You’d think he is some robot that doesn’t need sleep, right?
Wrong! Jeff Bezos values his sleep just as much as you should, and he tries his best to sleep a full 8 hours per day.
This is no clickbait
Pretty anti-climactic, right? Well, it turns out you don’t need to wake up at 04:30 to be successful. But article headlines have one single purpose: to get the reader to open the newspaper, or click on the link to read the rest. And that’s why you commonly see articles like “16 billionaires who wake up before 05:00 and why you should too!”
People are a lot more likely to click on that compared to “16 billionaires who sleep the advised amount of sleep but still excel”. The latter article will probably be a lot more useful to you and me, hence why I’m writing this article for you right now.
What I want you to think about for a moment is your sleep habit. How can you transform it into something that gives you more time awake each day, while still getting enough sleep? A simple answer is likely to set your alarm a little earlier tomorrow. That way, you can still get your advised 7-8 hours of sleep, while enjoying more time awake!