“RISE AND SHINE!”
“WHO YOU YELLIN’ AT?”
“WHOEVER THOUGHT IT WAS A BRIGHT IDEA TO WAKE ME UP SLAMMING DOORS OPEN AND YELLING! MARK MY WORDS: I WILL END YOU AND YOUR KIN AND LEAVE ONE ALIVE TO RUN TO THE NEXT VILLAGE OVER AND TELL THEM WHAT THEY SAW ON THIS DAY! Now let me go back to sleep, thank you.”
At least, that’s what it went in my head. I never had the nerve to say it like that [that I’m willing to admit].
I don’t think I’m alone in feeling that. It seems like nobody wants to do wake up. Who wants to leave the warm cocoon of twisted bedsheets and large duvets where you’re immersed in playful and profound dreams? And at that, wake up several hours earlier than is necessary?! I know I’m not alone when I say “count me out”, but what if I told you there was a way to make the transition from dreamland to the waking world a seamless transition, and that it would allow you to squeeze more time into your day?
We’ve already talked about the spontaneous and accidental leap into the Golden Hour where you take advantage of your early morning creativity, but what about making a ritual of the ability to access this window of time? Literally, what if we decided that we would change our habits to prioritize the wee hours in the morning and bask in the still beauty of what feels like eternal timelessness?
It’s something I’m keen on getting back into, and here are the steps I’ve been taking to achieve it. I’ll update this post (or do follow ups) to let you know how I upgrade my routine.
1. Start Yesterday
Unless you’re looking to have the worst day ever, don’t even try to wake up mega-early if you haven’t had a sufficient amount of sleep. You’ll suffer headaches and worse-than-usual cynicism if you’re prone to it. Waking up early is a matter of preparation.
Make a small list of things you’d like to achieve during the time–maybe meditate and clear your mind for the coming day, get some extra productivity in by drafting/sending some emails, catch up on a book you never have time for, etc. Even if you are simply waking up to experience the Golden Hour for what it has to offer, make sure you express it as a tangible goal so that you won’t shrug it off and go back to sleep.
I write lists of goals I want to achieve on notecards and place them on the bathroom mirror so I can’t miss it. I also use my Harmon Kardon digital assistant to remind me of the reason I’m waking up.
In addition to this, set out your clothes for the day, maybe your lunch also, so you aren’t fixated on having to do that and you have more time for your goals.
Which brings us to…
2. Ring the Alarm
Set an alarm that lets you feel the way you want to feel upon waking. Cheerful and upbeat music is great for some who have the disposition for it, but for many of us, a gentle tug from dreamworld is preferable. For others, though, too gentle and we find ourselves falling back to sleep. I’m a fan of gentle music, and if you startle me from sleep, you’re only startling yourself when I react.
Because I will react. Don’t startle me.
But at the same time, if the music is too gentle and with the way my bed and cover situation is set up, I’ll likely never get up. Pick the appropriate music for your situation.
Equally important is alarm placement. I can’t be the only one who’s ever claimed his alarm didn’t go off only to discover later that I had turned it off in my sleep, or had waken up briefly to disarm it without remembering. By placing the source of the sound a good distance away but where it’s still loud, you force yourself out of bed (hopefully to some music you like) to get it together.
3. Go Full Spartan (Optional)
If it’s not enough to start yesterday and ring the alarm, you could go Full Spartan. This isn’t my favorite way to go about it because, if ever I’m waking up super early to experience the final stretch of the Golden Hour, it’s usually for my own peace of mind. Full Spartan is for when I need to be up to not miss some important thing–the SATs, a job interview, etc. Plus, it’s so jolting to my senses that it defeats the whole art of gently pulling yourself from one realm of consciousness to another and enjoying the process. But if it’s the only thing that’s gonna ensure you get up, then by all means, go Full Spartan. How do you do that?
The moment you’re woken up by loud music, jump out of bed. Flip on the lights and keep the music going. Jump into a cold shower and beat your chest while proclaiming how you are the ruler of worlds and the destroyer of sleep schedules.
If that’s what gets your juices flowing, let it be.
The Golden Hour isn’t for everyone. Some people want as much sleep as they can get, and that’s cool. Simultaneously, not everyone has a daily schedule that allows for them to sleep early enough to wake up at what some have been referring to as “a hellish, ungodly hour.” Others simply don’t get the same zing out of the early morning hours and are more creative late into the night or during the afternoon.
But if the stillness and eternal presence of the Golden Hour–be it 4AM, 5AM or beyond–are your thing, I hope you enjoyed this little step-by-step into stepping into wakefulness in the early morning.
If you vibe with what I’ve described here, tell me if you agree or disagree with my method. If you do it a different way, how so?