Do You Need to Wake Up Early in the Morning to Be Successful

Siim Land

Do you need to wake up early in the morning to be successful?

Is Waking Up Early a Myth

You might have heard these quotes about waking up early and that in order to be successful you need to get up before sunrise.

  • “The early bird gets the worm” – Proverb
  • “Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise” – Benjamin Franklin
  • “It is well to be up before daybreak, for such habits contribute to health, wealth, and wisdom” – Aristotle

If you don’t, then – god forbid – you’ll be a failure for the rest of your life. This is quite a controversial topic with many opinions.

So, do you need to wake up early?

The honest answer is *drum roll, please* IT DEPENDS…

You don’t have to get up at dawn to achieve your goals and be productive throughout the day.

Do Successful People Have to Wake Up Early

There are many great people in history who woke up at random hours.

  • Benjamin Franklin got up at 5 AM.
  • Thomas Edison did polyphasic sleeping and slept for 3-4 hours during the 24-hour period with several powernaps.
  • Franz Kafka did his writing at night between 11 PM – 2 AM and he slept until 8 AM and had another sleep at 3:30 – 7:30 PM, which is random.

In modern society, waking up has almost become this means of showing off: “I get up at 4 AM and I can function only on 4 hours of sleep.” 

Trust me, I’ve been there. When I did polyphasic sleep myself, I slept until 3 AM and had 4-5 hours of total sleep time in one day.

The Honest Truth About Waking Up Early

So, it’s not necessary to get up very early to be successful. And you need to define what success means to you first. What would it mean to have a life that’s meaningful and fulfilling to you? There are many ways you can answer that question. Does waking up early belong to the list of necessary activities you need to do to hold up to that standard?

Maybe your goals involve astrophysics where you have to sometimes look at the stars at night. Then you’d want to sleep at different hours to feel like a functional human being.

The main premise is that: as long as you get your things done and as long as you’re living up to your own version of success, you can wake up at any time.


Benefits of Waking Up Early

There’s something magical about waking up early.

  • First off, you will by default be more productive because the rest of the world is sound asleep. While everyone else is dreaming away in Wonderland, you’re getting in a lot of undisturbed work and development that’s high quality. How difficult would it be to get things done in a place with a lot of distractions?

To be honest, other people are massive disturbances that can make you lose your focus, and deliberately procrastinate. Like, you want to read a book but you can’t because of Facebook messages. If your friends are asleep, you have a massive advantage in terms of both quality and quantity of work.

If the world around you is disorganized, then you won’t be able to attain Jedi-like concentration either. Focus is necessary for extraordinary results. As the world begins to wake up, it starts to create more random noise and chatter that will all mislead you from your flow. Someone knocking on the door again, more meetings, another text message, those loud neighbors again and on and on ad nauseam.

Wake Up Get Things Done

  • Secondly, waking up earlier ensures that you do achieve the things you’ve set out for because of momentum. If you wake up and immediately start following your routine, you’re more likely to continue doing your most important tasks. You get some results right away and then you carry on with that.

Momentum can work in the opposite direction as well. If you sleep in and snooze, you’re creating negative momentum towards procrastination and not showing up for the rest of the day. Once you give in to laziness or afflictive habits, it becomes easier to keep falling in for the rest of the day. Momentum is truly powerful.

  • Thirdly, there are the circadian aspects to waking up early. Without getting in over our heads pre-emptively, I’m just going to say that your body’s physiological processes are linked to the day and night cycles. The light coming from the Sun and magnetic polarizations around us have an effect on your metabolism, hormones and even mood. This is all you need to know for now, but the coming chapters will delve deeper into the circadian rhythms.

How Are Humans Supposed to Sleep

Humans are diurnal creatures – we’re supposed to be active during the day and sleep at night. When you look at nature, then most animals follow the same pattern. It’s also the case that they’re forced to be awake and alert even at night because of predators.

Early hominids and hunter-gatherers most likely followed somewhat of a polyphasic sleep schedule where they would be sleeping for only certain parts of the night and then either switch locations or move around.

There was definitely some sort of a guarding or overwatch system in place because in the Savannah you needed to be more cautious with where you sleep. I mean, there are hyenas, lions, scarecrows and snakes everywhere.

Could you imagine sleeping in in such an environment? Exactly – you couldn’t because you’d be eaten in your sleep.

Ergo, being able to sleep throughout the night and snoozing in between your soft blankets is a huuuuge privilege of modern society. Even homeless people could do it and not die.

Motivation to Wake Up Early

Remember this quote by Christopher McDougall the author of Born to Run when you don’t feel like getting up:

Every morning in Africa, a gazelle wakes up, it knows it must outrun the fastest lion or it will be killed. Every morning in Africa, a lion wakes up. It knows it must run faster than the slowest gazelle, or it will starve. It doesn’t matter whether you’re the lion or a gazelle-when the sun comes up, you’d better be running.

Like I said, it doesn’t matter whether or not you wake up early, as long as you get your shit done.

But for living an extraordinary life of greatness, you need to adopt the mindset of being hungry all the time and yearn for leaping out of bed as soon as you open your eyes.

It’s not about just waking up early, it’s not about just making your bed, it’s not about just showing up for your routine – it’s about waking up as a person, it’s about making the most of your day, it’s about showing up as the greatest version of yourself.

Check out my FREE E-BOOK WAKE UP EMPOWERED to condition yourself for future success in your day.

That’s what you’re supposed to get from this book – not only a solution to your bad habits of sleeping in, but also a quintessential shift in mindset that will carry over to the rest of your life.

Wake Up Empowered Book Siim Land
Wake Up Empowered Book Siim Land

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  • Jennifer Pillion

    I whole-heartedly agree with what you wrote here…’it’s about waking up as a person, it’s about making the most of your
    day, it’s about showing up as the greatest version of yourself.’ Gotta make my bed too!!!

    • Thanks for still stopping by, Jennifer! You’re showing up 😀