Morning People: Why do they like getting up early?

Are you a ‘morning person’? What does that even mean? We asked six people who choose to get up earlier than necessary why they do it, what they do first thing and if they consider themselves morning people…

It is sometimes suggested that we’re divided as humans: there are the morning people, and there are the night owls; the former function best first thing in the morning, while the latter like to work through the night and sleep later in the morning.

We spoke to six people who actively choose to rise early each day to work out why they do it, and what they use the time for.

Laura Amiss, 36, is an artist living in HollandLaura Amiss - artist - morning people - theearlyhour.com

What time do you wake up?
During the week my alarm goes off at 5:45, I like to be downstairs by 6am.

What wakes you up?
It is mostly my alarm clock, but frequently it’s my youngest child (two years nine months) who is regularly ready to start his day pre-6am.

How do you feel?
I generally feel good, I sleep very well, I don’t spring out of bed but I am happy to get up and enjoy the morning. However hard it is to crawl out of bed I know I will feel so much better after having some time to myself and preparing for the day.

Have you always been a morning person?
I have always been a morning person, I remember as a teenage being super frustrated that none of my friends or brother were up on a Saturday morning ready to hang out! Now as an adult my morning time is crucial for setting up my day, it’s the only time in the day where I can carve out a quiet moment. It’s as if it’s my secret time.

What does a morning person do first thing?

What do you do first thing?
I go downstairs to make a cup of tea and assemble my older two children’s packed lunches whilst listening to The Archers online (I am a life long fan). Before I need to wake the rest of the house I like to fit in a yoga session, I do classes online. I also check my email and look at what I have to do for work during that day.

How might the rest of your day pan out?
I wake the rest of the house (who aren’t morning people) at about 7am, this generally involves a lot of duvet pulling and threats of cold, wet flannels which is a standing joke I have with my older kids. By 8am the three kids are ready to leave for either school or nursery and my working day begins again at 8:30.

I mainly work alone, so my morning will be spent processing orders from my online shop, answering emails, working on new designs and most likely a post office run. I have limited working hours so a good start for me is crucial both practically and mentally. With three kids (aged two, seven and nine) and a business to run you need to be prepared for the unexpected, I think my early starts are my attempt to keep on top of it all.

What time do you go to bed?
I try and go to bed at 10/10.30pm and read a little, 11pm is lights out.


Caroline Wellingham, 32, works in strategy for a bank in the City (London)Mornings - morning person - Caroline Wellingham - theearlyhour.com

What time do you wake up?
I wake up at 5am every day.

How do you feel?
I feel ok. I don’t snooze my phone, I just get up straight away.

What do you do first thing?
I follow a one hour morning routine consisting of the following (in this order): meditation (10 minute guided meditation on YouTube), reading (a motivational/ personal development book), affirmations (about 15 positive statements about me and my life), visualisation (using a vision board), journaling (writing down all the things I am grateful for), exercise (following a ten minute YouTube video e.g cardio, yoga).

Would you say you’re a ‘morning person’?
I trained myself to become a morning person by following this routine. This is an amazing way to start the day, you achieve so much before your day has even started and I feel fantastic after completing this.

How might the rest of your day pan out (where are you working/ what are you doing)?
My days are fantastic and filled with positivity, I am literally brimming over with positivity. I don’t let the little things bother me. I am really productive. I work in strategy for a bank in the City (London) and I also run my own life coaching business – Raise The Bar Life Coaching.

What time’s bedtime?
Any time between 9pm and 10pm.


Tom Bourlet, 28, is a senior digital marketer for The Stag Company 

Tom Bourlet - morning person - theearlyhour.com

What time do you wake up?
At the moment, it’s between 5.30-6.00am, giving me enough time to go to the gym before work.

How do you feel?
The first sound of the alarm isn’t very nice, but I switched my loud irritating alarm for a radio alarm and it made a huge difference. I play Kiss FM, which tends to play quite fast paced music, which is perfect for getting me motivated first thing in the morning.

What do you do first thing?
I make up my breakfast, while I also pack my bag containing my food for the entire day. I make sure music is playing the entire time I’m getting ready, to keep my energy levels up.

You said you’ve only recently chosen to get up early: what changed?
I used to go to the gym in the evening, several hours after work, however I found I never had enough energy to truly push myself. It is also nice to get the gym out of the way, so when work is finished and you’re back home, the evening is yours to do what you want with.

How might the rest of your day pan out (where are you working/ what are you doing)?
I work at The Stag Company as a Senior Digital Marketer. While I spend most of the day sat in front of the computer, I need to be active at all times, as I’m constantly speaking to journalists and running campaigns. Throughout the morning, the early buzz stays, however the one point in the day where it all seems to drip out of me is 2pm exactly. Getting over that crash is my main issue at the moment, however I now try to take a 10-minute walk just as my energy levels dip.

What time do morning people go to bed…?

What time’s bedtime?
I don’t operate on anything less than eight hours sleep…Having said that, I’m guilty of staying up later. I practice the saxophone, I handle freelance work and I cook for the day ahead every evening, so when I finally get 10 minutes to relax and read Skysports or watch Family Guy it can be tempting to stay up a bit longer. At the moment I’m getting into bed at around 10pm…ish.


Melanie Jones, 39, (pictured below, left) runs a PR companymornings - morning person - Melanie Jones - theearlyhour.com

What time do you wake up? 
I wake up between 4.30-5.00am.

How do you feel?
If I went to bed at a decent time – before 10/11pm – I will feel rested.

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What do you do first thing?
I will have one or two glasses of water first thing. On a nice day I will get out for walk or a jog to absorb the sunrise, the world waking up, getting fresh air and moving. I like creating a serene and peaceful state of mind as this helps me through the day.

Would you say you’re a ‘morning person’? 
It depends on what I am working on, as my schedule does not remain that clear cut. For example, when I am working on upcoming events at Berlin Fashion Week or London Fashion Week, if I do get time to myself  – a couple of free days – I will wake up later but often “later” is 6 or 7am. During fashion weeks I can end up having only two-four hours sleep a night.

How might the rest of your day pan out (where are you working/ what are you doing)?
I work as much as I can from home as my time is precious and if I can avoid the commute I will. However my work and projects do require traveling. I do think it is important to physically network and maintain relationships with clients so I make it a point of seeing them regularly. A lot of my day is spent on the computer and the phone, dealing with clients and the day to day runnings of a business.

Alongside running my own PR company I am on the board of the Union Dance Trust charity, I co-founded Borderless – Global Fashion Market Frankfurt with five fabulous women in Germany. I am the only one based in London but they are from the region that I was born and grown up in back in Germany. So there is a lot of Skype-ing, calling and project managing. And I co-run a branding initiative providing mentorship.

What time’s bedtime?
On an ideal day I get to bed around 10pm. I am trying not to burn the candle at both ends anymore. It doesn’t make you effective, just ill.


Annie Ridout, 30, is founder and editor of The Early Hour and a freelance journalist

What time are you up in the morning?
6.30am weekdays, whenever my daughter wakes us up at the weekend (usually around 7am). Unless I wake up naturally earlier – then I’ll get up. I’m not a ‘snoozer’ and lie-ins don’t interest me.

What wakes you up?
My husband’s vibrating alarm clock. I almost always hear it first and wake him up before the vibrations wake the toddler up. Once she’s awake, there’s no going back and I relish my half an hour of solo time first thing.

How do you feel?
Normally, I feel fairly sprightly. It depends how deeply I’m sleeping. Today, for instance, I was having vivid, complicated dreams so the alarm clock confused me and I had a slow start to the day. Most days, I spring out of bed and into action, feeling well rested.

What do you do first thing?
Get my running gear on, clean my teeth, yoga and meditation for 15 minutes, run for 15 minutes, home for a hot drink (currently rose tea) and then try to shower before Joni is wide awake and shouting “MUMMY HERE!”. The sooner I collect her, the better her mood will be throughout the day.

Would you say you are a morning person?
Yes – I love mornings and always have. I’m most productive in the morning. And the best version of myself first thing (unless you’re a night person, in which case you might find my heightened energy slightly annoying).

How might the rest of your day pan out (where are you working/what are you doing)?
Get Joni up, have porridge together for breakfast and on Tuesdays and Fridays I take her to nursery for 9am then rush home and work manically at the kitchen table until I collect her around 5pm. The other days are a mix of toy library, park to feed the ducks, swinging on swings and coffee with friends. And I work while she sleeps midday-2pm, and from 7pm-10.30pm in the evening.

What time’s bedtime?
The ascent begins around 10.30… I’m usually asleep by 11pm.


 

David Sayce, 42, is a freelance digital marketing consultant based in South East London

David Sayce - morning person - theearlyhour.com

What time do you wake up?
I generally wake up around 4.30 – 5.00am. These days I find I wake up naturally around that time, I used to set an alarm to get up, but these days it is just as a backup. I use a Pebble watch with a vibrating alarm, although I only do this if I have a meeting or flight to catch.

I’ll be honest, in the UK it is still difficult during the winter months, but during the summer it is exhilarating, being up to see the sunrise is a beautiful start to the day. I should mention the arrival of my daughter in February has actually meant we can work to her schedule more, with me taking the morning shift of feeding and changing.

How do you feel?
Good, generally. But it hasn’t always been that way. Waking early has been a conscious effort over the years and only started in my late 20s (I’m now early 40s). I started researching sleep and trying to understand how it works, as best I could. Discovering REM and sleep cycles was a big change as I began to understand why so often when my alarm went off I woke up groggy and struggled to get up. These days I actually wake up refreshed; it’s an incredible difference.

What do you do first thing?
I like my ‘moments’ – short reflective moments in time. When I wake the first thing I do is stretch and lie there and enjoy the quiet moment, it only lasts about a minute or two. Then I drink a big glass of water, I have found hydration is vital to sleep both before and after. After that it depends, it used to be just my time, so the next hour would be coffee or a matcha green tea, exercise (a run/walk or perhaps some yoga) before jumping in the shower. Of course now I am a little more flexible with my time as it now includes baby changing and feeding too. I’m a morning runner, so those are on hold for a couple of months while we sort out our new routine, but it is still a peaceful time.

When I go out for a run it is often down to the River Thames heading east toward Greenwich, toward the sunrise. Over the years I have seen some spectacular sunrises, the colours are beautiful. Greenwich park early in the morning is also wonderful, locals, dog walkers and runners – rather than busy with tourists.

Would you say you are a morning person?
Yes, I am now. But it hasn’t always been that way. I used to work until 1-2am and only get around five-six hours sleep, wake up groggy and never felt 100%. It was my decision to become a morning person.

Mornings, especially in the spring and early summer, are wonderful. In the UK, sunrise in June is around 4.45 which is perfect for me. I think for a lot of people you can train yourself to be an early riser, it takes time and dedication. However I do think that there are some people who are just natural morning or evening people.

My advice for anyone wanting to try it is start slow. Try getting up just 10 minutes early every week or two as you head towards your desired time.

How might the rest of your day pan out (where are you working/what are you doing)?
I’m a digital marketing consultant and work freelance so a lot of the time I will either be working from home or occasionally a co-working space. Two or three times a week I will have client meetings booked or be doing trainmen or mentoring, I try and group these together as best I can. I’m still learning to be efficient with my time.

Getting up early, it is amazing how much I get done, work generally starts around 6.30am, I will have a to-do list ready and try and get the key parts done by 9am, only then do I generally check my email. It is a great time for distraction free work!

Working from home is where my secret lies… never underestimate the power of a nap. Whether it is 20 minutes or 90 minutes (and yes those are specific times) – a couple of short naps through the day are very beneficial. Sometimes it can just be a case of finding a quiet spot, perhaps using earphones, and relaxing. Meditative breathing techniques help. Other times I will try and sleep, a full sleep cycle of around 90 minutes. The Pebble watch works well here monitoring my movements and then vibrates once it thinks I have competed a complete cycle. The benefit? I wake up refreshed, when I first tried this I tended to sleep too long and wake up very groggy.

Something I have been trying recently is the Espresso Nap, the idea is to drink an espresso (or a strong coffee) and then rest, in theory by the time the espresso kicks in your 20 minutes rest (or sleep) is up. I’m still not 100% sure about this but keen to keep trying it.

During the warmer months I take this a little further and being able to work remotely helps with this. With lots of beautiful parks in south east London, I will often take my iPad or laptop to the park to work. My treat is that I also have a hammock, folded up it is about the size of a soda can, but a few times a month during the summer it means I can take a nap al fresco, wonderful.

With a new born I am also keen to now grab any moment of rest I can!

The whole idea of naps is something I grew up with, my grandmother lived with us, and all through my childhood I always remember she was an early riser and would always have an afternoon nap. Wise woman. Wish I had tried it sooner.

What time’s bedtime?
The good news is that as long as I manage my time during the day, bed time does not need to be at some unsociable hour, but I do try and keep it regular these days at around 10pm. I will then read or listen to music for around 40 mins before sleeping. The other great thing about my schedule these days is that I now find it much easier to sleep, where I used to take about 40+ minutes to sleep, these days it is much quicker.

These days I would say I get around seven-eight hours sleep, it is just spread over the course of the day.

How is your sleep? Do you find it hard to get up or do you spring out of bed in the morning? And what about naps: yes or no? Let us know in the comment section below…

Photo credit: cafetiere shot by SF Girl by Bay, milk bottles by Free as a Bee, teacup by Hannah Queen