30 day challenge - Wake up at 4.30 AM

This is a new addition to the blog! There's going to be a 30 day challenge every month. I will post the challenge after it has been achieved, so that I can write about all the troubles faced and the hacks that worked. If anyone wants to take up such challenge, I believe this would be useful :)

So April month's challenge was to "Wake up at 4.30 AM".

wake up early
Wake up!


Why 4.30? Following were my thoughts:
  • Nobody wakes up that early and checks Facebook first thing in the morning. You will feel the need to justify your early morning sleep sacrifice with some productivity.
  • Nobody can disturb you because no one is awake. In fact, you are the person who disturbs everyone else at home at 4.30.
  • High energy and fresh mind to do anything as you just woke up.
  • Nothing interesting on TV at that hour of the day except for the spiritual shows.
  • Absolute silence all around you.
Well, that's what I thought.

I am not a morning person.Never been in my entire life. Even during exams, I would study the whole night if needed, but I always needed my morning sleep. The problem with this is either less energy by night to do anything productive or hyper energy even by bedtime which would not let me sleep. As a child and even in college, I used to wake up between 11 AM  to 12 PM on Sundays. People would call me Kumbakarni and I actually took pride in it sometimes. That's how I was programmed till now.
So that was my circadian rhythm - waking up late and sleeping late. What's that?
Circadian rhythm is our biological clock that depends on solar time. We naturally wake up when there is so much light in the room. That's the reason cell phones/TV exposure before bedtime don't make us sleep as they send wrong signals and disturb our circadian rhythm. For people who are reading about it for the first time, when I first read about it- I thought it was a totally made up term by early risers to taunt people like me.

Despite this, I was so confident about waking up at 4.30. How difficult can it be? I will still be sleeping for same number of hours. I know that it's difficult to break a habit and form a new one, but I knew about this 21 day habit formation - do something regularly for 21 days and it becomes a habit. So my plan was simple:

1. Wake up at 4.30 AM
2. Repeat for the next 3 weeks.
3. Success

Yeah, that didn't work out. I am not sure about that 21 days theory anymore. May be it didn't work only for me, I didn't wake up at 4.30 easily on the 22nd day. I still struggled as much as I struggled on the 1st day.

This is how it went:

Day 1: Difficult to get out of the bed, but still it was pretty okay. I was excited to do this new thing, probably that's why. Super hungry. Energy bar and fruits helped.  Sure, I fell asleep in public transport and made fellow passengers uncomfortable, but that's okay. I fell asleep by 9 PM! Woah! I became that person who can sleep anywhere instantly.

Day 2: My excitement wore off a little. Zombie mode, hazy brain, restlessness, sunken eyes, hunger. Listening to Malhari helped, people at home woke up to it and didn't appreciate Ranveer's hyper energetic moves.

Day 3: Woke up groggy, but prepped up in no time. Hunger still continues to be the major problem. I was all like Pip "We have had one, yes, but what about a second breakfast?". People asked me if I was upset or sad or angry about something all day. It's just my face.

Day 4: I was not sure if I was actually awake or in some kind of Insidious mode where my body is still lying in the bed and my spirit is wandering all over. Two breakfasts and three coffees have become the norm. Also remember how I thought nobody would go on Facebook at 4.30 AM, I proved it false.

Day 5: Alarm rang, there was absolutely no excitement left and that day I really wanted to quit and I stared enviously at my husband for about 10 minutes as he was peacefully sleeping in the bed. Then I realized that this is how it all starts in Paranormal activity and quickly went out of the room before I stab my husband. Also I am so angry all the time, slightest provocation turned me into a Hulk.

Day 6: Remember how I thought that no one can disturb you as you are the one who knocks at 4.30 in the morning? Well, the entire world knocks on your door at 9 PM. So you can't sleep even when you are so committed to sleeping. This means you don't get your 7-8 hours sleep, which makes your face shrink with sunken eyes and dark circles. People ask you if you are sick or tired or crying all the time. I mean, even my boss asked me if I was sick! Also, people will notice that you are eternally hungry since some days and allude it to more illness.

Day 7: You are so forgetful, frustrated, irritated and confused. You respond like a sloth. People eventually get used to it and expect 5 second latency in your response. Laughing hurts as it makes you entire comatose body vibrate. You wonder if laughing has always been this tough.

Week 2: You gain weight, you hate people in general.

Week 3: You gain more weight and you look comical not because of the extra pounds, but because your face is all tiny and body is all round and huge. It makes you look like those 90s cartoon characters.

Week 4: Mood swings and the attention span of a squirrel. You wonder if you may be having ADD or ADHD because you can't concentrate on anything for more than 5 seconds, 10 seconds is the limit. But one day something strange happened, I had less than 5 hours of sleep and I was in my zombie mode entire day. The strange part is I was hyper productive on that day, I finished off things I wouldn't be doing in a week on that day. It was like Limitless.

And I am still struggling. I blame my shortage of sleep for this. If you can maintain a healthy sleep cycle, then I believe that you won't suffer so much.

Here are the Tips that will help:
  • Don't consume caffeine in evening till you get used to sleeping early at least. I moved my evening coffee to afternoon after lunch. That makes 4 coffees per day, which makes me a psycho. Don't consume too many coffees and if you can, avoid it totally. 
  • Remember that the excitement wears off and it actually becomes difficult to keep going. This is where a partner who can take the challenge along with you helps, because you are accountable now. 
  • Don't read some dull topics immediately after waking up. I chose either writing for the blog or coding for the first 30 mins, that would activate my brain. 
  • Your first thoughts after the alarm goes off sets the tone for the entire day. I am not joking. Whenever I hesitated just for few seconds and woke up cursing the entire world, my entire day was sloppy. 
  • I tend to get ready to work slowly by wasting a lot of time just because I have lot of time. Don't do that. Procrastinate in this case. Put it off till you don't have much time.
  • If you badly need a nap, then keep it short for 20 minutes only. This needs to be done till you get used to new sleep cycle.
  • Get Alarmy app. Set snooze option to OFF. Select Hard/Very Hard Math problems as the option to stop alarm. It gives this horrible noise which gives you an anxiety attack till you solve the problems.
alarmy options
Alarmy options




alarmy math
Alarmy math

It takes will power to wake up every day without fail. Make sure you wake up to something you really like doing. Have patience. I really did see benefits out of this struggle, I was mostly doing things that actually matter instead of wasting time on non-productive things. There are other cool awesome bonus benefits too:
  • You can lecture your parents to wake up early. All your life you would have been lectured by your parents to wake up early and be productive, this will be a table turner. This will be your time to shine. You can say "Guys, you need to sort out your lives" and walk away like a boss.
  • All those people who criticize you and get all mad at you for not getting ready early will be awed after looking at you all shiny when they are still brushing their teeth.


Here's a motivational video - Rise and Shine. It's a Nike Ad, but it's awesome. This used to be my alarm earlier.



Do you want to take this challenge? Let us know in comments 😃

Comments

  1. I am ready to take up this challenge

    ReplyDelete
  2. Wow this is a big challenge for me! I usually get disturbed until 11 in the evening lol! But then I admire your commitment. Thanks for the share. xx
    http://www.prettyweirdbombshell.com/raw-shea-butter-uses/

    ReplyDelete
  3. I have to wake up so early to get out of the house in time to drop off my children at school and be in time for work. It is difficult waking up especially if I need to stand up for baby a few times during the night. Luckily it will get better when yhe children start to sleep through the night. Congratulations on keeping to the challenge for so long as it is not easy!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Rolene :)
      I understand, moms need to sleep when their kids sleep!

      Delete
  4. I love waking up early before anyone else in my house. I can get so much done!

    ReplyDelete
  5. I've tried that, for me it's hard waking up early, because I work until 11pm, so by the time I go to bed is already 12am. This month, I changed shifts and I could barely wake up on time to go to work, because I was so used to staying up late. Even when I didn't work, I simply cannot wake up. I have to go across the room turn off the alarm clock, and surprisingly I still manage to go back to bed and fall asleep. Usually oversleeping. I have tried the alarm clock, but math is not a problem for me or if it became to hard I usually just deleted the app and said 'I'm already awake, I don't need that'. I think we can all guess what happens next. Hopefully I can soon change that annoying habit of mine.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's very difficult when you have to work in shifts, entire sleep cycle gets disturbed often.

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  6. Considering that I woke up late today, I need to get myself Alarmy!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You should! Alarmy really worked for me

      Delete
  7. I don't think I could do this! But I love the idea! It's great to get up and be productive!

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  8. I have to get up early for work, I find if I my pattern changes I turn into a major zombie.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yep, just one day can ruin my sleep cycle

      Delete
  9. LOVE this post! Sounds a lot like me when I used to get up early when my kids were babies. I could not do this now. I'm already "round" and "comical" lol so the added pressure would only make things worse!

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  10. Wowowowwww 4:30 is SO early - I struggle to get up at 6am for work!

    ReplyDelete

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