Waking up at 5am is one of the most popular challenges on the internet. It seems to be the ultimate test of willpower and hardiness but I never took it seriously. As someone who tends to go to sleep just after midnight and wake up naturally at 9, I am now intrigued to see if I can improve my life by waking up earlier. A while ago, I downloaded the app Sleep Cycle in a last ditch attempt to sort out my sleep pattern. The app measures your sleep and, instead of waking you up at a set time with an irritating beeping, it wakes you up at the best time between two points with music that starts quietly and gets gradually louder. As it measures your breathing, it can tell when you’re sleeping and how deeply you’re sleeping so you’ll never get woken up in deep sleep and the alarm tone doesn’t get louder if you wake up. Before I started using the app, I was going to sleep at 1 or 2 and waking up at 10 or 11, so if I had to go anywhere early in the morning I would only get 5 or 6 hours sleep. Using the Sleep Cycle app I have learned so much about my sleeping patterns and I now aim for 8 hours a night.
But then I had an extended weekend off. The knowledge that I didn’t have to wake up early for anything was my downfall. I still woke up naturally at 9 but I would then sit in bed for hours watching videos and playing Sims 4. Before I knew it, the days were disappearing and I felt guilty knowing that I wasn’t doing anything to progress my life now that I’ve graduated university. What exacerbated this was seeing how happy and successful I was making my Sims.
I downloaded the game at the beginning of the extended weekend and it was the first time I had bought a video game since I was in primary school. I expected it to be a leisure activity and an escape from reality but to my surprise it just made me see my own hypocrisy. I was neglecting myself so that I could micromanage the lives of imaginary people. I made a household of 4 young adult sims and the first thing I did was give them all careers based on their personalities. The youngest sim had 5 days a week off so I set her tasks which nourished her creativity and increased her skill set. I taught her to fix appliances, I gave her an easel to learn how to paint and a guitar to learn music. I got her to read interesting books, to clean the house, to swim laps in the pool, and to go jogging. My sims have self-published books, sold paintings, and been promoted to roles I can only dream of.
Now, of course the game is unrealistic. It’s a game. But I get annoyed when my sims do useless things on their phones such as chat or go on social media when these are things I spend a lot of time doing. So I’m a hypocrite but now that I’ve realised this I can do something about it. Treat myself like I would treat a sim.
So I’m going to do it. I’m going to fulfil the cliche of lifestyle bloggers and wake up at 5am for a week. From tomorrow, I will wake up between 4:55 (sunrise) and 5:25 and head straight to the gym. I will work out for about an hour and then walk back home. I will then shower, have a healthy breakfast, and head to work. After work, I will attempt to use the rest of the day to do all that I can. I will draw, practice the ukulele I was given a couple of Christmases ago (and have hardly touched since), allow myself to spend time reading, experiment with cooking, clean and tidy, and attempt to fix things around the house.
These activities are all things I neglect or have given up on. I gave up on both art and music in school because I wasn’t a natural so I didn’t believe I’d ever be good enough to make my efforts worth it. A terrible mindset. I have now attempted a small sketch and a simple song on ukulele (I’m Yours – Jason Mraz) and I may not be Monet or Mozart but I enjoyed myself and I will get better with time. If this week goes well then who knows what might happen?