Rise and shine! Why becoming a morning person will make you happy

I haven’t always been a morning person. During my uni years, I would set my alarm so I could roll out of bed in time to watch reruns of The Practice. (Remember The Practice? With the whole Bobby and Lindsay will-they-or-won’t-they, and desperate legal teams going the dirty tactics of Plan B? And the only cool character ever called Eugene? No? Just me? I bloody loved The Practice.) The Practice was on at 1pm. I was a waiter and my boyfriend was a chef. We were living in the midnight zone, baby. Drag Queen Bingo and niche little early morning laneway venues were standard, nights out didn’t start until after 11pm, and seeing daylight from the other side was a regular occurrence. But times have changed. I finished uni. I married someone who lives during regular hours. And the clincher: babies were born. Babies tend to like to start their day early. If you’re lucky, early means 7am. In our house it has fluctuated, sometimes reaching 4.30am, but right now our babies give us until about 6am. But I like to get up even before that. I’m now a 5am kind of girl, and I love it.

I've programmed my phone to be super supportive first thing in the morning.
I’ve programmed my phone to be super supportive first thing in the morning.

Let me tell you why. Having that hour before anyone else talks to me means I get to spend some much-needed time with myself. I currently use this to go running or do strength training in the lead up to my half marathon in July. On rest days, I will have a cup of tea and sit out on the deck, waiting for the sun to come up over the trees (and resisting the urges gripping every bit of my twitchy body to open my laptop or check my phone). It gives me a few moments of something I cannot get at any other time of the day: solitude, peace, breathing space and time for clear thought. Laura Vanderkam, author of What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast (spoiler alert: it’s not pull the doona up and hit snooze) reckons getting up early is the key to success in all facets of your life. “Mornings are a great time for getting things done, particularly the personal priorities that life has a way of crowding out,” she says. “Choosing to devote early morning hours to things that are important to us – exercise, strategic thinking, creative work, nurturing relationships – means you devote your most focused hours to these things, before other people’s priorities invade.” And that’s what we’re all about here – making you a priority. Not a morning person? You can learn to be – and it’s worth your while to do it. Various research (detailed in this great Sydney Morning Herald article published last week) has shown morning people:

  • are healthier
  • arehappier
  • have lower BMIs
  • are more proactive
  • are more likely to set long-term goals
  • feel more in control of their lives
  • are more confident.

Do you remember that smug, self-satisfied feeling you get when you get up early, once you get past throwing off the blankets and go out and breathe that dewy morning air deep into your lungs? You can have that every day!

The smug, self-righteousness of running in the dark. I love it!
The smug, self-righteousness of running in the dark. I love it!

So if you’re not a morning person, but want to be, how do you go about it?

  1. Don’t sacrifice sleep! Go to bed earlier or, if you can’t sleep at first, change your habits incrementally. Wake up 15 minutes earlier for 2-3 days, and then wind it back again. With each change, go to bed 15 minutes earlier too. You still want to be getting 7-8 hours of sleep a night.
  2. Plan what you are going to do in the morning and prepare for it. If you plan on exercising, have your clothes and shoes out and ready. This makes it much easier to get up and go. But having no plans probably means you will roll over and go back to sleep.
  3. Don’t hit snooze – ever. It’s a dirty bastarding little fucker designed to kill your spirit and make you lose your will to move. Forget about motivation and wanting to get up early. Just tell yourself this is what is happening and, when your alarm goes off, do it. Don’t lie around thinking about it even for a second. Your brain will try to trick you into conserving energy but who’s the boss of your brain? You are!

Rise and shine and enjoy those precious moments of the day that are just for you. I promise, they are worth it. Are you an early riser? What would you do with an extra hour to spend just on yourself?

Written By

Carolyn is the editorial director of Champagne Cartel and a freelance writer. In her spare time she is a long-distance runner, peanut butter enthusiast, and single mum to three incredible humans.


  • No. Just no. I definitely work better at night (it’s after midnight as I write this!) and whilst I don’t want to sleep until midday, I don’t want to see the sun rise either. As for kids and early waking…. I’ve never been prouder of my three year old than on Christmas morning when he woke at a respectable 10am!

    And for the record – LOVED The Practice. One of the best scenes ever was on that show – when Camryn Mannheim and Marlee Matlin were having a full-on argument, entirely in very animated sign language. Not a word was spoken, but the conversation was as clear as a bell.

  • My aim is to become an early morning riser and start an exercise habit after the easter rush. Love this post. I’m currently a late night person, but i’m going to attempt to change this and become an early morning person. Will be a big change but I know if I can pull it off that it will be a positive one for me!! This is the plan anyway!!! x

  • This could be me. Back in the day when I was Uni, I’d happily spend the majority of my day in bed, only getting up to go to a lecture or work. Since entering the real world I’ve become a morning convert. I love my quiet ‘me’ time before the kids are up, and I now get cranky when I miss out on it.

  • Cool post! I’m motivated!!
    I’m running again and exercising lots more so I really need to get up earlier. My little trick is to record shows and watch them when it suits me.
    The hour of solitude sounds awesome and those arguments for rising earlier are very convincing. X

  • An interesting post that made me feel a little smug as I am a morning person 🙂 The trouble with being a very early riser is that I ‘expire’ early and am a complete party-pooper. By 11 pm I’m gone!

  • LOVED this post! I am becoming a morning person more and more. I love getting up and going to the gym at 5.30am – now that I have worked out my little system in the morning it’s easy. I must get up and have my cuppa outside one day, that would be magical before my little ones wake. I’m even going to share this post, that’s how much I love it!! xx

  • Oh I LOVED The Practice!! I am a morning person due to having to start work early but also love the sleep in days as well! Although a sleep in for me is usually around 6:30/7am and I don’t have any kids or husband to blame, just my body clock used to getting up early!
    Great tips though!!

  • one day, when I don’t have a snuggly 9mo beside me, I will become a morning person again, to enjoy the quiet of the house without interuption. Meanwhile, I’m a nightish person, calling it done by 10pm, and enjoying uninterupted time after kid-bed time.

    • Oh yes, I think all sorts of special dispensation applies when you have a tiny wee one – especially still in your bed. How gorgeous are those night time cuddles! Enjoy them while you’ve got them, I say, Cate. Plenty of time for rising and shining later on. x

  • I love the idea of getting up earlier, to get some me time, but the truth is, if I get up earlier, my kids get up earlier. No matter how early I get up, they get up when I do… so I sleep till 7 ish, and stay up that bit later at night.

  • I am hopeless at going to bed early, and the boy wakes up early we were for a while a 5am and would want to play. I find that I am up late so I can have time to think or at least pretend. Am working on getting to bed before midnight, just have 30 minutes left…

    • Oh boy, Stephanie – you have way more steam than I do! I know what you mean, though, when the kids are at you all day, it’s nice to have some peace at night time. I have to remind myself to turn off and go to bed. I’m a hideous human if I don’t get at least 7 hours though, so Husby reminds me!

  • I used to early rise just because of job and life situations. I haven’t had to do it too much in a little while; yesterday I found myself awake at 4.45am and so I went to the beach to watch the sunrise. It was so nice being awake early. I guess pre-electricity we probably lived with the sun so it makes sense that our bodies are wired to work better this way.

  • I NEEDED to read this post! I so desperately need that extra hour for me because I need to actually use that gym membership and exercise for my health (physically, mentally and emotionally). Thank you so much for sharing not only why I should but also HOW. Love it! x

    • Thanks Sonia, your comment absolutely made my day! Glad it spoke to you. I need that time and exercise for body, mind and soul too. It makes a massive difference to the person that I am and how I feel about myself. Totally worth it! xx

  • Its like the universe is telling me to get my lazy ass out of bed 🙂 I would actually use the extra time in the morning to write or catch up on some work before the kids get up, hopefully this would mean less work at night and I could plonk on the couch next to my hubby without a laptop to keep us company 🙂 xx

  • I LOVE the morning! Working remotely in US PST supporting a Global team had me used to teleconferencing often anywhere between 3:30 and 6 a.m. After my scheduled calls I would often have several hours before the sun rose and found I was the most productive laying out open items to tackle during the week, reading the morning news and responding to friends and associates on social media. It left me feeling 100% ready to embrace the day once everyone else in the house and neighborhood stated stirring. I have since “retired” from the Global career and work for myself in my own time zone, but have kept the habit to rise no later than 6 am and still find those few quiet morning hours a perfect time for me to curl up in my happy chair with a large coffee and tablet and level set things on my terms with a fresh mind and eyes before I get distracted with the rest of the day.

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