I can’t put a finger on how it happened.
Perhaps it was the pile of work I had two weeks ago.
Perhaps it was the idea of being able to participate in my Jewish studies class live rather than watching it later (this class takes place at 7.15 AM in Israel. Two hours ahead of the UK).
But either way, something unprecedented occurred: For close to ten days I’ve been up since 5 AM. That’s right. 5 AM (well, give or take a few minutes. Oh, and I still sleep in weekends!).
Me, the late-night-late-morning guy, getting up before the sun for the last two weeks.
Now, getting up at 5 as a one-off to help me reach a work deadline is one thing.
But two weeks?! Me?! How the heck did that happen?!
I don’t know. Only G-D can explain how something that unnatural. And trust me, in my case such an occurrence is highly unnatural!
But what I do know is that I gained from it. A lot.
We all have things that we’d do if we only had some uninterrupted time. Things we’d do for ourselves if we’d only have some time completely to ourselves.
For me, as a Jew, that’s learning Jewish texts. I get to take part in a class uninterrupted before the world starts demanding my attention.
Consistent bedtimes weren’t my thing. It was too much of a discipline.
My mother once advised me that the best way to get into a good routine is to work backwards and get up earlier.
It took a few years, but I finally got the discipline to try that out. And, as usual, she was right. Setting a time to get up each time motivates you to get to bed earlier. Knowing that you have to be up at five forces you to get a good 7-8 hours’ sleep in every night.
The benefit? I’m more awake during the day. Come late afternoon and I’m still fresh and awake.
Getting up when it’s still dark and cold is never easy. But once you’ve won that battle, you start off the day feeling good about yourself. You’ve won one battle, and that gives you the confidence to face whatever the rest of day has instore for you.
A longer breakfast, a relaxed bath, unhurried morning prayers… these were luxuries before now. But with a couple of extra hours, I get to start off the day in a more relaxed state of mind.
It’s not for everyone. I don’t know how long I can keep this up myself. But maybe, just maybe, this is something you could try. Yes, it will mean an earlier bedtime, and perhaps a bit less time chilling in the evening. But I would say it’s definitely worth a shot.