“Wake up at 5am” they said… “It’ll be fun” they said…

“Wake up at 5am” they said… “It’ll be fun” they said…

Photo Credit: CBC

An honest (and maybe too real) testimony

Roxanne Atindehou, The Mike Staff Writer

Someone, somewhere said that the world belongs to those who wake up at 5AM. That sounds like bullshit, obviously, but my nosy ass had to find out for myself.

On a beautiful night of January, instead of doing my assignments, I was mindlessly scrolling through my Instagram stories when I stumbled across @heybriajones’ announcement about her second annual 5AM February Challenge. 

One can think of the 5AM challenge as a sort of reset. Bria started it last year to help manage her Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD) symptoms and invited all her 57.5k followers to join her. The goal is to wake up at 5 AM for all of February, and use the extra morning time to get a productive start to your day. So naturally, when Bria announced that she was reviving the challenge for 2022, my sleep-deprived (and unrealistically ambitious) January self thought it would be an opportunity to switch up my 3AM to 9 AM schedule for a healthier, and hopefully more productive, routine.

A couple of things motivated me to start my journey:

  1. Productivity. As a student leader, I often find that a good chunk of my days are spent doing extracurricular work. That’s usually because I use extracurriculars as well as house chores to procrastinate from my academic tasks. How can I start on my MAT315 homework if I haven’t finished making an aesthetic budget template for the Formal Committee? Who has time to study if laundry isn’t done? It’s okay, admit it, you relate.
  2. Health. What I wanted the most from this challenge was a bit of balance. I wanted more time to sleep, more time to eat, and more time to exercise. I was hoping that this would be the perfect opportunity to turn my life around.
  3. Personal Development. For years, I always complained about not having the time to learn a new skill (like Excel), or read something other than Wattpad fanfics(yes, they count.) But maybe waking up earlier would grant me that luxury that I have long craved.

I know, I know, at this point, it seems like I was expecting this challenge to give me the sun, the moon, and clear skin. Did it deliver, you ask? Well here’s a quick recap of how my 5AM February went:

Day 1

I successfully woke up at 5AM, but at what cost? My face was swollen from tiredness and my eyes burned every time I tried to keep them open. Nevertheless, I persevered and read a couple of chapters of The Spanish Love Deception (4/10, overhyped) until 6AM. Then, like the trophy wife I aspire to be, I baked a fresh batch of chocolate chip cookies, hold the chocolate chip of course. I took a bath, did some skincare, ate breakfast, and cooked and packed a superb mushroom risotto for my school lunch. I was out the door by 8 AM, and back home in time to go to bed at 10 PM. 

So Day 1 was an obvious success, and to top it all off, I drank more than 2 L of water. Safe to say I was giving “that” girl aesthetic. I felt so in control, like my life was finally coming together. I was an overly confident silly goose.

Day 4

I woke up at 8 AM. No cookies, no reading, just Netflix, McDonald’s and vibes. Does Coke Zero count as hydration? I feel like it’s fine…

Day 21

It’s Reading Week. Need I say more? I’ll just make it up in March.

Day 25

I actually woke up at 5 AM to get all dolled up for grad pictures but I went to bed at 3 AM. Small victories y’all.

I feel like you get the idea. The point is, this challenge was much harder than anticipated. One thing I learned is that if I had discipline it would be over for all of y’all ngl. As a whole, I truly benefited from this challenge. I started eating better and more consistently, I went to the gym for the first time since first year, and I read 9 full non-Wattpad novels. For the first two weeks I definitely saw an improvement in the amount of assignments I completed and my overall levels of energy. My eagerness at the start led to massive burn out by the end of the month. I was ready to consume my weight in McDonald’s fries and had to fight myself every morning to get out of bed.

You want my honest opinion (probably not but who asked you)? I highly recommend the 5AM Challenge, as a weekly or 2-week thing. As a student, a 5 AM to 10 PM schedule is not sustainable, but I know that once I learn how to balance the kale smoothies with late-night milkshakes (so what if I’m lactose intolerant?) waking up at 5 AM might become a permanent fixture in my life. I can definitely say that the world does in fact belong to those who are able to maintain that lifestyle.

For those of you that are contemplating waking up before the sun, go for it and let me know how it goes (@vignilee on IG, don’t mind me shamelessly plugging myself!)