“Early to bed and early to rise makes a MOM healthy, wealthy and wise” – Ben Franklin (edited)
The alarm clock jolts you out of a deep sleep and you slam the snooze button (for the third time).
You groggily sit up and come face to face with your two and a half year old toddler staring creepily into your eyes.
How long has she been standing there watching me sleep?
You hear an earth shattering scream coming from the hallway, followed by the pounding of feet as your two other children bound into the room.
He hit me. She hit me first!
COFFEE! Mommy needs coffee!
The next hour is a blur as you rush to get your kids dressed, feed them breakfast, make their lunches, and get them to the school bus on time.
Then off to play group, the grocery store, and back home just in time to feed your toddler lunch and get her down for a nap.
It’s 1pm when you finally sit down, reheat your unfinished coffee from 8am, and realize you haven’t even showered or eaten a single bite yet.
Does this sound anything like your mornings? You’re not alone, Mama! This was my morning nightmare for a long time before I learned a little secret strategy that I’m excited to share with you…
One of the most important lessons I have learned as a Mom has been the importance of self-care. Kind of like they say on airplanes…you have to put on your own oxygen mask first. It is SO much easier to parent from a place of abundance than from a place of emptiness.
You’re probably wondering what waking up early has to do with self-care? After all, sleeping in is likely your preferred method of self-care if you’re a night owl! The problem is, if you wake up at the same time (or just before) your kids do, you literally have to hit the ground running.
You’re left with no time to gradually wake up mentally and physically (especially important if you are not a traditional morning person), no time to get yourself ready, no time to exercise, no time to find some peace before the chaos…no time period.
Mornings used to be my favorite time of day…until I became a Mom. I have three children who STILL do not sleep through the night (at ages 6 years, 4 years, and 15 months). For the longest time, I told myself I needed every last minute of sleep I could get.
Then, one day I found myself downing my third cup of coffee, still feeling like a MOMBIE, and just angry at everything and everyone. Somewhere along the way, I’d lost myself to the demands of parenting.
As soon as I started making it a habit to wake up before my kids every day so I could start my day off by filling up my own tank, my entire perspective changed. Waking up early made me a better Mommy, a better wife, a better blogger, and just a better ME!
Here Are 5 Reasons Why You Should Wake Up Before Your Kids
1. Mental Health
If you want to be a happier and calmer parent (and overall person), waking up early is one way to start. In fact, waking up early may lower your risk of depression according to this study in the Journal of Psychiatric Research.
Another study in the Journal of Biological Rhythm Research found that being a night owl makes you more prone to developing psychological symptoms.
As a Mom, I can definitely agree that when I stay up super late, I feel more anxious and am prone to snapping at my husband and children. When I wake up early and take some time to pray, write my to-do lists, catch up on some work, or just center myself, my overall mood is much more positive and I stay grounded for the entire day.
2. Physical Health
If mental health wasn’t a strong enough reason to get you out of bed earlier, consider this. That last study also discovered…
“morning-type individuals have significantly better health conditions than evening-types.”
People who wake up early also tend to be the type of people who exercise, eat a healthy breakfast, drink lots of water, and manage their stress levels (decreasing the risks for heart attack, stroke, cancer, and more).
As a Mom, it is definitely hard to find the time to keep a regular skin-care routine (I swear I never even noticed any wrinkles until my kids came along). Waking up early gives you more time to do things like moisturize, exfoliate, and keep that skin looking young and healthy!
3. Better Parenting
When you get into a regular routine of practicing self-care, you become a much calmer and happier person overall. I can say this honestly from personal experience.
The days that I am up before my kids and spend some alone time getting grounded and taking care of my own needs, I am able to greet my children with a smile and “I love you” when they get out of bed. This really sets the tone for the entire day!
I once heard that the 15 most important minutes of parenting are the first 5 minutes after your child wakes up in the morning, the first 5 minutes when they get home (from daycare, school, etc.), and the last 5 minutes before they go to bed.
If you find you struggle with getting your kids to listen or have little ones who seem to deliberately disobey, you may be parenting from a place of anger or control. Waking up early to have some much needed “me time” before the day starts will go a long way in helping you to be a calmer and more patient parent.
4. More Productive
Oh boy! This has to be one of my favorite reasons! I am a list person. I have lists about the lists I need to make. I love “To Do” lists! Being able to check off all of the tasks I have gotten done provides me so much satisfaction.
Once I became a Mom, I realized I had very little time to get all of my seemingly important tasks done. What looked like a completely empty day on the calendar always seemed to end with me exhausted and not a single item being checked off of my list! Welcome to parenting!!!
I have now learned that the hour(s) before my children wake in the morning is the sweetest and most productive time of my entire day. The day is still full of possibility, my mind is fresh, and my energy is at its peak.
I love being able to start my day off as me…not as Mommy, not as wife, not as anything else…just me. When my days begin with me being able to accomplish even just one important task, I am much more motivated for the entire day and find my days end with many more checks off my list!
5. Increased Energy
I touched on this slightly in the point above. It may seem counter-intuitive, but one of the main reasons that waking up early can improve your energy levels is thanks to your circadian rhythm.
When you go to bed and wake up at roughly the same time every day, your body will naturally begin to wake on its own (before your alarm even goes off). At night, your body will also get tired at the same time. If you stay up past your new “bedtime,” your body will have a sleep debt to pay off and you will suffer with low energy and fatigue until it does.
On the other hand, if you stick to regular routine of waking and sleeping, you’ll find you have much more energy and stamina to get through whatever the day may bring!
7 Tips on How to Wake Up Before Your Kids
1. Get Your Kids Sleeping Better
If you want to be able to wake up feeling rested, you need to make sure your kids aren’t interrupting your precious hours of sleep. There are lots of gentle ways to encourage your kids to sleep through the night. Room darkening blinds, Okay to Wake Clocks, White Noise Machines, and Essential Oil Diffusers are all helpful with this!
2. Get Yourself Sleeping Better
If you struggle with insomnia (trouble falling asleep or trouble staying asleep), finding the underlying cause (low magnesium, caffeine late in the day, electronics in the bedroom, etc.) and addressing it is your first step.
Creating a consistent bedtime routine can also help with cueing your body and mind that it is time to turn off. Half an hour before you want to be asleep, create a series of rituals that you can repeat each night. Brush your teeth, wash your face, journal, read a book (no electronics one hour before sleep), then spend ten minutes in prayer/meditation, or deep breathing.
3. Set Your Intentions the Night Before
Decide what time you will wake in the morning.
5am? 6am? 7am? Aim for 6-8 hours of shut eye.
Once you have chosen your wake up time, set your alarm for thirty minutes earlier. In the beginning, it is going to take your body time to adjust to your new wake-up time.
If you are someone who tends to press the snooze button over and over, you’ll need to set your alarm earlier to ensure you are up and out of bed by the time you have chosen.
After a week or two, your body will be more adjusted and you can set your alarm clock for the actual wake-up time (or perhaps your body will be waking naturally without the alarm).
4. Choose Your Motivation
Having a reason to get out of bed that will motivate you is crucial.
Maybe you want to start your morning off with a workout to get into shape, or perhaps you plan to use the extra time to get some work done. Maybe you just want some time to sit quietly and sip your coffee in peace while you gradually wake up.
Whatever the reason, make sure it is something that motivates you to get out of bed in the morning or you will be tempted to keep snoozing.
5. Create an Incentive
If you do find that you are struggling with being motivated enough to follow through with your plan, create an incentive that gets you excited. Maybe you treat yourself to a special coffee creamer or a new pair of running shoes to work-out in.
Perhaps it is a new body wash for your extra-long shower (without any kids interrupting). Find something that feels special and rewarding.
6. Have a Morning Routine
Similar to creating a bedtime routine, it is important to have a morning routine and to stick to it. If you plan to workout every morning, have your clothes and running shoes sitting out and ready to go.
If it is a morning shower, coffee, and work time…set your coffee maker the night before and stick to the plan.
It can be easy to wake up, be tempted by the idea of coffee and alone time, only to waste those precious minutes by scrolling through your Instagram feed and catching up on celebrity gossip.
Unless THAT is your motivation, stick to your routine and don’t even turn your phone on until later.
7. Be Patient
There really are two types of sleep personalities, night owls and morning people. The good news is that you can CHOOSE which type of person you want to be. While you may never be someone who instantly wakes up happy and motivated, you CAN be someone who wakes up early and enjoys some productive time before the kids get out of bed.
Remember, it takes 21 days to create a new habit so be patient with yourself and just stay consistent.
Unless you are a “rip the bandaid off” type of person, take it slowly.
Aim to wake up 15 minutes earlier each day until you reach your goal time. This gradual approach will be easier on your body (and mind).
Whatever you do, DON’T GIVE UP! Stay the course.
The benefits are worth it! Having a few minutes of YOU time before your kids wake up will become much more valuable than pressing the snooze button, I promise! What have you got to lose (other than a few minutes of sleep)?
Now it is time to hear from you: What is your reason for wanting to wake up before your kids and which strategies do you plan to use to do it?