Early Rising – Week 1

Conclusion:
I absolutely love the feeling of waking up early while most people are still fast asleep.  Although at this point, I’ve just been training myself to get used to the fact of waking up very early. I feel like the days are longer and I can fit more things that I want to do in it! I’ve been able to fit in my workouts and making my breakfast early these past few days. I can no longer use the excuse of “I don’t have time for it” because that really is just a bs excuse, now that I’m awake early I have loads of time to do whatever I’d like.  I love it.  My standard of early and late has definitely changed now.  Now I feel 8:00AM is late, I personally feel that’s a good thing.  My goal is to get to the point where I’m waking up regularly at 5:30AM every morning.  I am getting really close to it!

I’ve got a couple of things I need to work on, like sleeping earlier.  That is the main thing. I do really love staying up ’til 2AM or 3AM but I’ve realized that that probably isn’t too healthy for me.  I always feel so horrible when I end up waking up close to afternoon.

I’ve also been taking 200mg magnesium and 100mg of 5-HTP every night to help calm my nervous system so that I can have better sleep quality.

I’ve learned a lot and will keep my progress on early rising updated every week!

To read my day to day posts of how I felt, what I ate, and what I did every night for this first week for my early rising:

Day 2

Alrighty, so I woke up at 6:58 today, a little later than yesterday.  I went to sleep later last night and according to my sleep graph, I didn’t get very good sleep.  According to the graph I got some deep sleep at around 1:00 – 2:00 and then after that it was just very meh sleep.  I’m proud of myself for waking up before 7 though, even though it was just 2 minutes before 7!  I’m also proud of myself for not checking any social media right when I got up! All I did was hit the snooze button a couple times and then got up, drank some water and headed out of the bedroom.  I really think the concept of having a shorter and shorter snooze time helps wake me up along with the gradual volume increase. I just feel that I’m not unpleasantly jerked awake, like how it usually is.

So I just read some articles on how to get better sleep and the one from Mind Body Green’s “10 Tips to get Really Good Sleep” suggests that I take some magnesium and calcium in the evening since that helps relax your nervous system. I already need to take those vitamins anyways but haven’t gotten into the habit of taking them daily so I’ll give that a go starting today!  They also suggest 5-HTP in the evening since it’s a precursor to serotonin and serotonin is the one that regulates your sleep and mood! I gotta go to the store and get some of that today because I ran out!

I really like looking at my sleep graph and then figuring out ways to better improve my sleep! It feels great to gather data, and then test and experiment to see what works and what doesn’t work and logging all of that down.

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Wake up time: 6:58AM
Bedtime: 11:24

Supplements: N/A

Things I’d like to improve:
1. Sleep earlier, I’m going to aim to get to bed at 22:30 (10:30PM) today and hopefully wake up from 6:00 – 6:30
2. Take magnesium, calcium, and 5-HTP in the evening
3. Cut caffeine out after 2PM

Things I feel good about today:
1. It still feels really great to be awake so early, on a SUNDAY too!
2. I didn’t check social media or email first thing in the morning!
3. Listening to Erik Satie’s Gymnopedies while I write my blog post
4. Getting up and writing a blog post first thing in the morning

Conclusion:
Although I didn’t really want to wake up again, I got myself to do it anyway!  I’ve got to really learn how to get better sleep so that when I wake up I don’t feel like I need more sleep.


Day 3

SUCCESS!!! I was able to wake up at 6:31AM today!!! I’m very proud of myself. Slowly but surely, I will get to 5:30AM. I looked through my sleep graph this morning when I woke up and again it didn’t seem as though I was getting the best sleep. I felt tired when I initially woke up but again, drinking water really helped rouse me awake.  So I tried the magnesium and 5-HTP (I couldn’t find the calcium, so I skipped it) last night but I took it literally right before I slept.  I was actually in bed for 5 minutes until I realized I forgot to take the supplements! In the Mind Body Green article that I referenced yesterday, they said for us to take the supplements in the evening… So I’m assuming a couple hours before bedtime so that the supplements can get into our system.  My sleep wasn’t the best last night, according to Sleep Cycle it was actually the worst out of the three nights I monitored myself, I’ll be sure to remind myself to take the supplements earlier today and see if it works for tonight’s sleep!  I actually had a bit of Jasmine Milk Tea before bed so I’m wondering if that also affected my sleep since that contains caffeine in it? Either way, I’ll try better today! I’m going to adjust the wake up phase to 45 minutes for tonight instead of the regular 30 minutes and see what happens.  It basically means that Sleep Cycle will wake me up at most 45 minutes before my set alarm time so if I’m closing in an ending a sleep cycle within 45 minutes of my alarm, Sleep Cycle app will wake me up before I start a new sleep cycle.  I’d like to see what happens if I increase the timeframe it can wake me up at, I’ve noticed that my alarm has been waking me up at exactly the time I set (instead of earlier), so I’m wondering if that means that I was still not quite done with my sleep cycle but time was running out so they woke me up anyway.

Oh something I haven’t mentioned, I’ve been taking power naps for the past 2 days since I started waking up because I’d start to feel sleepy at around the afternoon (power napped at around 13:30 [1:30PM] on Day 1 and then 15:45 [3:45PM] on Day 2.  I always wake up feeling refreshed though. The same people from Sleep Cycle had just launched their apps for napping called “Power Nap”.  I like using it so far, they’ve got:

  • Power nap mode: which lets you nap up to 20 minutes waking you up before deep sleep

  • Recovery nap mode: which lets you nap up to 45 minutes waking you up before deep sleep

  • 1 Sleep cycle mode: which lets you nap up to 120 minutes waking you after one full sleep cycle

It’s quite cool, they don’t have any graphs though or at least not in the power nap mode that I’ve been using this whole time.

Here’s last night’s sleep graph:

photo (3)

Wake up time: 6:31AM
Bedtime: 11:15AM

Supplements:
1. 11:00PM – 200mg Magnesium & 100mg 5-HTP

Things I’d like to improve:
1. Take Magnesium, Calcium, and 5-HTP earlier in the evening, around 19:00 (7PM) or 20:00 (8PM)
2. Cut caffeine out after 4PM (2PM is a bit too early for me, I’ll try 4PM and see how that goes, if sleep still isn’t great I’ll go down to 3PM)
3. Sleep earlier, I actually slept at around 23:00 (11PM) last night, again I will aim for 22:30 (10:30PM)
4. Set wake up phase to 45 minutes instead of 30 minutes
5. Remember not to check email, I accidentally had my email open and looked through one message, thank goodness I realized what I was doing and then just quickly exited out of the window

Things I feel good about today:
1. I broke my record and woke up at 6:31 today! It always feels so amazing whenever you see yourself improve and beat previous records.
2. I saw I had two snapchat notifications but I resisted opening up the app and looking at them (+1 points for discipline, WOO!!!)
3. Getting up and writing this blog post today! I’m starting to feel myself get into a nice routine. I’m wondering if I should write in my journal along with this blog post.
4. I’m going to kick ass today!

Conclusion:
I’m definitely more tired waking up today but I won’t give up! This just means I gotta sleep earlier and see if taking those supplements will help relax my nervous system to have a deeper and better sleep!

Day 4

Well! I woke up feeling refreshed and much better today! I had the best sleep so far out of the 4 days I’ve been waking up early. I’m wondering if my body is getting used to the idea of rising earlier?  I woke up at 6:26 today, SUCCESS! It’s not 5:30 yet but I broke my previous record of 6:31 and well, progress is PROGRESS! My goal is to get to 5:30 by the end of this 30 day challenge and I’m just less than an hour away from that goal today!

So here’s a recap of some of the things I did yesterday, I’m wondering if any of them had an effect on the quality of my sleep.  Last night I took some magnesium and 5-HTP before I went to bed, I totally forgot to take it in the evening at 8 today. I’m wondering if that may be a reason why I slept so well? Yesterday I took it too at bedtime and I didn’t have the best sleep, hm. I also accidentally drank some half and half mango juice 30 minutes before I slept. I was craving really badly for some juice but I didn’t have any so my roomie offered me his half and half mango juice tea.  And I drank it, remember I said no caffeine after 4? But I somehow slept fine without it! I wonder if it’s because arizona tea is probably not real tea, so the content of caffeine is probably really low. I wouldn’t be surprised. Another thing I did differently from the previous days was that I didn’t take a nap this afternoon, I did have myself a shot of espresso (haven’t had one for a month) though and that kept my buzzing all afternoon.  I got home from work and found out that they had a Legend of Zelda exchange for reddit gifts month! I got excited and was talking to my roommate about Ocarinas and the game Ocarina of Time and then he surprised me with his n64 and the game OCARINA OF TIME amongst other amazingly nostalgic n64 games.  I sat down and played it for a couple hours but then got nauseous because I think I’m not used to staring at the tv without blinking while wearing my glasses. I ended the night with a light snack of mexican seasoned chicken and bell peppers. Browsed on the internet for a bit, had a glass of water and then went to bed at 23:00 (11PM).

I was woken up by Mike at around 5:30 today because he had a bad dream and I was pondering the idea of just waking up anyway since it was 5:30 and yolo. But the desire to stay in bed for another hour was a bit too strong.  I’m not feeling too bad though, I broke my record of waking up early by 5 minutes.

OH, I just remembered that I set the wake up phase to 45 minutes yesterday! I wonder if that has anything to do with me waking up feeling more refreshed!

photo (4)

Wake up time: 6:26AM
Bedtime:
11:04PM

Supplements:
1. 11:00PM – 200mg Magnesium & 100mg 5-HTP

Things I’d like to improve:
1. Take magnesium and 5-HTP at 8PM and see how that works for me
2. Sleep at 22:30 (10:30PM)

Things I feel good about today:
1. Not checking social media although I was watching a girl play the ocarina for a couple minutes first thing in the morning
2. Waking up early and feeeeeeeling good! I don’t feel groggy or really tired!
3. Breaking my record of 6:31 yesterday and waking up at 6:26
4. 6:30 is starting to feel like a normal time for me to wake up instead of an absolutely crazy time to wake up unless given a reason to do so

Conclusion:
I woke up feeling great and not as groggy and tired as I was feeling the previous days.  My sleep cycles dipped into the deep sleep phase three times, which in the past few days it’s only really dipped into the deep sleep phase one time during the whole night.  I’m going to figure out what happened last night that made me sleep so well.

Day 5

I woke up not feeling the best and was really close using one of my freebie passes and sleeping in.  I’m thinking it’s because I went to sleep right after eating a really heavy dinner. So I’m definitely going to try not to do that again.  The alarm was ringing since 6:22 and I finally woke up at 6:31 but didn’t actually get out of bed until 6:40.  I totally forgot and checked my snapchat and was texting my friend Steffi. But I think the two really helped my brain wake up because I was feeling realllllly tired. I should find another way to wake up that isn’t social media.  Maybe I should open the window and stare outside to wake up or something, I’m not too sure yet.  I’ll probably google that up after I write this article. I didn’t take the supplements until I went to bed, I’m not going to make any excuses though. I will try taking them earlier again today. I got injured while trying to do a handstand against a pole yesterday and I have this huge bruise on my leg that makes it hurt to walk. I’m wondering if that also affected my sleep quality?

The one thing I’m confused about with the Sleep Cycle app is how they measure “sleep quality”. I didn’t even hit even 1 deep sleep phase last night but the app is saying this is my best sleep out of all of these past 5 nights??? The sleep graph was quite constant in terms of pattern so I’m wondering if that’s why they think my sleep quality was better?  I personally don’t feel like it’s better.

I didn’t take a nap again yesterday and instead had a shot of espresso (I shouldn’t make that a habit) at around 13:00 (1PM).

photo (5)

Wake up time: 6:31AM
Bedtime:
11:11PM

Supplements:
1. 11:00PM – 200mg Magnesium & 100mg 5-HTP
2. 1:00PM – 1 shot of espresso


Things I’d like to improve
:
1. Eat earlier, if I’m going to eat, do not eat a really heavy meal right before bed
2. Take supplements earlier
3. Not check on social media right when I wake up
4. Not to rely on a shot of an espresso to stay awake during the day
5. Sleep at 22:30 (10:30PM)
6. Wake up earlier!

 Things I feel good about today:
1. I woke up early despite feeling like crap, that is HUGE for me! +1 points for discipline
2. Now that I’m awake I don’t feel as crappy
3. I’m listening to Hikaru Utada’s Sanctuary first thing in the morning, I absolutely love this song. It puts me in my safe place and makes me feel like “Everything will be a-okay.”
4. Waking up early and writing a blog post for the past 5 days consecutively

Conclusion:
Do not eat a heavy meal right before you sleep. I’m having a very strong feeling that is why I didn’t have the best sleep.

Day 6

Success! I woke up at 6:26AM today, although I laid around in bed until 6:33AM.  I had set my alarm to ring by 6:15AM with a 45 minute wake up phase and it woke me up at around 5:45AM!!! That was a bit way too early. I got into bed at around 10:40PM which was great because my goal to get into bed was 10:30PM!  But I was wide awake I think from both excitement and the couple sips of jasmine milk tea at around 9:00PM so according to my sleep graph I didn’t fall asleep until around 11:30PM…. I was thinking of maybe yolo’ing it and waking up at 5:45 anyways but the sleepiness had overcome me and I didn’t want to push my body too hard.  So I had to turn off my Sleep Cycle alarm at 5:45 and set up the Power Nap alarm since that would wake me up in under 20 minutes instead of after one sleep cycle.

photo (6)

Wake up time: 6:26AM
Bedtime: 10:40PM

Supplements:
1. 11:00AM – 2 shots of espresso at around 11:00AM
2. 7:30PM – 9:00PM – A couple sips of Jasmine Milk Tea (caffeine)
3. 10:40PM – 200mg of Magnesium and 100mg 5-HTP

Things I’d like to improve:
1. Beat my score of 6:26AM and wake up at 6:15AM
2. Actually fall asleep at 10:30PM
3. Take supplements earlier in the evening (I’ve taken the initiative of packing the supplements in a plastic bag and put it in my purse for easy access)
4. Stronger discipline, no caffeine after

Things I feel good about today:
1. Waking up before 6:30AM
2. Listening to Lido’s remix of Bank’s Drowning
3. Realizing what I’d like to do with my life ‘til at least I’m 30
4. The thought of waking up at 7:00AM is starting to feel “late” to me (which is a good thing, my standards are shifting)

Day 7

I woke up today at 8AM and I am somewhat disappointed in myself.  I went to bed a bit before 12:00AM, worked out right before hitting the hay and I’m not sure if working out affects my quality of sleep but I did it anyway.  Mike couldn’t sleep so I spent the next hour helping him fall asleep.  I take full responsibility for not waking up early though because I’m a responsible human being that takes full responsibility of their actions and accepts the consequences of their mistakes.  The alarm woke me up at around 5:39AM because Mike had to wake up at 6AM for a work call.  I was absolutely beat and couldn’t get myself to wake up so I set up another alarm that woke me up at around 6:00AM and again I was too beat to wake up and then I forgot to set another alarm and stayed asleep until 8AM.  Good thing I gave myself a freebie pass since I will be using it today.

I was really proud of myself for passing up the chance to go out clubbing with friends last night though. That is something I am really happy I said no to.  It was really hard to say no to my friend but I kept on thinking about my goals and not wanting to stay up late and waking up early and that was what really motivated me to be more disciplined (Nathan if you’re reading this, you know I love you but I just really need to say ~No~ to you sometimes *hugs* you are really too good at being persuasive).  Like what Stephen Covey says:

quotes-change-stephen-covey

When I saw that quote on Tone It Up’s instagram it made quite a huge impact on me.  Something clicked in my head and it really stuck to me.  I realized that I had difficulty saying no to things before and would say yes even when I knew it went against my priorities because I had felt bad about saying no.  So I’m learning to be stronger with my communications with people and to have discipline to put my goals before other people’s desires.  I am very grateful for that experience.

Wake up time: 8:00AM
Bedtime: 12:00AM

Supplements:
1. 11:45AM – Double shot of espresso
2. 8:30PM – 200mg of Magnesium & 100mg of 5-HTP

Things I would like to improve:
1. Sleep earlier at least by 10:30PM
2. Wake up earlier at least 6:20AM
3. Don’t workout right before sleep

Things I feel good about today:
1. Feeling good about having the courage and discipline to say “no” to things that didn’t align with my goals
2. I do feel good waking up today I had around 7.5 – 8 hours of sleep, I don’t feel groggy or tired, just a bit sad that I didn’t wake up earlier
3. Having fresh water to drink in the morning

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