Why you should get up at 6am 5am 4am and not sleep-in.

I regularly see posts on social media touting why you should get up at 4am to feel like a leader. This is get in extra hours work before anybody else is awake. In a sad case of one-upmanship, it started at 6am but I see it being slowly eroded further and further back as they strive to outdo each other in the lack of sleep department.


In principle this sounds like a good idea, I mean you would gain an extra few hours quiet time first thing. But here is the catch, if I get up at 4am, I have to be in bed by 9pm the night before. That’s with only 7 hours sleep and unfortunately it is rare that I need less than that to function properly, or even at all. Coffee won’t help here, it just keeps me awake enough to be grumpy and with a wandering mind.


Perversely, these same social media posts are also advocating that you get the work in between 9pm and 2am. Then get up again at 4am? Seriously, 2 hours sleep? Something has to give. You really can’t keep that up long term, no matter what your stamina is.

Quite recently Elon Musk went on a sleep deprivation fuelled tweet fest about Tesla. He then had to explain in an interview what caused this. Low and behold, it was simply not having enough sleep. Can you imagine taking these kinds of actions when you have a job and boss to keep happy? How would your promotion prospects look if you weren’t able to perform as expected?. I’m not saying it is impossible, just that it is likely unreasonable for the average person to keep up with.


Health effects of sleep deprivation.

There is also the health impact to consider, both internally and externally. Cells are known to become damaged due to lack of sleep. Less sleep can increase your chances of cancer and lower your immune system. Statistically you are likely to die younger if you have less sleep. I guess some could argue that you might live longer but you have been asleep during the extra time so what’s the difference and my answer would be if you get the right amount of sleep you will certainly feel more alive.

Mental health wise, I know that I become grouchy and clumsy from lack of sleep. I also get paranoid and snappy. Some of your off-work time should be spent with your family. Would you honestly like to be on the receiving end of your bad mood from lack of sleep?


My advice is this, aim for the amount of sleep that you need to function properly. Start with 8 hours, if you need more (and I don’t mean you just want more) then set the alarm 30 later or head to bed earlier. If you need less, then knock off 30 minutes. Keep going like this until you find the sleep pattern that keeps you able to focus and a part of the human race. Your future self will thank you for it.


My parting thought.

In the end, it is up to you what time you get up but think about how you use your time. What is the point in getting up at 4am if you are then going to watch YouTube for 3 hours straight. I mean, do you really need to see, at 1am, a dog riding a skateboard?