Effects of waking up every day at 5:30

Federico Sanna
4 min readDec 3, 2020


Every month of 2020 we embrace a new challenge and stick to it for a month. May was the month of #Rise&Shine, we woke up every day at 5:30am, and here it is how it impacted our lives.

Probably ranked as high as bouncy-bouncy and eating, sleep is for me one of the greatest joys of life. There are very few days in which I feel like springing out of bed, I am a big lover of the sub-duvet environment and that’s where I feel I belong early in the morning. However, in May I stepped out of bed at 5:31am, and here’s what changed:

  • Extra hours: In almost every day of the year there are 24h to be enjoyed, but when you wake up at 5:30 you feel like there are 30h. Quite obviously the earlier you wake up, the earlier you need to go to bed, but the energy and productivity of those early morning hours is so powerful it feels like the world chose to lend some extra time to you.
  • Self-care: From 9am our daily routine starts, and it finishes at some undefined time in the evening when we are done working. Every morning, whether you exercise, do some grooming, take a shower, all you do is take care of yourself. Few extra hours in the morning are a few extra hours you devolve to yourself.
  • Mindset: Stepping out of bed early is the first success of the morning, and you know that the next few hours are going to be for yourself’s development only. Your day really does start empowerfully right.
  • Energy: I love fresh air, clear sky, and edgy sunlight. The vibes you gather in the morning are so energetic they enable you to face whatever challenge you have set for the day.
Photo by Ryan Booth on Unsplash

My father has been waking up at 5am since I have memory of him, and most likely earlier. I always wondered what on earth could have ever motivated him to wake up that early and why could he not just wake up an hour before going to the office like everyone else. Why would you ever subscribe for such a painful start of the day?

Almost all my previous efforts of waking up early were related to catching a flight, getting ready for some weird adventure, or last-minute push before an exam or a deadline. And none of them really felt great, after midday I was more or less trying to get through the day without passing out.

But not only my father. Tim Cook, Jack Dorsey, Richard Branson, do wake up very early… So there must be something I was missing hiding behind the plague of the 5:30 alarm. Why are 3 hours in the morning any better than 3 hours in the evening? How come they are worth the burden of early disjunction with your bed?

The first couple of days of waking up early were terrible. The effort in the morning was incredibly tough and halfway through the day, I would start daydreaming about sliding into bed. It is, however, a self-curing process. The real key about waking up early is going to bed at a decent time, leaving your phone on the bedside table, and turning off the lights. If you are persistent enough to go through the first days, I can ensure you you’ll start wanting to be asleep by 10pm, getting a good night of sleep, and recharging the batteries for the next day. And you’ll realise all you are giving up are a few hours on your phone before bed.

I started using my time in the morning to workout for about 45 minutes, shower and groom, meditate ~10minutes, read, and make myself some breakfast. The early morning vibe that hits you right when you wake up really did put me in a mood for exercising and doing good things for myself. I made the effort to wake up early, now I need to put this time to its best use.

Not only I got more fit, more focused, and I read more, the rest of my day would be so more productive as well. When the time to start working came, I had been up a few hours already, I was fresh, clear on what I needed to do, and I felt good about all the stuff that I would have usually done at the end of the day. Each and every day I was being purposeful, productive, and energetic. I was looked down at home due to COVID and yet I was in my best shape, incredibly productive, and more stimulated than I was before.

My takeaways:

  • Waking up early sets you up for a powerful and productive day. You’ll have a clear picture of what you need to do and you’ll be able to structure your schedule better and more efficiently.
  • In the morning there’s no one to disturb you, there’s no urgent task to be done, you’ll never have to reschedule your workout to finish a job. It is an amazing tool to create habits you want to pick up, you won’t have excuses to postpone your goals.
  • You can use the time in the morning to take care of yourself. You can exercise, meditate, read, have breakfast, groom without anyone disturbing you. You can take care of yourself first, before you can have your best self taking care of anything it needs to.
  • An early morning alarm is a powerful secret tool to break a strike of subdued days. When you wake up early, it becomes much easier to take control of your day.

Next month, we’ll be jumping on an insane exercise routine. Every day we’ll do 100 pull-ups, 200 push-ups, 100 hindu push-ups, 200 squats. Every day. Follow me to know what part of my body will break first and to give me some energy in the Goku-style way. Thank you for reading,

A presto,



Federico Sanna

Autonomous Driving Systems Engineer at Arrival— Imperial College Bioengineering Graduate — 12challenges patient zero