Reasons To Wake Up Early

Early mornings. Some of us like them and have our reasons for waking up early.

I’m not a fan of waking up early. Don’t like waking up before 9 a.m. But since I have a day job, I have to and grudgingly drag myself out of bed at 7 a.m. on weekdays. And I’ve come to see the upsides of rising early.

Layers of fog, layers of colour on a winter Melbourne morning | Photo Challenge: Texture.

Layers of fog, layers of colour on a winter Melbourne morning | Weekly Photo Challenge: Texture.

Some of us wake up early because we want to get going with our day. We wake up early because we have to – we need to make breakfast, do the laundry or maybe do some exercise. We also wake up early so we can do what we want to do.

A few weeks ago, fogged rolled through the city on a winter Melbourne morning. It pained me but I woke up half an hour earlier than usual for work that day so I could see the fog and take photos of it, adding photos to my photo collection. As the icy wind sliced my red cheeks, a spectacular view greeted me at the Yarra River (see photo).

Waking up early and getting things done, we feel productive, like we’re doing something useful. A positive start to the day.

Some of us like getting out of bed early because we want to make the most of daylight.In winter, the days are shorter and it gets dark before 5 p.m. in Melbourne. It makes sense to do as much as we can outside when it’s bright because things do go bump in the middle of the night in Australia.

Then we get out of bed early because we like the peace and quiet that usually comes with mornings. A good time for thinking. Most Saturday mornings I lie in bed at 8 a.m., hearing nothing else but the voices in my head telling me what to write for the blog and my neighbour splashing water in the shower.

There’s not forgetting some of us wake up early because it’s a treat for the eyes and soul. Waking up early is simply, beautiful: dawn. Sunrise. Mist. Fog. Empty streets.

If I don’t have work or something planned that day, I don’t get out of bed until 10 or 11 a.m. My Chinese-Malaysian parents baulk at this – waking up early is a big part of Asian cultures. Feeding the family begins at the crack of dawn in Malaysia and Singapore every day. Wet markets here open for business as the sun rises and when we lived in both countries, my mum shopped there several times a week when it was still dark in the morning to get fresh groceries for dinner.

Eating is also a big part of Asian cultures – starting from breakfast, another reason many Asians like to get up early. Greasy yum cha dumplings, deep fried yu za kuei and fattening nasi lemak are just a few of the Asian breakfasts my parents love waking up for in Malaysia.

Crack of dawn religious prayers is another reason why many Asians get up early. Even many Asian kids are forced to wake up early. During my primary and secondary school days in Singapore, my classmates and I sung the national anthem at 7.20 a.m. during assembly and five minutes later, classes started. Coming to school at this hour meant most of us always got up at six.

On the days where I do wake up late, I usually feel more energetic and more determined to write. Being early risers doesn’t necessarily mean we’re early sleepers. No matter how early I wake up, it’s hard for me to fall asleep before midnight even if I feel physically tired. No matter how much I write in the day, my “writing zone” always hits me late at night.

No matter what time we wake up, there’s always time and a choice to get around to doing things. Most things.

Each day is what we make of it.

Do you wake up and/or like waking up early? Do you sleep late?

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109 thoughts on “Reasons To Wake Up Early

    • Thanks, Jill. I guess that makes two of us night owls. Oh yes. I spent half an hour taking photos of the fog. When I arrived at work, I felt like I had done a lot for the day. So I sat there at my desk thawing for half an hour…it was around 2’C that foggy morning 🙂

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  1. If I could follow my biological rhythm, I’d work in the dark hours of the night, get a few hours sleep, then nap away the afternoon to make it up. But I can’t do that.

    My husband is the same as you – he’s much better off to sleep in. If he gets up early, his productivity is shot for the day.

    Nancy

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    • Sleep away the whole afternoon…that sounds like a wonderful siesta. I’m sure we would all love that 😀 But you’re right. Life doesn’t really work that way for most of us.

      I hope your husband finds a balance between waking up early and sleeping early. Some jobs are flexible and do allow employees to sleep in. Thanks for stopping by, Nancy.

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  2. I can feel well with you Mabel. I’m also not a morning man, that’s why I miss all the beautiful morning shots before sunrise, My creativity is also better in the evening and sometime it’s hard to stop around 12pm to go to bed and get up around 8 am. Have a great time Mabel and enjoy the nights. 🙂

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    • Not a morning man, Erwin. I actually thought otherwise…never guessed that. I think you mean stop around 12am and go to bed. I feel you. Last night I turned off my laptop and climbed into bed at midnight, and right then a brilliant writing idea hit my mind. Very annoying. Hope this doesn’t happen to you too much 🙂

      Thanks, Erwin. I will enjoy the nights for now…since I’m on a bit of a break from work.

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  3. Right now I’m feeling sleepy because it’s been raining nonstop since last night and we just had pizza delivery 😛 Growing up in Hawaii, I used to wake up with the sun. My body just naturally did it and when we moved to California, for the first time, I had to buy an alarm clock.

    Ideally, we should get up when our bodies want to b/c I really think some folks function just fine with a little or a lot of sleep (within reason). I recently read too much sleep is just as bad as too little. I’m definitely on the sleep more side.

    I used to be an early riser, but work has dictated a different schedule. I work at night, so I’ve learned to stay up later and get up later. I know mornings are good for all that Asian stuff 😛 but I am a “slow to rise” morning person. I love to putter and move at my own pace.

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    • Haha, pizza takeaway delivered to your door. Sleepy. Someone seems to have eaten too much 😉

      “wake up with the sun.” Wouldn’t that be nice? Then we wouldn’t have to set our alarm clocks. It’s funny – in Australia I always wake up late but when I’m back in Malaysia, my body automatically wants to get out of bed by 8 a.m. Maybe my body is still on Singapore/Malaysia time, so many years since I moved back Down Under…

      Oh yes. Too much or too little sleep is bad for us. That could also mean we could be suffering from depression or some other ailments. Many Asians seem to be okay waking early AND sleeping late. I am not one of them…neither are you *high five for own pace*

      Liked by 1 person

    • I am so with you on this one, Ray. Always avoid rising early whenever I can. I guess when we’re young, or fairly young and not married, we can get away with being late risers 😛

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  4. I tend to wake early and I love the quiet, the freshness and the light in the early morning. That said, when I stayed in the village in Ghana a clanging church bell woke the entire village in the dark before dawn, which I didn’t enjoy at all.

    I prefer to write early in the day but rarely have the time. If I write at night I have to try and finish before it gets too late or I’m too hyped up to sleep!
    Love your foggy picture, do you have some more to show us?

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    • That clanging church bell must have been very loud then, since everyone in the village heard it. It must be a religious thing over there. In Malaysia, my flat is located beside an Indian temple. Every morning someone in the temple would ring the bell for ten minutes at 5 a.m. Then at 6 a.m. 7 a.m…. you get the picture.

      Too hyped up to sleep! You must really love writing, Maamej! I took quite a bit of photos that foggy morning. I’m actually planning on putting all my lovely Melbourne photos on a separate page sometime soon down the track. Will keep you posted 🙂

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  5. I prefer to wake up early, I always feel that my day is more productive when I start early. I like to do some sport and then starting to work 🙂 normally I write my posts early in the mornings, I love it. At night I feel like the day is already gone and all I want to read a nice book or watch series or movies with hubby. And sometimes waking up early had its positive side, the city is quiet and sometimes you get the chance to watch an amazing sunrise 🙂

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    • Sport before work early in the morning? That sounds very exciting, you must feel full of energy in the morning then! 🙂 Maybe you are chipy and cheery too and help others wake up!

      Sometimes I do feel that “the day is already gone” at night and I just want to play video games. Sounds like night time is for you and your hubby, ooooh 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  6. It’s interesting how you say you feel more energetic when you wake up later in the day. I’m not a morning person either but I definitely feel that when I force myself to wake up early and shower and eat, I do feel more awake and productive whereas when I have a lie in I end up feeling groggy and lethargic.. very strange!

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    • It is interesting you say you feel groggy lying in bed. On the days when I have stumbled out of bed at 11.30 a.m., I just feel weird. Like I had too much sleep or something, yet still feel tired and would want to head back to bed a few hours after getting up. Maybe I should be like you and learn to get up earlier…

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      • Haha I’d choose a lie in over getting up early anyday 😛 but apparently when we lie in, our body starts craving more sleep and that’s why our head feels like its full of cotton wool and makes us more tired.. didn’t make that up 😉

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  7. I wake up every 4 a.m. The first, it’s such habit since I was child because I had to do Divine duty as Muslim and while waiting for prayer call, I usually read or just lay down…hehehhee…*still lazy*
    When I went to Wonosobo two years ago, my friend brought me to Dieng Plateau at 4 a.m and we saw an amazing sunrise from the plateau which cannot be seen after 6 a.m. 😀

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  8. I often dislike to wake up early however it helps to achieve so much more during the entire day.
    My mother-in-law seems to be very Un-Asian as she sleeps alot. She wakes up late everyday, after breakfast she needs a nap, after lunch she needs a nap, somewhen in between she naps, basically her whole day is only eating and sleeping…

    Singing the national anthem at school? In both Finland and Germany we had never anything like that, particulary in Germany it would bring up a huge discussion in the media all about nationalism and so forth. Yes, Germans are afraid of everything which might indicate some proud in their own Nation 🙂

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    • Never knew your MIL slept a lot, and yet looks so slim 😉 I would’ve thought the opposite. I won’t be surprised if your son Nathan is awake more than her most days. I do try to wake up early and when I do, I do feel much more accomplished. Waking up early means more time in the day for yourself, and usually there’s less rushing.

      Yes. In Malaysia and Singapore we had to sing the national anthem every single day. And the songs were in Malay (Bahasa Melayu). Back then I guess both countries wanted to instill national pride in their citizens who usually didn’t have a clue about patriotism. It is interesting to hear that the opposite happens in your part of the world. Maybe you all are quietly patriotic in your hearts.

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  9. I love waking up early and getting on with the day, but then unlike you, Mabel, I’m usually falling asleep by 10pm. Even when I worked full time, I would get up at 7am both Saturday and Sunday. I’m definitely a morning person and can get all the daily jobs done by 11am which then leaves me the rest of the day to do what I like doing best of all – writing. By 6pm I’m ready to start dinner and spend the rest of the evening resting, watching TV or meeting up with friends.
    I guess we are all different, but I could never understand anyone who told me they were an afternoon person, because I could not imagine what it must have felt like to be like that.

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  10. I used to be one like that Mabel. I hated getting up early and I wanted to get myself all cozy up in the blanket for few more hours, get up more productive a little later 🙂 But now I am an early riser and I love it, I get up by 7am in morning, do my yoga, get ready, have breakfast and leave for work, And I feel so good about it.

    Though on weekends I still take an excuse and get up a little late may be by 9 or 10 but only on saturdays 🙂

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  11. It’s hard for me to get up early, but when I do I love it. In the heat of August, for example, it’s nice to get up and exercise early when it’s cooler and the air is cleaner. I love your early morning fog photo — that’s the kind of thing I miss (the ONLY thing I miss) about when I had to be on the road by 6 for my commute to work. Seeing the sun coming up and the fog on the river made the drive worthwhile.

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    • I bet it’s always easier get out of bed in summer – much warmer and sometimes the cold makes you drowsy in the morning. And you’re right – the air is cleaner in the morning. I completely forgot about that.

      Thanks, Sandy. It didn’t feel nice standing in the cold taking photos of the fog, but it’s not something you see everyday in Melbourne. I think fog and mist happens more over there in the States where it’s colder.

      On the road by 6 a.m…that IS early when you had do do that 😀

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  12. I have trouble sleeping at night. I always feel energized right before I should be in bed. Too many nights I’ve realized the sun was coming up and I finally feel sleepy. I do love a nice crisp morning though.

    Thanks for sharing the picture.

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    • Sorry to hear that. Maybe try drinking milk or eating a banana just before going to bed, I heard that that helps with sleeping. Or maybe just add a few more pillows to your bed 🙂 Thanks for the nice words.

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  13. If I have to wake up extra early, I can do it, but I’m usually awake at 6-30, and up at 6-45. I don’t like going to bed late though. I think the sleep you get before midnight, really counts. 🙂 Love your foggy pic. It was worth the effort.

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    • Ah, you’re quite an early riser there, Sylvia. “I can do it”, haha, love how you say it that way. I think you’re right that the sleep we get before midnight is important – usually the body “heals” itself best at those hours, or something like that (read that somewhere).

      Thanks for the nice words. Going out to see the fog was great. Since then, there hasn’t been any foggy days. Pity.

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  14. Growing up in Indonesia, where daily activities starts at 5 am I get used to get up early. Although since I live here my morning starts around 7.30 instead of 5 ! The only reason why I got up very early back then was to avoid the traffic jam in Jakarta…and now I am so thankful I don’t have to get through that hell anymore every morning. Just take my bike or take a tram, and enjoy the morning sun, a perfect start for the day!

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    • Haha, you must be relieved your days of getting up at 5 a.m. are over. When I was last in Jakarta, it took me forever to get anywhere by car – the car rides were always at least an hour long. I don’t cycle but I bet you feel the fresh morning air in your face when you do. Refreshing! And if you feel sleepy, maybe that will wake you up!

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  15. I am an early bird as well as a night owl. There’s something special about the extremes of the day, I think. Taking a siesta from 11 to 3 would make my day lovely, then sleep another chunk during the dead of night. But, unfortunately, the modern world has different things to say about that.

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    • “something special about the extremes of the day” Interesting. Never thought of it like that. If you take a siesta int he middle of the day like that, you’ll miss lunch! But I suppose you can always have a late lunch and an even later dinner. But you’re right. Most of the world doesn’t work to our fancy. It never revolves around us and we have to make the best of the pieces that we’ve got.

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  16. I’m with you on the find it hard to fall asleep before midnight, and don’t want to get out of bed early brigade. When I do force myself to wake up early, I’ve found it most rewarding – watching the sky change colour, enjoying the peace and quiet of the empty streets and the overall feeling of serenity. I keep promising myself that I’ll wake up early more often… but going to sleep late is a hard habit to break 😦

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    • Same here. I keep telling myself I’ll rise earlier than usual on my days off, but it usually never happens 😦 I don’t think this is a sign of laziness (though it might be). I sleep late, so it makes sense to rise earlier. If not, then I’d feel very tired.

      Since you travel quite a bit, I’m sure sometimes getting up early isn’t hard for you 😉 Many more early mornings for you to come.

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  17. Ooh, great topic!

    I definitely don’t consider myself a morning person, and like you I would probably sleep until 10ish if I could. However, lately, I’ve been discovering that getting up early is a very beneficial discipline. My daily schedule usually starts around 8am, but I’ve been trying getting up at 7am three or four times per week to exercise. And since I’ve been so motivated to get out of the house to work out, it’s made getting up a little easier than normal!

    Isn’t yum cha basically the same as dim sum? I think dim sum is what first convinced me that my Chinese heritage was so great. Haha. It was so great when I moved to Hong Kong… which is like the birthplace of dim sum. 😀

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    • You are so right. Forcing ourselves to get up early teaches us how to disciplines ourselves. You must be quite used to getting up early now. Maybe soon it will become a habit for you. I suppose getting up early you might feel tired earlier in the day. But for me this rarely happens. No matter how early I wake up, I start to feel mentally energised at 9pm, or 10pm. Maybe later.

      Oh yes. Yum cha is the same as dim sum. You are very lucky that you live in a part of the world where tasty dim sum is served 😀

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      • Yeah, my fatigue level varies day by day. Sometimes on exercise days I feel like I have more energy than on days where I don’t exercise. Other times it’s vice versa. It’s kind of unpredictable that way. If nothing else, I usually feel better about myself after I’ve exercised! Haha.

        When do you do most of your writing? Is it always after dinner? Or do you have times in the day when you write?

        I used to live where dim sum was served. Now I’m in Sichuan province where their version of dim sum is very rare and also not very good. But it’s okay, there’s lots of other tasty food here. 😀

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        • Exercise does get the blood and oxygen pumping around the body. I think our fatigue levels vary according to what we eat too. When I have a good breakfast in early in the morning, I feel less tired throughout the day. Even a McDonalds breakfast burger is better than no breakfast for me…

          I actually plan on addressing my writing in an upcoming post soon. But you guessed right: I write after work, after dinner when I have quiet time to myself. Which is great since I feel mentality sharpest at night.

          You sound like a foodie 😀

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          • Yeah, having a good breakfast can also be helpful. (Hm, that sounds like it could be a good topic for a future post of mine. Hehe.) And like you, I also enjoy eating McDonalds breakfast burgers. Though not as a regular habit, mind you. 😛

            I guess you could call me a closet foodie? Some people might just say I’m picky. Haha.

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            • Food is always a great topic of discussion in Chinese cultures. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, the snacks, the celebratory foods…oh my. Many Asians literally wake up for food, live and breathe food. Would love to see you write about food 🙂 Closet foodie? I believe you…but a foodie is always willing to eat anything!

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  18. I wake up early on workdays, because waking up and leaving the house even 10 minutes later, can add 20 minutes to travel time on the roads.
    Weekends, whenever. Depends on what I need to get done that day. Leaving the curtains (partly) open allows sunlight in in the mornings, which a much better way to wake up than using an alarm clock.

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    • So true, Dragon. Peak hour traffic is never our friend. Sometimes if I leave the house a minute late for work, I miss my tram and waiting for the next one takes ages.

      I am sure most weekends you jump out of bed…grab your camera and head for the streets.

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  19. Love that gorgeous, atmospheric photo, Mabel.
    Like you, I’m chronotype late – stay up late, wake up late – going to, as well as getting out of bed, is not my favourite thing.

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    • Thanks, BB. I like the photo too. Worth standing in the cold for it. Getting out of bed? Every morning I roll out of bed. That’s not my favourite thing, but I think it beats sitting up and getting out of bed.

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  20. Apart from working out, one of the things that inspire me to wake up before 5:00 in the morning is to catch the illuminating view of the mosque’s (opposite our accommodations’ gym) lights when the sun is in the midst of stealing the light back from the black night. The flickering lights being dispersed by the mosque inveigles my somewhat-lazy-morning body to start the day right.

    I am generally a “late sleeper” (if there is such a word) and an early riser. College days turned me into something like that. I usually work late at night for some school stuff, especially those that require words as an answer. My brain just seem to function best at that time. Most of my blog entries were also written during that time of the day.

    All my jobs, not to mention my schedule during college days, have required me to be in before 7 or 8 p.m. This has something to do with being an early riser.

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    • I like this comment a lot from you, Sony. It’s like a very nice story. “…stealing the light back from the black night” Love this description. It seems like something wakes you up each morning – that’s great and you don’t have to worry about an alarm clock.

      Seems like you can get by on minimal sleep – and you’ve done that for quite a while and it seems to have become a habit. So it must have become easy for you to wake up early. I applaud you for that as I feel tired all day if I get less than six.

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  21. My dad used to get up to go to work at around 4 or 5 AM in the morning and I have always gotten up very early in the morning ever since. After all these years no matter how late I go to sleep, I still get up very early in the morning.

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    • Thanks for sharing, Domenico. Maybe you’re just very used to rising early. 4 or 5 a.m. is quite early, that would be when the sky is still dark. I’m sure because you get up early all the time, you’ve seen a heap of sunrises. Lucky you.

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  22. Very happy to know that you are beginning to see the beauty of early morning (not just the peaceful arrival of dawn, but also getting a nice jump on the day). I use to always wake up late, and at times still really enjoy sleeping in ~ however, nothing better than waking up early and seeing the beautiful day begin 🙂

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    • Oh yes. I’m definitely beginning to see how beautiful early mornings are. It’s always nice to be out early and take my time to go to work or wherever I need to be. Rushing really isn’t the way to start the day; it’s rushing that can bring your day down. We all deserve to sleep in every now and then to rest and recharge 🙂

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  23. I don’t mind getting up early, so it’s not a problem for me.
    When we lived in our old apartment, I sometimes got up extra early so that I could stop and take photos on my way to work. In our new neighborhood there’s just about nothing interesting to photograph, so the camera is mostly collecting dust. There’s nothing interesting on my new way to work either, but our jobs and our son makes sure that we get up early every day – even in the weekends.

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    • Ah, so you’re an early bird, Cardinal. Pity that your new neighborhood doesn’t look too interesting. Maybe you might want to take a turn down an unfamiliar path one morning on the way to work and see if that takes you to better scenery…or maybe not if you don’t want to get lost and be late for work 🙂

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  24. I am not a morning person!! I think mornings are beautiful….I love to see the sun rise….but I do not like to wake up for it!!
    Like you, I have a day job and I am forced to get up in the morning. But I have a difficult time winding down and going to sleep early.
    great post Mabel!!

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  25. I don’t like getting up early in the morning but I think you have more time to do the things you like to do or you have to do. Unfortunately I work in shifts so I have to get up very early in my morning shift .. at 4:30 am 😦 But as soon as I step out the door and cycle to work I’m awake immediately. And even when I could sleep longer in my late shift I get up at 7:30 am at the latest just to drink a coffee together with my boyfriend before he leaves to work. And I have ennough time to do the household or to go running or climbing before my working day starts at 1pm.

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    • 4.30 a.m. is a very early time to wake up. It must be a struggle to wake up that early when you have to, and it must be a lot harder in the winter. Hope you can see in the day on your way to work 🙂 That is so nice, your boyfriend is a reason why you wake up. I’m sure he appreciates it a lot 😀

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  26. For the past 2 decades, I now tend to wake up as early as 5:00 am or for 1 previous job, as early as 4:15am. For bike commuting to work, I had to wake up a bit earlier. Besides in the humid summer in Ontario where I first lived for first few decades, it was better cycling very early in the morning.

    Actually quite lovely to start off before the car rush hr. starts. Sun rising, birds twittering, etc. On weekends I give myself an extra 2 hrs. or so before getting out bed. 🙂

    After university, for the first 3 years of working, I found it very difficult to get up, take almost 1 hr. to get to work and be at work @9:00 am. But I changed.

    As a result, I tend to go to bed early ..by 11:00 pm. Otherwise I’m tired.

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    • Sounds like you’ve always been an early bird. Early bird catches the worm. I guess now you’re used to waking up early – it’s a habit and you have something to look forward to when you wake up early, cycling. Maybe someday I’ll get used to waking up early, maybe it takes a few years to get used to it.

      11 p.m. is actually quite late 😛

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