In the hushed moments before the world awakens, there's a magical stillness that envelops us. The gentle touch of dawn, the soft whisper of first light, and the promise of a new day – it's a time when dreams are still lingering, and hope is just beginning to stir. It's in this tranquil interlude that the world stands still, and our most profound transformations often take shape.
Let's be real: the relentless demands of careers, juggling side hustles or climbing the corporate ladder while finding time for self-care often leave us feeling like tightrope walkers on the grand stage of life. We know the overwhelming of social media, the late-night Netflix binges that encroach upon our sleep, and the constant battle to find balance.
But within the early morning's grace is a precious gift: uninterrupted time for self-reflection, nourishment of the mind, and the cultivation of habits that can rekindle your sense of purpose, reignite your creative spark, and provide the clarity to overcome the demands of our daily lives.
So, grab a warm cup of tea, embrace the tranquil dawn, and let's begin. This is an invitation to transform your mornings and, in turn, transform your life. Welcome to the Golden Hour, and welcome to a new chapter in your journey.
In this blog post:
Okay I'm interested... What is the Golden Hour?
The 'Golden Hour' is the special time right after you wake up in the morning. It's called 'golden' because it's like a golden opportunity. The world is peaceful, and you have a fresh start to your day. It's a bit like a quiet, magical moment when anything is possible.
Your body and mind do some important work while you sleep. They clean up and refresh your brain. When you wake up, your brain is in its best shape, like a superhero ready for action. Chemicals in your brain help you think clearly and pay attention to things. So, during the Golden Hour, you're at your mental peak.
It doesn't necessarily have anything to do with the sunrise, although it definitely increases your chances of witnessing the sunrise and let's be honest, it's really hard to have a bad day when you got to see the epic sunrise sky.
The Golden Hour is highly valued for several reasons:
Enhanced Focus: After a night's rest, your mind is clear and your ability to concentrate is at its peak.
Quiet and Minimal Distractions: The early morning is often quieter, with fewer emails, phone calls, or kids/fam awake yet.
Positive Start: A productive morning sets a positive tone for the rest of the day, leading to a sense of accomplishment.
Time for Personal Growth: It can be an excellent time for personal growth activities like reading, exercise, meditation, or creative work.
Benefits of Early Morning Productivity
Improved concentration, creativity, and motivation: When you start your day early, you can think more clearly, come up with creative solutions to problems, and feel a boost of energy that makes you want to tackle your to-do list. It's like having a head start in a race – you're already ahead, and that feels pretty amazing.
Sense of accomplishment and reduced stress throughout the day: Imagine this: you've already accomplished important tasks while the world is still waking up. That's a powerful feeling. It's like putting money in your 'success' bank early in the morning. Plus, when you get things done in the morning, you have less stress hanging over your head throughout the day. You can go about your day with a sense of calm and confidence, knowing you've already won some victories.
Personal growth: This is your time to do things that are JUST for you - whether it's working on a goal, reading a book, a little extra time to spend on getting ready for the day, hitting a workout class, this is all about YOU. Yeah, you'll miss an hour of netflixing by going to bed early, but you'll get so much more accomplished because you're doing it when your brain is fresh and ready to be productive.
Practical strategies for making the most of the Golden Hour:
Be Consistent: Waking up at the same time every day can help regulate your body's internal clock. It's like teaching your body when to be alert and when to rest. Consistency is key, and your body will thank you with improved alertness. Tips for waking up early and consistently: To adjust to this new early rise, you can start by gradually adjusting your bedtime and wake-up time. Use an alarm clock, place it out of reach to prevent snoozing, and reward yourself for sticking to your schedule. Also, let natural light into your room in the morning to signal your body it's time to rise and shine. I love this sunrise simulation alarm clock by philips. You can set it to gradually get lighter, mimicking the sun!
Create a Morning Ritual that you LOVE: Your morning routine is like a warm-up for the day. Engaging in rituals like meditation, stretching, or a quiet cup of tea (grab my favorite blend) can prepare your mind for action. It's like a mental and emotional jumpstart. Just think of one of your FAVORITE things to do that leaves you feeling SO GOOD after. Why wait until after work to enjoy that feeling? Examples of effective morning routines: You can create a routine that suits your preferences. Some people find inspiration in early morning exercise, while others meditate to clear their minds. And for those who love to reflect, journaling is a wonderful way to express thoughts and aspirations. We love starting with a 6am yoga class at The Practice, but finding what works for YOU is most important. That way when your alarm goes off and you wanna hit that snooze button, it's that much easier to get up knowing what you could miss if you stay in bed.
Minimizing Distractions: Your workspace should be a sanctuary for productivity. Clear away clutter, keep your workspace organized, and minimize noisy or distracting elements. Create a space where you can fully immerse yourself in your work. Techniques for wasting time in the morning: It's easy to get sidetracked by email, social media, or other time-wasting activities. One trick is to set boundaries for yourself. Try time management apps, focus mode, or website blockers to keep you focused. Also, avoid the urge to check your email or social media first thing in the morning. Instead, allocate specific time slots later in the day for these activities.
Common challenges & solutions
These are some common issues I see with my clients when we talk about shifting our sleep schedules.
Night Owl Tendencies: Many people are naturally inclined to stay up late, and their body's circadian rhythm is set for nighttime alertness. Shifting this pattern can be difficult. The unfortunate truth I think, is that you'll just have to accept the fact that you're going to be tired for the first few days but you must be consistent! Avoid caffeine and naps, and luckily you'll be so tired by the end of the night that hopefully going to bed early won't be an issue!
Inconsistent Sleep Patterns: Irregular sleep schedules can make it harder to wake up early. This can happen due to shift work, frequent travel, or simply erratic sleep habits. Especially my nurses or those who work 3 12-hour shifts and then have 4 days off throughout the week, or those who work overnights! My biggest suggestion if this is you, is make gradual shifts. Don't try to start getting up 3 hours earlier on your day off. If you usually sleep until 1pm on those off-days, start by adjusting that to 12:30. Then 12:00. And so on. Then, use SHORT naps throughout the day. 20-30 minutes max.
Difficulty Falling Asleep: Some individuals struggle to fall asleep at an earlier hour, even if they go to bed with the intention of waking up early. Racing thoughts, stress, or insomnia can make it challenging. Establish a calming bedtime routine to signal to your body that it's time to wind down. Activities might include reading a book, taking a warm bath, or practicing relaxation techniques like deep breathing. Avoid screens which prevent your natural production of melatonin (sleep hormone). Also, regular exercise and healthy eating habits throughout the day - these can really apply to everyone but sometimes it's easy to forget that these habits impact our sleep as well! Try these sleep gummies for an extra boost of melatonin. *always consult with your doctor first!
Lack of Accountability: Accountability plays a crucial role in achieving goals, especially when it comes to making significant lifestyle changes like becoming an early riser. Sharing your goals with others creates a sense of responsibility to follow through - telling your friends or family about your goals is one way. You could also find an accountability buddy, someone who also wants to start getting up early. Maybe sign up for those 6 am yoga classes together! Or, just signing up yourself the night before can hold you accountable too. Visual reminders, as silly as it might sound, like post-it notes or inspirational quotes, around your bedroom or workspace can be gentle reminders & reinforce your commitment to your early rising goals. Don't forget, professional support is always there to help you. Consider consulting with wellness coach (hi), therapist, or counselor who can help you develop strategies for accountability and provide guidance on overcoming challenges, that are specific to YOU & YOUR life. Reading this list maybe you resonate with some of these, but maybe you have other specific things going on in your life that you could use professional guidance with!
Start with some of these to add to your bedtime / morning routines:
Harnessing the power of the Golden Hour is a transformative journey - one that offers a host of benefits, from enhanced productivity to reduced stress, and a sense of accomplishment that sets a positive tone for the day.
The challenges you face, whether it's adjusting your sleep schedule, managing distractions, or combating insomnia, are but stepping stones on your path to success. The power to embrace this gift lies within each of us. While external accountability and support can be valuable, the true driving force comes from your determination, intrinsic motivation, and unwavering commitment to your goals.
So, set your goals, create your routine, and pursue your dreams with the radiant energy of the Golden Hour!
I'd LOVE to know. Did any of this resonate with you? What other struggles do you have when it comes to getting up early, and what other tips would you share?
Share them with me wherever you like to hangout!
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Want more on this topic?! Read "What is Sleep Hygiene? & 6 Tips to Get Better Sleep"
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