The 5:00 AM challenge (26/30)

It’s 9:00 AM as I write this and I hate to admit but I seriously missed the mark today! Wow. When my alarm went off at 5:00 AM I was exhausted. I got up, shut off my alarm, and went back to bed and slept for another 3 1/2 hours. Even when I woke up again at 8:30 I was still pretty wiped out.

As I think about my condition when I woke up this morning and what might have caused it, I’m reflecting on something I’ve written about in the past: I’ve noticed that when I wake up at 5:00 AM there are three possible states I wake up in:

  1. Awake. I’m good to go. This one’s my favorite state to wake up in, and my most immediately productive. (And sometimes I wake up before my alarm, which I love).
  2. Groggy. I’m a little fuzzy in the brain but not seriously tired. If I get up now, I can shake it off in about 15-20 minutes and I’m good to go (but if I go back to bed I will sleep).
  3. Sleepy. I’m wiped out and basically I need to go back to bed because if I try to write, I’ll end up writing crappy work and spend most of the time deleting mistakes and false starts.

The groggy state is the most common state I wake up in. I used to go back to bed when I woke up in this state but I’ve noticed over the course of this 5:00 AM challenge that I have gotten much better at staying up when I wake up in that state. So that’s good!

When I go back to bed in a state of grogginess, that’s just laziness and procrastination setting in so overcoming those negative habits has been of great value in this challenge. But this morning I woke up in a state what was very, very sleepy. It was not laziness or procrastination, it was a clear physical need for more sleep, which prompts me to wonder what caused it, since I got the same amount of sleep that I usually get.

So, as I analyze why that might have happened, I trace back through my day yesterday to consider some possibilities that could have impacted my sleep:

  • I got a lot of great work done yesterday. I was very productive, which, on its own, might not be a factor contributing to the requirement of needing extra sleep but may have contributed to a cumulative effect.
  • I wrapped up a huge project that I’ve been working on since November and it’s been hanging over my head and causing an increasing amount of stress. I finished it yesterday, which felt awesome.
  • My workout was CRAZY yesterday. It was harder than usual, I was almost unable to finish it (although I pushed through and did finish), but the muscle burn was greater and lasted for longer.
  • I missed my pre-bed routine. I’ve been doing really well at working through a pre-bed routine that steps down my thinking and creativity and body temperature and gets me ready for bed. Although I fell asleep as soon as I got into bed, I wonder if a lack of a pre-bed routine had any impact on the quality of my sleep.

Of course I don’t have a definitive answer but if I were to try and make an educated guess about the factors contributing to my level of exhaustion when I woke up this morning, I wonder if some or all of these played a part in demanding more sleep from my body.

Published by Aaron Hoos

Aaron Hoos is a writer, strategist, and investor who builds and optimizes profitable sales funnels. He is the author of The Sales Funnel Bible and other books.