Early mornings are difficult. They’re hard in the week and they’re harder on the weekends. But what’s making it hard?
Is it actually difficult to get up early because it’s unnatural? Or could it be something else?
It seems unlikely that humans evolved to snooze long past sunrise. We probably also didn’t evolve to sit in front of Netflix until midnight.
Going to Bed with the Best Intentions
Who else goes to bed on a Friday night thinking they’ll get up early and get stuff done on Saturday morning?
Who else is still in bed at 9am?
Yeah. It’s hard.
I first noticed the wrongness in difficult early mornings when I gave up drinking. I’d always thought that alcohol helped me sleep but after experience and research, I can emphatically say that is not true.
Alcohol makes you feel tired, it helps you get to sleep. But stay asleep? Nope. Get good sleep? Hell no.
Alcohol has plenty of ways to mess with your sleep, one being waking you up in the night for a restless few hours. Hello sugar crash. It also blocks your ability for REM sleep, the most restorative part of your sleep.
Chances are, you’ll also be dehydrated and in need of the loo. Two things that don’t exactly encourage blissful snoozing.
When I tell people that my sleep has improved dramatically since I gave up drinking, they don’t seem very impressed. I get it, because before I gave up, I didn’t even know my sleep was poor. I was just going about my day, feeling less than great, assuming it was normal.
How many other people are drifting through their lives thinking it’s normal to feel knackered every time they wake up? It’s not normal. It’s poor sleep. And you don’t have to have had a big night out either. A single glass of wine will mess with your sleep.
If you have a glass of wine every night? Suddenly you can see how badly you’re sleep deprived.
This topic is discussed in great depth in Dr Rangan Chatterjee’s amazing podcast episode with One Year No Beer founder Andy Ramage. This episode is all about taking a tactical break (or giving up) from alcohol and is well worth listening to.
Taking Advantage of Better Sleep
When you think about giving up alcohol, it’s easy to focus on the perceived negatives. You won’t be able to go out to bars anymore (if it won’t tempt you, you still can!), people might think you’re dull (spoiler alert: you’re not), and you’ll never be able to share in that alcohol community again (um…no loss).
Thinking about the positives will show you that there are far more upsides to giving up alcohol. Better sleep is one of them but it’s far more than just sleeping well.
Sleeping well has a huge amount of overall health benefits, increases your concentration, boosts your mental health and reduces your risk of all sorts of diseases. Poor sleep is, frankly, awful for you.
But I’m not really talking about all those health benefits either. I’m talking about something much simpler.
Having the energy to do what you want to get done on Saturday mornings.
The Glory of Saturday Mornings
Saturday mornings are often unseen by those who sleep in or loathed by parents who get dragged, exhausted, out of bed by their children.
Saturday mornings are the start of a day that’s yours though. Most people don’t have to go to work, instead, they can do whatever they choose. If only they had the energy.
Without alcohol on a Friday night to do its draining nighttime chaos, you can get your Saturday mornings back. With alcohol ever, you’ll have more energy every single day.
Saturdays won’t be a rest day from work anymore. They’ll be a day for you to live your life again. Not drown under a duvet on the sofa.
Giving up alcohol gives you better sleep. Better sleep gives you energy. Energy gives you your Saturday mornings back. Your life back.
Go take it back.