A distinctive prayer performed after sunrise marks the start of `Eid for Muslims around the world. What follows are days of `Eid fun, family, feasting, and holidaying is celebrated.
Yet, launching a holiday by waking up early is definitely paradoxical to our modern minds! Every day as the alarm clock rings we wish we could get up as late as possible, before hurriedly going about our morning frenzy.
Happily, people welcome holidays with open arms; yet, providing an opportunity to laze about in bed till noon, and sometimes even later, basking in our idleness.
In fact, Muslims do get up at dawn to perform Fajr prayer every day, holiday or not. Yet, sunnah encourages to stay up and start their days with the first rays of sunlight, most Muslims find that hard to accomplish in the present-day.
A lot of us, Muslim or not, wish we were more of morning people. We envy those who naturally wake early because they don’t have to go through that daily battle inside their head.
On the contrary, waking up early is not a God-given gift to a select few! It’s actually how Allah created our body, it’s a gift to humanity.
Health Benefits of Waking Up Early
In fact, starting our day early in the morning is actually good for our health. Our bodies have their own biological clocks, called our “Circadian Rhythm“.
In addition, our circadian rhythm is responsible for sleep and mood; through controlling many internal body processes that light can affect (Light Therapy).
Furthermore, Dr. Hosny Hamdan, professor of earth sciences, contends that catching the first rays of the sun lowers the activity of the pineal gland which produces the hormone melatonin, causing the body to be more alert and pulling us out of the unconscious nervous system into our conscious selves.
Gladly, this also increases cortisone levels necessary for releasing energy and managing stress (WebMD, 2008).
Moreover, when we wake up during sunlight, our body releases serotonin which is responsible for happiness (Light Therapy).
In fact, the body’s circadian rhythm should be typically reset by morning light every day, otherwise, it falls out of sync resulting in a circadian rhythm disorder.
According to Light Therapy’s research, “A circadian rhythm disorder means your body is producing hormones, chemicals, and neurotransmitters in the wrong amounts and/or at the wrong time of the day.” (Light Therapy).
The international agency for Research on Cancer cites that disrupting the circadian rhythm has been shown to cause a higher risk of cancer, especially with constant exposure to light at night.
Disruption may also cause illnesses such as depression (because of low serotonin), chronic fatigue and insomnia among others (Light Therapy).
According to Psychology Today, “Morning people also have more stable personalities and lower levels of aggression, supporting the idea that serotonin is involved in keeping both moods and circadian rhythms regular.”
Productivity Benefits of Waking Up Early
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) told us 1,400 years ago, that the early mornings are the best time of the day for work. Sakhr Al-Ghamidi narrated that the Prophet (PBUH) said: “O Allah, bless my people in their early mornings.”
When he sent out a detachment or an army, he sent them at the beginning of the day. Sakhr was a merchant, and he used to send off his merchandise at the beginning of the day; and he became rich and had much wealth (Book #14, Hadith #2600 in Abudawud translation).
“Bless” here is translated from the Arabic word “Baraka”. To have Baraka in anything, would mean that you would generally be able to achieve more, or get more out of it, than what would have been expected otherwise; both in quantity and quality.
Additionally, Jim Citrin, a best-selling author and careers expert, conducted a limited survey among CEOs, about their tips for being successful. Guess what came out as their number 1 tip? Waking up early!
According to Citrin, “The latest any of the surveyed executives wake up is 6 a.m., and almost 80 percent wake up at 5:30 or earlier.” That is hardly a surprise, waking up early has been echoed by numerous successful individuals throughout history as the secret to their success.
Interestingly, Ben Franklin was the one who coined the famous quote “Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.”
According to Robert Bal of Fortune Watch, “Early-risers have more productive mornings, get more done, and report less stress on average than “late-risers.”
Tips to Help You Wake Up Early
- Wake up at a set time every single morning, even on weekends and holidays(WebMD, 2007). Don’t train your body during weekdays, only to confuse it over the weekend and start all over again on Sunday/Monday. Afterward, take a queue from the signs God created that are consistent day-in and day-out. Even Eid prayers, which mark the start of a holiday for Muslims, are performed right after sunrise!
- In fact, sleep when your body, not your clock, tells you to. Whenever your eyelids droop, head to bed. Neither earlier nor later (Pavlina, 2005).
- Take baby steps. Also, try to wake up only 15 minutes earlier first, then gradually build up to your desired timing (zen habits).
- Then, Allow exceptions every now and then to your bedtime rule, but beset about your waking time. If you stay up late occasionally, resist the urge to sleep in. You’ll find yourself sleeping earlier than usual the following day; catching up on that lost sleep without upsetting your body clock (Pavlina, 2005).
- Visualize waking up early or actually practice it! (Pavlina, 2006). In addition, set aside a slot in your day to visualize or practice what you would do when you hear the alarm clock in the morning. Be detailed and vivid. This trains your subconscious to cooperate more willingly when it is actually time to get up. Do this until your body automatically responds when your alarm sounds.
- Jump out of bed as soon as the alarm goes off. Don’t give in to your thought of sleeping just a few more minutes (zen habits).
- Have a morning-energizing routine. Try splashing your face with cold water, dressing up and opening the curtains to let the natural light fill your house. Try taking a hot shower to raise your body temperature and help you wake up (Norman).
- Reward yourself. Hence, set a reward for waking up early, something you love to do, or something you haven’t been able to do regularly such as; eating a delicious wholesome breakfast, reading your favorite magazine or blog, catching up on your mail or beating rush hour traffic. Thus, find some good motivation for you to get up! (zen habits)
- Keep your alarm clock out of arm’s reach. This way you’ll have to get out of bed to turn it off (zen habits).
- Frequently change your alarm tune. That way your body won’t have time to adjust to the sound and ignore it (TechCrunch).
- Thus, don’t waste your extra time. If you happen to wake up early one day and waste your time doing nothing you’ll be less motivated to wake up early the next day (zen habits).
- In fact, a habit takes 21 days to form. After that, your subconscious takes over and waking up should no longer be a struggle. Now, rise and shine!
This article is from our archive, originally published on an earlier date, and now republished for its importance.
- Bal, Robert. “Wake Up Early and Boost Your Productivity.” Fortune Watch. 19 May 2007. Accessed 15 Oct 2008.
- Citrin, Jim. “Tapping the Power of Your Morning Routine.” Yahoo! Finance. 30 Jan 2007. Accessed 15 Oct 2008.
- “Cortisol in Blood.” WebMD. 21 Aug 2006. Accessed 15 Oct 2008.
- Hamdan, Hosny. “Prayer Timings and the Biological Clock.” The Qur’an Miracles Encyclopedia. Accessed 15 Oct 2008. (Arabic)
- “IARC Monographs Programme Finds Cancer Hazards Associated with Shiftwork, Painting and Firefighting.” International Agency for Research on Cancer. Press Release, No 180. 12 May 2007. Accessed 15 Oct 2008.
- “In Brief: Good Morning.” Psychology Today Magazine. Jul/Aug 2007. Accessed 15 Oct 2008.
- Norman, S. “How to Wake up Early When You Don’t Really Want To.” eHow. Accessed 15 Oct 2008.
- Pavlina, Steve. “How to Become an Early Riser.” Steve Pavlina. 23 May 2005. Accessed 15 Oct 2008.
- Pavlina, Steve. “How to Get Up Right Away When Your Alarm Goes Off.” Steve Pavlina. April 25, 2006. Accessed 15 Oct 2008.
- “Rest Assured.” WebMD. 1 Dec 2007. Accessed 15 Oct 2008.
- “Sleep and Circadian Rhythm Disorders.” WebMD. September 14, 2008. Accessed October 15, 2008.
- “What are Circadian Rhythms?” Light Therapy. Accessed 15 Oct, 2008.
- “9 Benefits of Rising Early and How to Do It.” TechoCrunch. 5 March 2008. Accessed 15 Oct 2008.
- “10 Benefits of Rising Early, and How to Do It.” zenhabits. 25 May 2007. Accessed October 15, 2008.