I identify as a night owl. The evenings are when I tend to be most relaxed and productive. I enjoy talking to friends, surfing the web, reading, meditating, and watching live sports into the wee hours of the morning. My current circumstances enable this lifestyle. However, I’ve also come to realize that there are powerful psychological benefits to waking up early.
When we wake up at the last possible minute before some obligation, or after we’ve exhausted every minute of sleep, we become passive players in life. Our circumstances and obligations bully us into doing things we would rather not. Waking up earlier than necessary changes the narrative. It communicates an embrace of the challenges and opportunities of life and transforms us from passive to active participants. There is a reason why most successful, high-energy, go-getter personality types tend to wake up early. Human beings have also evolved to be highly competitive and conscious of others. When we are awake in the morning while others are asleep, we often feel at a social advantage, and vice-versa.
Recently, I re-discovered a powerful life hack that started working for me almost instantly: intermittent fasting. Intermittent fasting can be a powerful tool for waking up earlier and with better energy. My routine right now consists of me not consuming any calories after 3 or 4 PM. This creates a powerful incentive for me to go to bed earlier and rise earlier to fullfull nature’s most primal instinct. And it tends to have an energetic carry-over effect the rest of the day.
This routine may be difficult to execute, even for people who have extensive experience with intermittent fasting. I, for one, intermittent fasted for more than a year, and my feeding window was always sometime in the afternoon and evening. When I recently stopped eating in the evenings, I realized just how much I enjoy doing it, when all the work for the day is complete and my mind is in entertainment mode. The evening is also when I hang out with friends and family and like to socialize over a meal.
Abstinence requires forethought and discipline, especially when I know I’m going to be around people or engaged in some athletic activity. It means I have to be disciplined to eat enough calories during my feeding window to sustain me for the rest of the day and not to cave to the temptation to eat for pleasure when time, company, and good food are abundant.
Some say the only thing that matters is what you eat, not when you eat it. My experience leads me to believe otherwise.
Note: Fasting is not for everyone and you should do your due diligence and consult your doctor before beginning any fasting regiment.