The Five and Six AM Club

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One winter I woke seven or eight days in a row at 2am to be at work and ready to work for 0400. It was very hard to do, and since then I prefer not to have to wake up too early. Yesterday I woke at 0600, naturally, but also because I wanted to set off by 07:30 to be at my destination by 08:30. Traffic was good so I arrived half an hour earlier than anticipated. The one hour drive took half an hour.

The early arrival is probably due to two reasons. The first is that I set off half an hour earlier than I needed to, in anticipation of bad traffic. The second reason is that I did not drive to Morges. I got off the motorway in Rolle, just as the traffic jam starts, and drove along the vineyards.

If I had stayed on the motorway I would have been stuck in the Morges traffic jam. The paradox of the Morges traffic jam is that it starts just before two lanes become three. Expanding the motorway didn’t resolve congestion. It just shifted it from Morges to Rolle.

The Early Morning Challenge

For me the early morning challenge is not in waking early, but in getting to sleep at a reasonable time. That’s what I find hard. It’s hard to fall asleep at 2200 if your normal bed time is midnight or one. The other challenge is sleeping, despite noise pollution. You may be exhausted but if you want to sleep during an outdoor music festival, you won’t. You’ll be kept awake until two, and then be sleep deprived.The same problem occurs with noisy neigbours.

The Morning Advantage

In my eyes the greatest morning advantage, during the hotter months is aerating before the smokers wake up, and the outside air temperature gets too high for the outdoor air to have an effect on indoor air temperature. It’s also a relatively quiet time. Those that like to throw things into the back of pickup trucks are not yet awake.

I often set off stupidly early, to avoid traffic, because if I set off at the right time, my journey would go from 20 minutes to an hour or more.

A Trick

I have a trick that I have used for a while. I set the alarm to go off half an hour or an hour before I want to get up. I then set a second alarm for the time at which I want to wake. In my experience the first wakeup is hard, but by snoozing for a few minutes before the second alarm I recharge, and then I’m ready for the day. I am not alone.

Probation officer Quynh Nguyen-Dang has been following an early morning routine since January, after reading The 5am Club. Every morning, she sets her smartwatch to vibrate at 4.30 and then again at 5.


It’s not when you get up that matters – it’s how you choose to use the precious minutes you have that really counts.

Although I would expand that it depends on when your neighbours, or environment allow you to sleep. If I wanted to wake earlier than I do I would need to devote time to acclimate to waking earlier, and sleeping earlier. It takes time to adapt to the new sleep schedule.

Twice The Discipline

Waking at 5am requires twice the discipline. It requires the discipline to get up at 5am but it also requires the discipline to go to bed eight hour earlier. If you struggle with getting to sleep, then waking at 5am will also be a struggle.

Bragging that you’re part of the club could be fun, but it’s a matter of self-discipline until your circadian rythmn changes.