To get a taste of early morning life, I signed up for Sarah Downey’s 7 a.m. Vinyasa flow class at Monarch Yoga in Philadelphia. As I left my house at sunrise — it only took three iPhone alarms and 32 ounces of iced coffee — it felt to me like the middle of the night, something I’d laugh about later when interviewing folks that wake up as early as 3 a.m. on a daily basis.
Though Downey arrives at the studio just after dawn multiple times a week, she still identifies as an “aspirational morning person” and said it’s not always easy to jump out of bed ready to greet the day.
“I’m not a natural morning person,” a seemingly well-rested Downey told me. “But I really like teaching the early morning yoga classes… I’ll already be up and I’m gonna be so productive. A lot of it is just motivation.”
Downey, along with a majority of the other early birds I spoke to, described becoming a so-called “morning person” over time. They weren’t all biologically wired to wake up with the sun, nor did they shrug it off as something easy or enjoyable. It seems, however, that getting up at 5, 4 or even 3 a.m. is possible with the right routines and habits (and of course, a few helpful products).
To pull back the black-out curtain on the inner workings of morning people, we asked 10 early birds about their a.m. hacks and the things that energize them for the day, even when the rest of the world is still snoozing.
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Some answers were edited for clarity and length.
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