Do I need to Wake Up at 5 AM to be a High Performer?

Summary of what’s covered:

  • Many (but not all) leadership and performance experts believe that waking up at 5 am, or before most people, affords huge psychological advantages;

  • When combined with a morning routine, it very well may be a habit that can uplift the rest of your life;

  • That said, the time that you choose to wake up should be determined by a number of factors including your health and lifestyle;

  • Bonus: I’ve included in this post a video review of The 5 AM Club book by Robin Sharma, including an overview of my morning routine!

  • By the way, in the spirit of transparency: the links to the book in this post are Amazon affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. :)

Read on for more.

If you’ve been following my videos, blog posts, or stories since November, you’ll know that my recent optimization obsession has been with sleep, or more broadly, with recovery. Why? Because optimal recovery is important to sustain energy, creativity and performance.

When I hit my mid-twenties, I noticed that sustaining high levels of energy was becoming increasingly difficult. I’ve since been incorporating and testing some strategies, tactics, and even “hacks”, as some like to call them. One of my favourites has been the morning routine.

Morning Routines

I’ve been practicing morning routines since 2012 because it’s a habit that lends itself well to overall growth and well-being. However, I’ve traditionally done them for 15 to 20 minutes and have definitely not adhered to the popular 5 am schedule… until I read The 5 AM Club, by Robin Sharma.

Sharma is a world-renowned leadership expert and best-selling author. I’ve been following him for 6+ years and I love his work -- his blog posts, videos, courses, books, and podcasts.

Most high performance sources that I follow agree that the routines are great, but there’s disagreement about the timing.

Sharma is clear that if you can “own your morning”, then "you will “elevate your life.” His arguments and the research he presents are convincing and the results from the people he coaches speak for themselves. Still, is 5 am right for me? Is it right for you?

5 AM Routines

I’m trying it out for 66 days, which, according to the University College London, is the average time it takes to form a habit. I’m 28 days in and I like it because I’ve found 5 am to be an efficient and effective way to prime my mindset, emotional health, physical health, and spiritual fitness before I “step out into the world”.

There were two major challenges to overcome though:

  1. Motivation

  2. Sleep deprivation


I love sleeping in whenever I get the chance. Getting out of bed before the sun used to suck.

But as I mentioned earlier, I’ve been inspired by Robin Sharma’s The 5 AM Club and his complementary 66-day online program (resource support). It’s been my accompaniment throughout this journey, along with my partner who’s arguable even more committed to this than I am (social support). But don’t tell her that. ;)

I cover the reasons why I give the book a solid 5 stars and share how my partner and I have been applying Sharma’s awesome 20x20x20 morning routine for the past 28 days in the video below.

Sleep deprivation

As a pre-requisite to joining the 5 am movement, I wanted to make sure that I was getting enough quality sleep. In other words, I didn’t want to have a 5 am practice at the expense of my health.

Therefore, I began this journey by adjusting my bed time and evening routine. I started about a year ago. I used to wake up at 7 am and go to bed at around midnight. Gradual change was important for me.

Personally, I aim for 8 hours in bed and at least 6.5 hours of uninterrupted deep, REM and light sleep. I use my Oura Ring to track this. I wouldn’t get up at 5 am if it meant that I would be sleep deprived (Sharma does talk about the dangers of sleep deprivation and the importance of rest). Of course, if you’re experiencing health related problems, please consult a licensed medical practitioner.

Joining the 5 am Club could be your next game-changing routine depending on your lifestyle. Here are the questions I asked to know if rising at 5 am would be right for me:

  • When can I get to bed?

  • What are my energy levels and rhythms like?

  • How is my sleep quality?

  • What life circumstances am I facing right now?

  • What would I do at 5 am?

What’s your take on morning routines and the 5 am movement?

And hey, if you think 5 am is too early, check out Mark Wahlberg’s routine. Apparently he likes to get up at 2:30 am! ;)

Thanks for reading and watching and please like, share, or comment.