#SLEEPHARDER: I WOKE UP AT 2:30 AM EVERY MORNING FOR FIVE DAYS. HERE’S WHAT HAPPENED.


We all could use a little sprucing up to our everyday routine. Waking up, pouring the coffee, hoping we didn’t forget our keys, rushing to work, and doing it all again the next day. 2019 resolutions become summer beach-bod determinations, and as we try to squeeze in an hour here and there to make room for work outs and a moment to breathe, calendar days slip by, and those resolutions become pieces of scrap paper.

At the end of 2018, Mark Wahlberg posted his intensive daily schedule on Instagram and the internet went wild. Up at 2:30 a.m., to bed by 7:30 p.m., Wahlberg makes time for two workouts, seven meals, work, family, and cryotherapy. While I’ve been awake at 2:30 a.m. in the past, the circumstances have most often involved a midnight run for pizza after a party with friends -- not in preparation to go to the gym hours before sunrise.

But the fact is, spring has arrived, summer is around the corner and there’s sh*t to get done. My months-long nightly determination to wake up “earlier” the next day wasn’t working out. So I thought, why not put an electric jolt to my routine? I took up the challenge to the aghast looks and comments of friends and family, to see if I could learn anything from the Boston goldenboy (and, of course, so that I could report my morning shenanigans to you).

And that brings me to now, reporting live in my RECLINERs, about my five-day challenge: I woke up at 2:30 a.m. every morning for five days -- here’s what happened. (Yes, I did try cryotherapy. And if you want video proof, go to @reclinernyc on Insta.)


DAY 1 [MONDAY]

Last night I lay in bed anxious that I wouldn’t wake up at 2:30 a.m., considering the fact that the sky was still blue and sun streaming in through my bedroom curtains. (Reminder to self: buy blackout curtains.) Alas, my alarm sounds off and I gain consciousness. I wake up to a very confused puppy, get out of bed, into my lounger robe, and to the kitchen for coffee. Between looking for coffee filters and turning my apartment upside down for my airpods, I realize that my mental faculties are not in tact at the wee hours of the morning. I make a mental note to organize (and then promptly forget).

By the afternoon, I am losing steam. I wonder, what have I missed? I look back at Mark’s schedule and realize -- I have eaten only twice today. Thinking that my stomach wouldn’t be able to handle a 3:15 a.m. meal, I skipped it. But that now my energy is so low, I wonder if this has to do with not getting the fuel I need. By 7:30 p.m., I am exhausted. 

DAY 2 [TUESDAY]

Waking up this morning doesn’t have quite the adrenaline rush of the day before, but nonetheless I am up. And today, I don't skip my morning snack! I eat an organic Gala apple with peanut butter (hardly the steel oats, blueberries, eggs and 10 turkey meatballs that Mark eats) and get in my morning Buddhist practice before making my way to the gym by 4:00 a.m..

Maybe it’s the constant nutrition, or maybe it’s the novelty of having been up for 13 hours already, but by late afternoon I feel energized enough to do a second workout! I snag a HIIT workout class, shower, and am in bed by 7:30 p.m.. Tonight, however, proves to be a challenge. Truth be told, I’m not accustomed to working out so close to bedtime, and can’t fall asleep until 8:30 p.m..

DAY 3 [WEDNESDAY]

I wake up 15 minutes late, and immediately regret my HIIT workout. I can barely move my arms, and feel sore in places I wasn't even aware existed in my thighs. Groaning my way out of bed, I move slowly to the gym, shower, and look forward to my 10:30 a.m. snack. It was a beautiful granola with toasted coconut, sunflower seeds and cranberries at one of my go-to neighborhood coffee shops. See, I have to explain this in words because, as Murphy’s Law reigns equally on all of us, Wednesday was #instagramblackout2019 (*dramatic pause*).

So, while I wasn’t uploading stories, I promise you, the challenge continued, and by the time Instagram booted up again I was getting ready for bed. Maybe it was my millennial mind racing with cries for all of the lost content of the day, but I couldn’t fall asleep until 9:00 p.m. that night.

DAY 4 [THURSDAY]

Today is CRYO DAY!!! The day I have been dreading all week, has arrived. Cryotherapy, or submerging your body into -150 degree temperatures for three minutes, is purported to have multiple health benefits from muscle recovery to increased immunity, weight loss, endorphin release, and better sleep. Despite the list of benefits, bottom line is, I hate the cold. When I get to Next Health, I put on two layers of gloves, special socks, slippers, and my RECLINER Lounger Robe which I brought with me. When the time comes for me to take the dive, the practitioners at Next Health give me Beats bluetooth headphones, blast 21 Savage and close the cryo door.

IT IS COLD (obviously). A digital countdown clock is conveniently placed in front of the glass door, and at one minute 15 seconds, my entire body is rattling. At one point, my mind goes blank, and I am aware only of the ice crystals beginning to form in my nostrils and eyelashes. I crouch my shoulders, cover my face, bounce my knees, and make the mental crawl to the finish line. Did I become a cryo-convert? As skeptical as I was going into the chamber, the endorphin release is undeniable. And, I do sleep well that night.

DAY 5 [FRIDAY]

Last day of the challenge! I wake up at 2:30 a.m., brew my first cup of coffee, and sit down for Mark’s meditation time. While personally I practice Buddhist chanting in the mornings instead of the meditation that Wahlberg does, I have come to recognize that a practice of setting your intentions for the day when you wake up as early as you can, really does shift the entire day.

While I had some fantasy of enjoying a celebratory meal at sunset to revel in my accomplishments for the week, needless to say, this does not happen. Instead, my exhaustion from the week slowly creeps up throughout the day, and as I sit on the roof of my apartment building overlooking the cityscape, I have an overwhelming urge to crawl back in my pajamas, eat chips and fall into bed. So that’s exactly what I do. And it is perfect. 


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