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Why waking up at 4am helps me feel happy

Early risers share the secrets behind their successful morning routines 

Why waking up at 4am helps me feel happy
Donna Francis
Contributing Editor US
14 March 2024
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Yes, mornings can be hard, and while it’s tempting to hit the ‘snooze’ button when you’re warm and comfy under your duvet, experts, celebrities and CEOs have nothing but praise for the benefits of establishing an early morning regime. And there’s no one that realises the benefits of an early start more than Selena Gomez’s mum, Mandy Teefey who is a film producer and CEO of mental health organization, Wondermind

Mandy told HELLO! that the secret to her happiness and success lies in waking up super early every day. “I wake up at 4am - I know it sounds crazy, but while everyone is asleep, the house is so quiet and peaceful and it allows me to have some me-time while not being disturbed. And ever since I’ve been doing this, my life has just been so much better. It’s paced and controlled better, and I feel better.”

There are plenty of science-backed benefits of having a morning routine like Mandy’s, with research claiming that consistency is key, and that sticking to a regular morning routine can reduce stress, boost happiness, energy levels and improve your productivity, especially at work. 

Selena Gomez's mom, Mandy Teefey starts her morning routine at 4am  © Allen Berezovsky
Selena Gomez's mom, Mandy Teefey starts her morning routine at 4am

“Once you start doing it regularly, it’s easy. I don’t even need an alarm sometimes as my body just gets up. I go and make my coffee, I do my skincare routine, and then I read and do some free writing and write just whatever is on my mind,” Mandy explains. 

Many studies stress the importance of starting the day with intention and a plan, so your day is controlled and there are no huge surprises. Mandy’s early start allows her enough time for self-care as well as time for organizing her day. “I have time to look at my to-do list so I know what my day looks like and there are no surprises. I can then start taking my work calls at 7am.” 

Trinny Woodall, founder and CEO of global beauty brand, Trinny London follows a similar routine, by beginning her day with a focus on self-care. “I wake between 6.30am and 7am and start with lymphatic drainage on my body and face to get my lymph working, as taking care of myself first thing gives me the energy to get up and go,” Trinny explains. 

Trinny also emphasizes the importance of not looking at your phone, and distracts herself with meditation and exercise instead. “I wake up and listen to the Calm app and do their daily 10-minute meditation before I scroll on my phone,” Trinny explains to HELLO! “I also try to work out every day to wake up my body and give myself energy.”

Trinny Woodall, Founder & CEO of global beauty brand, Trinny London makes time for meditation and exercise every morning
Trinny Woodall, Founder & CEO of global beauty brand, Trinny London makes time for meditation and exercise every morning

Avoiding screentime is also vital for Mandy's successful starts. “I used to sleep with my phone underneath my pillow,”  she explains, "But really? What earth shattering thing could possibly be happening at three in the morning? But since doing my morning routine I don’t look at my phone for at least 45 minutes after waking up.” 

MORE FROM MANDY: Why doing less is crucial for your happiness 

Podcaster and philanthropist Brogan Garrit-Smith, is less rigid and a little more realistic about her morning routine, yet still manages to start the day with a mix of intention and me-time. 

woman in jeans and a white shirt using microphone
Brogan Garrit-Smith likes an early start too

“I would love to have a long list of non-negotiables, but in truth, life gets in the way,” she tells HELLO! “We all have these romantic fantasies about what our mornings should look like, but in truth, I am at the mercy of a toddler and a puppy, so as much as I would love to say I mediate, ground and start my day with an ice bath, in reality my non-negotiable is that I just need ten minutes to myself. 

"Sometimes it's just unloading the dishwasher quietly or writing my to-do list on the sofa with a candle. It’s important for me to take time to come back to myself and then everything else is a bonus.”

DISCOVER: How I cracked the secret to midlife happiness at 49 

Dr Maryam Zamani, leading Oculoplastic Surgeon, Facial Aesthetics Doctor and founder of MZ Skin also doesn’t set herself an unrealistic morning routine, yet still finds time for herself. “I am not a super early riser, so I organise myself in the evening so that I can sleep in until the last possible moment, which is usually around 7:30am. Plus I bath and shower before bed, so all I need in the morning is a quick 5 minutes for myself in the bathroom.”

Whatever time your morning alarm rings, it’s clear that having some kind of routine and time to yourself is key for setting up your day as a happy and productive one. “It really is my top advice to anybody,” explains Mandy, “as it gives you time for yourself and you’re not taken away from any of your responsibilities because technically you should be sleeping.”

Visit HELLO!'s Happiness Hub for more inspiration on living a happier life

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