The 5 AM Club: What Is It And Should You Join?

7 Min Read | By Matthew Fox

Last Modified 13 March 2024   First Added 14 December 2023

This article was written and reviewed in line with our editorial policy.

Did you know there’s a club you can join that could completely transform your life? A club where, if the hype is to be believed, you will achieve your life goals, lead a healthier life, and improve your sleep quality. A club whose members include some of the most successful people who have ever lived. Well, there is. And guess what, it’s open to new members. The only catch? The one you’ve probably already guessed – that ridiculously early start! So, will you be joining the club? Let’s explore…

What is the 5 am club?

The 5 am club refers to a morning routine in which you dedicate the first parts of your day to personal development and life goals. The ‘club’ part is all about the fact it’s based on a certain set of rules and is often used as a hashtag on social platforms. To be a member, you simply need to rise at 5 am and use your mornings to focus on exercise, self-reflection, and developing new skills. Equally important is the daily repetition.

This new trend became popular in 2018 when the club’s ‘President’, Robin Sharma, released his book titled ‘The 5 am Club: Own Your Morning. Elevate Your Life’. It’s since become an international bestseller and the concept has become a bit of an online sensation too.

Now, members are soaring. Influencers sing the club’s praises. Life coaches share Sharma’s motivational quotes. Social platforms are awash with the #5amclub hashtag. So, given its popularity, it may be time to consider your own 5 am club application.

Take excellent care of the front end of your day, and the rest of your day will pretty much take care of itself. Own your morning. Elevate your life.

― Robin Sharma, The 5 AM Club: Own Your Morning. Elevate Your Life.

What are the rules of the 5 am club?

The 5 am club has a few simple rules. Every member should wake at 5 each day and spend the first hour focusing on their personal development using a 20/20/20 model, such as:

  • 20 minutes of exercise
  • 20 minutes of self-reflection
  • 20 minutes of progressing towards your goal

While the above is what Robin Sharma advocates for in his book, the rules aren’t strict. Members can change the duration, focus, and order of these tasks. As long as they relate to your personal development, you can call yourself a member.

For example, you may start with a HIIT workout, followed by 20 minutes of journalling and then finish by learning a few new phrases in Spanish.

Or maybe you prefer a light stretch to relieve the muscles, followed by meditation and then 20 minutes spent working on that book you’ve been waiting to write.

The point is that this routine is entirely up to you and what you want to achieve.

The smallest of implementations is always worth more than the grandest of intentions.

― Robin Sharma, The 5 AM Club: Own Your Morning. Elevate Your Life.

sun rising over mountains

What are the benefits of the 5 am club?

A 5 am alarm may sound like the beginning of a horror, but waking up at this time has astounding benefits, according to Robin Sharma and the many people who attend daily.

At the top level, the benefits include a reduction of stress in the morning, improved sleep quality, and an overall happier mood.

But starting your day before the rest of the world wakes up can set you on a path to living a fulfilling life, help you achieve your goals and promote positivity for yourself and those around you.

Let’s dig into exactly how…

1. Improved cognitive performance

Studies have shown that our logical reasoning and mental performance are better during the first few hours of waking.

A study on the proactivity levels of people found that those who woke earlier and considered themselves ‘morning people’ are more likely to have a successful career, as their peak cognitive performance occurs closer to dawn.

Another study found that avoidant procrastination occurred less in those who woke up earlier. Both studies show the major advantages of starting your day early. Although, whether that needs to be 5 am or not is up for debate.

2. Happier mood

An early start can promote feelings of positivity and benefit all those around you. By waking up before others in your household, you can relieve the feeling of morning grogginess and feel more joyous when you rise.

Being happy can also majorly affect your productivity, with a study by Oxford University’s Saïd Business School finding that happy workers are 13% more productive during the day.

3. Reduction in morning stress

Feeling rushed to get the kids ready for school, the morning commute and the general scramble to get out of the front door can cause stress, affecting your mood for the rest of the day. A 5 am start is a tranquil way to prepare and organize for what’s ahead.

4. Greater self-control

By consistently getting up at 5, you create a healthy routine and teach yourself discipline. Battling the inner demons that pull you back into bed is an achievement in itself, particularly when followed by your self-development routine. This focus on self discipline can also help develop control for other parts of the day, helping you cut out on late-night snacks and spending too much time in front of a screen.

5. A better sleep cycle

Going to bed earlier gives you plenty of time to rest. A normal amount of sleep for adults is at least 7 hours per night. Any less can cause you to enter fight or flight mode in the morning. By keeping a consistent wake time, your circadian rhythm will realign and you’ll be more likely to get a solid block of good quality sleep, every night.

6. Time to watch the sunrise

Watching the sunrise is a spectacular moment most people miss in the mornings. Having a 5 am wake-up call means you have plenty of time to sit back and enjoy the dazzling display the Earth puts on every dawn. And again, this will help reset your circadian rhythm, alerting your body that it’s daytime.

7. Time to learn a new skill

According to John Kaufman, author of ‘The Personal MBA’, it can take 20 hours to learn the critical components of a new skill. If you split that into 20-minute segments, that means you can be competent at something you used never to be able to do in just over three months.

There's plenty more to early starts. Check out the...

How do you join the 5 am club?

The great thing about the 5 am club is that there are no papers to sign and no fees, and it can all be done from your own home. However, joining the 5 am club does mean that you will have to adjust your daily routine to allow yourself to adjust.

Forming a new routine can take time, as it involves the formation of many new habits. Nir Eyal, writer of the bestseller ‘Indistractable’, explains how forming a new routine is uncomfortable, requiring lots of effort to ingrain the new habits into your daily life.

So how can you beat these uncomfortable feelings to take your place in the 5 am club?

  1. Start in increments –  If you usually wake up at 7 am, try waking up at 6:45 until it becomes normal, then 6:30, 6:15, and so on. Gradually waking up earlier will make jumping to the early morning wake-up much easier.
  2. Adjust your sleeping schedule – As you are now waking up earlier, you must start going to bed earlier. On average, adults need at least 7 to 8 hours of interrupted sleep to feel energized; therefore, if you want to be a part of the 5 am club, being asleep by 10 pm is a must. So that may mean slipping under the covers at 9:30 to give yourself time to drift off.
  3. Plan your routine – Plan your 5 am routine the night before. Have your clothes ready, your running shoes beside your bed, and your journal at your desk. That way, you won’t need less mental focus to carry out your new morning routine.

Are there any famous people in the club?

Applications for the 5 am club are now open!

Now, this may not be for you. Many people are more night owls than early birds. But if you are seeking a new routine to conquer your personal goals, improve sleep and lead a healthier lifestyle, then the 5 am club may be for you. If not, consider a low dopamine morning routine or a healthy morning routine that you don’t need to wake up at 5 for.

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