Wellness: Wake Up Early For July Challenge

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This post was updated daily through July and completed 8/1/2020.
Jump to concluding thoughts.

Hello hello!

We are now officially in the latter half of the year (what!) – happy July, everyone :) My Sleep By 11pm For June Challenge is now over and I’m taking my learnings from it to set myself a new challenge for July.

I didn’t manage to change my bedtime to 11pm in the end, but I did manage to sleep earlier and wake earlier than I had been doing at the start of the month and, importantly, I learned a lot from the struggles I experienced.

For July, the goal is to be able to wake up before 7:30am without the use of an alarm by the end of the month. I’m not a morning person, and I don’t have a need to be a mega-early riser (especially since my hubby is a night owl), so if I can wake up between 7 and 7:30am, I’ll be a very happy bunny.

This time I’ll be focusing less on the time I fall asleep and more on what time I wake up, because I don’t think it matters what time I fall asleep as long as I can hit my wake-target. If I’m hitting my wake-target, I reckon I’ll be so tired I’ll end up sleeping earlier anyway.

Challenge Details & Goals

Throughout July, I will be setting alarms to help myself wake up in the morning. With each passing week, I’ll be setting my alarm earlier by 30mins. The idea is to slowly re-wire my body’s sleep schedule for an overall healthier lifestyle moving forward.

The alarms I’ll be setting will be:

  • 7/2 – 7/8: 8:30am
  • 7/9 – 7/15: 8am
  • 7/16 – 7/22: 7:30am
  • 7/23 – 7/29: 7am
  • 7/30 – 7/31: No alarm

I will be tracking my sleep time (night before), my wake time (day of), hours slept and total restful sleep hrs using the same sleep tracker app as last time: SleepWatch. I will continue to note my exhaustion and headache levels to see how my sleep affects my body. I will not be tracking my weight for this challenge, but if I happen to weigh myself I’ll add it in a note somewhere.

Please check back in to see how I get on and keep me accountable. I’ll be updating this daily and will do my best.


  • Dates are written in American format since I live here now. That’s (M)M/DD, even though it doesn’t make sense :p
  • For the headaches and lethargy, I’ll be noting them as “Yes” and its severity (for headaches) if they occur any time throughout the day, and persist for longer than 30mins.
  • “Hrs Slept” will be listing the total time I spent actually asleep. If it doesn’t match the sleep/wake times, it’s because I woke up in the middle of the night.
  • “Restful Sleep” is in contrast to light sleep.
DateSleep TimeWake TimeHrs SleptRestful SleepFatigue/ LethargyHeadacheNotes
7/201:4507:506hr 5min3hr 20minNoneNoneI first opened my eyes at 7am and decided I needed more sleep. The next time I opened my eyes was 7:50 and I didn’t want to sleep anymore so got up. I didn’t feel tired and had an extremely productive morning, yay!
7/300:1007:307hr 20min5hr 20minNoneNoneI was definitely tired early last night but we had a few things to take care of so weren’t able to we had to stay up. Again I woke up before my alarm and felt decently rested.
7/400:2008:307hr 55min5hr 10minYesNoneI woke up at 7:30 and decided I was too tired so went back to sleep and woke up with my alarm. I prob haven’t slept enough recently so it’s catching up to me now; I was so tired from the afternoon onwards.
7/501:2008:357hr 15min4hr 25minYesVery MildYesterday we arrived back from an overnight stay in Carmel followed by a quick visit to our friends in Milpitas and were unpacking before sleeping. I’m tired today.
7/623:4508:308hr 30min5hr 55min NoneNoneI was sooo tired yesterday so I think my head hit the pillow and I was asleep in like 10min or something. I woke up feeling well rested but my pillow wasn’t supporting my neck so I have neck and shoulder pains today.
7/700:3007:206hr 50min3hr 30minNoneNoneI had a warm, relaxing bath last night to soothe my aching muscles, but before I went to sleep I felt a spiritual attack that caused me great stress and anxiety. Thankfully I was able to calm down after praying and sleep soundly.
7/800:3508:307hr 50min5hr 45minNoneNoneI got so tired whilst still browsing online last night, I half sleep-walked myself to bed from the other room and, let’s just say, my head hit the pillow at 00:35. My neck still hurts today but it’s not as bad thankfully.
7/901:0008:257hr 25min4hr 55minMediumNoneI am groggy today. Oh man, I’m so tired. Last night we stayed up watching 8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown (it’s a great show) and, well, I snoozed my alarm 3x in the morning.
7/1023:0508:308hr 40min5hr 50minMildNoneWe both slept early last night and my sleep was disrupted a couple of times. I started my period today so that could also be a cause of the poor sleep, anxiety and lethargy. I’m very pleased that it’s not as bad as it usually gets though.
7/1100:4508:107hr 20min5hr 15minNoneNoneDunno how we managed to sleep so late again last night but least I was able to wake well this morning. We even had time to exercise, shower and eat before Bible Study with my parents!
7/1200:2008:007hr 40min5hr 20minMild-MediumNoneI wanted to sleep early last night but we got really into another episode of 8Oo10CDC, then I woke up from my alarm. I’m very tired today so am determined to sleep early tonight.
7/1300:2509:058hr 40min6hr 20minMildNoneWe tried to go to bed earlier last night but I didn’t sleep any earlier it seems. Looks like all that lost sleep is catching up on me because I had to just turn off my alarm this morning and let myself sleep… only to be woken up at 9ish by Jon’s call to exercise haha. I’m still very tired today.
7/1423:3508:358hr 55min5hr 35minMildNoneAhhh I loved that I slept early last night. I felt like I was coming down with something as I had a mild headache and my nose was sniffly when I woke up, but after I got up those symptoms subsided. Good job, immune system! I was able to exercise well today but I am still tired so I will try to sleep early again.
7/1500:2008:458hr 20min5hr 35minMildNoneI was so stressed out, which I think has been causing my sleep disruptions and not being able to sleep early, despite going to bed earlier. I’m tired and stressed today so will take it easy.
7/1622:4009:0010hr 5min6hr 10minMildNoneI slept early last night as I was just so exhausted. Clearly my body needed it to recover, so I allowed myself to sleep in. My sleep was disrupted a couple of times so I’m still not feeling 100% today, but it’s not as bad as yesterday.
9hr 35min6hr 15minStrongNoneLast night I slept late because, well, I got distracted reading the drama recaps for Psycho, But It’s Okay. It’s so good! Then I got up early to prep breakfast and coffee for Jacky before he left for work. By afternoon, I was so exhausted my eyes just could not stay open so I ended up taking a 3hr nap. Ugh. So tired.
7/1801:0008:457hr 35min4hrsMediumNoneI was supposed to sleep early last night but, again, that didn’t happen. I am really tired again today. I’m pretty sure my tiredness is purely due to my poor sleeping habits, so I’ll really have to have more self-discipline.
7/1900:3009:008hr 30min5hr 10minNoneNoneI finally slept earlier last night! It was so hot it took a while to fall asleep. I woke up not feeling the best again so basically slept until Church service started, but my energy began recovering throughout the day. A few more days of earlier nights and I should be back to normal!
7/2000:1508:358hr 20min5hr 5minVery mildNoneIt still took longer than I’d hoped to fall asleep last night. I slept through my 7:30 and set a later alarm because my eyes would not stay open. I ended up waking naturally before that though, because I still wanted to make breakfast and coffee for Jacky before he headed off to work.
7/2123:1008:509hr 35min5hr 5minNoneNoneI slept early last night! Yay. And woke up late. Lol. My body needed it, so to me, this is a big win. I was still tired, but I got over the tiredness quickly this morning.
7/2201:3009:007hr 30min4hr 20minVery mildNoneLast night I could not sleep for a long time, though we went to bed at 11pm. Jacky, for once, was so tired he slept before me! I believe it’s due to my afternoon Americano, which I regret. Looks like my body still responds to caffeine strongly.
7/2300:2509:208hr 55min5hr 10minNoneNoneWelp, I’m failing at the waking up early part these days. I have still been waking up feeling unwell so I’ve just been letting myself sleep as long as I need. I’ll have to keep my alarm at 7:30am because that seems like the best time to wake up to prep everything I need in the morning.
7/2400:2508:157hr 50min4hr 25minNoneNoneI couldn’t wake up as early as 7:30 but I did get up earlier to prep for Jacky’s work. It was hard to haul myself up, but after I was up I was fine and I had ample energy all day.
7/2500:4008:357hr 55min5hr 20minNoneNoneLast night the weed smell came back and I had to contact emergency maintenance again, so we stayed up waiting to hear back from them. Unfortunately, they never contacted us so we slept in the living room. Thankfully I did sleep well and woke early naturally despite this.
7/2600:5008:457hr 55min4hr 50minNoneNoneWe slept in the living room again because of the weed smell in our bedroom. It was faint, but my body was reacting more than my nose was. I was very sleepy in the morning but fine after getting up, which I credit to undisrupted sleep.
7/2700:5008:007hr 10min5hr 10minNoneNoneI’ve come to realise that it doesn’t take that long to prepare Jacky’s breakfast/lunch in the morning because much of it is prepped the night before. As such, waking up at 8am is sufficient, and that is fine by me.
7/2823:5008:458hr 55min5hr 10minNoneNoneI really struggled to wake up in the morning. I didn’t sleep that well, though I slept for quite a long time. I definitely opened my eyes a couple of times during the night but it wasn’t enough to count as ‘disrupted’ on my app. Still, my energy levels were decent for my workout as well as throughout the day.
7/2900:4008:257hr 45min5hrsMild-mediumNoneI feel very tired today. Like yesterday, my sleep was disrupted in that I opened my eyes a couple of times before falling asleep again. I can only hypothesise that sleeping late when I was already sleepy earlier on has made me really tired today.
7/3000:4008:307hr 50min??NoneNoneMy Apple Watch ran out of battery in the middle of the night so was unable to collect data about my rested sleep hours. I had SO much energy today though and felt amazing.
7/3101:3009:308hrs4hrs 50minMediumIntenseI woke up feeling really poorly today. Most of my cold symptoms subsided quickly after waking up except my raging headache. It was so intense that even Advil didn’t help the pain go away. I ended up taking a 2hr nap in the afternoon and spent most of the day in bed.
8/123:5009:009hr 10min??NoneMild-mediumMy Apple Watch ran out of battery overnight again so I don’t know how many restful hours I got, but I did feel well rested when I woke up naturally at 9am. I still had a headache but it was no where near as bad as yesterday. I tried to sleep early but my body wouldn’t let me.

Concluding Thoughts

So now that July is over, I can definitely see that I am waking up consistently between 8-9am. I realised that I don’t need to wake up that early to prepare Jacky’s breakfast/lunch daily, and I usually exercised with friends at 9am.

On the days I woke up earlier, I found myself kinda in a state of not knowing what to do because it was too early to prepare Jacky’s meals, yet not early enough to do something else meaningful beforehand, so waking up between 8 and 8:30am has really been a sweet spot.

I had been consistently sleeping after 1am and waking up around 10am back in May, so I’m really happy that I’ve now been able to get into the habit of sleeping and waking up earlier – even just a little earlier makes a big difference.

It’s a shame July ended up on an awful headache but, overall, I believe my health has improved significantly over the past couple of months. I will keep aiming to outgrow some bad habits (like too much screen time before bed) and continue to take better care of my health :)

Let me know if you have any questions, and thanks for reading!

Muchos love,


Health: Intermittent Fasting for 9 Weeks Challenge
Read Bible With Me: Paul's Shorter Epistles, ESV

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