There are certain times of day where magic makes itself known; dawn is one of them. Time moves differently. It takes on a lucid, fluid quality. Unfurling as nature does its wings and flowers: slowly, mindfully, at its own unique pace. Light moves differently here, too. It seeps into our skies as the sun cranes his head above the horizon. Flows over branches and gullies. Catches the edges of petals and spider webs so that they glow, honey-gold, sticky with morning dew.
For most of us, though, we seldom wake to see these moments. If we do, it’s usually because we’ve been awoken by an alarm that signifies our need to be somewhere, and so we begin our day abruptly, disappearing into the demands of our screens before picking up the life we left on the bedside table the night before, readily falling into routine.
But what if we were to choose to wake early, before the rest of the world? To begin the day with nature as our sole companion? Taking heed from its steady pace and easing our way from sleep into consciousness with a gentle sense of quiet presence. In this blog we’re going to talk about the benefits of waking up early, and how an escape into nature could be the perfect place to implement this new routine.
Breaking away from our usual routines can be difficult when we are in familiar surroundings. Whilst engulfed in the usual pace of things, especially if we live in urban areas, sacrificing sleep for a morning walk isn’t always appealing, and slowing down our daily pace can seem a distant dream.
Yet the benefits of getting up early are no secret. Whilst most research revolves around increased productivity and achieving goals, there are other equally important advantages that come with waking before the rest of the world, ones that go hand-in-hand with spending time in nature. Free from the rush of everyday life, glamping holidays offer us the opportunity to reconnect to our wild roots, and can be the perfect time to experiment with rising with the natural world.
Rising with the sun doesn’t just bring us closer to nature and grant us more hours in our day. Science suggests that waking up to natural light improves sleep quality by encouraging the regulation of our circadian rhythm. Woken by our alarms, we’re often jolted awake during REM sleep - the most important part of our sleep cycle - which strengthens memory and learning, and stimulates other neural pathways crucial to our health and wellbeing. We can avoid disrupting this by waking up naturally and allowing our bodies to guide us, beginning the day with ease.
Checking our phones first thing in the morning is a habit many of us have fallen into, and it can be difficult to break away from. Plunging straight into the digital realm as soon as we’ve opened our eyes shocks our systems into go-mode before we’ve even put the kettle on; the opportunity to soak in the morning quiet broken by the noise of the world within our screens. The absence of a morning alarm, however, enables us to leave our phones in another room when we go to bed, ideally even turning them off all together. Away from the pressures of work-life, glamping encourages us to resist the temptation of checking emails or messages and allows us to simply be in the first moments of our day.
Leaving the blinds open when we go to bed lets the sunlight find us as it rises, illuminating our surrounding space until it rouses us from sleep. Nature never rushes - and in this way, dawn happens gradually too. The hours between first light and sunrise are filled with delicate hues of lilac and amber, a backdrop to the soft chorus of the natural world coming into itself. With nowhere to be, we can spend these first moments of the morning immersed in the experience, maximising the amount of sunlight we receive and absorbing the natural mood booster, Vitamin D.
Awaken the Senses
When glamping, a whole world of natural wonder exists just beyond our doorstep; whether it’s the ever-changing environment of a houseboat, swaying with the tidal rhythms of the lulling water below, or a shepherd's hut in a secluded woodland clearing, encompassed by a sea of green and the comforting scent of pine.
Waking up early allows us to observe the day in all its beauty, watching the world we awoke to transform as the sun shifts across the sky. There are certain things that are entirely unique to the early hours, and witnessing the natural world wake up is one of them.
Gökotta, for instance, is the Swedish tradition that loosely translates to “rising with the sun to listen to the first bird song of the day”. Each morning as the first light spills across the land, birds stir and greet the day. Padding outside to snuggle under a blanket, we can immerse ourselves in their music, inhaling the scent of dew-damp grass as the breeze whispers through branches above.
If being closer to water is more your thing, consider waking to witness a blanket of fog dancing on a still lake, or to hear the soft hush hush of the morning tide lapping against the shore before taking a morning wild swim. These seemingly small instances awaken our senses and help us arrive in the present, unifying us with our environment and instilling a sense of calm.
Take a look at our glamping sites with sea views
Time to Relax
Not only are the early hours a prime time to connect with nature, but they’re also one of the best times of day to connect with ourselves.
Writer Julia Cameron swears by the practice of “Morning Pages”, which consists of freewriting three pages of whatever comes to mind, first thing after waking. Writing can be daunting, but Cameron suggests that the idea of Morning Pages isn’t to curate a masterpiece, but to free up mental space: “Good writing is not the point.” she says “Think of your pages like a whisk broom. You stick the broom into all the corners of your consciousness. If you do this first thing in the morning, you are laying out your track for the day. With the pages in place first thing… your day is your own to spend”.
Rising early offers us the time to do things, like writing, which we might otherwise skip later in the day. Bringing our favourite pastimes with us on our trip can encourage us to indulge in these moments with ourselves. Maybe it’s curling up with the book we’ve been trying to read for a while, or taking a ramble by the river with the dog; perhaps it’s spending quality time with loved ones, or even stealing a few sweet moments alone to enjoy the scent and taste of a coffee, freshly brewed. With so many of us used to days of full schedules and chasing time’s tail, it can be almost second nature to try and fill empty hours with productivity. However, when glamping, these extra hours can be spent indulging in things that bring us joy, simply because they bring us joy - even if that’s embracing doing nothing more than being in the moment as it unfolds.
Take a look at our dog-friendly glamping sites
Rising with the Seasons
Just as nature moves through its own seasons, our lives do too. Whilst glamping can introduce us to the many benefits of rising early, waking up naturally may not be attainable in our lives back home. Relying on the sun to wake us in time for work won’t always be a viable option, especially in the dark winter months, but we can opt for a sunrise-simulating alarm clock instead of our phones. In this same way, whilst life may fall back to its usual busy pace, we can continue to wake a few hours earlier than we need to, carrying forward the habit of giving ourselves time for mental respite and moments of peace before our days begin.
Inspired by our escape to nature, we can use it as the catalyst to build new morning routines. Taking them home with us, we can create the sense of peace we found in the wild, weaving it into the moments of our everyday lives.
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