Why You Should Wake Up at 4:30 AM Every Day, According To A Navy SEAL

Published on May 13, 2018
With a busy schedule, Jocko Willink finds time to get everything done by waking up before everyone else does. Willink, former Navy SEAL and author of "Way of the Warrior Kid" explains the one habit from service that he can't shake.
For the full interview, search for "Success! How I Did It" on Apple Podcasts or your favorite app. itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/success-how-i-did-it/id1205997729?mt=2
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Following is a transcript of the video:
Richard Feloni: Are there some things from your service that you can't shake? So for example, you still wake up at 4:30 in the morning, to go workout, what was it about your time in the Seals, that you wanted to keep these habits up?
Jocko Willink: They're good habits, why would you not wake up at 4:30?
Richard Feloni: Well what does this bring to you?
Jocko Willink: Waking up early? You just get a jump on the day. The reason I wake up at 4:30 in the morning is because no one else is awake yet, so that gives me the opportunity to do things that I need to get done, kinda selfishly for myself, and the big one in that category is working out. And it doesn't feel good at 4:30 when you get up, but by the time 7 o'clock rolls around, and you've already worked out, and you've already got some work done, and you've got some time to say goodbye to your kids before they go to school? It's infinitely better than sleeping in until 6:45, and you get out of bed, and now you've missed your kids going to school, or whatever. You're not prepared for the day, it's awful.
Feloni: So if someone, maybe they don't have time to work out or they just need something that could be like a quick fix, is there something that you recommend?
Willink: Oh yeah, workouts don't have to take a long time. Workouts can be very quick. Matter of fact, go do two minutes of burpees, as many burpees as you can, in two minutes, or four minutes, or six minutes, go and sprint, go and do anything very intensely, for a short period of time and you'll get great benefit out of it.
Feloni: Something I'm sure you hear a lot is 4:30, like this either just can't fit into my schedule, or if I'm gonna be realistic, I'm probably not gonna wake up at 4:30, what do you tell people who say that?
Willink: Yeah, and there's people that work night shifts, and there's people that it's unhealthy for them, they can't fall as-- it's like no, be healthy, get enough sleep, but, first of all, wake up at the same time every day and, if you pick that time and you start waking up at the same time every day, that's very good for you. It doesn't have to be 4:30, it could be 6:30, it could be 7, I don't know what your personal schedule is, but find out a time, pick it, set it, stick to it, and maintain that schedule, and that's gonna end up better for you.
I recommend it's earlier. I recommend that you go to bed earlier, 'cause what are you doing at night, most of the time? Most of the time at night, you're not working on anything super productive, you're just winding down and watching stupid US-tv videos, or surfing the internet, reading clickbait stories, right? Don't do that, instead, go to sleep, and then wake up early.
Feloni: Could you explain that notion of discipline equals freedom?
Willink: If you want more freedom in your life, you have to have more discipline. If you don't have any discipline, you'll end up with absolutely no freedom, you'll end up being a slave to other people that boss you around. There's all kind of problems that can occur, if you don't have discipline in your life. And the more discipline you have, the more freedom you're gonna have.
Feloni: So just the discipline of the Seals, will never-- it's impossible to leave?
Willink: No, it's possible to leave, there's retired seals all over the place that are undisciplined. They've moved on, and they don't care about that anymore. It's fine, I don't judge other people on what they're doin', like they're probably stoked to sleep in and hang out with their kids, and eat breakfast in bed, that's fine. I don't have anything against that. But for me? I wanna get up and go.


  • Great video I am going to try and wake up 4:30 am from now on.

  • Guys watch the video from that admiral!!! » Make your bed every morning and become a better person » Something like that

  • I game.. its hard to leave a jam packed server on battlefield at night, especially when the kd is good and the ping is good, and the teamspeak with the friends is good and the team is exceptional.. lol thats my way of relaxing after a long day.. and unfortunately I go sleep at 12/1 am..

  • It's 4AM for me right now lmao. XD

  • Better wake up at 4:30am or this guy will be waiting outside for you to tell you how disappointed he is that you didn't wake up at 4:30am.

  • Thanks for the great info. Wakes up 4:30 plays GTA5 Online.

  • I wake up at 3 PM is that good enough?

  • Hard part isn't waking up at 4:30 AM, hard part is going to sleep at 8 or 9 PM

  • Wake up to meditate at 4.30

  • This 430am crap is dumb. You go to bed and wake up based on your schedule. The world runs 24 hours a day.

  • Why dont he look happy

  • Well, I think as long as you get your 6-7 hours of sound sleep and spend most of the day productively. It does not really matter if you get up at 4:30 or 7.

  • While I see a lot of positives at starting super early, you get a lot of personal "self" time in the evenings too as most people are asleep. Creative night owl types function very well mentally in the late hours, while morning persons are brain dead by 8 PM. Society needs both types. Obviously your work and lifestyle should influence a lot what is your ideal wake up-sleep schedule.

  • God, he'd be up in 30 minutes from now.

  • Make it 4:20 😏

  • I wake up at 4am to go to work at 6am then go home at 7pm and sleep at 12 pm. I spend 4 hours of sleep only for work. Top that.

  • When sleep time 8 o clock?

  • *when you’re watching this vid at **4:30**AM*

  • I wake up every single day at 6AM whether I have to go to work or not. My dogs make sure of that 🐶🐶 but I love it. I wash my car, walk the dogs, start laundry, by 9AM I'm done with home tasks

  • The same Seals that can't win afghanistan, take 11 years to find osama and write a book or movie everytime they shoot their guns? Thanks, I'll sleep in.

  • Everyone talks about how early they wake up. No one says when they go to bed? At the same time every day?

  • I don´t agree at all. My Job starts at 9am, so i get up at 8am. Than i work to 5pm, go into my MMA Training or in to the Gym. Also i love to stay awake a bit longer, watching US-tv Videos and just chill at Night. I hate to get up early !! I tried it often and for me it´s just a Nightmare, i feel so unconfortable. Definitely not my Thing ..

  • I don't go to bed until 4:30!

  • On another point you can tell he's a real seal, he's confident, he has that aura of purposefulness. Not like the stolen valor cons, they make me sick. I'd love is it Don Sheply? To interview this man, asking him what he asks the fakes. One question is what class were you in. He would have the answer out before I could click my fingers! I've never understood parents not getting up to say bye to their kids x

  • I sometimes get up at 4.50 to babysit, the kids' parents start work early, you don't see very many people particularly where I live am loads of people don't work, never worked, will never work x

  • Been waking up 5am the past 7 days, feels really good actually. The days feels so much long and you have much more time to get things done. You should really try it out!

  • Yeah says the guy with bags under his eyes.......gtfoh!

  • hahahahaha

  • I'm good

  • This is why swimmers are such nice people And why morning practice days I’m super happy

  • I’m going to try this and if it sucks, Jocko has the answer: Good.

  • i like this idea ..!

  • good one...!!! that's great thanks ...!!

  • 6:45 is sleeping in for me too. Every morning, I have student government meetings at 6:30AM so I get up around 30 minutes later than him.

  • Is it just me or, he looks like thanos a tiny bit at 0:38

  • watching this at 4.30am

  • Stockholm syndrome....

  • Watching this after 1AM, gotta get my life together...

  • John cenas dad?

  • Amazing video.

  • If I followed the advice of every US-tv video I've watched, I'd be a pretty amazing person. I mean, I'd really respect that guy.

  • I started waking up at 4:30 am to workout a couple months ago and I can’t imagine working out after work in the evening anymore. It’s one of the best decisions I’ve made. ☺️

  • why are they wearing equal size shirts?

  • I get up at 2:5o am to get to work, oh, I guess I'm not a Millenial

  • I wake up at 4:20 everyday...

  • And what then ? Be falling asleep by 4 pm. Live on coffe. No Sir.

  • Something that kills your brain cells. Get enough sleep. Niether too much nor so little... Give the sleep that your body needs. Of course it depends. But for an average person 7 hours is okay

  • Looks tired

  • This interviewer seems very intimidated

  • Not a good idea to wake up between 4am - 5am. One day he is going to have heart attack waking up at that time...

  • Okay, but when I have to be at school by 5:45AM and I get OUT of school by 4PM, HOW am I supposed to balance school and life while also being well rested

  • toy life

  • I usually get most of my work done at night between 11-3 then wake up around 10. I need to move that 4hr period to another time so I get better sleep cycles

  • Gold pebbles

  • I wonder how many people he's killed? Probably why he can't sleep.

  • NO ho about 2 PM

  • Damn. I'm watching stupid US-tv videos.

  • For you night shift workers, 12am is a good early wake up time.

  • The interviewer looks identical to Jeffery dahmer

  • I sleep at 4:30am on most nights.....

  • Definite a discipline challenge.

  • I literally got tired just thinking about waking up at 4:30.

  • I work 12 till midnight get bed about 1am and I'm back up with kids at 6am been doing that for 2 years

  • ... as I watch this at 2 am

  • this changed my life

  • At bootcamp i woke up that time, 4:30, excercise/a run, shower, clean, do a university course, after class strength training, some free time maybe, supper, shower, an evening course (for me it was a cosmetology and sometimes self defense classes) and 9:30 lights out. I absolutely hated waking up 4:30 for a month! After that it just became normal. After 3months when my course was done, i still woke up that time in my own bed by myself, no alarm. I miss the discipline so much. Some pursued the navy because yeah, that discipline is amazing.

  • Well said.

  • 💙💙💙

  • 2:09 watching stupid US-tv video lol

  • Islam teach this about 1400 years ago

  • sLeEpPiNg In tiLL 6:45

  • I literally get sick if I wake up at 4:30 am. Need sleep to be healthy.

  • I wake up at exactly 4:30 lel.

  • BET

  • Facts. Wake up at 0500 every morning. Even without an alarm clock.

  • Very inspirational

  • This mofo will be the first one to wake up dead lmao

  • I'm laying in bed at 11:46pm watching a clickbait youtube video telling me not to lay in bed at night watching clickbait youtube videos.

  • people who operate plants are usually changing shifts at 4:30, this guy is just waking up.

  • Dude 4:30 is for beginners, 4:15 is the right time to roll up a spliff till 4:20!

  • 4:30? lol, I go to bed after midnight and get up at 6:45. I workout at lunchtime. Keep doing your thing if that’s what works best for you

  • So this dude never has a party, or a drink? Or even a late night movie catch?

  • Rather stupid logic. You could similarly work out at 1am and sleep at 3am. All in all, get your 6 hours any time that feels best and work 18 hours. You have a brain, apply it.

  • GOOD

  • This guy really has his life together

  • I have no problem waking up at 430 AM. My neighbors have a new rooster!

  • I already wake up at 4:30....pm

  • This guy has big floppy ears like Dumbo the Elephant. He could transport himself by flying with the use of his ears.

  • I am watching this “stupid” US-tv video at 23:00! 💪🏽... fml

  • I watched this at 2:37 AM im going to sleep now

  • HEY! It's 11pm and I'm watching this "stupid video"

  • The truth in this shows when you realize a navy seal, above all, still thinks that waking up late is the worst shit ever. I’m gonna try this

  • what a load of horseshit

  • I'm waking up one hour earlier since I watched this video. Now I wake up at 2:00 PM

  • i woke up at afternoon today and now im watching this video lol, im actually really interested in this method

  • Well I go to sleep at 4:30 xd

  • this man looks tired as hell

  • This guy needs a power nap.

  • Lol at this rate it’s gonna be like wake up at 7pm. The reason I say this is because there’s one video that says “why you should wake up at 5:30 am”, and now 4:30am

  • The prophet Muhammad PBUH told us to wake up at fajr and not go back to sleep after. Fajr is the dawn prayer I don't need modern day people to get that info. Islam said this 1400 years ago.