Waking up early in the morning is not the easiest thing to do.
If you’re one of those night owls who can’t get up in the morning without setting the alarm clock to snooze a couple of times, there’s a serious habit formation to do in order to change your lifestyle, and it’s possible.
Lots of successful people, from doctors to athletes, credit their productivity to waking up early. It isn’t a surprise. When you’re up, you allow your body to reach its maximum wakefulness without depending on a shot of caffeine.
Everyone struggles to wake up at an early alarm. Getting out of the bed may seem like a drag, especially when it is for work or school.. However, when you’re decided to make a new sleeping and waking routine, it is achievable. It’s going to contribute to your overall energy levels and mental health, and there are studies that support these claims.
In this article, Cognitive Health and Wellness Institute talks about the benefits of waking up early. If you’re looking for reasons to start your day earlier than usual, this one’s for you!
Facts about waking up early
Early risers are commonly the problem-solvers of most organizations, businesses, and groups.
What does a morning person look like? Is it true that you are more productive when you wake up early? Night owls would say otherwise, but there’s science that backs up the benefits of waking up early, specifically in a person’s mental health.
Every person has a sleep chronotype which is a personality breakdown of when one goes to bed and wakes up as regulated by their genetics. The circadian system controls the timing and duration of one’s sleep, and it has a normal distribution in the entire population. Chronotypes are responsible for the variation of sleep timing and duration and genetics dictate them.
What you must understand about your chronotype is that it isn’t merely the time you go and get up from bed. It also refers to the time when you function at your optimal best – and most people would say they do during the earlier part of the day.
A quick look at circadian rhythms
Every living thing’s internal clock adapts to the 24 hours rotational schedule of the Earth. It is the internal circadian rhythmicity that gives the body the ability to predict what’s happening in the environment, including the sun rise and set. It can also anticipate the most appropriate time to eat, sleep, wake, and move.
The cue for circadian rhythms to work is light. Did you know that your eyes signal your brain to produce more melatonin whenever the sun goes down? This hormone (melatonin) makes your eyes droop when you’re feeling sleepy. This is when your body is essentially shutting down as the daylight fades while you stay awake when the sun rises again.
With all these said, waking up early is good for you because your melatonin levels are normal when you follow the usual sleep-wake cycle. You’ll feel more productive by day and get restful sleep at night.
However, there are non-traditional jobs these days where some people work at night. Typically, this happens in order to follow another region’s time zone. In these cases, some offices may recreate daylight inside. But, graveyard shifts may still generally lead to sleep disorders and insomnia for some. Hence, most doctors still recommend having a usual 9 to 5 as much as possible as this is generally much better for optimal health.
Benefits of waking up early
Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.Benjamin Franklin
Early mornings aren’t everyone’s cup of tea. But, if you’re already feeling restless at night, it might be a good time to consider being more active during the day. One of the best ways to do this is by waking up early. Here are the benefits and advantages of being an early riser:
1. More time
Imagine waking up one hour earlier than your usual schedule. This may translate to around an extra 15 days that you can use for many activities in a year.
You can decide to dedicate the extra hours for work, family or me time. If you live with others, it may serve as the off your soul needs to recharge. It can also be an opportunity to chill and relax, especially when you are always loaded with work and other commitments.
2. Easy commute
Commuting from one place to another may be time-consuming when you have to do it regularly. Good thing, waking up early allows you to beat the constant traffic that may affect your productivity. It will spare you from dealing with people who are trying to beat the rush hour.
Avoiding traffic saves you energy, time, and money. It will also protect your overall well-being as studies imply that sitting in traffic on a regular basis leads to depression, stress, rage, aggression and even respiratory issues.
3. Quiet hour / morning quiet time
There are people who get anxious when the surroundings are loud and busy. If you are one of them, wake up early and indulge in peace and quiet. Majority of individuals are surely asleep. You have time to jump in deep thoughts without your phone buzzing, notifications ringing, colleagues working, and so on.
4. More optimistic
Waking up early gives you the power to take charge of your life and make things happen.
Different studies claim that morning people are more optimistic, agreeable, satisfied and conscientious. Christopher Randler facilitated a study on 367 university students and discovered that early risers are more energetic and proactive. They are in the mind-set to achieve long-term and short-term goals.
5. More time for morning workout to boost mood and fitness
Setting a consistent waking time will also boost your mood and fitness.
When you’re up early, you can use the extra hours to exercise regularly. It’s the adrenaline boost that you can utilize to your advantage, most especially when you want to overcome that inevitable sleepy feeling. You surely won’t miss another leg or upper body day.
Exercise, in return, will improve the quality and amount of your sleep. It will allow you to go on a deep sleep which boosts the immune system, strengthens cardiac health, and reduces stress and anxiety.
6. Better sleep quality – restorative sleep is crucial for physical health
Sleeping and waking up early would be easy in an ideal world, but in reality, it’s challenging.
However, when you consciously exert an effort waking up early everyday, you subject yourself to quality sleep that puts your body to enough rest.
Early risers tend to get quality sleep because you exhaust your body in the morning, which allows you to doze off the moment you lie on your bed. This is when you get used to your natural circadian rhythm which allows you to sleep and get up early effortlessly.
7. Better planning, productivity, and organization
If you always find yourself wishing there are more hours in the day so you can get some tasks done, waking up early is easily the answer. Waking up early can improve your cognitive function, thereby allowing you to be in a much better position to be successful and achieve more.
You can start by setting your alarm clock two hours earlier than your usual time. There’s a large amount of research suggesting that people are biologically more alert in the morning. This may vary but if you feel like you have a better cognitive response in the day, listen to your body.
8. More Energy
Since early birds are most likely to achieve quality sleep, they tend to rest well, which results in more energy throughout the day. Night owls may feel otherwise because they are not able to complete the needed sleep stages for them to recharge.
The theory that sleep gives and restores more energy has led to the research of two chemicals – adenosine and glycogen. Adenosine accumulates when you are awake to promote sleepiness, while glycogen stores energy in the brain which decreases as you stay awake.
The looping of chemicals which are said to be involved in the process are responsible for the whole sleep-wake cycle which is also called sleep homeostasis.
9. More proactive
Biologist from Harvard Christoph Randler discovered in a study that early risers are naturally more proactive. Take it from the leading entrepreneurs all over the world! These are the people who can handle problems optimistically with efficiency which always lead them to success, especially in business.
When you have a proactive mindset, you are more productive. You initiate in overcoming challenges, and you just don’t wait on the sidelines asking someone for instructions. You anticipate needs, you’re curious, and you are confident that you can solve whatever comes your way. These are the perks of waking up early.
10. Anticipate and minimize problems
Since early risers have the energy, it’s understood how they can be problem solvers. It’s easier for them to have a positive outlook in life, as they are more organized and methodical. Whenever a problem arises, they don’t worry. Instead, they face complications with a clear head.
No wonder, early risers are the usual problem-solvers who are in-charge of organizations, groups, work, or even nations. Winning in the morning is winning the whole day for them.
Advantages of waking up early
- Uninterrupted time to work. As an early riser, you’ll have more time to focus on your work while others haven’t started their day just yet. There’s little to no distraction, which will also double your productivity.
Even Aristotle said, “It is well to be up before daybreak, for such habits contribute to health, wealth, and wisdom.” When you go to work early, you wouldn’t have to deal with others and not be able to start right away. Get your job done with an unbelievable rate and speed and take advantage of your peak performance by waking up early.
- Reduce stress. Waking up early, even before your day begins, gives you extra hours for yourself to unwind and unload. You can use it to meditate, prepare, read the news, drink your coffee, and feel things. Including any of these in your routine reduces your stress so you are fully-charged for the day.
Preparation is the underrated antidote of stress. After all, everyday stress is usually related to being late, and rushing on an errand. So, get up early and allow yourself to have enough time for peace and quiet. Enjoy more time to accomplish the tasks necessary without pressure. This will in turn give you satisfaction and make you feel happy and content.
Successful people who are early risers
- Tim Cook, Apple
(photo credit: Business Insider)
- Michelle Obama, FLOTUS
(photo credit: HarpersBazaar.com)
- Richard Branson, Virgin Group
(photo credit: Medium.com)
- Tim Gunn, Project Runway
(photo credit: Forbes.com)
- Bob Iger, Disney
(photo credit: CNBC.com)
Tips for getting up early
Forming a new habit requires 18 to 254 days to happen based on a study from the European Journal of Social Psychology in 2009. The research also reveals that you’ll need 66 days to make a new behavior automatic. This means you have to start now if you are determined to be an early riser, and stick to it for the days to come.
Place your alarm clock far from your bed
Don’t torture yourself. Avoid using an alarm that gives you anxiety, and don’t place it above your head as well. If you put it away from you, there’s a bigger chance that you’ll wake up when it rings, which makes it easier to shift your body clock. Don’t snooze, and stick to your schedule too!
Sleeping early means turning your lights off and minimizing your exposure so that you can doze off as fast as you can at night. You should follow a schedule when you wake up and sleep to train your body. If you can achieve seven to nine hours every night, that’s going to be helpful for your system.
Gamify and reward yourself for waking up early
The author of The Power of Habit, Charles Duhigg, highlighted in an interview that rewards are crucial when adopting a new habit, such as sleeping early. The same is also advised even in exercising. When you train your brain to link an activity that requires discipline to a reward, it’s motivating to achieve it.
Jumpstart your day
Jumpstart your day with a positive note and energy. You can have a morning dance party to get your blood pumping. Set a playlist featuring your favorite hits to release enough dopamine that lessens stress and makes you happy.
Regular exercise isn’t only good for your physique and diet, it will also knock you off to a good night’s sleep. Thus, shift your gym session in the morning. Experts recommend that you don’t workout before bedtime, as that might be counterproductive to your goal of being an early riser.
Look up the sky and greet the sun rise
As mentioned above, for circadian rhythm to work, your body needs light. And the best source of light is the sun. Light exposure signals your brain to turn down production of melatonin. Hence, your melatonin levels help regulate and stabilize your sleeping and waking time. Plus, looking up at the sky is such a good habit to have in the morning, right? What a way to welcome a new day with a beautiful sunrise!
Why it’s better to wake up early
It may sound cliche at this point but indeed, there’s a reasonable explanation for the quote the early bird catches the worm. When you maximize the advantages of it, you are able to set the tone for a stress-free day. You won’t only be productive, but you’ll also reap the health benefits that your body will thank you for.
Two of the core values of Cognitive Health and Wellness Institute are movement and science. Being an early riser has solid science in it while it also promotes physical activity or movement. Hence, waking up early is consistent with site’s values wherein this can help improve your quality of life and cognition function.
If you work at night and sleep during the day, that’s okay. But if you’re like most people who’s more active in the morning, it would do you more good than bad to rise early. Ultimately, it depends on your lifestyle. If your current sleep and waking schedule works for you, that should be fine. Otherwise, it might be a good time to enjoy the benefits of seeing the sun rise!