Does Waking Up Early Really Do Anything?

Oh early risers! Do you know something the rest of us don't?

Oh early risers! Do you know something the rest of us don't?

You may have seen a snarky high school friend post countless articles about habits of insanely successful people, and early rising always seems to make the list. Equally obnoxious people may have pointed out things like “Mind over mattress” or the classic and trite “The early bird gets the worm.”

Whether you agree or not, people who like waking up early seem to be very proud of themselves for having this inclination.

Is getting up early for the birds, or is it somehow beneficial to your health and wellbeing? Let’s look into some of the arguments for setting the alarm before the sun comes up.

1. A sense of control.

Waking up earlier can give you an empowered feeling that leads to confidence about your schedule, and ultimately, your life. Carving out some additional time can really help, especially when you have other obligations taking up the majority of the day and you’re tired of feeling bitter about it. You’d rather just be plain tired and get up a few minutes before you have to, if it means more you time.

2. A few moments for the most important meal.

If getting up earlier means you’re making time for breakfast, then this routine is definitely healthy. The first meal of the day really does make a difference. It kickstarts your metabolism and makes you much more tolerable to other humans you may encounter since you’re eliminating the ‘hangry’ side of your personality.

3. An excuse for workin’ out your bod’.

Some folks use the crack of dawn for exercise because otherwise it just wouldn’t happen. Stress doesn’t stand a chance against a regular workout routine, and having it be the first thing you do can set the tone for the rest of the day (or so perky people claim, anyway).

4. A leg up on life.

Rising with the roosters can translate into securing more prep time for meetings or appointments, giving you a chance to skip some major traffic jams, or simply allowing you to take some deep breaths before all the crazy hits the fan.

5. A way to get those creative juices a-flowing.

Devoting a few moments to creative pursuits or simply letting inspiration strike can really give your morning a boost. Allowing a space for quiet reading and reflection can do wonders, and sometimes that means rising before you’re typically ready to do so.

Does getting your rise and shine on really make much of a difference? Like pretty much anything, it just depends. There’s no scientific proof that getting up earlier makes any difference at all, provided you are getting sufficient hours of sleep. There are some studies that claim a morning person is more likely to get better grades, anticipate problems and be proactive, which all sounds enticing. But it all comes down to the amount of sleep you get as the crucial factor, not the time you wake up.

The choice ultimately comes down to personal motivators, goals, and schedules. Your kids may wake up obscenely early, making “quiet time” impossible in the AM. In that case, you could argue that staying up later to squeeze in some much-needed alone time might be the better choice for your sanity. But for those of us who struggle to get anywhere on time, starting a new early morning routine could be exactly the kind of kick in the pants we need.

If you’ve thought about it and you really do need to make a change in your schedule, but you’re not even close to a morning person, give yourself a reward for getting out of bed. On days where you need to wake up early, lay out ingredients for a special breakfast the night before, allow yourself an extra cup of coffee from your favorite mug, listen to an energizing playlist, etc. Whatever motivators you need to extricate yourself from the sheets apply here.

Some of us would rather listen to My Morning Jacket than don a jacket to watch the sun come up. And that’s okay. The next time someone spouts off “Early to bed, early to rise…” you can (kindly) shove a breakfast sandwich in his or her mouth so you don’t have to listen to the rest.

And then crawl back to bed if that’s what works for you.

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