Written by: Holly Schaeffer
There’s a school of thought that believes people are either born larks or night owls – and that they don’t have too much choice in the matter. However, everyone who feels more productive in the evening but has to get up for work in the morning knows that you can become a morning person when you have to or want to.
In case you were contemplating making “early rising” one of your New Year’s resolutions, you’re in the right place. Here are the vital benefits of getting up early.
1. You Are Likely to Eat a Healthy Breakfast
Although it’s not quite the most important meal of the day, what you eat (or don’t eat) for breakfast can set up your entire day. And when we wake up late and have to get ready for the day in a rush, we tend to skip eating breakfast.
Ideally, you want a meal that will provide your body with plenty of energy so that it is ready to tackle the day ahead. Savory or sweet are both fine, as long as you don’t overindulge so much that all you want to do is go back to bed.
2. You Might Sleep Better
Research has found that those who go to bed later (and wake up later as a consequence) are more likely to have trouble falling asleep, as they have a more difficult time calming their thoughts down when bedtime comes.
In other words, if you set up a routine of earlier bedtime and wake time go to bed earlier, you are likely to fall asleep more easily and enjoy deeper, more refreshing sleep.
To help you figure this routine out, start by calculating how much sleep you need. Once you know that, you can ensure you go to bed just at the right time to fall asleep easily and still wake up with a pep in your step.
3. You Are More Likely to Exercise
Alongside sleep and a healthy diet, exercise is a pillar of health and wellbeing. And if you wake up early, you are more likely to find time to work out than if you rush out of the house 30 minutes after you’ve opened your eyes.
Waking up early does not mean you have to exercise in the morning, if you prefer to do it later in the day. You can simply do some of the things you want to do that day in the morning, leaving you plenty of time for a workout in the evening.
4. You Will Probably Be More Productive
People who habitually wake up early often claim they enjoy early rising because they feel they get more of the day.
This is partly due to the fact that they get to enjoy more daylight, especially in wintertime, when we only get so much sun as it is. Also, by getting an early start, they can complete their to-do list earlier, leaving them more time to wind down and relax in the evening.
This does not mean that you have to stay awake for longer. You can still get your eight or nine hours of sleep – you’ll just be shifting the time of day you clock them in.
5. Your Mental Health Could Improve
The stress and anxiety of modern living can lead to a whole host of mental health issues and challenges. Waking up early is not a cure or a universal solution, but it does help.
First of all, you’ll feel less stressed about not getting things done – after all, you’ll have more time in the day (or that’s how you’ll feel) to do things. This will leave you feeling more accomplished and satisfied at the end of the day.
If you’re also sleeping better, eating a healthy breakfast, and following it up with several more healthy meals, and if you’ve also found time to exercise, your mental health will certainly improve.
The connection between our mental and physical health is very profound. That’s why people often tell you to “walk off your problems” or to simply get some exercise to help you feel better. It really can help.
Being an early riser can certainly change your life for the better. However, it can also ruin your day, if you feel forced to get up early and you’re not really doing it with enthusiasm or of your own volition.
If you’re not getting enough sleep but want to wake up early, and if you’re having trouble waking or getting up, you might want to reconsider your early rising goal. The aim of the practice is to feel better, not worse and sleep-deprived.
Try waking up 15 minutes earlier and going to bed 20 minutes earlier every day, for starters. Don’t expect your body to magically adjust overnight (pun intended). If you want to become a lark, take your time, and remember why you are doing it in the first place.