The saying goes that “the early bird catches the worm,” but how true is it that waking up early in the morning and going to bed earlier at night benefits our health?
In today’s day and age, many people struggle to get to bed early, whether due to unsociable work hours, shift work, or simply staying up too late binge-watching the latest Netflix series.
The fact is that going to bed early and waking before the sun rises has many advantages. Hopefully, after reading this list of the 8 health benefits of sleeping and waking up early, you’ll think twice about that 2:00 am bedtime and start setting your alarm for the crack of dawn.
What Are The Benefits of Sleeping and Waking up Early?
They say that “the best way to make your dreams come true is to wake up”; it’s a quote I live by daily. However, what about the science behind it?
Is it true that there are, in fact, health benefits to sleeping and waking up early?
Below is a list of proven explanations for why getting an early night’s sleep and waking up when your alarm goes off could benefit your general health and quality of life.
1. Higher Productivity Levels
Chances are if you’ve gone to bed earlier and woken up nice and early, you’ll feel much more energized throughout the day, feel more productive, and be able to complete tasks much more efficiently. This is even more so if you’ve managed to squeeze in an early morning workout.
2. Sleep Quality
If you’re thinking about adapting your hours of sleep to enhance your overall sleep quality, then going to bed and waking up quite early needs to be something you can remain consistent with in the long run. There is no point going to bed at 9:00 pm Monday to Thursday if you’ll crawl into bed in the early hours for the rest of the weekend, sleeping in till lunchtime. This will be counterproductive and hurt your sleep quality in the long term.
Come up with a sleeping pattern that is going to work best around your lifestyle and something you feel as though you can stick to realistically. Check out this guide to the best hours to sleep to learn about the science behind sleep and wake times.
3. Skip the Early Morning Rush Hour
Commuting to work can be a stressful start to the day if you’re traveling through rush hour traffic; waking up a bit earlier and allowing you that extra time in the morning means that you could start your commute early, potentially missing that depressing queue of traffic all the way to work.
Additionally, it’s going to benefit your pocket too. After all, crawling through traffic still burns petrol/electricity. Skipping traffic can also benefit your mental well-being, reducing feelings of stress and anger that go hand-in-hand with road rage.
4. More Time for You!
This is an important one and why sleeping and waking up early in the morning can be 100% beneficial to your physical and mental wellness. Getting up an hour before everyone else in the house, whether that’s your spouse, kids, or parents, can give you some extra time.
Come around, gather your thoughts, enjoy a coffee, gaze out the window, or engage in an earlier exercise such as stretching or yoga. You’ll soon see that your hectic day no longer seems quite as stressful.
There is a lot of information out there regarding the best time of day to exercise, and to be honest; we can’t all fit our gym life into the recommended hours, so while some people might prefer to do their exercises before bed, waking up an hour earlier to get in a work out done before you start your day can be the answer.
Exercising in the morning also means you’re much less likely to skip out on the gym because you’ve not had a long, stressful day or time to think of excuses not to do it. Plus, it means it’s done and out of the way, leaving plenty of time left in the evening to enjoy dinner with the family, put the kids to bed, prepare packed lunches, or simply kick back and relax.
A common trait in people with busy lifestyles is they tend to either skip breakfast, or grab something from Starbucks on the way, eating as they walk, ride or drive to work, and let’s face it, most things we grab from coffee shops aren’t packed full of nutrients.
Waking up earlier in the morning means you have more time to enjoy a healthy breakfast containing all the nutrients you need to see you through till lunch. This will help you to resist that biscuit tin in the office and will mean that you have more fuel to get your job done efficiently without feeling sluggish.
7. Brain Function
When you wake up in the morning, it can take a little while for your brain to catch up fully. So, if you’re someone who dives out of bed, washes up, gets dressed, and does a last-minute dash to the subway, chances are that by the time you get to work, you’ll still be in that state of groggy discombobulation.
Getting out of bed an hour or two before you need to be ready to leave the house gives your brain a chance to catch up with your body and come to terms with the day before you throw yourself into work half asleep.
8. Positive Thoughts and Mindfulness
Many early risers claim that waking up at the crack of dawn gives them a sense of well-being, makes them feel happier and more optimistic about the world around them, and gives them the confidence to complete any tasks. If you make waking up early a part of your life, this is a feeling that you will be likely to experience in your life.
Waking up quite early is sometimes not done on purpose, and if you haven’t gone to bed early enough, rising early will mean you’re not getting the correct hours of sleep.
Not getting enough sleep is going to be damaging. It can affect your physical health and cause problems such as fatigue, stress, depression, irritability, and mental health conditions. So, if you haven’t managed to sleep until the early morning hours, then it’s not recommended to set your alarm for 6:00 am.
However, changing your sleeping habits and adapting your sleep schedule can have many health benefits when done correctly. I suggest looking at your hours of work and lifestyle before coming up with a realistic bedtime hour that will mean you can still wake up early without losing valuable sleep hours.
If you already know that your getting too much sleep and find yourself sleeping in every morning despite having had the recommended amount of slumber, there are some things you can do to try and get you out of this habit, such as:
- Get Straight Out of Bed:- Staying lying down in bed, where it’s comfortable and warm, means there is a very likely chance that you’re going to drift off back to sleep; as soon as you hear that alarm ring, get yourself out of bed as quickly as you can.
- Quit Hitting Snooze:- Hitting the snooze button is a massive fail if you’re aiming to wake up early because the likelihood is you won’t do it just once. When you hit snooze and drift back to sleep, your body begins a whole new sleep cycle, meaning you’ll wake up feeling even more groggy than before, making getting out of bed even more challenging. Learn more about how to quit hitting that snooze button.
- Take it Slow:- If you usually get up around 8:00/9:00 am, suddenly expecting to get up at 6:00 am might sound impossible. So instead, do it gradually, week by week, set your alarm half an hour earlier, and ease yourself into waking up early.
- Motivation:- Set yourself a morning routine that you enjoy doing; whether it’s taking a shower, practicing yoga, or taking a morning stroll, doing something you like will motivate you to get up and out of bed. Concentrate on the positive factors of waking up early.