Everyone needs their eight hours a night, but what if we hit the snooze button and find ourselves sleeping in? Turns out, you could be missing out on some of the great benefits of waking up early. The early bird gets the worm—as well as these advantages to an early morning.
One of the most obvious but pronounced advantages to an early morning is that you have more time in your day—especially when we look when we tend to be most productive. Studies show that we are at our most focused at around 10 a.m. That’s not exactly the early morning, but when we take into account “sleep inertia,” or the grogginess we feel upon waking up that can take hours to shake, rising early allows us to be fully awake at our most naturally attentive time. (Early morning people, often called “larks,” are also known to procrastinate less.)
We can do more than sit at our desks in the A.M., too. One of the great things to get done in the morning is kicking off a healthy day. From getting a good early breakfast to jump-start our metabolism or making a little extra time to exercise, the possibilities to improve health by getting out and about in the morning are endless. This is especially obvious when considering the negative outcomes linked to oversleeping, which range from metabolic disorders like diabetes to unhealthy weight gain.
Nurture That Noggin
Becoming a morning person can also improve your mental health. Morning people tend to have higher grades, a lower risk of depression, and higher positive affect (greater expression of happiness, delight, interest, and alertness) . Of course, these studies show correlation and not causation, and waking up early for one day isn’t a guarantee to boost your mood. Still, it is possible for our internal clocks to shift some, meaning even late sleepers can turn into “larks” and improve their chances of reaping the benefits of an early morning.
Another reason to get out of bed in the morning is to avoid that vicious snooze-button cycle. While it may feel nice to hit “snooze” and ease into your day, you’re actually doing much more harm than good. Snooze-button syndrome makes you miss out on important deep sleep and sends your brain into something like sleep purgatory: not getting valuable sleep but also not fully functioning. Your best bet, as this Huffington Post article suggests, is to set your alarm at the time you really need get up—after a healthy seven or eight hours, of course—and ditch the “sleeping in” altogether.
Of course, if you’re going to reap the benefits of waking up early, there is one thing you should absolutely keep in mind: get to sleep early, too! The advantages of rising early can be seriously undermined if you’re not giving yourself enough time to sleep at night. The best way to wake up early and have a productive day is to hit the hay with plenty of time to get quality sleep. So go ahead and tuck yourself in for a good night’s rest, and get ready for a happier, healthier morning.