Waking up early is something that many of us have to do but don’t really enjoy.
The moment when the alarm sounds first thing in the morning is normally one that we dread and that sees us waking up with a start and feeling groggy and confused. It’s still dark outside, we don’t feel fully rested and it’s cold. Yet we have to drag ourselves up to go and get going with our day.
So, begins another weary day. And unfortunately, this is a cycle that is likely to repeat over and over until the day we retire!
But there’s a silver lining which is that there are actually plenty of benefits of waking up early. Not only is waking up early great for getting more done, but it is also great for your health with plenty of direct positive effects.
In this post, we’ll look at the benefits of waking up early in detail. Maybe you’ll feel a little less resentful the next time the alarm goes off. And maybe – just maybe – you’ll consider waking up earlier on your days off too!
From a practical standpoint, waking up early is a fantastic way to get more done. This can mean that you start the day by getting a little work under your belt, or it could mean that you take part in a morning ritual in order to make sure that you get the day off to a good start. Perhaps you start every day with some meditation, or perhaps you write a few lines of that book you’ve always wanted to write?
Morning rituals are actually considered to be essential for many of the world’s most successful individuals and nearly every big mover and shaker in the last several years describes themselves as using some morning rituals to get their day started. The way you start your morning often defines the way that the rest of your day goes. And because there are so few people around, this is an excellent opportunity to start your day without distractions or interruptions.
You have a choice basically: you can wake up late and rush out the door with your hair a mess and having half eaten, or you can wake up early and take your time getting ready. The latter will allow you to do some work, read the paper, look your best and get your day off to an excellent start.
Compare this to how many of us spend our time in the evenings and nights: staying up to watch trashy TV that you’re not really interested in - sound familiar? The benefit of waking up early here is that you have time to yourself when you haven’t just done an entire day’s worth of work.
The morning has the benefit of setting the tone for the rest of the day then and it also gives you time to work uninterrupted. But that’s not the only reason that this is such a great time to get work under your belt. You see, while you may not feel it, this is also a time during the day when you are at your very most productive and effective.
Studies show us that we perform our best in the mornings in countless capacities. In fact, waking up early will even see you at your most moral. According to research, we appear to become more prone to make selfish or unthoughtful choices as the day goes on!
Your biological clock or circadian rhythm is the inner timekeeping device that tells your body when it’s time to wake up and time to go to bed. This inner clock even defines when you feel hungry and at what point you start to do most of your digestion! This is what triggers many more of the benefits of waking up early.
In order to be as healthy as possible, it is very important that your biological clock be correctly set. And the best way to set your biological clock correctly is to make sure that you are waking up at the right times and going to bed at the right times. How do you know when those times are? It’s all to do with sunlight. Natural light is what tells the body when to wake up and when to go to sleep and that means the optimum time to wake and sleep should be determined by the sun. For most of us, that means waking up earlier!
Waking up early on a frequent enough basis can eventually change your circadian rhythms so that you will naturally start waking up at an earlier time and perform better in the morning. In other words, it is indeed possible to force your body to become an ‘early bird’ rather than a ‘night owl’.
This is good news in a number of ways because several positive traits are actually correlated with early-bird-ness. For example, early birds are shown to generally have better grades at school! In all likelihood, this can also be applied to performance in a career setting.
Waking up early appears to have positive effects on appetite and diet. Most likely, this is to do with the connections between your sleep/wake cycle and your hunger. After all, your hunger is defined by hormones that are closely related to your sleep hormones.
Studies show us that when you wake earlier, you find it easier to sustain a healthy diet, avoid snacks and even burn more calories thanks to a slightly faster metabolism.
There are practical reasons that this is the case too. For one, we’ve already seen how waking up earlier gives us a stronger moral compass. As it happens, it also makes us less impulsive, suggesting that we should be better able to resist the urge to binge eat.
And on top of that, getting up earlier means you have more time to prepare a proper breakfast with all the right nutrients. You’re also more likely to stick to an exercise program if you wake up earlier too, especially as the morning is the optimum time to train.
For all these reasons, you can expect to lose more weight if you wake up earlier!