February 20, 2020

Benefits of Waking Up Early

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Does the thought of getting up early make you groan? You aren't alone. But getting up early has benefits you shouldn't ignore. Learn what they are and how much sleep you really need below.

Waking up early is good for your body and your brain—it may even be good for your relationships. While dragging yourself out of bed isn't the easiest thing for you to do, there are definitely benefits to giving it a try.

Just how early should you get up? While there isn't a set time for everyone, many early risers are awake by 5 AM. If that seems too early, at least try to be out of bed by sunrise for the greatest benefits.

Is 5 hours of sleep enough? What about 7 hours?
On average, five hours of sleep isn't enough for a good night's rest. Most adults need 7–9 hours, though some can function on just five hours. If you only get a few hours of sleep a night once in a while, it's not as bad as if it is a regular habit.

Reasons to Wake Up Early

You May Be More Productive
Think about how long it takes you to fully awaken each day. It's probably at least an hour or two, right? If you wake up late in the day, you start your day even later.

Even though you are up, you probably aren't operating at your peak performance right away. When you wake up early, you give yourself that extra time to get up and going, which means starting your meaningful tasks earlier in the day.

It May Make You Happier
Studies show that moods improve when the days are longer and the nights are shorter. When you wake up earlier, you get more sunlight. This could lead to higher vitamin D storage, which may mean a lower risk of depression.

As an added benefit, having more daylight may make you more productive, which can naturally lead to more happiness.

You May Perform Better
Whether you are in school or employed full time, someone is watching your performance. When you wake up early regularly, you have more time to manage your tasks. With less stress on your shoulders, you may naturally perform better.

Time management and performance often go hand in hand. If you give yourself more time to get tasks done, you may naturally perform better.

You May Get Better Sleep and Have More Energy
If you keep regular sleep habits—going to bed and waking around the same time every day, you stabilize your circadian rhythm. In other words, you aren't fighting your body to go to sleep at night and then wake up in the morning.

It can feel like a vicious cycle when this happens. Regularly waking up early and being consistent about your bedtime, though, helps you get the deep sleep your body needs.

When you get the deep sleep (REM sleep) that your body needs, you will naturally have more energy. During REM sleep, your body recovers from the previous days. You'll wake up feeling rested and ready to take on the world. With renewed energy, you may get more done.

You May Eat Better, Which Leads to Better Health
If you sleep in until the last minute, you probably aren't eating a good breakfast. Instead, you'll likely either grab something on the go or skip breakfast altogether.

Neither option starts your day off on the right foot. If you eat junk (sugar or carbs) for breakfast, you start your day on a "high" and hit a "low" mid-day.

When you get up early, you may have more time to make a healthy breakfast and give yourself time to plan your day.

You May Be More Likely to Exercise
If you're like most of us, you want to work out but somehow it always ends up last on your list. By the end of the day, you are too tired to consider heading to the gym or even running around the block.

If you wake up early, you may be able to work out right away. Without having to rush to the office or school, you have more time to do things that take care of you and your health.

Even working out for just 20 minutes can enhance your health. Exercising releases endorphins, which help your mood and even productivity throughout the day.

You May Feel Less Stressed
How many times have you said, "If I only had more hours in my day?" Well, if you get up early, you can. Starting your day earlier gives you more time to get things done, which can lead to less stress.

You don't have to wake up and hit the ground running. You don't even have to think. Set up a morning routine that slowly eases you into the day with ease and joy. Knowing that you have that time to "hatch" can help you start your day off on the right foot.

Does waking up early help you lose weight?
There's no research to suggest that waking up early helps you lose weight. However, people who do wake up early often have better eating habits. When you wake up early, you have a better chance of eating a nutritious breakfast, which sets you up for better food choices the rest of the day. If you also go to bed early, you reduce the risk of overeating at night, which may help you lose weight as well.

Ways to Get Yourself Up Early

If you aren't a morning person, getting up even earlier may seem like an impossible task. But these tips can help you ease into your new routine.

  1. Don't Rush It
    Habits take time to form. If you are used to sleeping in until the last minute, give yourself some grace. Start getting up 15 minutes earlier than normal at first.

    Give yourself a few days to get used to this, then get up an additional 15 minutes earlier. Keep doing this until you are at your targeted time to wake up.

  2. Set a Bedtime Routine
    If you get up earlier, you may need to go to bed earlier. Getting up early doesn't mean getting less sleep. You should still get between 7 and 9 hours of sleep.

    If you start gradually getting yourself to bed earlier, it will become easier to get yourself up at sunrise.

  3. Make It Hard to Sleep In
    Snooze buttons can ruin the best-laid plans. Rather than giving yourself the option of rolling over and hitting snooze, move your alarm clock far from your bed.

    Making it so that you have to get up out of bed to shut it off, your chances of going back to sleep decrease once your feet hit the ground.

  4. Have a Solid Plan
    Don't just say you are going to get up early—create a reason for it. Will you work out, read the bible, meditate, enjoy your coffee, or maybe get some work done?

    You know better than anyone what will motivate you and start your day right. Have a plan in mind to encourage you to get up when the birds start singing.

What is the best time to sleep and wake up?
The National Sleep Foundation recommends that adults go to bed anywhere between 8 PM and midnight. They also recommend at least 7 hours of sleep a day.

That means if you wake at 5 AM (the recommended "early bird" wake-up time), you should be asleep by 10 PM at the latest. You can adjust your bedtime accordingly—whether you wake up later than 5 AM or you prefer more than 7 hours of sleep.

Why Getting Up Late Is Bad

Still not convinced you should get up early? Consider this: People who sleep late often make poor food choices and don't exercise enough, according to a study conducted by Feinberg School of Medicine.

Poor food choices and lack of physical exercise put you at risk of weight gain as well as a host of health problems, including heart attack, type 2 diabetes, and stroke.

In addition, people who get up late often feel rushed, which leads to stress and potential mental health disorders. Feeling rushed, stressed, and out of time every day leads to chronic stress and ill feelings.

Bottom Line

Waking up early has many benefits. If nothing else, you'll feel productive and ready to take on the day. Who knows what you are capable of creating with a few more hours in your day—give it a try and see if it works better for you and your health.

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