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How to Wake Up Early: Benefits of an Early Wake Time

Malena Piper


“Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise,” words once spoken by revered inventor, Benjamin Franklin. However, most days hitting the snooze button seems more appealing than kicking off our days at 5 a.m. which may have you wondering why you should consider getting up early at all.

Notable figures such as former FLOTUS Michelle Obama and Tim Cook, Apple CEO, have all attributed waking up at 4:30 a.m as the key factor in obtaining their personal and professional goals. The truth is, early rising is not your golden ticket to fortune and success. But the benefits of being an early riser might be.

In this article, we discuss the rewards of waking up early and how to incorporate an early start in your daily routine.

How Does Sleeping Later Impact Your Life?

For most of us, sleeping is one of our favorite past times. But, getting too much sleep can be counterproductive. It has been found that those who sleep later are more vulnerable to chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure.

One study found that people who sleep late are more likely to skip meals; which causes an energy deficit. According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, when healthy adults sleep later than 6.5 hours, they’re more likely to consume fast food rather than vegetables for energy. Relying on foods and drinks that are high in sugar results in less energy for both your body and brain.

Night owls are also more prone to having stressful mornings. Going to bed later means waking up later. Leaving the individual with no time to properly prepare themselves for the day. Starting off your day in a frantic mood will set the same tone for the rest of the day. Without a clear and relaxed mind, you’re more inclined to make poor decisions as the day progresses.

Late risers are also at risk of being too drowsy to function. Not giving your brain the proper time to adjust to wakefulness after a longer sleep cycle can reduce overall alertness. Morning-time drowsiness can contribute to forgetfulness as well as mood depletion. Having a day that starts off on the wrong foot can make you less motivated to tackle the rest of it.

Benefits of Rising Early

There are several reasons why earlier risers start their day at dawn. Getting a head start to the day not only allows for more time and productivity but also for mind and body wellness. Research suggests that early rising can contribute to an overall healthier way of living in all aspects of your life.

Enhances Productivity Throughout the Day

Early birds give their brain and body time to adjust before starting the day. They’re also known to be more organized and aware as the day goes on. During the early morning hours, there’s a quiet beauty. You find yourself free from the constant outpour of emails, text, and other alerts. Without these distractions, you can focus on setting goals and planning out the day ahead more efficiently.

A recent study found that early risers do not procrastinate as much as people who stayed up later. In fact, morning people tend to be more cooperative, agreeable, conscientious, and proactive. Having more time to prepare for their days gives them a competitive edge over those who prefer to rise at a later time.

Waking up early will not guarantee success, but it can help you get ahead of your deadlines or catch up on other work. Being ahead of the game, while staying refreshed may enhance your chances of advancement in your career.

Helps You Develop Healthy Sleeping Habits

Going to bed early helps the body fall into the rhythm of a normal sleep pattern. When you rise and wake at similar times each morning, you are also keeping your body in a normal sleep-wake cycle.

Keeping your body on a sleep routine will naturally improve your quality of sleep. Feeling refreshed and rejuvenated will give you the energy needed to stay motivated.

Promotes Better Eating Habits

Though it’s known as the most important meal of the day, research shows that one-quarter of Americans skip breakfast daily. A survey conducted by The NPD Group found that one of the most common reasons people skip breakfast is because they are too busy in the mornings.

Skipping breakfast can come with some unhealthy consequences. When incorporating an earlier wake-up time, you are more likely to start your day off with a balanced breakfast. Starting the day with a healthy meal can set you up to make better food choices throughout the day.

When you start your breakfast off early, this pushes up lunch and dinner times. Earlier meal times are known to promote healthy sleep habits. Giving the body more time for digestion prevents problems such as insomnia and heartburn at night. Setting a “kitchen curfew,” a set time where you avoid eating large meals, will provide positive outcomes for rest and digestion.

Gives You Time for an Early Workout

After a long and busy day, most people are physically and mentally exhausted, which may prevent them from engaging in any physical activity. Those who wake up early have the option of kicking off their day with a healthy workout. Before the chaos of the day begins, your body and mind are vibrant.

Exercise is another factor that can contribute to deeper sleep cycles. Working out early in the day allows your body to release melatonin sooner, making it easier for you to fall asleep. You’ll find that physical activity will keep your mood stabilized and decompress the mind.

Contributes to a Positive Attitude and Better Mental Health

“Morning people” are said to have more of a positive attitude than night-owls. Waking up early can eliminate the stressful rush of getting ready for work and offer a peaceful alternative. Research suggests that those who naturally rise early are less likely to develop mental health conditions and overall experience more happiness.

Often, late risers have to fight their body’s natural clock. Having earlier starts to work, or school forces them into an unnatural sleep-wake rhythm, putting them at risk of developing a sleep disorder. Sleep disorders, like insomnia, are often linked to anxiety and depression.

Affords You More Time for Relaxation and Enjoyment

Waking up earlier will give you more time to enjoy your space. No longer will your days begin with office chit chat or wrestling with your kids. With your newly found free time, you can sit down at your favorite coffee shop, try out a new hairstyle, or do nothing at all.

Doing nothing can give your mind time to unwind and remove all mental stimulation. Before taking on a busy schedule, you’ll be in a clear headspace, leading you to make better decisions throughout the day.

Achieving most of their work during the morning hours gives early risers evenings that are more stress-free. Now, you can catch up on some well-deserved quality time with family and friends without glancing at the clock. You’ll even find yourself taking on new hobbies that you never had time to explore.

Allows for Stress-Free Commutes

The daily commute to work or school can be one of the most stressful parts of our morning. Waking up earlier gives you the option to leave your home sooner, which may help you beat you the worst of rush hour traffic.

Your brain is also more likely to be alert during this time because it has more time to transition between wakefulness and sleep. You’ll likely avoid the consequences of morning time fatigue, decreasing the likelihood of accidents during your commute.

Tips for Waking up Early

If you are a night owl waking up earlier can seem like an uphill battle. Changing a habit may seem hard, but being an early riser can become an easy task that brings joy to your day.

Here are some tips you can follow to help you along your journey to early waking.

Get the Proper Amount of Sleep Each Night

Adults need 7 to 9 hours of sleep. Experts suggest that you should fall asleep anywhere between 8 p.m. and midnight. Aim to fall asleep between the hours of 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. Many early birds prefer to start their day around 5:30. Be sure to get the proper rest so that your body is prepared to start the day.

For those who do not work the traditional 9 to 5 work schedule, getting the proper amount of shut-eye can be tough. One of the biggest challenges shift workers face is trying to sleep at irregular hours of the day. Oftentimes shift workers find it difficult to balance sleep and their daily routines.

If your job has non-traditional hours you should try to limit the number of night shifts you take on, if you can. You will more than likely be able to balance your sleep schedules with proper rest days in between. Also, limit the amount of caffeine you consume during your shift. Caffeine can give you a boost at the beginning of your shift, but frequent consumption can lead to trouble falling asleep when you get home.

Avoid mind-stimulating activities while lying in bed. It’s common for people to use technology or to watch tv before falling asleep, which leads your brain to associate your bed with being awake. Making your bed about rest will improve the quality of sleep you receive.

Also, set adequate sleep conditions that will allow you to get sufficient rest. Adding a couple of pillows or sleeping in a quiet, dark environment can contribute to a good night’s sleep.

Set Achievable Goals and Take Small Steps

There are several ways you can achieve your goal time without diving into waking up early. Put some “wake-up” goals in place until you reach the time you’d like to wake up each day. Try waking 15-30 minutes earlier than usual at the start. Get used to this for a few days, then add another 15 minutes. Finding a routine that works with you (rather than against you) is the key to staying energized throughout the day.

Keep a notebook and write down small tasks to prepare for the next day. Outline your morning routine with your top three priorities, for example: What will you eat? What will you wear? What do you need to finish? Setting small goals for waking up each day will contribute to accomplishing your long term goals.

Your morning routine does not have to center around work or productivity. It is okay to step away from activities that require willpower and discipline. Maybe you watch the sunrise or take a morning walk. Kicking off your day with something exciting can make it easier for you to wake up.

Hold Yourself Accountable and Stick With It

Make a firm decision to wake up each day. This is your time to say no to the snooze button and jumpstart your day. Though those few minutes may be tempting they will hold you back from reaching your goals.

Start by setting an alarm at your preferred wake-up time. Contrary to popular belief, this alarm does not have to be loud and abrupt. A sunrise alarm is another viable option that will ease you into the day, instead of jolting you awake. Placing your alarm clock across the room will also force you to get up out of bed each morning as soon as it sounds.

Try your best to physically leave your room for a couple of minutes after waking. Use this time to eat breakfast or make your morning coffee. Once you’re in the rhythm of your routine, the desire to jump back into bed will become less appealing.

If you are finding it difficult to adapt to your new sleep routine, try rewarding yourself for waking up on time. Treat yourself at least once a week to your favorite coffee spot or pick up a sweet snack at lunchtime. It does not have to be anything too big but will work as a motivation to stay consistent.


Incorporating an early start to your day could be just the boost you need to achieve your goals. Some people wake up as early as 4 a.m and some as late as 6:30 a.m. Find what works best for your body. Waking up earlier should start to feel natural for you and make your day easier. Try waking at an earlier time for a few days, and be sure to assess your body’s energy levels. Once you find a sleep routine that works best for you, stay consistent throughout the week.

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