Let’s be honest. For most people, it’s not easy to get up first thing in the morning, especially when it’s still dark. But a lot of successful people say, “If you win the morning, you win the day.”
In fact, there are all kinds of clichés about rising early. There’s the one about the early bird getting the worm, to which I always reply that I don’t want the worm.
However, there are so many other benefits to waking up early, from better performance in school to being more able to stick to a diet plan.
In this article, I’ll discuss the benefits in more detail, provide you nine helpful tips to make rising early a habit, and answer some questions you have about starting a morning routine.
Benefits of Waking up Early
Helps you to Sustain a Healthier Diet
People who wake up early (learn how to do it) tend to eat breakfast, while later risers are often rushing out the door and have to grab something convenient (i.e. unhealthy), or they skip the meal altogether.
The problem with skipping breakfast is that it leads to poorer eating habits later in the day. If you’re hungry because you missed a meal, the doughnut in the break room may be too tempting to resist.
Helps your Skin Look Healthy
After a night of restful sleep, our skin is at its best first thing in the morning. And if you’re an early riser, you can take advantage of the morning hours to give your skin some extra TLC.
Similar to the breakfast example above, people who get up later in the day tend to focus less on healthy morning habits like hydrating and exercise, which oxygenates your blood and promotes healthy skin. Early morning risers can also use the extra time to exfoliate, moisturize and cleanse.
People who wake up early also tend to have regular sleeping habits (unlike the night owls who keep erratic sleeping schedules). Having a predictable sleep routine ensures that your skin gets proper time to rejuvenate.
Gives you More Time to Exercise
I enjoy an after-work gym session as much as the next person, but I’ll also admit to missing a fair number of workouts because of commitments at the office or with my family. And sometimes, I’m tired after a full day of work!
When you exercise in the morning, you’re less likely to have an excuse. Plus, you’ll find that your morning workout will keep you energized all day long.
Starting your day early improves your concentration. In addition to being able to focus on goals and task lists without being interrupted by family members or coworkers, getting up early means that by the time you get to work or school, you’ve had hours to properly acclimate yourself to the day. You’ll be more alert during peak hours as a result.
Enhances your Productivity
Most successful people report that they’re up at 5 am, or even earlier. Early risers tend to be more productive for a variety of reasons, including:
- Having more time to focus on important tasks while the rest of the world is asleep. This also translates to fewer interruptions.
- Brains tend to be most alert in the morning. If you’re able to focus without interruptions early in the day, you’ll get more done.
- You tend to make better decisions and think more clearly in the morning than in the afternoon and evening. Setting your goals first thing will help you achieve them.
- If you can manage to get out of bed early, you’ll find that you have more energy throughout the day. It seems counterintuitive, but there are countless testimonials.
Improves your Quality of Sleep
Keeping your body on a sleep routine will make it easier to go to sleep and wake up naturally at the same time each night. This is important for your body’s internal clock. If you go to bed late and wake up late on the weekends, for example, it’s harder for your body to adjust.
People who get up early are naturally sleepier when it’s the “normal” time to go to bed. And being on a predictable routine will help you sleep better each night and wake feeling more rested.
Helps you Enjoy Quiet Time
Sometimes it amazes me that not everyone gets up earlier. It’s a miracle how quiet the world is first thing in the morning. Not only are there zero distractions, which will allow you to enjoy peace and quiet, but you’ll also find that your daily commute is easier if you leave an hour earlier and beat all the traffic.
Plus, you get to avoid all that annoying office chit chat about weekends and kids and all the stuff you have to pretend to care about to be “polite.”
9 Tips on How to Get up Early
1. Start slowly
If you typically wake up at 8 am and decide that tomorrow you want to be out of bed by 5 am, you’re setting yourself up for failure. Instead, try waking up just 15 minutes earlier each day. Within a week, you’ll have worked your way up to almost two hours!
2. Sleep early
Start going to bed earlier than you normally would. That way you’ll get enough hours of sleep, and you won’t feel deprived when the alarm goes off. If you’re not tired when it’s time to catch some zzz’s, read a few pages of a book, especially a boring one, and you’ll be in dreamland in no time.
3. Set an alarm clock
Unless you naturally wake up at your goal time every morning, you’re going to need to set an alarm. I recommend putting it across the room, so you have to get out of bed to turn it off. I also set the alarm to play an inspirational or energetic song to help nudge me out of bed. Something with a positive message or an upbeat sound is much better to wake up to than a series of obnoxious beeps.
Here are 14 ways to never hit that snooze button again that you can try out!
4. Step out of the bedroom
We’ve all turned off our alarm and crawled right back into bed. It’s so warm and comfy, right?
Instead, leave your bedroom. Whether it’s a trip to the bathroom or the coffee maker, once you’ve put enough distance between you and that blissful amazing mattress you’ll find that you’re awake enough to start the day.
5. Have a good reason
Your long list of emergencies is not the driver that should spring you out of bed every morning. Instead, think of something positive that you plan on accomplishing. Maybe you can tell yourself something like you’ll get to leave work early if you get to work earlier. Or if you enjoy meditating but don’t often have the time, use that as a reason to get up and start your day.
6. Consider it as a reward
By rising early, you’re rewarding yourself. Try to remember that. If that’s enough of a motivation, bribe yourself with a treat from your favorite coffee shop or an extra long shower if you manage to get out of bed on time and without pressing snooze.
7. Use the extra time
Is there a book you’ve wanted to read or an online class you’ve been considering enrolling in? Use the extra time you get in the morning to do something that helps you grow and improve.
8. Eat less before bedtime
9. Make a firm decision to get up
Even if you tell yourself the night before that you plan on rising before dawn, it’s almost like you have a second personality that takes over when the alarm goes off and urges you to go back to sleep. It’s unnerving.
To avoid that evil monster living inside your brain, you’re going to have to be firm. If you can’t reason with it, then you’ll need to set up external cues in your environment. I recommend putting a reminder on my phone about my commitment or sleeping in my exercise clothes, so I’m all ready to start my day as soon as I wake up.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best time to wake up?
The answers to this question will vary depending on whom you ask. A lot of CEOs and gurus will tell you 5 am. However, the medical community generally agrees that the best time to wake up is at sunrise.
The most important thing to keep in mind is consistency. Set a time that you plan to wake up and stick to it.
What are the effects of waking up late?
Besides having to rush around and feel like you’re playing catch up all day, the harmful effects of waking up late include having a hard time falling asleep when it’s time for bed and messing up your internal clock.
If you woke up each day of the week at 6 am and then slept in until 8 am or 9 am on Saturday, you’ve completely thrown off your clock, and you’ll feel effects similar to jet lag. When Sunday rolls around, and you try to resume your normal sleep schedule, you’re likely not to feel tired at bedtime, and in turn, you’ll be exhausted when the alarm goes off on Monday morning.
What’s the importance of a morning routine?
A morning routine sets the tone for your entire day. This is especially if you’re forcing yourself to get up early and you’re not naturally an early riser.
Having a set routine each morning will help you stay focused and productive. Countless productivity experts agree that the first thing you do in the morning is to make your bed. It gives you a small win and you can claim completing that task as your first accomplishment of the day!
Why do students need to get up early?
There’s a strong correlation between waking up early and scoring higher on tests. Texas University found in a recent study that the students who got up earlier got higher grades and performed better on tests than students who slept in.
By now you should be convinced that there are countless benefits to getting up early and no negatives. Try it for a week and see what kind of a difference it makes in your attitude, energy levels, and productivity.
Sources and References:
- Morning work: effects of early rising on sleep and alertness
- Tips for Getting a Good Night's Sleep
- Influence of early rising on performance in tasks requiring attention and memory