You don’t need to sacrifice your beauty sleep, but if you’re not a morning person, you’re missing out. But don’t worry because you can set your body clock to make the most of a healthy morning routine, even if you’re usually a night owl. So, what are the main benefits of getting up early? You might be surprised at how your morning routine will wake you up in all areas of your life! We take a look at the research and discover why it really is better to wake up with the birds!
Avoid cycles of negative thinking
A study published in Cognitive Therapy and Research found that people who went to bed later were more likely to be overwhelmed with repetitive negative thoughts. Have you ever been in a cycle of unhelpful negative thinking late at night? The thoughts are usually deemed an overreaction by the time morning dawns, right? Most of us can relate, I’m sure! So, go to bed early to avoid that spiral of negative repetitive thinking and feel more refreshed in the morning.
Improve your mental health
Going to bed just one hour earlier and waking up earlier have been shown to reduce the risk of depressive illness. The study, published in JAMA Psychiatry, found that shifting your sleep schedule by just one hour resulted in a 23 per cent lower risk of depression. While the study hasn’t revealed if it’s helpful to shift your sleep schedule if you’re already a morning person (so more like a 9 pm – 5 am sleep schedule), it does heed a warning to the night owls to get to bed earlier. A similar observational study that looked at the sleep habits of nurses found that those who rose earlier were up to 27 per cent less likely to develop depression over four years.
Be more successful
Biologist Christoph Randler’s study in the Journal of Applied Social Psychology found that morning people had a more proactive mindset, increasing their productivity! A willingness and ability to take action to change your situation to your advantage is the act of being proactive. Proactive people will achieve more and feel more satisfied with their personal and professional lives. They’re also more likely to anticipate problems and minimise them successfully, leading to more success in their careers or business. So set that alarm clock and get to bed early tonight. You might find yourself more motivated to complete that short course you enrolled in last month!
According to research from the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science, early risers are more inclined to be active. Those who identified as ‘night owls’ in the study were less active than their early-rising counterparts. In fact, the night owls had up to 60 to 90 minutes per day of activity. So why are early birds more active? It’s not known for sure, but it could be that night owls find it harder to incorporate exercise into the morning routine (the ‘daylight’ hours). Or maybe they wake to feel ‘jet-lagged’ due to societal pressures to fit the 9 to 5 workday and, as a result, have less energy for exercise.
Do those early birds always seem a bit too chipper? Happy as larks even? It might be because of their sleep schedule. A research review concluded that morning people report higher levels of positive emotions compared with their night owl counterparts! According to a University of Toronto study, morning people also report feeling happier. So, if you’re feeling less optimistic than you’d like, maybe scheduling an earlier bedtime is key!
It seems the early bird catches more than the worm. Those who get up early enough to enjoy breakfast will make better meal choices to start the day. If you start your day with a nutritious and satisfying breakfast, you’re also more likely to feel full longer. So you’ll be much more likely to resist the high-fat, high-sugar convenience foods that we tend to choose when we’re time-strapped! You’ll also enjoy a hot cup of coffee before the distractions of work descend.
So, if you’re a morning person, congratulations! But, make sure you have a healthy morning routine to make the most of being an early riser. If you’re more of a night owl, start slowly to adjust your body clock. You’ll reap the benefits of rising early in no time!