5 Great Benefits Of Being An Early Bird And How You Can Change

Most people say that they are either a night owl or an early bird. Personally, I go both ways, but I do think that for me, waking up early is better. Some of the early birds I know may laugh at this because I know many who wake up at 4 a.m., and I’m definitely…

Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Last Updated: December 28, 2023

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Most people say that they are either a night owl or an early bird. Personally, I go both ways, but I do think that for me, waking up early is better.

Some of the early birds I know may laugh at this because I know many who wake up at 4 a.m., and I’m definitely not one of those people.

You don’t have to wake up at 4 a.m. to be an early bird, unless you really want to. I’m just talking about waking up a little earlier in the morning, instead of waking up in a rush for work or regularly sleeping in until the afternoon.

Now, some of you might think I’m crazy for telling you to wake up an hour or two before you’re supposed to leave for work.

I used to be a night owl and absolutely haaaated waking up early, so I completely understand.

When I had a day job, mornings were the absolute worst. I would wake up right before work and head out the door. Or, I would sleepily type away at my computer trying to get my side hustles done. Side hustling in the morning was enjoyable, but I still had a very rushed morning.

On top of having rushed mornings, I didn’t have a good sleep schedule either. I would go to sleep very late and never had a bedtime. I would try to catch up on sleep during the weekends, which as you’ll read below, is just a huge mistake.

By going to sleep earlier and waking up earlier, I’m sure I would have had more enjoyable mornings.

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I now know that there are many great benefits of waking up early.

Of course, different things work for different people. However, if what you’re doing doesn’t seem to be working for you or if you feel like you don’t have enough time for things, then you may want to try waking up earlier in the day.

As I’m telling you all this, I know the look the night owls are giving me. It’s the “you’re absolutely CRAZY” look.

Trust me, I still give that look to my friends who are waking up early enough to see the sun rise. When I was a night owl, I would always say to myself “Meh. I like sleeping in. I’m a night owl – for sure! Maybe next week…”

However, I now understand the benefits of waking up early and how it can completely change a your day.

Here is why you should start waking up early:

 

You’ll have more daylight hours.

This one is a no-brainer. Waking up early means you have more daylight hours to enjoy. This means that you can get more time in the sun, do more outdoors activities, and so on. And, there is nothing better than that early morning sun coming through your windows.

However, if you wake up at noon, there’s a chance that you may only get five or six hours of sunlight to enjoy.

Or, if you wake up right before you go to work, then you may not even get to enjoy the sun outside, unless you don’t have work that day.

This is one of the things I disliked the most about staying up late and waking up later in the day. It always seemed like the day was over before it even began.

Like I said, waking up early means you will probably have more time to enjoy the daylight. Perhaps you could go on a morning walk, take a short hike, read outside for a bit, or more!

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You won’t feel as rushed.

When you wake up late in the day or right before you need to be somewhere, you may often feel rushed to get things done. This can lead to skipping breakfast, feeling grumpy, hurrying out the door and forgetting something, and more.

That rushed feeling is one of the worst, and it can negatively impact the rest of your day.

By waking up early and not feeling rushed, you can actually have a refreshing start to your day. And, you’ll have time to do things before you start the rest of your day.

With just one extra hour in the morning, here are a few things you can do:

  • Make a delicious breakfast.
  • Read your favorite book.
  • Catch up on a side hustle.
  • Prepare your lunch.
  • Get a workout in.

 

You’ll have time to eat breakfast.

I briefly mentioned this in the previous section, but it’s important enough to say again.

If you wake up early, you’re more likely to eat breakfast because you won’t be in a rush. This doesn’t just mean making a breakfast, but you can actually sit down to enjoy it!

When I woke up right before I had to be somewhere (such as work or an appointment), I would almost always skip breakfast. I would tell myself “I’m not a breakfast person,” which is something that I hear most night owls say.

However, breakfast is probably the most important meal of the day. But, if it’s so important, then why does it seem like most people skip it?

It’s probably because many of them are too rushed in the morning!

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You may sleep better.

Those who wake up early tend to have established sleep schedules. Those who are night owls tend to just go to sleep at more random times and wake up randomly as well.

While different things work for different people, having a regular sleep schedule tends to improve the quality of your sleep.

In fact, a study by the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism found that participants who didn’t have a set sleep routine tended to have poor cholesterol levels, higher body mass index, and larger waist circumference.

 

You can’t “bank” sleep or catch up on it.

This is one myth that always fooled me. I thought you could “bank” sleep or at least catch up on it. I thought that sleeping in would let me make up for the fact that I may have had too little sleep in a previous day.

However, that’s not true.

While you may feel a little more rested the next morning, you will never feel 100% because you can’t catch up on sleep.

According to the National Sleep Foundation, Snoozing more on weekends isn’t really the solution. Here are some of the consequences they cite:

The potential short-term, negative effects include a foggy brain, impaired driving, difficulty remembering things, and reduced vision, while potential long-term ramifications include heart disease, obesity, and insulin resistance. Though you may feel more rested on Monday morning, that extra shut-eye doesn’t erase all of the drawbacks from not catching enough zzz’s during the week. While extra weekend sleep does help reduce daytime sleepiness and stress, your ability to focus and pay attention will still be reduced. It can also throw off your internal body clock (also known as your circadian rhythm) and lead to Sunday night insomnia. However, you can eventually bounce back once you’ve adapted to a steady schedule that gets you enough winks.

As you’ve read, having a sleep schedule is very important. While occasionally sleeping in won’t kill you, it’s not something you should depend on – because sleep just doesn’t work that way.

 

How to start waking up early.

Now that you’re aware of the great benefits of waking up early, you are probably interested in doing the same.

Here are my tips so that you can be an early riser:

  • Set an alarm. Start out by just waking up 10 or 30 minutes earlier than usual. You can slowly wake up earlier and earlier until you are waking up at the time you desire. Sure, waking up five hours earlier on Day 1 is possible, but it may be more difficult.
  • Move your alarm across the room. By having your alarm out of reach, it won’t be as easy to hit snooze and continue sleeping. Instead, you’ll have to get out of bed to stop the noise!
  • Go to sleep earlier. Going to sleep earlier than normal will probably be the hardest thing to do when you start because your body is used to being awake until a certain time at night. However, it’s not impossible. If I need to get up early but am afraid I’ll have a hard time going to bed, I will read in bed for a bit or go for a late night run. Both put me to sleep!
  • Open your curtains before you go to bed. By opening your curtains at night, you’ll almost be forced to wake up as the sun comes up. If it’s pitch black in your bedroom, it’ll be much more difficult to wake up (especially if you don’t have an alarm) because your body will still think it’s time to sleep.
  • Set a curfew for electronics. This might sound like something for kids, but stepping away from things like your phone, tablet, and TV can help you fall asleep. Some studies even suggest that electronics make it more difficult for you to get to sleep because they suppress melatonin (the hormone that helps you sleep), they keep your brain alert in times of rest, and they can actually wake you up.

Do you like waking up early or are you more of a night owl? If you’re a night owl, why do you think that’s better for you?


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Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Author: Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Hey! I’m Michelle Schroeder-Gardner and I am the founder of Making Sense of Cents. I’m passionate about all things personal finance, side hustles, making extra money, and online businesses. I have been featured in major publications such as Forbes, CNBC, Time, and Business Insider. Learn more here.

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  1. Mustard Seed Money

    I feel like I’m not quite an early bird and I’m not quite a night owl. I like to go to bed by 10 pm and wake up by 6 am most mornings. Anything less than 8 hours usually hurts a ton for me and I can’t function. The nice thing about waking up a couple of hours before work is I am able to be super productive and enjoy the quiet solitude of my house before all the chaos begins 🙂

    1. I’m not a super early bird either. However, I don’t ever wake up after noon, which is what everyone thinks we do since we don’t have children, haha.

  2. All of these benefits of waking up early compound after having kids (and so do the struggles!). It was a life changer for me, though, when I finally started waking up early and getting some of my most important tasks of the day done before chaos ensues at my house.

  3. I’m not a morning person. Even with kids, I wake up after them (they can get ready without me now) and I’m the last to go to bed. I do wish to get up earlier because I can see the benefits. I once woke up at 5:30 (an hour early) for a week, to get my workout in cuz I was volunteering at school and I must admit it was a good week. I felt great.

    1. Yes! I always feel great as well.

  4. If I’m honest, I average 5 to 6 hours of sleep per night. During the week it’s more around 5 or so. On weekends, I might be able to get 6 or 7. Between the day job, blogging, and being a family guy, sleep doesn’t fit into the schedule! Lol.

    I’m up at 4:15, 4:30 for the day job and I probably go to bed between 10 and 11 most nights. Even on weekends, I’m up between 5 or 6.

    1. Haha, I completely understand. That used to be me!

  5. I’m usually up around 5. And I get to work about an hour before I have to start. I like the slower pace and the quiet because for the bananas classroom atmosphere hits. I do wish getting up early afforded me more of my own time in the morning, but I’d have to get up REALLY early to do that. So right now, I try to balance “early enough” with “sleeping enough” 🙂 Fun post!

  6. Tyler DeBroux

    Great and informative post. I couldn’t agree more on the fact that we’re unable to catch or make up lost sleep. I’m starting to realize this more and more as I get older. I use to be able to stay up and work until 2am, then wake up an hour or two later at 4am everyday and still be highly productive.

    However, I’m finding out now that my body isn’t as resilient as it use to be. Now, I’m beginning to feel more tired, unenergetic, and unproductive. Unsurprisingly, negatively impacting both my business and life in general.

    Getting old sucks, but reading your post not only made perfect sense, but also is very good and practical advice!

  7. I like to consider myself a bit of a morning person, but I had no idea that you couldn’t bank sleep! That totally changes my mind on sleeping in on the weekends to “catch up” on sleep I missed during the week. Thanks for sharing!

  8. Sveny

    I wake up every morning at 3:45 am and I think it’s true. I’m feeling more balanced and motivated as if I wake up later.

    1. Wow, now that is early 🙂 What do you do with your mornings? I’d love to hear!

  9. Mike Collins

    I totally agree with the part about enjoying more hours of sunlight. I’ve always been an early bird (though not before the sun rises, that’s just crazy) and my wife is the night owl. She likes to sleep in on the weekends but I find that is often the most productive time of my day. I hate sleeping in on a beautiful Saturday, I feel like I’m wasting such valuable time.

    1. Yes, same here! I always feel like I’m wasting the day when I do that.

  10. Yes, I’m the same way. When I was younger, sleeping in until noon happened every time I didn’t have work, haha.

  11. I am with you I can go both ways. I totally love getting up early though 7ish and getting the day started. Lot’s of great benefits like you mentioned.

    Thanks for sharing.

  12. Love waking early, always have been. I recently started the Miracle Morning and have been waking up much earlier and love it. Provides so much clarity and I’m able to get done my important before the kids wake up 🙂

    1. I’ll have to check that out.

  13. Counting Quarters

    I wish I could be an early bird. All through high school and the early part of college I woke up around 5:30am every morning. Now though it is more like 7-7:30. If I could get back to waking up early I could work out before work instead of after and free up that time.

    1. That’s still pretty early!

  14. Grant @ Life Prep Couple

    Yeah I am one of those super crazy people who wakes up at 4:00-4:30 and yes I go to bed at 8:00-9:00. I love the mornings. That is my time to read, write and workout. The world is quiet, the baby is asleep and no one is calling or texting. By doing my most important stuff so early it insures I actually do it. You can come up with a ton of excuses throughout a full day of working why you “can’t” do something. No excuses at 4:30am.

    And all of those night owls aren’t usually staying up all night working on their life goals. Instead they are working on watching TV and Instagram.

  15. Izy Berry

    I’m trying to become a morning person because I know my productivity is so much better when I get up early. It’s hard as I’m definitely more of a night owl! Have you read the morning miracle? It’s a great way to start the morning 🙂 I’ve enjoyed implementing it.

    1. You’re the second person to mention that. I’ll have to check it out 🙂

  16. Mr. Groovy’s been doing Hal Elrod’s “Miracle Morning” routine for over a year and I see a big change in him. He’s usually up around 5:30 and does his bible reading, studies Spanish, writes, and gets in a couple sets of planks. I’m on the 7:30 plan but I’m trying to train myself to get to bed earlier so I can get up earlier.

    1. Wow, the third person to mention that now. I definitely need to check it out!

  17. I’m a nightowl!! Its 12:15 noon here and I just woke up. Good morning! Haha I slept at 5AM. You know I did the whole sleep at 9PM and wake up at 7AM thing for a week and I powered through 70 hours of work per week. But when I took a break, I immediately fell back into the 2AM work and pizza eating habit. My hours dip to about 60-65 per week. Really interesting and effective but I can’t see to do it longterm. 2AM pizza is the devil.

  18. Karla | KarlaTravels

    Great post Michelle.

    I certainly agree with many of the points you made.

    I will be the first to admit that i used to be a night owl, a habit formed during my college days.

    The calm and quietness at night helped me write my 25 page essays and many blog posts in the past few years.

    However i’ve decided to try something new this month and become an early bird.

    Waking up at 4:30 a.m. is brutal at first but with strength, dedication & perseverance, it is all worth it!

    I get more things done before 9 a.m. rolls around and before you know it, half your workday is done!

    The best part is that i get to take an afternoon nap which gives me even more energy to write/translate more later in the day!

    Ask me in 3 weeks how it goes 😉

    All the best,

    K

  19. Sarah

    I’m an early riser. I don’t use an alarm and functioned well on four hours but I’ve determined to sleep more and average between five and six hours now. However, sleeping in is a challenge. There are rare moments when it happens–meaning I’ve stayed up incredibly late–but the aftermath is lost productivity. My body greatly appreciates an early start.

    1. I can’t function without sleep. I used to be able to, but I don’t think my body lets me anymore to after several years of just 2-3 hours of sleep. haha!

  20. Financial Muse

    During the work week, I can barely get out of bed. On the weekend, I bounce out of bed at 6 am 🙂 Mornings are so much better when I can do what I want! I do like the idea of having time to eat breakfast before going to work. It would start the day off so much better.

  21. Cameron – Save Splurge Deny Debt

    The struggle has been real for me trying to wake up early. Usually in bed around midnight and up at 6AM. Usually no time in morning to relax or try to sneak in a workout. This is contributing greatly to my current dad bod situation.

    I need to be more productive in the hours of 7-11pm so I can get all the house work/blog tasks done and still get to sleep. This would allow me some more time to get a workout in and free up morning time. I have always gotten around seven hours of sleep with no issues so I would like to get back to this instead of the six I am currently getting.

  22. Best thing ever is getting to work an hour before most people. It’s my most productive time- as not only am I fresh but I don’t get interrupted. It’s like two hours of work when people are there 🙂

  23. Rebecca

    I love sunlight, which is why I always try to go to sleep (somewhat) early, but the shifts I work at my job sometimes hinder that, though I’m trying to get into a habit of going to bed almost straight after I finish work! Especially because I’m one of these people that *needs* 8 hours of sleep a night to function!
    Rebecca

  24. Adriana @MoneyJourney

    My first job was a night job, then I worked in shifts and at my last job, work started at 2 p.m. every day.But I do agree waking up early is super-beneficial!

    I’ve started waking up early for a while now and I can honestly say it works better for me. I get so much more things done in a day, as opposed to before! It was difficult at first, but after a while you actually get used to waking up early, so really, anybody can do it!

  25. Great post. I am learning to be a morning person. Your tips on how to wake up early are very helpful.

  26. Shivam Verma

    I love to wake up early bin the mornings. It is time when you get to do your workout gym and yoga. It is also perfect timing for reading as concentration levels are high and your brain is fresh.

  27. I work shift work at the hospital for 3 years now so my schedule is sporadic and my sleep is messed up – I have to sleep when I can.

    I have always had trouble waking up in the morning for my day shifts, usually around 5:30am and I’m groggy till about 9am. Night shifts are better for me so I try to switch as much of my day shifts to nights so I have some semblance of a routine (I’d work from 7pm to 7am the next day) – but then too many nights are so not healthy either and I can feel the effects on my body.

    So! I’m sucking it up for now and using this as motivation to keep growing my other income streams asap. I hope not to be doing this 40 years down the line. When I can free myself from shift work, I intend on taking the early bird route regularly! 🙂

  28. Katherin Garrett

    Hi, Thanks for your top-notch article. I want to add something with you. I think 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. Am I right?