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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