It’s time to wake up earlier and reap the benefits of being a morning person
For many accomplished people, an early start to the day is their not-so-secret secret to success. CEOs like Richard Branson of Virgin Atlantic and Tim Cook from Apple are hardcore early risers, each of them hopping out of bed at 4 am.
Who doesn’t love that sense of accomplishment of slashing tasks off the to-do list or putting the signed, sealed, delivered stamp on a big project? While rising hours before dawn may seem a trifle extreme, you can join the benefits of that elite club of early risers with a few adjustments to your daily (and nightly) habits.
Along with increased energy & greater productivity, you’ll reap these 8 benefits from starting your day at sunrise.
1. More me-time. It’s not uncommon to feel like you never have enough time for personal pursuits and self-care, whether it’s journaling, meditating, plotting out a new recipe or reading a great book. Before your household swings into high gear, do something just for you. Whether you read or journal from bed or go to the kitchen to plan out that new recipe you’ve been aching to try, beginning each day self-nurtured just feels good.
2. Fit in a workout. Leon Turetsky, a personal trainer and corrective exercise specialist, from backintelligence.com, explains: “Imagine getting a work out in, having breakfast, and meditating all before 7 am. Doing these things before you go to work will energize you for the day ahead. On the other hand, think of the night owls, who wake as late as possible and rush to make it to work on time. Who do you think will have a more productive day?”
3. Eat a better breakfast. The health benefits of eating breakfast are numerous, from helping with weight management to decreased cravings later in the day. Instead of fueling up on coffee and a muffin, take time to prep a protein-rich meal, coupled with some tasty fruit and dairy choices.
4. Be in sync with your natural cycle. As Robert Santos-Prowse, a registered dietitian and author of The Cyclical Ketogenic Diet, notes: “Waking with the sun is our naturally intended state. Research indicates that all humans should be morning people (asleep when it’s dark and awake when it’s light) – unless you’ve disrupted your circadian rhythms. He says when artificial light sources are removed, everyone appears to normalize to a natural sleep/wake cycle in tune with the sun.
5. Tap into your creativity. In the new book, The Morning Mind, written by Drs. Rob Carter and Kirti Salwe Carter, they note that your brain has more active synaptic connections in the morning than at night. The early hours of the day are the perfect time to create and problem solve, say the authors. Research shows that writing in the morning can greatly reduce stress and promote happiness.
6. Reap the benefits of a morning routine. Just as bedtime rituals are helpful for ensuring a good night’s sleep, the habits you form when you start your day are equally as important. Drs. Rob Carter and Kirti Salwe Carter write that developing healthy morning habits improves our energy stores and increases productivity. Whether it’s meditating, reading or sipping a cup of herbal tea, see how a new morning ritual can improve your life.
7. Be happy. Researchers from the University of Toronto in Canada studied the sleeping habits and moods of more than 700 adults. They discovered that morning people (those who woke at 7 am or earlier) self-reported 25% happier. Researchers cite increased exposure to morning light, which can reduce the incidence of depression and increase energy levels. Night owls who miss that extra exposure to the sun may actually be missing out on a lot of health benefits.
8. Drive safer. A recent study from Spain examined night owls who drove at 8 am. They found that those drivers performed worse and paid less attention than when they got behind the wheel in the evening. However, early birds who did the same exercise did well both morning and evening. Researchers surmised that morning people tend to be more detail-oriented and conscientious.