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Posted September 18, 2023 by Ketan Deoras, M.D.
Are you an early bird or night owl? A person’s sleep schedule preference is closely tied to their circadian rhythms, the natural physical process that follows a similar cycle every 24 hours. But, either sleep-wake cycle can promote a healthy lifestyle, right? Not so fast.
Several studies have associated later sleep times with many health issues. That’s because people who stay up late tend to accumulate sleep debt if they’re forced to wake early. Work and school, which commonly begin early, create a mismatch with night owls’ sleep-wake schedules—and can negatively affect their health and performance.
In fact, people who don’t get enough sleep are at a higher risk for heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, anxiety and depression, even accidents and injuries.
In this scenario, the early bird really does catch the worm. Summa Health discusses 4 proven benefits of waking early and steps night owls can take to make the switch. It’s not impossible. So, ditch the snooze button and start waking up earlier. Hey, it’s a matter of your health!
Many studies show people who wake earlier are far less likely to develop depression, anxiety or other mood disorders. Researchers believe one reason could be those who wake up earlier have more access to daylight, which is a natural mood booster.
Plus, you have more time for you in the morning, whether that’s exercising, planning your day ahead or relaxing with a cup of joe—all of which are key to reducing stress.
When you wake up early, you have more time to eat a healthy breakfast. But if you wake up late, chances are you’ll grab something quick—and typically unhealthy—or skip breakfast altogether.
Breakfast is an important meal because it replenishes your body after overnight fasting to boost your energy levels and alertness, and start burning calories.
Your brain doesn’t wake up the second you do. That’s why we tend to feel groggy when we first get up. Studies prove this sleep inertia, or sleep-induced brain fog, can last anywhere from two to four hours.
Waking up earlier gives your body time to reach peak wakefulness naturally (without depending on coffee) to do your best work at the start of your workday. Your energy levels, mental clarity and concentration will be better from the very start.
As the saying goes, early to bed, early to rise. If you wake up earlier, chances are you’re ready for bed earlier, setting you up for a good night’s rest. And, the health benefits of good sleep are abundant. People who get enough sleep enjoy improved mental health, sharper brain function, stronger immune systems and a reduced risk for chronic health problems.
Now that you know the benefits of waking earlier, you’re probably thinking how do I do that? Earlier bedtimes and waking up earlier may seem foreign to night owls, but it is possible to make the transition with these 5 tips.
Why not follow these tips to transition to an early bird? Waking up earlier can help you develop healthier habits and improve your productivity and performance for the day—and may make you think twice about hitting that snooze button.