Are you someone who always struggles to wake up in the morning, no matter how much you've slept? For most, the thought of getting out of bed any earlier sounds horrific. Yet dragging yourself out of bed and towards the coffee maker a few hours earlier each day can have benefits you've never realized. Here are six reasons that make a compelling case for ending our bad habit of sleeping a little too long.
At some point, you've probably heard people reference their "internal clock." While it might seem like just a silly idiom, our internal clock both regulates our behavior, determining when we should wake, sleep, and eat. And, as it turns out, early risers are more tuned in to their bodies' clocks—which leads to an overall better body.
Ever wonder why it's impossible to sleep with light shining in your face? Our bodies aren't designed to knock out when the sun's up. Instead, we are designed to follow the circadian rhythm, or our bodies' 24-hour cycle of behavior.
We behave in response to light and darkness, which is why we time our daily activities like eating to the hours in which the sun is bright and sleep when it's hidden. As a result, those who wake when the sun rises are more in tune with their bodies and are more in control, because we're designed to rise early rather than late. This circadian sync-up helps early risers sleep better at night, and makes it easier to hop out of bed before 10 a.m.
Waking up a little earlier each day can help turn your sporadic workouts into a consistent routine. If you set your alarm an hour earlier than normal, you'll find it easier to devote time to getting fit.
In an interview with Ornish Spectrum, Chief Science Officer of the American Council on Exercise Cedric Bryant points out that rising earlier can make you stick to exercising regularly: "Research suggests in terms of performing a consistent exercise habit, individuals who exercise in the morning tend to do better. The thinking is that they get their exercise in before other time pressures interfere."
Dedicating the wee hours of your morning to exercise means you knock out your workout before your busy schedule gets in the way. Those who sleep in and wake up only when necessary often put off their workouts and, as the day drags on, other commitments and activities will take precedence. Come nighttime, you'll realize that there's just no time left to work out.
Ease yourself into an early morning workout routine, and that one short hour of earlier rising will pay off quickly.
Constantly find yourself in an unpleasant mood after dragging yourself out of bed mid-morning? Getting up with the sun could turn your sluggish mornings into awesome ones.
According to researcher Renee Bliss of the University of Toronto, waking up between 5 and 7 a.m. makes you a happier person. In the study, people who crawl out of bed in the span of those two hours reported feeling about 25 percent happier, livelier, and more alert.
Though it might not immediately feel pleasant when you wake up so early, early risers are happier because their schedule is more natural than that of the 10 a.m. riser. The study points out that sticking to a sleep schedule that meshes with the typical 9-to-5 workday helps our bodies—and moods—stay on track.
Additionally, an earlier wake up time syncs our schedule with the sun. Rising when sunlight breaks, and sleeping when it sets helps us stay alert and energized, while sleeping during daylight hours takes a toll on our energy levels.
Want your boss to perceive you as a better, more dedicated worker? Try arriving at the office earlier each day.
Though your boss might not dictate the exact time you need to be at your desk, hard at work, their perception of you as an employee is affected by your sleeping habits. In a study conducted by the Harvard Business Review, employers were asked to share their thoughts on flexible work schedules. These bosses, though fans of offering their staff flexible office hours, did hold biased views.
When asked to rank employees' performance, the study's participants ranked those who arrived at work earliest were ranked the highest. The total number of hours in an employee's workday and the quality of their work didn't matter as much as expected—instead, supervisors viewed their early risers as the most productive staff.
Arriving at work before your boss can make you appear to be an excellent employee. To give yourself a boost before asking for a raise, or any small favor, try climbing out of bed earlier to make yourself look better.
Ever wonder why "morning people" are always so perky each day? Their sleep schedule is the culprit: waking up early can actually make you feel ready to take on the day ahead.
As The New York Times notes, those who wake up early feel they are more in control of their day. Throughout the course of an average day, we all experience ego depletion. This phenomenon occurs when our brains, overloaded by the number of minute decisions we make every minute, begin to slip in their ability to maintain control. The more energy they exert, the more they grow tired, leading to a lack of control over what we choose to do.
This is why early risers make better decisions and feel more empowered. When they rise, they have the entire day before them—and they have all the willpower and time in the world to accomplish their tasks and errands. Those extra hours provide additional time to tackle the small things that tend to slip in importance after work, when egos are running low.
Start reaping the benefits of waking up early—but don't feel like you have to set tomorrow's alarm for 5 a.m. Ease yourself into a routine that eliminates sleeping in at a slow pace. By setting your alarm for just 30 minutes earlier, you too can begin to take control of your days with a more invigorated mind and body.