5 Undeniable Benefits of Waking Up Early

Don't get me wrong - I LOVE SLEEP, but on days that I wake up before 6am I feel better, eat healthier and get so much more done throughout the day. 

If you're in the "definitely not a morning person" category I challenge you to try it for a week or two and see if it can make a healthy improvement to your quality of life. Below are just five of many undeniable benefits that come with getting up even just 30 minutes earlier.

You've actually got time to wake up

When you initially wake up, you experience a period of time that's called sleep inertia. It's basically the period of time you experience moving from sleep to wakefulness and depending on factors like the duration of your sleep the night before, sleep stage at awakening, and your circadian phase at awakening it can last between 1 minute and 2 hours. This time is characterized by reduced alertness and impaired cognition. The lack of alertness can lead to careless mistakes like forgetting your lunch, spilling your coffee, wearing two different shoes, etc. By waking up just twenty to thirty minutes before your normal wake up time you can save yourself a lot of frustration and anxiety and have an even better day.

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You can boost your mental health

Do you ever wish there was just one more hour in a day? Do you regularly stress over not having enough time to get things done? What could you do with an extra hour? Would you actually have time to work out? Maybe prepare a healthier breakfast? (more on that in reasons 3 & 4) Waking up just 30 minutes early can take away the flustered feeling of getting ready and out the door and give you a better start to the day with a better mood. A little more early morning peace and less congested traffic don't hurt either!

You've got time to make a healthy breakfast

Whether you're immediately hungry after waking up or not, taking the time to make a healthy breakfast or prepare a meal for later has huge benefits. First, if you're skipping breakfast when you wake up hungry, you're skipping the opportunity to fill your body full of nutrients and fiber that are ESSENTIAL to good health. If you’re not hungry, you want to make sure you set yourself up for the next meal, likely lunch. Don’t leave yourself so hungry by noon that you eat the first thing in site… even if it’s a donut. Starting your day with a healthy meal leads to better food choices for the rest of your day.

Now you actually have time for a workout

If your current excuse for not getting enough exercise is that you don't have time to do it, here's your chance to change that. Try registering for an early morning class at your favorite studio. Group fitness classes are great to experience some camaraderie during the early morning. Adding your workouts to your personal calendar can also help you stay accountable to go! You can even get in some exercise right at home. You can go for a jog, a walk, or do a home workout circuit just about anywhere you have the space to stretch out into a plank or roll out a yoga mat. Don’t know what to do? You can literally Google anything you might feel like trying (ex: “15-minute HIIT workout” or “30-minute morning yoga”).

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You can achieve better overall sleep patterns!

Studies show that "night owls" rack up sleep debt during the week and then make up for it by sleeping in several hours later on the weekends. While most of us definitely use our weekends for rest, sleeping in can come at the cost of spending time with friends, family, and loved ones or keep you from enjoying weekend adventures. Once you start to regulate your sleep cycle by going to bed and waking up at the same time each day, you can start to reinforce your body's sleep-wake cycle, which makes it easy to stick to an earlier schedule.

Early to bed and early to rise makes a (wo)man healthy, wealthy, and wise.
— Benjamin Franklin

Sources:
http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0079688
http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/in-depth/sleep/art-20048379?pg=1
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12568247