Can Getting Up Early Change Your Whole Life?

If you had to guess, out of all the falsehoods and fibs and omissions in the history of the world…

What would you say is the greatest lie ever told?

Okay, okay, I’ll tell you.

For late risers, it’s a no-brainer. 

“I’ll get up early and do that.”

You see, those out there trying to cram more into their schedules — workout routines, meal prepping, new hobbies, longer sleep — usually by adding them to an imaginary morning schedule.

But if you struggle with getting up early, that can feel almost impossible.

So many factors contribute to difficulty peeling the covers off and getting up before you absolutely have to — sleep disorders, stress, sleep deficiency, depression, chronic pain, and good old force of habit. 

And there are tons of ways you can retrain your body to get up earlier (more on that in a later post.)

One of the best motivators is understanding exactly how getting up earlier can change your life for the better. 

Let’s explore some of those benefits now…

Your Work Life Improves

Studies have shown there’s a correlation between getting up early and success at your job. 

When you get up earlier, you have more time to become fully alert before you have to go to work, which means you don’t spend time at work adjusting to being awake. 

It’s different for everyone, but on average, sleep inertia (transitioning from sleeping to being completely awake) lasts between 2-4 hours. You want to allow time for melatonin in your body to dissipate. 

Your brain is at its lowest cognitive function during the sleep inertia period. If the first 2-4 hours of your work day are spent in this groggy state, it can be difficult to start being productive in the middle of the work day.

You Become Better at Setting and Keeping Long-Term Goals

A study done by a biologist at Harvard tested the proactivity of early risers.

What he found was that they are more likely to set future goals for themselves, take personal ownership of those goals, have higher self-confidence, and feel more motivated to take on new tasks.

Not only that, but early risers are much better at seeing potential problems and mitigating them in advance. 

You Reduce Your Overall Stress Levels

Living by the circadian rhythm of your body and the Earth is good for you.

Lots of studies show that people who get up early actually change their sleep schedules, go to bed earlier, and enjoy deeper, more restful sleep.

And when you sleep better, your body replenishes what it needs and keeps the brain functioning at its strongest. In fact, good sleep is directly associated with a better memory, better critical thinking, and a more positive outlook.

And since you’re more likely to get a full 7-9 hours of sleep by going to sleep early and waking up early, you decrease your body’s production of cortisol, the stress hormone, which is produced in higher quantities when you’re sleep deprived. 

You Build Positive Habits

People who get up early tend to have healthier routines. 

Think about it like this: if you have two hours in the morning to shower, read, drink your coffee or tea or water, make a healthy breakfast, get your blood circulating, or whatever else you’d like to fit in… 

You probably will. If you only have 20 minutes to get to work after you wake up, you’ll mentally save those activities for when you’re off the clock again. 

When you’re tired and frustrated and want to rest your brain and body, it’s much easier to justify grabbing takeout, binging television, or hitting a happy hour.

You Experience Peace and Quiet

If you’re awake when everyone else is awake, it can be hard to find a moment to yourself.

Especially if you have a family.

The effect that silence has on the human brain is almost immeasurable. During several studies, scientists found that not only does a quiet atmosphere help with an internal sense of calm…

It also assists in the growth of new brain cells, builds the brain’s memory center, and aids in the process of weighing and evaluating information to make smarter decisions.

Spending quiet time with ourselves in the morning is critical to developing a self-actualized personality.

There are so many other benefits we could highlight to getting up earlier…

It even makes you prettier! (Better sleep leads to better skin.)

But ultimately, if it’s a personal goal for you, you’ll have to decide what motivates you the most.

And stay tuned for a post on how to retrain your body to rise with the sun…

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Dr. Pedram Shojai

NY Times Best Selling author and film maker. Taoist Abbot and Qigong master. Husband and dad. I’m here to help you find your way and be healthy and happy. I don’t want to be your guru…just someone who’ll help point the way. If you’re looking for a real person who’s done the work, I’m your guy. I can light the path and walk along it with you but can’t walk for you.