I hate waking up. All my life I’ve been able to stay up late and sleep until noon, no problem. Working or studying until 3 a.m. has always made me feel productive.
Nonetheless, I’m consistently reading about the success of early birds. There are hundreds of blogs referencing studies that scream getting up early is the right thing to do … but to me, working late and sleeping in is just, well, easier.
Have you read those blog posts but, like me, still struggle to get up early? These eight reasons may give you the final push you need.
Why Waking Up Early Makes You More Productive
1) Early birds are more productive.
As it turn out, there’s a best time of day for your brain. Our brains are firing on all cylinders in the morning. According to LifeHacker, if you identify your most difficult task and tackle it early, you’re more likely to get it done.
So go ahead and swallow that frog -- just make sure it’s one of the first things you do.
By getting up early, you give yourself more time in the day to accomplish your goals. Chris Winfield refers to these morning hours as “extra time.” These are the hours you would have spent sleeping -- but can now spend productively. You just juiced more value out of your 24 hours.
4) Early birds are happier.
While there are some theories that night owls have more fun, a multitude of studies say early birds are in fact happier. According to Psychology Today, one study found that early birds are generally happier because they were able to get more done in a given day than their night owl counterparts.
And we’ve learned that being happier also results in being more productive. A study from the Social Market Foundation and the University of Warwick’s Centre for Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy found happy employees were on average 12% more productive than less happy employees.
5) Early birds set better goals.
Biologist Christoph Randler discovered early birds are better at setting long-term goals. He surveyed 367 students and discovered early risers agreed more with the phrase “I spend time identifying long-range goals for myself” and “I feel in charge of making things happen” than late risers.
6) Early birds are more persistent and agreeable.
Another study from Randler found that early risers are more persistent, cooperative, agreeable, and proactive than people that stay up late. These traits can help you get more done when you’re working, because you’re less likely to give up on a task and more likely to ask for help and assistance when you’re stumped.
7) Early risers are more likely to exercise.
“If you work out before your day distracts you, your chances of exercising regularly go way up,” explains Cedric Bryant, Ph.D., chief science officer of the American Council on Exercise.
You’ve probably experienced this phenomenon first-hand. When the day begins, you have the best intentions of going to the gym or for a run after work -- but by the time 6 p.m. rolls around, your motivation has completely vanished.
8) Early birds sleep better.
You might assume waking up earlier will negatively affect your sleep, since you’ll have fewer hours. Sleep experts say the opposite is true.
According to Forbes, moving your bedtime and waking time up will align your body more closely to the earth’s circadian rhythms, resulting in more restorative sleep.
With all this data in mind, making the case for becoming an early bird is easy. But actually getting up earlier every day? That’s a more difficult task.
Forming a habit takes an average of 66 days. With that in mind, challenge yourself to set your alarm for an hour earlier for the next two months. Rearranging your waking schedule will likely improve your day-to-day in a multitude of ways.
Any other questions? Shoot me a note. I normally check my email around 6 a.m.
Originally published Dec 30, 2016 7:30:00 AM, updated July 28 2017