health

The 8 benefits of being an early riser.

Images: Thinkstock

We all know how hard it can be getting up before the crack of sparrows.

It’s dark, your bed is warm and you were just in the middle of that dream where Ryan Gosling ditches Eva and confesses his undying love for you when… meeeep meeeep meeeep.. your alarm starts blasting in your ear.

You might actually not need 8 hours of sleep

However, whether you believe it or not, there are actually benefits to getting up early.

In fact, many of the world’s high achievers cite rising early as a key feature to their success. (Some guy called Obama is a big fan, apparently.)

1. Early risers are more likely to sustain a healthier lifestyle

Setting the alarm just that little bit earlier allows you to put time and energy into making a nutritious breakfast before you start the day. You also then have time to pack a healthy lunch, which will save you from snacking at your desk and buying lunch.

Speaking of packing lunch – consider this your inspiration board:

Those who choose to hit the snooze button repeatedly risk skipping meals and making poor choices in relation to their diet.

2. Early risers exercise more, and often, better

Waking early allows you to fit in a workout when your energy levels are at their highest, having rested during the night.

Sneaky ways to exercise as a working parent

Leaving your fitness until the afternoon or evening allows for stress, fatigue and other competing priorities to railroad even the the best of workout plans.

Exercising in the morning also means that your body is flooded with endorphins, which sets a positive tone for the remainder of the day.

Early to bed, early to rise makes a man wealthy and wise" - Benjamin Franklin

3. Early risers are more productive

A 2008 study conducted by Harvard Biologist Christoph Randler indicated that people who chose to start the day early are generally more productive than their night owl counterparts.

The maths is fairly simple here, more awake time equals more time to get things done. If you set your alarm just one hour earlier each morning, you would gain an extra 15 days per year. That's kinda scary!

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4. Early risers are better at planning

Early risers often report using the quiet morning time to plan and organise their day, leaving them less likely to suffer stress as a result of running late, and more likely to stay on top of tasks and chores.

Think about it, it's high stress territory when you've slept through your alarm and are rushing out the door. You're likely to forget things, skip breakfast and start the day behind.

"Mind over mattress"- Robin Sharma

5. Early risers tend to be happier

In a 2012 article from the Journal Emotion, early risers reported feeling generally happier and healthier than those who stayed up late and slept in.

The study found that people who elected to wake early were more likely to be conscientious, agreeable and optimistic, where as night owls were more likely to suffer from depression and neurosis.

6. Early risers enjoy better sleep

Those who subscribe to the 'early to bed, early to rise' theory enjoy a much better quality of sleep than those who shut off late.

The reason is that your sleep cycles are more in tune with the earths cycadian rhythms, which also allows your body to wake during lighter periods of sleep, rather than be woken during a heavy REM (Rapid Eye Movement -the deepest sleep) cycle.

7. Early risers have an easier commute into work

Well if everyone else is still snoozing in their beds, the roads are going to be fairly clear then aren't they? You've basically scored yourself a relatively stress-free commute to the office.

When peak hour hits and everyone else is sitting in bumper to bumper traffic, you can use the quiet time productively in the office without all the usual distractions.

8. Early risers have more time to spend with family and friends

Getting in early to work means getting out early from work (most of the time), which allows you to spend more time in the afternoon with your children, spouse or friends rather than being stuck in the office once the sun goes down.

What do you think? Do you prefer to rise early or hit the snooze button?

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