15 Undeniable Health Benefits of Waking Up Early

15 Undeniable Health Benefits of Waking Up Early

As I sat down to write this blog post, I was surprised at how many health benefits of waking up early I came up with. Originally, I didn’t think that 15 benefits would come to mind, and instead aimed for 7 or 8. As you can see, 15 health benefits made their way into this post. I’m covering them in detail so that you too can jump on the early rising train and start reaping the benefits en masse.

But first… a couple questions to get the creative juices flowing. I heard somewhere that night owls are more creative than early birds – WTF? 😉

health benefits of waking up early

Does waking up early benefit you?
Does waking up early affect your health?

Yes and yes! Waking up early is beneficial in many ways (such as increased productivity and spirituality), but especially so when it comes to health! In fact, the health benefits of waking up early are so numerous that this became one of the main reasons I started waking up early to begin with.

I mean, sure, I wanted to get more done and have time for my personal projects before the day gets amped-up, but improving my health by rising early was the most appealing reason of all.

Without further ado, here are 15 fabulous health-related benefits of waking up early that have become an important part of my life:

healthy breakfast - health benefits of waking up early

1 – You’re More Likely to Eat a Healthy Breakfast

If you’re sleeping late until the last possible second every morning (like I used to do!), and then rushing out the door in a crummy mood for work or school, who has time for a healthy breakfast? Who has time for breakfast at all in most of these cases?

You can avoid being hungry as soon as you get to work or school, increase your energy levels, and avert any impending health disasters by waking up early and preparing a healthy breakfast.

It doesn’t have to be fancy or take too long to prepare. It can even just be fruit, granola, and yogurt that you throw into a bowl, or something similarly easy to prepare. What do you like to eat that’s also healthy? Why not eat something healthy that you also enjoy?

By waking up early to prioritize a healthy breakfast, you are prioritizing your overall health because good health starts with good nutrition. You’ll also have more time to enjoy and digest your food, further improving your health.

If you’re always scarfing down all your meals, you’re going to have some digestion and acid reflux issues that are easily solvable by simply slowing down. You don’t need to multi-task every second of the day – especially when you’re eating breakfast.

Waking up early should be for the purpose of engaging in some Me Time. Eating a healthy breakfast at a leisurely pace is a great use of Me Time and even better for your health.

healthy eating - health benefits of waking up early

2 – You’re More Likely to Eat Healthier Throughout the Day

Because you woke up early and ate a healthy breakfast, you probably won’t want to kill your vibe by eating junk. The healthy eating you did in the morning is highly likely to spill over into lunch, dinner, and any snacks you eat, making your overall diet healthier if you continue the trend every day.

Good habits tend to build upon each other as I highlight below in the 15th health benefit of waking up early. Continued healthy eating throughout the day, however, is extremely important, so I wanted to point it out individually.

exercise weight loss - health benefits of waking up early

3 – You Have More Time to Exercise and Will Lose Weight Easier

Waking up early gives you much more time in your day to do what you want and need to do – including finding time to exercise before the day spirals out of control into the typical chaos. The first hour or two of your day if the perfect time to devote to yourself – and exercise is the ideal way to do so.

What’s even better is that if you keep up the good habit of exercising along with your good habit of waking up early, you’ll begin to see all that extra weight melt off soon enough.

fight depression - health benefits of waking up early

4 – You Have a Lower Risk of Developing Depression

According to a study done by the University of Colorado Boulder and the Channing Division of Network Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, MA, early risers have a 12 to 27% lower risk of depression than people who wake up at a “normal” time.

While the lowered risk isn’t substantial because there are many other factors at play aside from a person’s chronotype when it comes to depression, it does appear that sleep-wake preferences do play some role and are worth our consideration.

Early risers, in general, are happy folks. I know I’m pretty much always happy first thing in the morning after the initial grogginess wears off. My first thoughts are always those of gratitude and appreciation for my life.

Even if my life isn’t yet exactly the way I want it to be career-wise, I’m still happy and appreciative of the amazing life I have. And besides, with a little more work put in during a few more early mornings, maybe that career change will become a reality sooner than I think. 🙂

good quality sleep - health benefits of waking up early

5 – You Have a Healthier Sleep Schedule and Quality of Sleep

People who wake up early, typically make a better effort of going to sleep at a decent hour and getting a sufficient amount of sleep. Early risers are notorious for keeping to strict sleep schedules, which turns out in their favor in the long run, more often than not giving them a more restorative sleep than the average person.

As I’ve mentioned before on this blog, the ideal sleep time is from 10pm to 4am because it most closely mirrors what nature intended. Indeed, you need more than those 6 hours of sleep, but as a general rule, I like to suggest that you should never be in bed any later than 10pm, regardless of how early you get up. For me personally, sleeping from 10pm to 5:30 or 6am is perfect. YMMV, but do experiment with and keep to a sleep schedule once you find the perfect amount of sleep – your health will thank you for it.

less stress anxiety - health benefits of waking up early

6 – You’re Less Likely to Be Stressed Out or Anxious

Think about it: Those who get up early because they want to are not only ahead of the game, but also healthier. They aren’t rushing out the door in the morning and they certainly don’t start their days off with stress and chaos. Less stress and chaos equal better health.

If you, too, stick with waking up early so you can have some peace and quiet in the morning, you will have less stress and anxiety in your life. No more worrying about being late for work or school. No more starting your days off on the wrong foot and then spending all day trying to compensate for all your mistakes.

You’ll finally be able to hear yourself think again and have the opportunity to take deep breaths, meditate, or simply stare at the sunrise. You’ll be able to do whatever you want because it’s your time. People might be able to hijack your time later in the day, but not if you wake up early and sneak off by yourself to self-reflect or catch a breather before the world wants your attention. 🙂

calm mind - health benefits of waking up early

7 – You Probably Have a Calmer Mind

After waking up early for some time, many people feel the need to start a habit of morning meditation, yoga, or some other relaxation activity – not with the intention of falling asleep, but instead, to gain some head space. Doing so calms the mind and primes it for the upcoming challenges and tasks of the day so that things can be tackled from a fresh perspective. Your mind essentially becomes a blank sheet of paper that is not as heavily influenced by any misfortunes or frustrations of previous days.

Meditation, yoga, deep breathing exercises, and the like promote a calmer mind, which is beneficial to your health for countless reasons. I don’t think anyone will argue that having a calm mind keeps you in good health while a racing, worrying mind does the exact opposite.

normal blood pressure - health benefits of waking up early

8 – You Probably Have Normal Blood Pressure

Those who wake up early, usually do so in order to get the day started at a leisurely pace instead of racing around the house like a madman (or madwoman.) The leisurely pace of early risers will naturally put or keep your blood pressure within the normal range, extending your life and improving your health.

Life does not always need to be lived at top speed – even for those who enjoy top speed. Early mornings are the perfect time to slow down the fast pace of modern life and recalibrate yourself for the day ahead before it gets crazy.

conscientious - health benefits of waking up early

9 – You’re Probably More Conscientious

Those who wake up early tend to think ahead and foresee problems, which naturally makes early risers more predisposed to conscientiousness. That’s not to say that people who wake up later aren’t conscientious because many are, but more early risers than not have this highly desirable trait.

Conscientiousness is not only great for health and self-esteem, but also for society in general. Helping others helps us help ourselves. This trait makes us feel good about ourselves, increases our production of serotonin (the feel-good hormone), and generates feelings of well-being.

success accomplishment - health benefits of waking up early

10 – You’ll Likely Have a Higher Sense of Accomplishment

Early risers are, in general, more proactive and have a bias toward action. Why? I think it’s because morning people choose action first thing by choosing to get up to seize the day instead of hitting the snooze button and resisting the day. This behavior allows said early risers to immediately gain some momentum and get the day going.

The chemistry and physics term activation energy explains this phenomenon perfectly. The energy needed to initiate a chemical or physical reaction is much higher than the energy needed to sustain it.

In the case of waking up early, those early risers get that extra spark of energy going quickly, suddenly, and early so that the rest of the day can sustain itself easier – almost automatically without a lot of extra effort.

What is the catalyst extra spark of energy that gets the ball rolling for the day? It’s none other than getting up when the alarm first goes off! Embracing the day and getting up in the morning without resistance carries a much higher sense of accomplishment (it’s a much more powerful catalyst, that is) than hitting the snooze button two or three times before reluctantly rolling out of bed with a sense of dread.

There’s no doubt about it, more action equals more chances of success, which gives birth to a higher sense of accomplishment. Getting up when your alarm goes off is the first action of the day that will significantly increase your chance of owning your day. When you feel successful and accomplished, you’re going to not only feel healthier, but also be healthier.

better planner - health benefits of waking up early

11 – You’ll Become a Better Planner

Morning people are better planners, plain and simple. Since they are able to wake up earlier and face the day quicker, they have more time to write things down and plan for the rest of the day. When you know you have things planned and handled, you’ll be more confident and relaxed, which translates to better health.

It is true that life is chaotic for most of us, but with a little planning, much of that chaos is avoided or used to our advantage with the creativity that planning can bring to the table.

Wake up early to carve out some time to plan out the day, set intentions, and strive for your goals. You’ll likely find that this is one of the best decisions you’ve ever made.

problem aversion - health benefits of waking up early

12 – You’ll Become Better at Handling and Avoiding Problems

Morning people tend to better anticipate, field, and even avoid problems because they tend to spend more time planning – as mentioned in #11. Most morning people plan out their morning the evening before, and spend the morning planning out the rest of the day.

Getting up at the last minute and running out the door leaves no time for planning. If you’re spending much of the day playing catch-up, you probably won’t have time or energy to get ahead of the game in the evening by planning the next morning; the cycle will likely continue.

joyful mindfulness - health benefits of waking up early

13 – You’ll Become More Positive, Mindful, and Joyful

There’s something undeniably mystic and optimistic about the early morning that more easily puts one in a joyful, grateful mood that leaks into the rest of the day. Having a moment of mindfulness by admiring the sunrise encourages you to develop a more positive mindset that focuses on what you can do now – not about what you should have done yesterday or should do tomorrow.

As Eckhart Tolle says in one of my favorite books, The Power of Now:

Realize deeply that the present moment is all you have. Make the NOW the primary focus of your life.

Eckhart Tolle, from The Power of Now

Mindfulness has a way of positively impacting your mental and physical health by keeping you focused on the present and averting your attention away from worry or regret.

more focus - health benefits of waking up

14 – You’ll Be More Focused

Early risers tend to get up early for one reason or another that relates to achieving a goal or working on a passion, both of which require intense focus. Increased focus in one area usually translates to other areas such as health.

If early risers weren’t as passionate or as ambitious as they are, they would push these activities to later in the day or make excuses not to pursue them at all, like most people do. These “late day pushers” as I like to call them are often (not always, mind you) less focused on their goals.

Just food for thought if you currently lack focus… Maybe you need to transform yourself into a morning person to reap the benefits of focus and better health!

habit stacking - health benefits of waking up early

15 – You’re More Likely to Have Other Good Habits to Go With Your Habit of Waking Up Early

Where one good habit exists, many others usually accompany it. That’s because acquiring good habits can be as addictive as acquiring bad habits, but in this case, addictive in a good way. Let’s shoot for good habits, shall we? We’re meant to learn and get better, not regress and freefall into the black hole of hopelessness that sucks in many people nowadays.

Last year, I made it my mission to replace a handful of bad habits with a good, healthier habit. Here are a few examples of how I turned what I consider bad habits into good ones:

  1. I managed to replace greasy breakfasts with fruit, nuts, and oatmeal a few times a week. As of writing this, I eat my fruit and nut-topped oatmeal at least 5 days a week.
  2. I used to eat my breakfast in a rush at my desk at work at 9am – right as I’m starting my non-personal work day! That was a disaster because I hardly ever got the chance to eat without interruptions; half the time I didn’t even get to finish the food at all. When I started waking up early, I slowed way down and started making and eating breakfast at home long before 9am. This change has improved my digestion, which also improved my health.
  3. Last year, I had a very expensive, anxiety-provoking habit of hitting up Starbucks almost every morning. After I realized that Starbucks was not only putting a dent in my bank account, but also that caffeine was a major contributor of my anxiety attacks, I stopped going there and started buying various herbal teas to brew at home. I instantly saved nearly $100 per month and my abstinence from caffeine helped the anxiety go away.

My bad habit replacement mission was a great success; many of my newly acquired good habits not only replaced a bad habit, but also multiplied and turned into additional good habits that I hadn’t anticipated. This is especially true in my third example above: Staying away from Starbucks created a new, healthier habit that saved me money (which was the initial reason for staying away), but also note how it helped me create a new healthy habit of avoiding caffeine and getting a handle on my anxiety. The good habits multiplied by pure luck. 🙂

I’m still not perfect and I’m sure I’ll never be, but I’m much better off on many fronts than I was a year ago.

If you make an effort to wake up at 6am (or whatever time you set as your goal) every day, there’s a good chance you will choose to do something healthy with your extra time like fitting in some yoga or writing that book you’ve promised yourself you’d write one day.

Good habits don’t travel alone! Start creating yours and watch how they naturally attract each other and build upon each other.

One final thing I will mention here is that you should only work on replacing one bad habit at a time – not all of them at once. Pick one and work on it until it has a healthy replacement. If you try working on them all, none of them will become good habits because you’ll be so overwhelmed that you’ll probably give up.

Your Health and Your Wake-up Time are Within Your Control

Hopefully, after reading these 15 health benefits of waking up early it will be clear to you that waking up early and good health are closely related. Obviously, you can have one without that other; that is, one can wake up early and still be unhealthy while one can wake up late and be healthy, but that isn’t the point. The point is, waking up early and being healthful are a powerful combination that is highly recommended if you’re seeking optimal health and productivity.

If you can think of any more health benefits of waking up early, leave me a comment!

15 health benefits of waking up early
I'm the owner of WhyGetUpEarly.com and an enthusiastic early riser. Let's discuss why that is... and maybe I can make you a believer in magical mornings as well!

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