You might consider yourself a “morning person” or a “night owl.” You either like to wake up early and get the day started, or you stay up late into the night to finish whatever it is you’re working on. Either way, researchers have been interested in finding out which lifestyle leads to the healthiest outcomes. And it looks as though the former is the winner: morning larks are better off.
A study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism indicates that staying up late puts adults at a greater risk for diabetes and metabolic syndrome. Scientists aren’t exactly sure why burning the midnight oil may be the cause, but they suspect it has to do with late-night food consumption and artificial light exposure.
Given these findings, here are some other reasons why waking up early is a good idea for general health and wellbeing.
Early risers are thinner.
As perhaps expected, people who wake up early and experience bright morning light are more likely to have a lower body mass index (BMI) than those who don’t. This is completely independent of any exercise, eating habits, or other factors. So rise and shine and greet the sun with new appreciation.
They’re also safer drivers.
Studies have shown that morning larks are more alert and therefore better drivers at all times of day, whereas night owls don’t do well driving in the early morning hours. This is probably something to keep in mind when figuring out carpool arrangements.
Being an early-to-rise type is somewhat associated with being proactive and exhibiting better job performance, leading to higher wages. This is especially important if you’re following a corporate career path or entrepreneurship opportunities that require a real go-getter mentality.
They hit the gym.
Ever notice how crowded the gym is before work? Or how many runners are hitting the streets in the early morning hours? They may be onto something. People who get up early tend to be more consistent about exercise. If you work out first thing in the morning, you’re less likely to miss the opportunity than if you push it off until later in the day.
They tend to be happier.
All that early-morning light is a good thing for energy levels and fending off depression. Plus, research shows that people who naturally wake up around 7 a.m. are just generally more alert and cheerful.
They’re more optimistic.
This goes hand-in-hand with being happier. People who go to bed early and wake up early are, on average, more optimistic in their outlook, whereas night owls have a greater tendency towards depression and pessimism.
Their supervisors look favorably upon them.
Higher-ups love it when workers get to their desks early, and there are studies to prove this. It shows a certain level of responsibility and taking the work seriously, and early-risers have the advantage. Plus, the early-morning commute tends to be a lot easier and less stressful. But, of course, this goes for 6 a.m. traffic versus 8 a.m. gridlock, so you have to enjoy the early hours.
They’re more detail-oriented.
It’s hard to force yourself to be more focused on the details, but getting out of bed early seems to help. People who do so are better at anticipating problems and planning as well.
They enjoy more family time.
Children are known for waking up early, so if you’re getting up with them, that’s quality time together that Who can’t manufacture any other way. Plus, if being up and at work early means getting home earlier, you’ll have more time together in the evenings as well.
And they sleep better too.
You might think that waking up early means losing precious hours of sleep in the morning, but people who wake up with the sun typically sleep better because they’re more in tune with the earth’s natural circadian rhythms.
If you’re not a morning person already, it’s probably worth giving it a try to see how life-changing it can be. Switching your habits might be easier than you think—all it requires is to sleep earlier and sticking to the new routine until it becomes your new normal.