Can waking up early benefit our health?

Published 11 Sep 2021 • By Claudia Lima

"Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise!"

This phrase, often attributed to Benjamin Franklin who is said to have quoted it in the 18th century, was partly referring to health.  

So what are the health benefits of getting up early? Is being a "morning person" just a trend? Is it applicable to us all? What are the good practices to follow?  

We explain it all in our article!

Can waking up early benefit our health?

What is a "morningophile"?

The "miracle morning", or waking up at the crack of dawn, a trend popular in the United States and illustrated in particular in the book "Miracle Morning" by Had Elrod, describes a method of personal development that helps us to feel more fulfilled

"Morningophiles" (morning + phile, from the Greek philos, meaning "loving") will therefore exercise this practice, which consists of waking up 1 or 2 hours earlier in order to devote oneself to an activity of one's choice before starting the "normal" day, often activities for which one would not have the time to devote oneself during the day. 

Often the goal of this practice is to improve physical health and well-being.  

The principles of this movement are similar to those of "slow living", which include slowing down the pace of one's day, taking time for oneself, savouring the present and developing one's creativity

Getting to know yourself first

Though we can't hear it tick, our body has its own internal clock - the circadian rhythm. Our circadian rhythm is made up of a number of physical, mental, and behavioural changes that follow a 24-hour cycle and is influenced by external factors such as light and dark, temperature and physical activity.

Our personal circadian rhythms, or "chronotypes" vary from person to person but may also run in families. The two main chronotypes are what we commonly refer to as "early birds", those who tend to go to bed and wake up early, and "night owls", those who tend stay up and wake up late.

It is important that we understand our chronotype in order to better organise ourselves in our tasks and activities, and to determine your level of fitness or fatigue.

Each person has his or her own rhythm to follow, and there are methods for identifying one's sleep cycle and deciding to adapt it if necessary to sleep better and therefore, wake up better

Of course, in order to get up earlier, your work schedule must allow for it. The goal is to make the most of natural light, and a night worker would not be able to apply this type of method.  

There are also a number of factors that cause people to wake up early, but not by choice: anxiety, depression, insomnia, hormonal fluctuations due to pregnancy or the menopause, etc.

And also, for many early risers, it's all a question of genetics.  

It's up to you to find the right balance.  

What are the benefits of waking up early for your health?

There are a number of good reasons for getting up early and many studies have analysed the effects, all leading to one conclusion: it is a factor in good physical and mental health.  

Some of these benefits include:

  • More time for yourself, to relax, to get organised
  • More time to do things, physical exercise, creative activities
  • More time for breakfast
  • More concentration 
  • More exposure to natural light, which contributes to a better mood
  • Less stress
  • Less prone to mental health problems

Researchers scientifically explain that getting up early releases endorphins and dopamine which promote good blood circulation and act as a stress reliever.

How can you start waking up early?

Adopting an early bird routine won't happen overnight, especially if bad habits such as scrolling through your phone or catching up on your current series are ingrained. 

However, if you are looking for a place to start, here are a few tips:  

Get plenty of sleep

Try to get up and go to bed at regular times, get enough sleep and avoid anything that stimulates you, such as rich meals, video games and caffeinated drinks. 

Gradually change your alarm

Shift your alarm clock by 15 minutes each day for a week or more to reach your target wake up time.

Look for motivation

Use the minutes you gain by engaging in activities that bring you pleasure. 

Get out of bed

Get up at the first ring of your alarm clock, move the phone away from your bed and don't be tempted to lie back down.

Allow yourself to not be perfect

Maybe you had a hard, busy day yesterday, maybe you don't feel good today... That's okay. You are allowed an "off" day and deserve a lie-in. Not every day has to be an early bird day.

After all this information, does getting up early still not interest you and/or seems impossible? For your own reasons, do you have to go to bed late and wake up late? 

This is perfectly normal. Each individual has his or her own possibilities and choices. The most important thing is to listen to your body.  

Was this article helpful to you?Give it a like and share your thoughts and questions with the community in the comments below!
Take care!

avatar Claudia Lima

Author: Claudia Lima, Health Writer

Claudia is a content creator at Carenity, specializing in health writing.

Claudia holds a master's degree in Entrepreneurship and an Executive MBA in Sales and Marketing Management. She is specialized in... >> Learn more


Scotty 2
on 18/09/2021

Shh! Don't tell everyone, but I love going supermarket shopping early. The roads are quieter, with courteous drivers around. Shop assistants are helpful. Shelves are fairly well filled and the whole trip takes much less time. I also love to hear the bird song first thing. Feed them, that is your reward. A sunny morning in summer is a total joy. However once the clocks go back I will go into hibernation mode.

lesmal • Ambassador
on 18/09/2021

I've always been an 'early morning bird' right from being brought up as a toddler! We were up at 4 a.m. due to the lifestyle we had in Zimbabwe and South Africa for over 60 years, hearing the birds singing, the sun was rising and the air was beautiful and fresh! 

Since moving to Northern Ireland four years ago, our routine hasn't changed, just the climate!  Our Jack Russell wakes us up at 4.00 a.m. wanting to go out, it's lovely and peaceful, no one around, and one can walk freely and breathe. On the days we have to visit the city, we usually catch the early public transport by 7.30 a.m. to get to town and are able to get done what we went out to do so much quicker, without the crowds on the pavements and frustrating queues that usually start after 10.30 a.m. Our aim is to be out of town by 11.00 a.m. Banking is done, shopping is done, I've had enough cups of coffee and public transport is quieter on the way home. 

Winter is coming quickly now, but it won't change my routine; I love the dark mornings and the tranquility that comes with it. The roads are quieter, shops are less busy and one is able to clear one's mind.   

on 18/09/2021

I have always ben an early riser, right from childhood due to our life style is India. Being the oldest child in the family, I had to get up early, clean up the small flat we lived in. make tea and rolls for breakfast for the family. bath the younger siblings  and get them ready for school. Then get myself ready for school to leave the house by 8.15. On return from school, I had chores to do, to help my mother cook and get the evening meals ready for every one. I had to wash and clean up as the strict rule of my father was to be in bed at 9pm with lights off. During my senior years at exam times, I had to sit in the night light to do my homework and study after everyone had gone to bed. Then again i had to get up at 4 am if there was any more studying to do and start the morning again.

I came to England in 1969. Being a nurse, the early shift started at 7 in the morning, so early to rise has always been the trend. Now being retired, I have still got into the mode of getting up at 5 every morning. I don't need alarm clock. My own body clock wakes me up. I come down and have a cup of freshly squeezed lemon and ginger juice kept bottled in fridge with hot water. Then if there are little tasks left love from the night before, do them. Get breakfast ready, and I am ready to start the morning. I can get more done by getting up early. I love my early morning walks in the field, watch and listen to the birds, feed the garden birds and i enjoy my peace, and tranquillity of early morning. Winter will make no difference in the time i get up. I am in bed by 10 and up by 5 every day.

on 06/10/2021

I used to love waking up at 6/half 6. Even as I went to university to do my nursing and had to go to placements, I loved getting up at the crack of dawn (or the crack of night when I was on night shifts). I would have a cat nap on the bus if I needed to, but I never missed my stops. However, 7 years post diagnosis (no longer studying nursing), I can get out of bed at half 7, with my partner's alarm for work, but this morning I struggled. He had set his alarm to half 6 as he needed to go to work an hour earlier. I struggled to function until I had my afternoon, hour long, nap... I miss my younger years...

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