It’s 5 a.m. and my alarm just went off. I sigh, roll back over, and wish I could stay in bed just a few more minutes (let’s be real, hours). But what do I do instead? I get up and start my day.
While I’ve always been an early riser, thanks to early morning swim practices and a busy college schedule, it has become even more prominent since I stepped out into the real world and started my career at a digital marketing agency. Even on the days when I don’t set an alarm, I’m up at the crack of dawn and ready to start my day.
Yes, I’m one of those people. When night owls hear this, they often clap back with “Why do you torture yourself like that?” or “How do you do it?”
Waking up early has its benefits beyond simply watching the sunrise. Here are five reasons you should set your alarm an hour earlier this week:
“The early bird gets the worm.”
My most productive hours at work are between 8 and 10 a.m. And by 9 a.m., I’ve accomplished more than some people accomplish by noon. Why is my morning so productive? It’s simple: fewer distractions. The quiet time in the office in the morning allows me to catch up on emails, organize my to-do list, and get started on high priority tasks.
Beyond that, I have more energy and am much more efficient if I work earlier hours. The later the clock ticks, the slower and less on-point my brain functions.
“It’s not the load that breaks you down. It’s the way you carry it.”
I spend almost every morning in the same routine: wake up, go to the gym, get ready for work, eat breakfast, check social media and email, get to work by 8 a.m.
While it may not work for everyone, this morning routine gives me the opportunity to truly wake up, get my adrenaline pumping, and prepare for the day ahead of me. And, given that I’m a planner by nature, I feel less stressed having checked off these personal items before most people really start their days.
Healthier Food Habits
“Create healthy habits, not restrictions.”
Skipping breakfast is one of the top offenders to weight loss—and one of the biggest issues for healthy eating in general. By waking up a little earlier, I give myself time to make breakfast and meal prep for the rest of the day. This keeps me on track, and helps me avoid stopping by the small shop right outside of work for a snack or from buying a greasy fast food meal for lunch. (Calorie savings and money savings – a win-win!)
Fewer Missed Workouts
“Exercise in the morning, before your brain figures out what you’re doing.”
I’m a little obsessed with working out (particularly running #runhappy) and don’t feel like my usual self if I don’t complete at least a 30-minute gym session or run. Not only does working out in the morning give you more energy for the day ahead, but you’re more likely to actually get it done (think: fewer scheduling conflicts). We all experience that end of the day sluggish feeling—when going home to eat dinner or out to drinks with friends sounds a thousand times better than heading to the gym or out on a run. Setting your alarm just one hour earlier significantly lowers your chances of swapping your workout for some pizza. (And you’ll still have time for the pizza at the end of the day!)
Better Quality Sleep
“I’ll sleep when I’m dead.”
…is not a saying that any early riser, like me, supports or believes in. Most nights, I’m in bed by 9 and asleep by 9:30 p.m., if I’m lucky. Waking up early, getting a workout in, and accomplishing so much during the day leaves me exhausted by the time the sun sets. (Yes, even in the winter when the sun sets before 6 p.m.) Furthermore, I feel satisfied with my day and sleep more soundly knowing that, not only did I dominate the day today, but the shut-eye will help me conquer tomorrow.
There you have it! Five reasons why you should seriously consider setting your alarm just a little bit earlier tomorrow. Now, early rising isn’t easy – and it certainly isn’t for everyone. Start small (maybe only 15-minute increments at a time) and pretty soon you’ll be the early bird out getting all the worms—leaving the late risers hungry and jealous.