Many people believe (through experience!) that human beings are categorized in two ways: morning people and night owls. In many cases, the two are so very opposite that they have a difficult time getting along if they live in the same house.
The reality is, however, much to the dismay of those who consider themselves to be night owls, is that many of the most successful people in the entire world considered themselves to be morning people. They rise early in the morning, get more things done throughout the day, and go to bed at a reasonable hour so that they have energy for the next day.
Most Successful People are Early Risers
Rather than going to bed late, slapping at the alarm several times and waking up in a frantic mess, early risers tend to wake up slowly. This gives them the ability to move slowly into their day in a more leisurely manner with less stress. This relaxed start to the day can help get the day off on the right foot so that they are ready to put their best work forward when it comes to their jobs, school, or whatever they are doing. A less frantic morning means fewer stress hormones being released, less chance of accidents happening (like spilled coffee!) and a general all-around calmer mood.
All of these factors can be critically important when you are looking toward success. In fact, Forbes magazine has featured studies that show the details of early risers and success. According to a study performed in 2008 at Texas University, students who classified themselves as morning people were likely to earn a full grade point higher on average than those who were night owls.
Another study showed that early risers are more likely to plan their lives out better and be more proactive, possibly due to the fact that they have extra time in the morning to get organized before their day starts. Better planning and sharper focus leads to a more successful lifestyle overall.
Why Successful People Wake Up Early
Surely there are some successful people in the world who are night owls, right?! Well, yes, there are probably exceptions. But as a general rule, more successful people tend to be early risers. And here are some of the reasons why:
Time for Exercise
A connection between people who are successful and people who get up early in the morning to exercise can easily be made. This is especially true for people who exercise in the morning before the rest of the family is awake. Regular exercise early in the day helps to create deeper sleep cycles at night, promoting healthier rest and a better sense of well-being.
People who wake early have been shown to be more optimistic and positive about their jobs, their families, and their overall life experiences. A higher sense of satisfaction, agreeability, and being generally conscientious about the people and the world around them may be part of the reason that early risers tend to have more successful lives overall. On the other hand, night owls (who are known for their creativity and intelligence) tend to lean more toward negativity, pessimism, and even depression.
Less Stressful Commute
Although some people who get up early may not go into work any earlier, others might just get a jump on the day and head into work at 7 instead of 8. By doing this, they are setting themselves up for less frustration during their commute to work whether on public transportation in driving in traffic. An easier commute means less stress and anxiety, which get things started with much better momentum.
Battle Less with Sleep Inertia
The first couple of hours of every person’s day is often filled with less alertness, lower performance, and a reduced amount of cognitive functionality. This is called sleep inertia. People who go to bed early are also able to wake up on their own, usually between sleep cycles. When this natural waking process is allowed to happen, the impact of sleep inertia is less.
Early risers can get more done, earlier in the day, and feel the impact of their full awake-ness when it’s time to go to work or to school. People who wake up to an alarm or sleep later in the day will be more deeply impacted by the grogginess and sluggishness of sleep inertia, often accomplishing less in their daily lives.
Time for Breakfast
As those night owls are dashing out the door with their critical cup of caffeine and a sugary pastry, the early birds have already been up for hours. Early morning risers probably have had time to it down to eat a healthy breakfast. Eating a healthy breakfast at a slower pace can set the tone for the day to be relaxing rather than stressful. Plus, morning people will also have more time to pack a healthy lunch to take to work, rather than having to grab fast food on the go. In general, healthier sleep probably means healthier eating.
More than just sleep quantity, sleep quality counts. Studies have shown that people who go to bed early and wake early in the morning are taking advantage of higher quality of sleep than people who are night owls.
If you’re ready to become an early riser but you aren’t sure if you can do it, start slow. You can begin gradually by going to bed just thirty minutes earlier than normal and then getting up thirty minutes early. See how it works for a week or two and then tack on another thirty minutes. Before you know it, you’ll begin enjoying and taking advantage of that early morning time. And maybe you’ll be counted in with the world’s most successful people!
Waking up early probably doesn’t mean that you’ll automatically turn into a rocket scientist or millionaire right away. But it could mean the difference between living a ho-hum, average life and really living up to your complete potential in every possible way. Be positive and get started!