Are People Who Wake Up Earlier Happier Than Those Who Sleep In?

You’ve no doubt heard the old expression, “early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.” But where does that sentiment, old as it is, come from?

Are people who rise early in the morning healthier? Well, we know that good sleep habits, getting a good amount of sleep, and achieving deep sleep, can enhance your physical well-being. The body needs rest as does the mind. It might be an assumption that those who rise early, also go to bed early and therefore, get more deep rest for mind, body, and spirit. They may suffer less anxiety and depression.

As for wealthier, getting up early may lead to being more productive, getting things done earlier while fresh and alert, having more time later in the day to relax, perhaps exercise, or have more time with friends and family. Many early risers use those morning hours to hit the gym, meditate, or even pray, thus setting the tone for the remainder of their day. This too can lead to greater happiness, more productivity at work, or achieving goals.

This is not to say that you MUST be an early riser to achieve health and wealth. And wisdom may come in many ways, including the simple life lessons we learn over time. Still, the adage does make a point.

Part of when and how you wake has to do with something called chronotypes which help determine or describe our circadian rhythms. These are the body’s natural response to sunlight/daylight and nighttime/darkness. These affect our internal clocks. At night, darkness helps our body produce melatonin which increases our ability to sleep. This is why many people who have trouble sleeping choose to sleep in very dark rooms with heavy curtains or sleep becomes difficult. Sunlight streaming through our windows, helps us wake up. It stops our production of melatonin. Those who prefer to wake early might sleep in a position where the sunlight pours in and helps them wake up.

Typically, we are a blend of chronotypes, but knowing how our rhythms affect us and how we sleep can help us figure out when we are most productive and whether or not we can achieve more happiness and less stress and anxiety with our sleep patterns.

For many, getting up and out of bed earlier can be a mood enhancer, stress reducer, and lead to better overall health. This can change with age and added responsibilities such as difficult work situations, children to deal with, family issues, and even aging parents. Our sleep habits change as we grow older.

If we are suffering from depression, anxiety, work, and life stress, this can affect our sleep and our rhythms. Our chronotypes may have to adjust to these changes. When stressed, it becomes more difficult to get into deeper REM, restorative sleep, where you can dream, and where your body is at total rest.

So how do we achieve better sleep and be happier and more productive?

Start with shutting off technology. Your phone can wake you up if it is not on silence or if you have alerts for messages, texts, emails, and apps. It is best to put the phone away or a least silence it if at all possible.

Turn off the TV. There are people who swear they cannot sleep unless the TV is blaring in the background. They may believe that, but it is likely something they are telling themselves and not the actual truth. The noise and the light from the TV are disruptive to sleep not an enhancement.

Try to shut off all the noise of the day’s occurrences. Put work and family worries on the back burner and think about or even say positive affirmations while you relax into sleep. This is another way of “counting sheep.” Count the good things that are happening, the blessings in your life. Positivity will help with sleep.

When you wake, have a routine that you follow. If you meditate in the morning, do that every morning. If you need a stimulant like coffee or tea, have the teapot or coffee accouterments ready the night before so you can get up and get your day started. If you like to sit by a particular window to drink your hot beverage, eat your healthy breakfast, and gather your thoughts, that can be very healing and helpful. Some people like to do a little yoga stretching or head to the gym or home gym equipment right away.

Whatever the habits that help you rise, be happy to be awake, and ready to be productive, make them true habits, and don’t stray from them.

If all of this is not helping you and you are having difficulty sleeping or rising or if you are suffering from anxiety and depression, we are here to help. Please contact us at Advantage Mental Health Center Our licensed professionals will be happy to help.

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