9 Benefits of Being a Morning Person

by Mikey Rox on 28 June 2012 22 comments

Rise and shine, sleepyhead! Today’s the day you start taking steps to becoming a morning person.

I know it’s hard to drag yourself out of bed when that comfy cool pillow is hugging your face, but, as they say, the early bird gets the worm.

That’s not all the early bird gets, either. Here’s are several more reason why shaking off the sleep and getting your day started early is beneficial. (See also: 5 Effective Sleep Tips You Haven't Tried Yet)

1. Increased Productivity

Whenever I wake up early and start working right away, I get more done and the day seems to go by faster. Plus, I don’t have to rush. Waking up at 6 a.m. instead of 9 a.m. means that I have three extra hours before the calls and e-mails start flooding in, leaving me with a window of opportunity to actually concentrate.

2. Ample Time for Exercise

If you follow my posts, you know that I’m not a fan of exercise any time of day, but I must confess that it’s easier to motivate myself to get in a workout before I start working for a couple reasons. The first benefit to exercising early is that I don’t have to shower beforehand. I hit the gym looking and smelling like I just woke up, put in my time, and then get dressed and ready to greet the day. The second benefit is that it frees up more time in the afternoon/evening because I don’t have to allot an hour or two to going to the gym, getting undressed, working out, showering, getting dressed again, styling my hair, etc. When I leave exercise to the afternoon, I often skip it because I’m too tired or have an event, or I make up an excuse because I don’t want to ruin a good hair day.

3. Less-Stressful Commute

I don’t have to tell you that there are fewer cars on the road at 6 a.m. than there are at 8 a.m. — and fewer cars means that you’ll get to where you’re going more efficiently and with less hassle. Plus, if you have a job that allows you to put in your eight hours at any time, you may be able to leave earlier so you can fit more into your evening, which brings me to the next benefit…

4. More Time to Relax in the Evening

When you’re more productive in the morning, chances are you’ll have more time to relax and take a breather in the evening. Maybe even cook yourself a nice meal, pour a glass of wine, and catch up on your summer TiVo. Newly recorded episodes of “True Blood” and “The Real Housewives” are reason enough for me to get up with the sun.

5. It’s Healthier

Of course there’s the benefit of exercise, but getting up early also leaves you time to have breakfast — the most important meal of the day. Eating a balanced breakfast will give you the energy you need to stay productive and ward off those hunger pangs that send you to the vending machine before lunchtime.

6. Scheduling Earlier Appointments

I love early appointments, so I can get things out the way. There’s nothing more annoying than having to stop what I’m doing — especially if I’m in a creative zone — to honor a dentist or doctor’s appointment in the middle of the afternoon.

7. Planning and Preparing Gets Done

When I start work after 9 a.m., I feel like I have to jump headfirst into the projects that are on my schedule; I don’t have any time to sit back and think about what I’m going to do. When that happens, my work suffers because I’m trying to plow through it to meet a deadline. I’d rather get my lazy bum up a bit earlier so I can plan, prepare, and complete the work at a reasonable pace that allows me to pay closer attention to detail.

8. Be Alone With Your Thoughts

You can get more work done or exercise or visit the doctor — or you can pour yourself a hot cup of coffee and appreciate the alone time you have in the morning. I don’t have kids, but if I did, I would definitely try to get up an hour or so before them so I could mentally prepare for the hurt they're going to put on me throughout the day.

9. Sneak in a Little Recreation

If your days, afternoons, and evenings are full of activities — as mine are — the morning may be the only time you have to do something that you want to do. Whether it's reading, playing video games, or working on a craft project, being an early riser will allow you to participate in those activities at your leisure. Which also has another benefit, by the way — I’ve found that engaging in a stimulating, non-stressful activity early in the morning sharpens my creativity and focus. I seem to be much more on my game after an hour of playtime in the early morning hours.

Are you a morning person? What benefits do you reap? Let me know in the comments below.

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Guest's picture

I was a night person for the past 5 years. I'd be up all night and go to bed when the sun has risen. But my kids' recent activities forced me to reset my body clock. For the past few weeks, I'm back into being a morning person. I'd be up at around 5am and go to bed at around midnight. It's been a while since I've seen mornings and I can say that it's really quite refreshing. Although I miss being a night person sometimes, I kind of feel lighter being a morning person.

Guest's picture
Christy

Have you always only needed 5 hours of sleep? What was your sleep schedule like as a night person?

Guest's picture

It depends, although, I do get by with just 5 hours. There was even a time when I only slept for 4 hours, and this was when I was still a night person. I'd go to bed at around 6am and wake up at 10am.

But I do get naps in between, usually for around 2 hours.

Guest's picture
Krissi

I am definitely NOT a morning person, but a recent job switch has made me realize the benefits of getting up earlier. My previous job was 8-5, pretty normal for most people; I had a bit of a commute so I was rarely home before 6pm. The new job is 7-4 and closer to home, so I'm usually home by 4:30. While I'm not thrilled about getting up at 5:30 in the morning, the extra time I gained in the afternoon/evening as a result of this job change has been wonderful. Not only am I home earlier, but I get a LOT more done each day. Whether it's errands, housework or just additional time with the family, I don't think I'll ever be able to go back to an 8-5 job again :)

Guest's picture
Christy

I'm curious how many hours of sleep is required for early morning risers. Can you train your body to require less sleep in order to fit more activities in? For example, if I'm correct that my body needs 8 hours of sleep, in order for me to wake up at 6am, I would have to go to bed at 10pm...which seems daunting to me since I sometimes don't get home till 10pm. But hey, maybe the 3 hours I stay up past 10pm to get things done during would be a more productive time period in the morning?

Guest's picture
Guest

Not being a member of the workforce (am retired) & having no children at home, I enjoy being able to set my own hours. Some nights i have trouble sleeping, so i may get in only 3-5 hours of sleep (i take naps later then in the day when i can), very seldom does sleep come between 8-10 hours. But i love early rising time & feel MOST productive in the early morning, b/c i have time to set schedules, make lists & generally prepare to "end my day" before the clock strikes 2200. Being a natural-born Texan is another incentive to end my day early to avoid the heat.

Guest's picture
Adam

I agree! I started working out in the mornings instead of evenings and I've noticed that my workouts are better and I feel more relaxed and energetic during the day.

Mikey Rox's picture

Awesome! Keep it up, man.

Guest's picture
Forest

I am normally an early person but recently got into a late night funk. I'm missing out on exercise and feel like muck! Going to push back to the early mornings asap.

Guest's picture

All of the reasons on this list were solid. Not one was a stretch. I like that you included reasons for personal enjoyment as well. Many people try to make themselves into a morning person for productivity and many articles highlight the increased productivity of the morning, but showing personal reasons such as being alone with your thoughts and having time for recreation are great for motivating the ones that are slow to see the benefit.

Mikey Rox's picture
Mikey Rox

Thanks, Mac! I appreciate the comment. Have a great weekend!

Guest's picture

As a kid, I used to love waking early and getting in a few minutes of a new video game before heading to school. If only I could get motivated by such simple things as an adult.

Andrea Karim's picture

It only recently dawned (heh) on me how I am a morning person. Not in the sense of waking up refreshed and delighted to meet the day, because I'm pretty crabby when I first get up, but I do love the early morning and the solitude. From the lack of traffic to the peace and quiet at home or in the office, nothing is better than 5AM.

Of course, it's easier for me to say that now, when it's light out at 5AM, then in the middle of February.

Guest's picture
Christie

Besides the appointments part, these same things could be said for night-owls...like me. :) I get SO MUCH DONE at night when kids are fast asleep. My productivity level skyrockets, plus they don't wake-up like they do in the morning if I am busy and noisy. I get lots of alone time with my thoughts, and I definitely have time for recreation and exercise after everyone is fast asleep. The grocery store is totally dead at midnight, plus clearance racks go up regularly just before midnight. I get the BEST deals when I am in need of something specific! It's the best time to go shopping ever. I have the most wonderful quiet shopping trips. I just love it and my night owl ways. :) If the kids are in bed by 7:30 PM, I have another solid six hours to get an insane amount of work done. Then, in the morning, the kids get up and are responsible for their independent morning chores and schoolwork, and I'm out of bed not too long after the are to get breakfast going. Works great for us! ACtually, when we had our first child, my husband worked a swing shift, so we shifted to get up around noon every day and had our toddler bedtime around 1 am. That worked great to see daddy and have family time for us. Just don't get stuck in thinking that being a morning person is the "right" thing to do. It's just not an issue that will make you a better person or a better mama. Having a good healthy routine that works best for you and your family will make you a better mama, no matter how out of the box the routine is. :)

Guest's picture
XJ

Exactly! I get so much more done at night than I do during the day. Once 7:00 pm or so hits, I become more motivated to get chores done, do my freelance work, go shopping, etc.

I've tried to be a morning person before, and my productivity and energy levels go way down, and I usually get very little accomplished. Not everyone is wired to be a morning person or even be productive during daytime hours.

Guest's picture

I'm not a morning person at all but having a young child has forced my typical wake up time to between 6 and 7 AM. When I can focus myself to do something other than complain about it (i.e. running or gettting to work early) I feel so much better. Also, having more time to spend with my family and friends in the late afternoon or early evening is a great bonus.

Guest's picture
Joe

I feel like I'm a lot more creative at night. Is it just me? Perhaps it's because I did well during university, working on essays, reading, whatever til about 2am and could sleep in til at least 10 most days, and I just got used to it.

Guest's picture
Christie

Me too me too me too! This whole "get up earlier to be a better homemaker" stuff drives me nutso!

Guest's picture

Waking up early while in the moment seems like a drag, but the hardest part is just getting out of bed. Once you're up, you can usually muster the energy to get your day going- and that always feels good. Even just feeling more productive puts me in a good mood! I love getting up in the morning and getting my workout for the day done and over with, this leaves the rest of the entire day to get work done,and then relax.

Guest's picture
Guest

Great article. Three things I'll add:

Scheduling doctor and dentist appointments at the beginning of the day is more efficient. If a doctors falls behind his schedule, everyone's appointment is pushed back. If you are the first patient of the day, you are often seen within 10 minutes of arrival. In other words, an 8:30 appointment is an 8:30 appointment but a 3:00 appointment may turn into a 3:45 appointment.

I learned when working with orders in a machine shop that it was prudent to check the status of my projects with the machinist when he started his day at 8:00. An unexpected benefit was I arrived an hour before my boss and coworkers -- and I had a block of time with no distractions to go through my e-mail and plan my day. I cannot tell you how much an uninterrupted hour at the start of the day means to getting things done. Plus, if you're the one who thoughtfully starts the coffee, you quickly become an office favorite.

Finally, a piece of advice from a doctor friend who did sleep studies: get up at the same time every day, including weekends. If Sunday is your lazy day, get out of bed and then take a nap in another hour but get your butt out of bed! This advice got me through my night shifts but now that I work "normal hours" I haven't needed an alarm clock in over a decade. Sleeping late on Saturday and Sunday is just a subtle way to keep your body clock from setting a rhythm, hence the Monday morning feeling when you've suddenly altered "the schedule."

Guest's picture

It hard for me to be a morning person which I don't think I ever was. I like to be a morning person so that I can get all of my important things out of the way and relax throughout the day. Since Januray of this year I have been working a full time overnight job that is so stressful and it drain my body completely out to where I sleep the whole day and up all night. I even have another part time job where I am working in the day time and it just causing me more stress but I need them both to survive.

Guest's picture
Sodzee

It is always worth it forcing yourself to be a morning person! However, it is sometimes nice to also sleep in as late as you want at least once a week. :)