Are you a “morning person?” Great! I like to maintain a set early-riser schedule, because of its general health and productivity benefits. Some weeks, I’m spot on: up at 5:15 a.m., out for a run or to the gym, returning to do pet duties, then doing “my” duties including shower, makeup and tidying the house. Then I sit down and work for 10 hours or more.
Trouble is, by about 2:30 p.m., I’m “toast.” I’ve sat too long in the same place, even though I hop up every half-hour to do “something.” My brain starts to fuzz in the early afternoon, and it makes me think I should have gone to the gym mid-day.
I don’t because once I start working I can’t seem to pull myself away from my “to-do” list at the computer. I almost feel guilty for leaving, which is the same way I feel if I go to the grocery store or to run another errand during the “work week.”
Inevitably, my early-morning rises go off-kilter because of travel, or because of staying up too late for some reason, or because of too much stress that drains energy. And eventually, the early rises catch up with me and I just have to sleep in, usually on a weekend morning—and that’s just not advised, according to previous research. I have to remind myself of the many benefits of getting up early.
Early morning advantages
Let me remind us both of what they include:
- Time to exercise and get that “out of the way”
- Time to plan
- More willpower
- A clear mind, with better focus and less distraction
- Feelings of being in control and in charge
- Higher productivity and accomplishment
- The ability to anticipate what may go wrong during the day
- Better sleep patterns: I went to bed earlier to get up this early. I’ll make the most of that snooze time, which should be between seven to nine hours nightly.
Up with the chickens
While doing morning radio for years, I had to get up at 4 a.m. Try as I may—and I definitely did try—I never got used to the hours. By mid-afternoon, I felt as though I’d been body-slammed against a wall. A nap only made things worse, and after waking, I began to dread the inevitable 8:30 p.m. bedtime slot.
A 2011 British study found that early risers are happier, healthier and thinner. I’ve set the clock for 5:15 tomorrow morning. No, I won’t hit “Snooze,” because another day of opportunity awaits. (Call me to make sure I’m up, will you?)