The 7 Extraordinary Benefits of Rising Early

Greet the morning sun
Enjoy the sunrise

“Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy wealthy and wise.โ€
– Benjamin Franklin

* Ring! * ah, !@$&%*(!!!!

I’ve always been terrible at waking up early. As soon as the alarm went off, I would hit the snooze button faster than I could think about hitting the snooze button. I hated waking up early, I felt too tired, too groggy. I had tried many times to become an early riser, only to fail every single time. As I mentioned in my previous posts, because I was a night owl, I always felt best after the sun went down. Being a night owl may not have been such a problem if my work schedule fit my natural sleep patterns, but I was expected to be in the office at 8am which made for an entertaining morning sprint out the door every single day!

Fortunately, I was able to overcome the night owl chronotype by studying and experimenting with various theories and creating an effective method of early rising. After many attempts and many failures, I was able to re-create myself as an early bird. I currently wake up at 5:00 am and since creating the habit, I have personally seen a marked decrease in procrastination and solid improvement in my punctuality. If that’s not enough to convince you to wake up, here are a few more gifts waking up early will award you with.

1. Enjoy the quiet morning serenity

I used to enjoy the quiet times late at night, but I feel that the quiet of the early morning also has much to offer. Absorb the serenity of the morning with its cool fresh air while most are still fast asleep. This is a great time to plan your day and set your goals. I set aside a corner of my bedroom where I have a small table and chair where I sit and write down my goals for the day. On days I’m feeling especially attentive, I will close my eyes and visualize how I will complete my goals. I haven’t built up much endurance with visualization, so I’m practicing it as much as I can.

2. A personal ‘Good Morning!’ from the sun

The beauty of nature is something to awe, and with each sunrise, we are greeted with a bright ‘good morning.’ Sunsets are equally beautiful, signifying the end of the day, a ‘good bye for now.’ While most of us are able to enjoy the sunset, far less people are able to take in the simple beauty of the sunrise. Wake up early and watch the sunrise, and claim it as your own! You can check the sunrise and sunset times of your local at the U.S. Navy Observatory website.

3. Exercise

My exercise routine used to start around 11:00pm, comeback around 12:00am and then shower and ready for bed. Obviously not great scheduling for a person who had to be at work at 8:00am. Since waking up early gives me time to exercise in the morning and gets my blood flowing, I start the day feeling good. I have also noticed that exercising in the morning will give you great energy throughout the day, and will help you sleep earlier and have better sleep quality. I currently alternate my exercise routine between cardiovascular training and weight training.

Side note: One thing that I have noticed is that if I start my run early (5:30-6:30am) the air is cool and crisp, but if I start my run after 6:30am, the air quality quickly diminishes as cars start to appear on the roads. This is because I run in a residential neighborhood and a LOT of exhaust is produced by cars not having reached their operating temperature. Since the car has just been started, the catalytic converter is not yet doing its job. I usually avoid running if it is after 6:30am.

4. Increased productivity

I have noticed a correlation between waking up early and increased productivity. Waking up early gives me time to set goals for the day before exercising and breakfast. After exercising and breakfast, I will usually use the time before work to read the news, write articles and tie up other loose ends. Because it is quiet in the morning, distractions are kept to a minimum and I am able to complete tasks much quicker than any other time of the day.

5. Starting the day with a good wholesome breakfast

Waking up late, I never had time to eat breakfast. Always rushing out the door, I was lucky enough to have a glass of water and possibly an unhealthy snack. When you’re pressed for time, I noticed that I usually ended up eating a lot unhealthier, making me sluggish till lunch time. But by waking up earlier, I now have ample time after exercise to make myself a wholesome breakfast. It is well documented that eating breakfast has many benefits and will help kick start your metabolism. Other benefits are increased concentration and strength. Check out the full benefits of breakfast. Just eating breakfast alone is a great reason to start your day early!

6. Shorter commute times

For people who have to commute in traffic, this should be THE reason to wake up early and head to work. Traffic has a funny way of working, and just 10 minutes earlier can make commute times much shorter. (YMMV) Save yourself the stress of commuting in traffic, and having to rush to work. You’ll feel much better and ready to start your work day.

7. Other areas start to improve

As I mentioned earlier, waking up early has contributed to many benefits including better punctuality and a big decrease in procrastination. I attribute these effects to the fact that I was able to improve my self discipline resulting in better self control and focus. These changes will make a big difference in helping you achieve your goals in life, all the while having more time for family, friends and hobbies.

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17 thoughts on “The 7 Extraordinary Benefits of Rising Early”

  1. Hey Ken. Nice post. It’s pretty cool to here the sleeping pattern of somebody else. Like you, whenever I hear the alarm clock, my right arm automatically hits the snooze button. It’s pretty funny since sometimes I don’t even remember doing so and I am late for class.

    I’m also a night owl too. I go to sleep at about 2 or 3 AM and wake up at about 9 AM. Everybody has different sleeping patters. But I agree with you – the earlier you can wake up, the more you can get done, and the better you are prepared for the day ahead.

  2. This list is great. I’m currently in the process of moving to be an early riser. For me 6:30 am is my target as I don’t have to commute to work. I work at home. Exercising in the morning also pumps up your metabolism for the day giving you more energy throughout.

  3. Couldn’t agree with ya more Ken. Great info. I love getting up early. In those 2 hours I am up earlier than most people, I get more done then than any other 4 hour block during the day.

    Thanks for sharing and here is a link to my early rise sugg’s :
    Healthy Lives Start Early


  4. @Tristan: Yup. If I didn’t have a 9-5 job, I would probably stayed a night owl ๐Ÿ˜› But it’s hard to deny the benefits of early rising, especially after experiencing it!

    @Gordie: Exercise in the morning really does get me going. Working from home sounds ideal. How do you like it?

    @Dave: It’s amazing how focused we can be in the quiet morning hours, free from distraction!

  5. This is a great post & great advice. I really need to practice this in my own life. As a “commuter” I travel 60 miles a day round trip. I know that my trips would be a lot more peaceful if I could get on the road a bit earlier.

    Thanks for the reminder! ๐Ÿ™‚


  6. Hey Ken,

    I’m not that good at early rising, yet, as you probably know by now… but I have to agree on all of your points about getting up early. You really provide a lot of inspiration for me to change my ways…! That peacefulness of the early morning hours is definitley unlike any other time!

  7. Hello Ken!

    This is my first time visiting your blog.

    Whenever I set my alarm I wake up about 20 minutes before it goes off. I love the quiet reflection of the morning! I live in a high rise in a downtown area and I’m surrounded by tall office buildings. My day starts off so well knowing that as I’m watching the sun come up and people just getting into their offices, I’ve already accomplished a couple hours of solid work.

    I do think though, it’s really all about finding your optimal working time. Not everyone’s is the morning. But learning when you work best and not consistently pushing yourself into a mold of “this is the best because more people do it” is an incredibly important step in increasing personal productivity.

    …I say this as I’m still up at 2:30am…not sure tomorrow will be an early morning for me!

    Thanks for the post!

  8. @Dena: That’s a lot of driving everyday! Hope the tips will come in handy.

    @Karen: Early rising has been working out for me. It’s great to feel that cool crisp air!

    @Kristin: Thanks for commenting! You’re right about finding our own optimal time to work, and I’m a proponent of it. Unfortunately for me, I work in the regular corporate job that requires me to wake up before my ‘optimal’ time and so I’ve been working to rise earlier.
    I’ve also found some studies that successfully shifted the chronotype (early bird/night owl) of the subjects in 6 days by changing sleep schedules. I’d love to try it out, but until I’m free from the 9-5 I’ll have to hold off on sleep experiments that require me to radically shift my sleeping. Maybe soon?!?

  9. I loved being an early riser, but the problem is the only way I wake up early is if I leave my blinds open for the sun to shine through and I only get that early morning sun at certain times of the year.

    I’ll work out a solution though. I certainly don’t want an alarm, but being reminded of that early morning serenity makes me want to figure out a solution.

  10. @David: Although leaving the blinds open only works at certain types of the year, its a great tip that I’m sure I’ll be able to implement in the future. Thanks!

  11. I’m also one of those that don’t eat breakfast because I wake up so late everyday. If I wake up just 15min earlier, I’ll be able to eat breakfast.
    Thank you

  12. Great article Ken. I actually wrote an article recently on my blog called How to become a morning person. i’m totally with you that other areas start to improve in your life when you are an early riser. For me, I’ve become an avid surfer because of rising early and along with that has come overall health benefits..

  13. @Nazim: Yea, it depends. If you’re a early bird, you’d be alert in the morning. The key is to figure out if you’re an early bird or night owl. I was definitely a night owl, but I’ve consistently woken up early, so I’ve been able to change to an early bird.

  14. I just want to send fast hello and want to say thank you for this very useful article. I digg and searching through the web for some kind of very useful like that, or at least a website. That covered what i looking for

  15. Great article. I used to be a night owl, but after a layoff I found myself having heaps of time and particularly on self improvement. Waking up early was one of the good habits that I have gotten into. I used the alarm for a few days, but what has helped me most was a mental resolution just before going to sleep, to wake up at 5 am the next morning. As a result, irrespective of whether the alarm rings off or not, I am able to wake up a few minutes before 5 am (yes! amazingly) and the body sends signals that it’s time to go to the toilet…

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