Self Care

Does Waking Up Early Make You Happier?

Rise and shine! Here’s what you need to know about waking up earlier.

By: Emma Lunsford

Early to bed, early to rise! Could this saying hold true? Are morning people happier and more likely to be successful? Let’s find out. Whether you’re an early bird or a night owl, read on to find out how your morning wake time influences your health!

What Science Says About Waking Up Earlier

A recent 2021 study published in Jama Psychiatry found that those who woke up an hour earlier than usual were at a 23% lower risk of developing symptoms of depression. This risk reduction could be due to a couple of reasons. For starters, those who wake up earlier tend to get more sunlight, and that natural sunshine helps reset and rebalance our circadian rhythm. When our sleep-wake cycle is in sync, we see a benefit in both sleep and mood — two factors that directly influence depression! So really, the more sunlight you get during the day, the better you sleep at night and thus, the happier you are!  

Second, those who wake up earlier tend to feel less rushed and stressed throughout the morning. After all, waking up earlier gives you extra time to sip your morning coffee (hopefully) in peace and silence, prep your lunch, and maybe even get in a quick sweat. No matter how you utilize your time, that extra hour is pure bliss! Plus, you avoid the anxiety-provoking feeling of running late and being unprepared.

So — are morning people happier? Based on these factors alone, we’d vote YES! But, it’s worth a shot to find out if waking up earlier helps YOU feel better. Because at the end of the day, everybody is different. It’s about finding what works best for you and your lifestyle! 

RELATED: 9 Tips for Getting Your Circadian Rhythm Back on Track

Not a Morning Person? Try These Hacks

Not everyone is a morning person, and that’s okay! If you consider yourself a night owl, use these hacks to help train your body to acclimate to a more morning-oriented schedule. You’ll be waking up earlier before you know it!

#1 Say Goodbye To Those Afternoon Coffees

Caffeine can stay in your system for up to 8 hours, which means those late-afternoon coffees have got to go. If you’re an all-day coffee drinker, challenge yourself to have your last cup no later than 1 or 2 pm max! Ideally, set your cutoff time to be noon! This way, by the time 8-10 pm rolls around, your body is in the best disposition for a restful sleep. 

If you need a mid-afternoon energy boost, go for a 20-minute walk, eat an energizing snack, or make time for a light workout! 

#2 Prepare the Night Before

Preparation is key when you’re trying to set new habits! The night before, set up everything you need for an early wake-up which will, in turn, help you get a more restful sleep.

  • Set your alarm clock
  • Lay out your clothes
  • Prep a nutritious breakfast
  • Program your coffee to be ready at your designated wake up time
  • Go to bed earlier, so you get at least 7 hours of sleep!

The takeaway? Ensure you’re taking proactive measures to set yourself up for a restful sleep. Trust us, when you follow these simple hacks, it gets easier and easier to wake up early in the morning! 

#3 Commit to a Consistent Bedtime

Your sleep thrives off of consistency. Start going to bed at the same time each night and waking up at the same time each morning. The more you stick with this routine, the easier it is for your body to adjust. The result? A happier you upon waking!

And the best way to stay consistent with a set bedtime? Develop an evening routine! Start by turning off your phone, taking some deep breaths, and really working to bring mindfulness into your evening before you hop in bed.

Maybe you meditate, journal, or sip on some calming tea — find what resonates with you. An evening routine not only encourages earlier bedtimes but also helps your body fall asleep faster!

RELATED: The Dos and Don’ts For Your Best Night’s Sleep According to a Sleep Expert

#4 Start Small

You don’t have to start waking up early right off the bat. In fact, it’s actually easier to slowly help your body adjust to a different sleep schedule, rather than waking up an hour early right away. For instance, you can start by just waking up 15-minutes earlier tomorrow. Then the next day, 30-minutes earlier and so on. Slow and steady wins the race! We want to try to implement waking up earlier long-term to really reap the benefits. 

#5 Create a Morning Routine

Why are morning people happier? Oftentimes early birds have a productive morning routine that helps set their day up for success.

If you’re wondering where to start, focus on enjoying your morning so you’re more motivated to get up! For instance, you could create a morning routine that’s full of things that support your goals and help you feel your best, such as:

  • Eating a nourishing breakfast
  • Prioritizing mental and physical health with a fun morning workout
  • Practicing mindfulness with a calming meditation
  • Reading or journaling to quiet your mind
  • Walking your dog to take in the fresh air while getting some morning steps
  • Whatever you want to do that helps you get ready for a great day ahead. 🙂

RELATED: I Started My Morning With a 15 Minute Morning Walk & Here’s What It Did For My Health 

#6 Track Your Mood & Energy

Even if morning people are happier, are YOU happier in the morning? This should always be priority number one! Get into the habit of writing down your mood and energy levels when you wake up. This way you can keep track of whether or not waking up earlier is helping you feel better! Plus, it’s always good to self-reflect and see where you can improve your overall health. 

Are Morning People Happier? Start Waking Up Earlier to See How YOU Feel!

At the end of the day, everyone’s different. The most important thing is finding a healthy lifestyle that makes you feel your best. With that said, there’s no harm in trying! Set your alarm 15-minutes earlier than usual and see how your day goes! You never know — you might be a morning person after all!