Waking Up Early and Your Health: Creating Healthy Life Choices

I’m always a little jealous of those people that seem to rise early to get their day started with very little prompting or difficulty. Me, I’m hitting the snooze three or four times and running scenarios through my head that will allow me to get to work on time, but allow me a few extra minutes of rest.

If this sounds like you, I have some pretty compelling reasons to get yourself moving a bit earlier each morning to ‘seize the day’ per se, and take advantage of what this extra time can do for you.

Your health is dependent on more than just your daily habits. A combination of proper rest, when you wake, and the choices you make during the day influences how your body perceives the daily rhythm you have provided for it. The habits you fall into naturally greatly affect your overall health, and there are many health benefits to rising earlier than what you are used to.

1. Better Nutritional Choices

Getting up early allow you time to take advantage of breakfast, the most important meal of the day. Even if you grab a quick bite while on the way to work, chances are it isn’t as nutritious as it should be to help balance your blood sugar to keep you full longer with the energy you need to get through the morning. Proper nutrition includes foods that provide a lasting effect, such as protein. Quick, sugar, carb, and caffeine packed meals may provide a burst of initial energy, but will leave you drained a few hours later, play havoc with your metabolism, and probably have you craving more of the same- causing you to overeat at your next meal.

2. Time for Exercise

Let’s face it, we always have good intention to get in a quick workout during the day, but life happens. By the time you have time, usually at the end of the day, you can’t muster the energy to make it happen. Rising early gives you the time to find to squeeze in a workout, but you can reap even more benefits if you workout in the morning too!

Research shows that people who keep a morning workout are more consistent in their exercise, plus gives your metabolism a boost. Also, post workout energy can last up to 10 hours- providing you with better clarity for the day to come! In addition these morning workouts also have a tendency to influence better eating habits through the day, providing you with a more overall healthy lifestyle.

3. Positive Mental Outlook

Rising early lowers stress by allowing you more time to accomplish what needs to be done. This results in a more long term positive outlook in everything from how you approach your daily tasks to how you view goals with a bit more longevity. This creates a foundation for better mental health, especially since too much sleep, and nonproductive sleep, is linked to higher incidences of depression and even has ties to mental illness.

Knowing you have been successfully productive in the morning gives you the psychological boost needed to attack the rest of the day. People who get enough sleep combined with good morning habits generally are more successful and healthy overall.

4. Less Risk of Depression

Having a morning routine has been proven in studies to help combat the negative side effects of various form of depression. Including your morning into this routine has been very successful in many studies, because it provides a regular cycle for your body to adapt to for rising and waking, causing less stress to your nervous system. Plus it allows you time to take care of yourself, which is very productive to overall positive day outlooks. These routines help with both biological factors, as well as mental mindset to how you approach your day.

Even when rising becomes difficult, pushing past this first thing in the morning is an accomplishment that helps other challenges more obtainable. Keeping your routine to simple steps that you can move through one at a time provides successful mini-goals that translates into how you view the rest of your day.

5. More Productive

Obviously you have more time to get things done when you rise earlier, but taking advantage of the early morning hours influences your entire daily productivity. Taking advantage of the peace and quiet, providing time for yourself to get done what you want to get done, allowing for meditation or sunrise enjoyment… all helps lower stress, provide a better mental outlook, gives you time to plan out your day, and in short, makes you more productive.

In fact, some of the world’s most successful people are early risers who utilize the time for their own enjoyment, or to catch up on work at their leisure, without the hustle and bustle of the office surrounding them.

6. Better Sleep Quality

Getting into a routine influences sleep quality. This also means you aren’t burning the candle at both ends however. Adults need, on average, 7 to 9 hours of uninterrupted sleep. Improper rest can result in both short term, and long term problems with both mental and physical health, so creating a routine that becomes your norm influences the habits that provide a deeper, more restful sleep.

Your body is dependent upon sleep to heal, support your immune system, support cognitive brain function, help with both short and long term memory, and even keep your weight consistent. A lack of proper sleep is attributed to high incidences of both vehicular and industrial accidents as well, so do yourself a favor and create a sleep schedule you can stick to!

7. Peace of Mind

Rarely do we take time just for us. Busy people are busy for a reason. Packed schedules, running errands, getting kids picked up and dropped off, meeting work deadlines, trying to cram in a workout.. This all results in a hectic mind, even if it does result in productivity. Finding time to just sit and enjoy a cup of coffee, a good book, or even simple peace and quiet is a commodity many people can’t afford.

Rising early can, and should be this time for you. Sitting in silence and enjoying time without any looming deadlines helps increase oxygen to your brain as your body relaxes and provides deeper, slower breaths. You don’t have to spend hours at this, a simple five to ten minute sit can help influence better mental, and physical health.

8. Better Problem Solving

Proper sleep helps your brain organize and compartmentalize memory. Combined with the quiet morning environment you have by rising early, you can better approach a busy, and challenging day with the correct mindset. Increased oxygen from relaxation, energy from proper nutrition and exercise, as well as a more positive outlook equals a sharper, more focused mind.

When you sleep your brain is still at work processing the prior day’s knowledge, so it only makes sense that by allowing yourself time in the morning without a pressing schedule you can better tap into these functions.

When you sleep your brain is still at work processing the prior day’s knowledge, so it only makes sense that by allowing yourself time in the morning without a pressing schedule you can better tap into these functions.

When you sleep your brain is still at work processing the prior day’s knowledge, so it only makes sense that by allowing yourself time in the morning without a pressing schedule you can better tap into these functions.

When you sleep your brain is still at work processing the prior day’s knowledge, so it only makes sense that by allowing yourself time in the morning without a pressing schedule you can better tap into these functions.

When you sleep your brain is still at work processing the prior day’s knowledge, so it only makes sense that by allowing yourself time in the morning without a pressing schedule you can better tap into these functions.

9. More Overall Energy

Healthier eating, endorphin boosts from a simple workout, and a stress free approach to the day can energize just about anyone. Influencing a healthy sleep pattern on top of everything else ensures you wake each morning with a properly rested body and mind to approach your morning with productivity in mind. Just rising early on it's own may not provide the energy boost, but when combined with all the benefits it supports, you can greet the day like the champ you are!

Deeper cycles of sleep influenced by rest allows a drop in blood pressure for better circulation, slower breathing, muscle relaxation, and a drop in body temperature. Long term results? A well rested, more energized you!

10. Better Organization

An established morning routine is exactly what you need to keep yourself organized and on track. Let’s face it, life happens and even the best laid plans can be interrupt or pushed to the side far more urgent, pressing matters. But you are more likely to accomplish your goals for the day if you have laid them out in advance of getting started.

Rising early to take your time before jumping in the hustle and bustle of a busy day allows you to create a series of approachable goals that you can work towards, reorganize, or accomplish as you see fit.

11. More Family Time

Besides freeing up time for you to take advantage of personally each morning, you also create more time during the day to spend with your family unwinding and enjoying their company. Busy schedules may keep you on the run, but how many times do you find yourself unable to enjoy a meal around the dinner table.

Family studies have shown an increase in overall child wellness when you take the time to communicate and sit down to a meal at least once a day with your children. No kids? No problem. Time with your partner, pets, or even more time for yourself all have a positive impact on your overall well being as well.

Conclusion

The health benefits of waking up early far outweigh hitting that snooze button over and over. A more energized, rested, healthier you results in a higher rate of success, organization, and time for both yourself and family. Hopefully the above list has provided you with some food for thought to try and incorporate a healthy sleep pattern for a healthier lifestyle.

If you have never been an early riser, getting this to work for you might be a challenge. Keep in mind that you don’t have to be drastic about your rising times right off the bat.Instead, incorporate waking earlier in 15 or 30 minute intervals to ease into a new schedule, and take advantage of what small time differences can begin to do for you.

Have any favorite things you like to accomplish before starting your work day? Share below your experiences with being an early riser, and what benefits you reap from these habits.

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