I feel you — I'm the furthest thing from a morning person. Rather, I'm the snooze-12-times-until-my-roommate-rips-me-out-of-bed person. I'll snooze in my half-asleep state, blissfully unaware that my alarm is waking up everyone around me for sometimes hours before I realize it. But, without it, I could sleep until the next day.
It's a blessing and a curse, really. And while, yes, I have no problem falling asleep on long-haul flights, in middle seats and really anywhere others wish they could, I've always been envious of people who have just as easy a time waking up as I do conking out.
Morning people always seem to have it together — admittedly, to the point that it sometimes annoys me. But they're on to something. While I'm catching more Zs than necessary, they're out there getting things done, probably saving the planet.
That's because science says that waking up early can actually solve a lot of our problems. Here are nine problems you can solve by rising with the sun.
1. You'll be more productive.
If you're struggling with getting your work done, you may find that you're even more productive in the early morning hours when everyone else is still asleep — no distractive emails, pings or coworkers over your shoulder. In fact, a 2008 study finds that morning people tend to procrastinate much less than people who stay up later.
2. You'll be happier.
Research suggests that waking up earlier actually leads to increased happiness. According to a study conducted by the University of Toronto, early birds are generally happier and have higher levels of overall satisfaction with their lives. Another study in 2014 also finds that people who go to bed later tend to be more overwhelmed with repetitive negative thoughts.
So if you're feeling down in the dumps, solve it with an earlier bedtime and an early-morning wakeup.
3. You'll be a more agreeable, cooperative person to be around.
If you're struggling with friendships or relationships in your life, perhaps you need to wake up a bit earlier to ease up. Studies suggest that morning people are easier to get along with than late risers. According to research by Christopher Randler, a biology professor at the University of Education in Heidelberg, Germany, morning people tend to be more persistent, cooperative, agreeable and conscientious than late risers.
4. You'll have more hours in the day.
If you're worried about there never being enough hours in the day to get done everything that you need to get done, wake up earlier. Waking up earlier means that you'll have more coveted time.
5. You'll have better mental health.
A study conducted by an international collaboration, led by the University of Exeter and Massachusetts General Hospital and funded by the Medical Research Council, finds the morning people have better mental health. The study, which was ultimately published in the journal Nature Communications, claims that those who are genetically programmed to wake up early have a lower risk of schizophrenia and depression. So, if you're struggling with anxiety or depressive bouts, waking up earlier can help you.
6. You'll have more energy to exercise.
If you have been slacking in the exercise department, get yourself out of bed earlier. A wealth of research suggests that, when you wake up earlier (with about six to nine hours of rest), you have more energy — and, of course, you have more time. So instead of rushing through a workout or skipping it entirely, you'll have a lot more time on your hands to hit the gym or make it to that early-morning yoga class before you head to the office.
7. You'll have more time for a healthy breakfast.
Waking up earlier means that you have more time to cook yourself a healthy meal for breakfast, as opposed to eating quick-and-easy junk food or skipping the most important meal of the day. When you skip breakfast, you tend to crave worse foods and make unhealthier decisions throughout the day. This is perhaps why early birds tend to have less body fat than late risers.
8. You'll sleep better.
If your sleep schedule is all out of whack, get yourself back into a routine by getting into bed early in the evening and waking up early in the morning. Better sleep leads to a whole host of benefits like improved concentration and focus, increased happiness, better decision-making skills and more.
9. You'll make more money.
A survey by Sleep Junkie, which asked 1,000 Americans about their sleep habits, discovered the telling relationship between sleep, money and success. It found that those who wake up well-rested and early tend to make more money than those who sleep in because they're sleep-deprived. In fact, both job satisfaction and salaries were higher for those who woke up earlier than those who woke up later. Specifically, the respondents who said that they wake up at 5 a.m. earn an average of $46,000 a year — the highest salary of survey participants. Likewise, those who said they wake up at 7 a.m. make significantly less, reporting an average annual pay of $35,000.
AnnaMarie Houlis is a feminist, a freelance journalist and an adventure aficionado with an affinity for impulsive solo travel. She spends her days writing about women’s empowerment from around the world. You can follow her work on her blog, HerReport.org, and follow her journeys on Instagram @her_report, Twitter @herreport and Facebook.