Research shows that people who tend to sleep and wake later are likely to experience
anxiety and depression more than those who sleep and wake earlier.
Improved Mental Health - There have also been studies that show a decrease in stress when shifting your sleep schedule to wake earlier.
Improved Performance – Research has found that ‘night owls’ experience peak performance at different times of day, performing worse in the mornings. Waking up earlier or shifting sleep schedule by 2hrs can decrease daytime sleepiness.
Time for Morning Exercise – Waking earlier can open up time in the morning for exercise and body movement which contributes to better quality of sleep amongst many other physical and mental health benefits.
Time for Breakfast – Shifting your sleep schedule to wake earlier provides more time to prepare healthy breakfast and contribute to increased energy levels. A balanced breakfast consists of equal portions of healthy carbs, fats, and proteins. A good example is an egg on a nutritional piece of toast with hummus.
Here are some tips for waking up early from Sleep Foundation:
Make Gradual Changes
Instead of abruptly beginning an entirely new sleep schedule, ease into an earlier wake time
over a few days. Start by going to sleep and waking up about 15 minutes earlier than normal.
Then continue adjusting your schedule by 15 minutes each night until you reach the wake-up
time you desire.
Get Morning Light
Since light and darkness affect circadian rhythms, you can help shift when you naturally want to
wake up by being strategic with light exposure. Bright light exposure in the early morning helps
people wake up and go to sleep earlier. Try taking a morning walk or spending time in sunshine
early in the day to help reinforce your new sleep schedule.
Avoid Evening Light
Just as morning light exposure can shift your sleep schedule earlier, exposure to bright light in
the evening can shift it later. Try to limit or avoid light exposure in the evening to avoid making
your body want to stay up later. Exposure to blue light in the evening can make falling asleep early especially difficult. Smartphones, tablets, computers, and televisions all emit blue light. Try not to use these electronic devices in the hours before bed, since they can interfere with the ability to fall
If you have trouble waking up as early as you would like, consider exercising earlier in the day.
Research demonstrates that early-morning exercise can help a person shift to an earlier sleep
schedule. By contrast, exercising in the evening might contribute to shifting the sleep hours
Time Your Meals
Like morning exercise, eating an early breakfast is another factor that may help a person keep
an earlier sleep-wake schedule. In one study, researchers had people eat breakfast as soon as
they woke up in order to help them shift to sleeping and waking earlier.
More research is needed, but some studies suggest that meal timing affects circadian rhythms,
including when a person feels alert or ready to sleep. In addition to eating breakfast upon
waking, try to eat lunch and dinner at the same time each day and avoid eating meals late in
Research shows that caffeine14 can impair a person’s ability to sleep, even if they consumed it
six hours before bedtime. As you work toward going to sleep and waking up earlier, try to avoid
coffee, tea, and other sources of caffeine later in the day.
Habit formation can be facilitated by rewards15. As you first shift your schedule, give yourself
an incentive to help make going to sleep and waking up earlier feel worthwhile. Treat yourself
to something special or enjoyable each time you fall asleep and wake up early.
Practice Healthy Sleep Habits
Practicing healthy sleep habits can help people obtain higher-quality sleep. Try incorporating
these healthy sleep habits to help you fall asleep more easily as you go to sleep earlier:
Go to sleep and wake up at the same times every day
Keep the bedroom dark, cool, and quiet
Remove computers, phones, and TVs from the bedroom
Avoid large meals, alcohol, and caffeine near bedtime
Read more on our Sleep is Magic blog