Ben Franklin’s popular quote goes “Early to bed, and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise”. Once you do the early morning switch, you will realize a surge in positivity, health and lifestyle transformation. If you are not a natural morning person, this might not be your first impression. Have you wondered what you could benefit if you start waking up early and follow a Circadian Rhythm aligned to the natural day and night phenomenon? Lets deep dive the How's and Why's.
The current technological advancements like TV, influx of social media, increase in shift work have taken a toll on our health and pose adverse impact on the quality, quantity as well as patterns of our sleep. We are increasingly finding it difficult and strenuous to wake up early as our bed time is clogged with stress and many to dos’s.
Before we commit ourselves to an early wake up plan, lets convince ourselves on the various benefits that follow. Lets have a look at the top few
Improve your Sleep Quality
Rising up early will gradually bring your circadian rhythm in the right direction. The morning discipline results in a sleep routine that will make it easier for you to go to sleep and wake up without an alarm clock at the same time each night. This is important for your body’s internal clock. You will benefit by sleep better each night and waking up feeling more rested. Once your body enters a consistent cycle of rising and waking, there is a natural increase in the effectiveness of the sleep stages that your body needs to rejuvenate and promote healthy brain function.
The magic of Morning Sun and Natural light
Enjoy waking up to the rising sun and you will get charged up with a new lease of energy and serenity. Regular exposure to morning sunrays will improve your sleep and daytime function by warming up your body temperature, increasing the level of Serotonin- a hormone important for sleep and reducing production of the stress hormone Cortisol. It is recommended to spend between 30 and 45 minutes getting direct sunlight exposure into your eyes. Sunlight filtered through a window does not have the same effect. Access to natural light also can be helpful in people who suffer from insomnia by helping stabilize their pattern of wakefulness and sleep.
Enjoy your me time
Mornings provide the best environment to have a quiet chit with oneself and to enjoy the peace before the traffic begins. With no distractions around, it gives you the space to breathe deep and organize your thoughts gradually and optimally. Whether it is picking your outfit for the day, enjoying a relaxing light shower or reading through a catalog over a cup of coffee, your mornings could provide you a bundle of sweet little pleasures.
An active start to the day
Waking up early allows you for those extra hours which you could plan skillfully. Early risers will certainly benefit from morning habits such as exercising, taking a shower or even a skin care routine that oxygenates your blood and ushers a radiant skin. Even if it means 20 minutes of stretch routine, a morning workout will keep you energized. Exercises releases endorphins that are feel good hormones, helping you start your day in a good mood and ushering in positivity all day long. Richard Branson, the Founder and Chairman of the Virgin Group exercises during his early morning hours to and follows it with a good breakfast before starting his workday. He truly believes that the sun guides him set his circadian rhythm helping him perform his best.
Better concentration and improved productivity
Getting up early gives you the much-needed time to get prepared to get to work or school. As a result, you are more effective and alert during the peak hours. Studies have shown that most successful people wake up at 5 am, or even earlier. They vouch by reasons of optimal focus, more effectiveness, no interruptions/ deviations. Also, decision making turns out be sounder as you think more clearly and can set up your goals well. Like many other successful leaders, Mr Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple aptly uses the very early morning hours to reply to emails from the peace of his home.
Helps sustain a healthy diet
People who wake up late tend to often rush to work grabbing something quick and unhealthy. This further disturbs your meal pattern leading to poorer eating habits in the day. You might up end up eating a big pizza at noon or grabbing a doughnut. Rise early and you have time for a light nutrient rich breakfast and enjoy sipping your coffee. Once you have overcome the rush and the morning stress, your body and brain naturally starts appreciating healthier choices over high carb and high sugar during the day.
Easy steps to help you wake-up early
Making a switch to a morning person does require some discipline. Here are a few proven pointers that will help you greet the dawn.
Gradual Progression and Consistency - Start slowly by waking up earlier than you normally do. Continue to increase this by 30 minutes every day. Remember, consistency is the key, weekends included. Social partying is acceptable as long as you don’t over do it every weekend. Keeping your body consistently on a sleep routine will make it easier to go to sleep and wake up naturally at the same time each night.
Make yourself get up and don't let your alarm snooze - Setting your alarm or use a tablet or phone with natural sound and light could do the trick. Once you are out of bed you are less likely to get back into it and jump into your morning routine. Slowly you could try getting rid of the alarm clock.
Go to bed earlier - Get to bed at least 8 hours before you plan on rising. Don’t make your bedroom an extension of your living rooms. Keep entertainment, information, and networking away from your sleep time. Beeps and the tiniest standby lights can create havoc with your inner clock. Bright lights in gadgets and gizmos such as your TV and smartphone stimulate your brain and make you alert again. Further, blue light in LED displays are known to suppress the melatonin- a harmone plays a role in your natural sleep-wake cycle.
Be motivated to rise each morning - Last but not the least stay motivated. Whether you plan on using this time for personal peace and quietness, or a chance to catch up on work without interruption, have a goal in mind to help motivate you to rise- even when you don’t want to. Try motivating yourself on what you could do the first thing you wake up. The long due yoga stretch or reading a book you could not begin with or a catch up with your bestie over a jog or simply enjoying your mug of coffee in peace.
Waking up early has proven benefits to your mental and physical health, leading to a much happier you and improving your sleep quality! Exposure to Sunlight warms up our body temperature, increases sleep harmone and reduces the production of the stress hormones in our body.
Don't be in rush to achieve your morning goals. Train yourself slowly by waking up 30 minutes before your normal time in the first week. Say 7 am if your waking time is around 7:30am. The next week hit the 6:30 am target. Once you get through the first two weeks of making this change, you will notice an improved sleep pattern, you are able to go to sleep earlier and finally waking up naturally with the Sun.
We would love to hear your experiences on your morning ritual. How rising each morning has benefitted your life ….
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