is it better to be an early riser or night owl?
Questions And Answers

Is It Better To Wake Up Early?

Early birds who go to bed and wake up early often find it easier to excel in education and employment.

However, it can be tough for the night owls who struggle to wake up to keep to the normal schedule. For this reason, many people feel that it’s better to wake up early, even if it’s not in their nature.

Socially, culturally, and in the workplace, rising early is perceived as superior to sleeping late. The biological benefits of waking up early vary based on your natural chronotype.

The benefits of waking up early or late are dependent on your lifestyle and chronotype. However, there are undeniable social and professional benefits to waking up early regularly.

Unfortunately, doing so when it’s outside your body’s natural rhythms can have negative repercussions.

Is it Better to be an Early Riser or a Night Owl?

It’s hard to say if it’s better to be an early bird or a night owl, as the answer depends entirely on whether the word better means healthier or more successful. A Sleep Research Society study found a stigma attached to being a night owl (or delayed chronotype).

If you want to succeed in your workplace or be seen as a conscientious student, it’s likely better to wake up early than stay in bed until noon. If you want to be healthier, it’s better to arise at a time that suits your natural circadian rhythms.

The circadian rhythms of the human body determine whether a person is a night owl or an early bird. Night owls are more active and alert at night and sleepier in the early morning.

For example, a night owl might be most alert and productive between 6 pm and 10 pm. They’re more likely to sleep between midnight and 9 am. By contrast, early birds are more active in the morning.

A genuine morning person may be most active and alert between 9 am and noon and be ready to sleep by 9 pm. So, it’s feasible for them to wake up at 6 am.

For the night owl who isn’t ready to sleep until midnight or 1 am, waking up between 6 am and 7 am can be hard. This, by extension, means that being ready and alert at work at 9 am can be difficult.

scientific benefits of waking up early

Will You Feel Better Staying Up Later?

Many people feel that it’s better to be an early riser than a night owl. However, there are benefits to being able to stay up late.

Where early birds gain an advantage in educational and working situations, night owls often have the upper hand in social settings. Here, being able to stay up late is useful. Unfortunately, we don’t control whether we’re early birds or night owls.

According to Sleep Medicine, 1 in 3 self-reported as night-owls. Interestingly, there’s a link between being a night owl and regularly experiencing a sleep deficit.

This means that being a night owl may damage your health and well-being in the long term. That’s not because there’s something inherently unhealthy about sleeping late.

Facts about Waking Up Early

When it comes to business and education, morning people are everywhere. Most CEOs and highly ambitious individuals are early risers, either by nature or choice.

While it can be tempting to sleep in, there are reasons to attempt to wake up early in the morning. When you’re deciding when to set your alarm, you should keep these facts in mind:

Early Wakers are More Successful

According to the Journal of Applied Psychology, those who wake up early are far more likely to be motivated, ambitious, and successful in education and employment.

Researchers suggest that this is because they’re more proactive. Getting up early allows you to participate in the strict schedule of the working world.

Discourages Procrastination

Successive studies have found that those who wake up early are less likely to procrastinate. Meanwhile, night owls are more likely to do so.

Linked to Positivity

According to Emotion, those who classify themselves as morning people are more likely to report positive moods and happiness. This could be because they’re more likely to wake up at a time that suits their circadian rhythms, of course.

Stay Healthier for Longer

Those who are more active in the mornings may exhibit better health later in life than those who habitually sleep in.

Of course, our sleep cycles are personal. That’s why it is important to consider the needs of your body and lifestyle before you change your sleep schedule.

Scientific Benefits of Waking Up Early

There’s evidence to suggest that those who are early to bed and early to rise experience a range of health benefits. Additionally, they’re statistically more likely to be successful, positive, and proactive. The scientific benefits of waking up early are many and varied with that in mind.

The benefits of waking up early can be split into the categories:

  • Physical
  • Mental
  • Emotional

Lower Stress

Those who wake up early regularly are likely to have lower stress levels than those who regularly wake up later in the morning.

This is because natural early birds are more likely to wake up after a full sleep cycle. However, there’s also the fact that waking up early gives you more time to eat and prepare for the day.

Better Alertness

Those who wake up early have been shown to be more proactive, goal orientated, and alert. These people tend to do better in education and are more likely to get a raise at work.

According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, students who stayed up late were likely to earn one full grade point less than those who went to bed early and got sufficient sleep.

The drawback of waking up early is connected to having a non-compatible chronotype or sleep schedule.

Pros and Cons of Waking up Early

ProsCons
More time to prepare for work and enjoy a quality breakfast  You may feel tired earlier in the day
Opportunity to exerciseFatigue and low motivation in the late afternoon  
Time to eat and chat with familyMay go against your natural circadian rhythm
Less stressful commuteLess ability to keep up in night-time social events  
Scientifically higher chance of success in work and education  Confusion of circadian rhythms, especially in winter when the mornings can be dark
Better chance of getting enough sleepHard to get enough sleep if you go to bed late
Improved alertness and cognitive functionBrain fog can occur when your body wakes before your mind is ready to do so

What Time Do Early Birds Go to Bed?

If you spend a lot of time reading self-help and improvement literature, you’ll likely notice a theme.

Many successful people talk about getting out of bed somewhere between 4 am and 6 am. They credit everything from the morning hush to having time for exercise. However, many of these guides don’t cover when the best time to go to bed is.

When they do discuss bedtimes, they often glamourize short sleep cycles. For example, Winston Churchill famously slept 4-5 hours per night during the war years of his tenure.

The problem with this is that most people need significantly more sleep than to be healthy and alert. While most adults can get by with 6 hours, many need a full 8 hours. Children and young teens may need more.

According to Sleep Medicine Reviews, regularly cutting sleep short results in cumulative partial sleep deprivation (or PSD). Chronic PSD can have serious, long-term repercussions for our health.

Oversleeping by as much as 2-3 hours a night has minimal benefits. So, early birds who want to get up early and stay in good health should go to sleep 6-8 hours before they intend to wake up.

Unless there’s a strong need to wake up early, take a trial and error approach to the best times for you to sleep and wake. When deciding this, consider your body’s natural rhythms. If possible, sleep when your body is most tired and awake when you feel most alert.

early morning riser benefits

The Best Time to Sleep and Wake Up

There’s no single best time to sleep and wake up in a social sense. However, science has identified the most efficient time to sleep for your body’s health and well-being.

According to the University of Exeter, the window between 10 pm and 11 pm is optimal to fall asleep because of the way that sleep cycles change and become more REM-heavy after midnight.

There are, of course, times when you’ll not be able to adhere to this advice or complement your body’s sleep schedule. If this happens to be an ongoing situation, you may need to take steps to become a morning person.

In this case, the best times to sleep and wake up are times that allow you sufficient sleep, as well as enough time to meet your responsibilities. At first, you should go to bed half an hour to an hour before you need to sleep.

This may seem counterintuitive since you may find it hard to sleep right away when changing your schedule, taking the time to wind down may make it easier to adjust.

Do things like turning off technological devices, limiting caffeine, and dimming lights as you approach your chosen bedtime. This can ensure that you get to sleep quickly and that your sleep is restful.

It’s better to wake up early in education and professional settings, and because of this, it is advisable to fall asleep earlier. Ensuring that you get enough sleep is crucial to ensuring health and well-being.

If you’re a night person, it may be easier to look into employment opportunities that allow you to make the most of your natural chronotype.