is it better to be an early riser or night owl?
Better Sleep

Is It Better To Wake Up Early or Stay Up Late?

Socially, culturally, and in the workplace, rising early from sleep is considered superior to sleeping late. Early birds who go to bed and wake up early are likelier to excel in education and employment.

It can be hard for night owls, who often struggle to wake up and maintain a schedule accepted by society. For this reason, many of us believe it’s better to wake up early, even if it’s not in our nature.

However, the benefits of waking up early vary based on our natural chronotype. Making an early start outside our body’s natural rhythms has negative health repercussions.

Is it Better To Be An Early Riser or A Night Owl?

The body’s circadian rhythms determine whether someone is a night owl or an early bird.

A night owl is most alert between 6 PM and 10 PM and is likelier to sleep between midnight and 9 AM. In contrast, a morning person is alert between 9 AM and noon and sleeps between 9 PM and 6 AM.

For the night owl who isn’t ready to sleep until 1 AM, waking up at about 6 AM is difficult. This, by extension, means that being ready and alert to start work at 9 AM won’t be easy.

A Sleep Research Society study identified a stigma attached to being a night owl (delayed chronotype).

If you want to succeed in the workplace or be seen as a conscientious student, going to bed and waking up early is perceived more favorably than going to bed and waking up late.

However, if you want to be healthier, it’s better to arise at a time that suits our natural circadian rhythms.

Will You Feel Better Staying Up Later?

Where early birds gain an advantage in academic and employment situations, night owls often gain the upper hand in social settings. Here, being able to stay up late is beneficial.

Unfortunately, we can’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 sleep debt.

scientific benefits of waking up early

Facts About Waking Up Early

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

While it can be tempting to sleep in, there are good reasons why people wake up early. When deciding what time to go to bed and set your alarm, keep these facts in mind:

More Successful

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

Researchers found that this is because early risers are more proactive. Getting up early in the morning allows you to participate in the strict schedule of the working world.

Less Procrastination

Scientific studies have found that people who wake up early are less likely to procrastinate.


According to Emotion, morning people are likelier to report positive moods and happiness. This could be because they’re likelier to wake up at a time that suits their circadian rhythms.

Healthier for Longer

Early risers may enjoy better health later in life than people who habitually sleep late.

Scientific Benefits of Waking Up Early

Evidence suggests that people who are early to bed and rise have better health. They’re statistically more likely to be successful, positive, and proactive. The benefits can be split into three categories:

  • Physical.
  • Mental.
  • Emotional.

Lower Stress

Early risers are likelier to have lower stress levels than late risers. Early birds usually wake up after a full sleep cycle with more time to eat and prepare for the day.


Those who wake up early are more proactive, goal-orientated, and alert.

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.

Problems arise when people have a non-compatible chronotype or sleep schedule.

Pros and Cons of Waking Up Early

Preparation time for work and breakfast.Tiredness earlier in the day.
Opportunity to exercise.Fatigue and low motivation in the late afternoon.
Time to eat and chat with family.Works against natural circadian rhythms.
Less stressful commute.Struggle with night-time social events.
Scientifically higher chance of success in work and education.Confusion of circadian rhythms, especially in the winter when the mornings are dark.
Better chance of getting enough sleep.It’s hard to get sufficient sleep if you go to bed late.
Improved alertness and cognitive function.Brain fog can occur when your body awakens.

What Time Do Early Birds Go To Bed?

You’ll likely observe a theme if you read self-help and improvement literature.

Most successful people talk about getting out of bed at 4-6 AM, crediting their achievements to everything from early-morning peace and tranquility to having time for exercise.

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

Most people need significantly more sleep to be healthy and alert. While most adults can get by with 6 hours of sleep, many need 8 hours. Children and young teens may need additional sleep.

Sleep Medicine Reviews noted that inadequate sleep results in cumulative partial sleep deprivation (PSD). Chronic PSD can have serious long-term repercussions for human health.

Oversleeping by 2-3 hours has minimal benefits. Early birds who want to get up early and stay healthy should aim for 6-8 hours of sleep before awakening.

early morning riser benefits

Best Time To Sleep And Wake Up

There’s no single best time to sleep and wake up socially. However, medical science has identified the most efficient time to sleep for the body’s health and well-being.

According to the University of Exeter, the window between 10 PM and 11 PM is optimal for falling asleep because sleep cycles change and become more REM-heavy after midnight.

Sometimes, you can’t adhere to this advice or complement the 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 allow you sufficient time to meet your responsibilities. Initially, go to bed half an hour to an hour before you need to sleep.

This may seem counterintuitive since you may find sleeping difficult immediately after changing your schedule. Taking the time to wind down may make it easier to adjust.

Turn off devices, limit caffeine, and dim lights as bedtime draws closer.

If you’re a night person, seek employment opportunities that make the most of your natural chronotype.