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Why do people wake up early?

Waking up early is a habit that many successful people swear by. Studies show that early risers tend to be more productive, proactive, and even happier than night owls. However, waking up early goes against human biology, which is why many people struggle with becoming an early riser. So why take on the challenge of waking up early? Here are some of the main reasons people choose to rise early.

To Have Time for a Morning Routine

One of the biggest perks of waking up early is having time to ease into your day instead of being rushed. An ideal morning routine includes time for:

  • Meditating
  • Exercising
  • Enjoying a healthy breakfast
  • Reading or journaling
  • Getting ready at a relaxed pace

Having this time to be intentional about how you start your day helps you feel centered, energized, and focused for the hours ahead. You’re much less likely to be stressed and scattered if you’ve had time for mindfulness and self-care first thing.

To Get a Head Start on Important Tasks

The early hours of the day are often the most productive for many people. With minimal distractions and high energy levels, early risers can plow through important tasks and feel a sense of accomplishment right off the bat. Some examples of tasks people like to tackle early include:

  • Replying to emails
  • Working on their top priority projects
  • Exercising
  • Batch cooking and meal prep
  • Tackling tasks that require deep focus

Getting even an hour of work done first thing can be a game-changer. You go into the rest of your day feeling on top of your to-do list versus constantly behind.

To Avoid Distractions

Late mornings and afternoons are often filled back-to-back meetings, phone calls, coworkers swinging by your desk, and urgent tasks cropping up. It can be incredibly hard to get anything done. However, early mornings tend to be peaceful. Most people are still asleep, so you can work in blissful silence and seclusion.

Many successful entrepreneurs and leaders cite waking up before others as one of their most powerful productivity hacks. Having uninterrupted time to think and create is precious. Waking up early essentially buys you 1-3 “bonus” hours a day free from disruptions (depending on when you typically start work).

To Practice Self-Discipline

Waking up early day after day requires commitment, mental toughness, and self-discipline. It forces you to adhere to a routine versus sleeping in and giving in to momentary whims. As such, it’s an exercise in self-mastery. Making it a daily habit creates a ripple effect, helping you achieve control in other areas of life.

By choosing to rise early, you’re taking charge of your schedule versus allowing outside forces to dictate when you sleep and wake up. You’re literally seizing the day instead of sleeping it away. This boost in mental fortitude and self-direction tends to spill over, empowering you to go after what you want.

To Sync With Your Body’s Rhythms

Our natural circadian rhythms make us most alert and energetic for the first portion of the day. Cortisol and body temperature both peak in the morning hours. This is influenced by sunlight; the rising sun signals to our bodies that it’s time to rev up for the day.

Night owls defy these innate bodily cycles, staying up late into the night when melatonin is on the rise. While everyone’s sleep needs vary, waking with the sun tends to provide the best-quality rest. It allows you to be in alignment with your true biological prime time.

To Have Time With Family

For parents of young kids, the mornings can be a treasured time with family before the chaos of the day sets in. Without work or school beckoning yet, families can linger over breakfast and enjoy each other’s company.

Early risers also often have time for morning snuggles and conversations with their children. This allows them to connect before the daily grind pulls them in different directions. Quality bonding in the mornings can set a positive tone for the whole household.

To Enjoy the Mornings

To true early risers, morning isn’t just a means to an end – it’s a beautiful time of day to relish in its own right. The world feels fresh and full of possibility in the early hours. For those who live in safe areas, going for morning walks or runs can be a magical ritual.

The tranquility and silence of the world at dawn can almost feel sacred or spiritual. Having this time to watch the sunrise, listen to birds waking up, and observe nature coming to life is a gift.

To Have Better Work-Life Balance

Studies show that people who wake up early sleep earlier and get more overall sleep. They tend to have more energy and lower stress. This enables them to be more fully present with loved ones at the end of the day versus exhausted and depleted.

Early risers also often report having time for hobbies, exercise, and fun outside of work. Better health and vitality paired with more balanced schedules results in higher life satisfaction according to research.

To Accomplish Dream Goals

The most successful people often wake up in the early morning hours, even on weekends. That’s because they understand mornings are the optimal time to dedicate to passion projects like writing a book, planning a business, or learning a new skill.

Using mornings consistently over months and years gives you the compound time needed to achieve almost any dream goal. An hour or two each day adds up to hundreds of hours over just a year. This focused time for personal growth is a key habit of high performers.

Potential Downsides of Waking Up Early

While the benefits are plentiful, waking up early also comes with some potential drawbacks including:

  • Increased fatigue if waking up earlier than your body’s natural inclination
  • Possible social isolation from night owl friends
  • Potential safety concerns related to commuting or exercising while still dark out
  • Less alignment with late-night creativity cycles
  • Split sleep cycles if taking afternoon naps to compensate for early wake-up times

As with any habit, it’s important to assess how rising early fits with your individual needs and preferences. The productivity boost is not worth health or happiness costs. Optimizing wake-up time is a balancing act.

Tips for Becoming an Early Riser

If you want to become an early riser, consider these tips:

  • Gradually adjust your bedtime earlier in 15-minute increments
  • Let sunlight or a sunrise lamp wake you up
  • Have a consistent, soothing bedtime routine
  • Avoid screen time and stimulating activities before bed
  • Use blackout curtains to keep your room dark
  • Set a bedtime alarm reminding you to start getting ready to sleep
  • Place your alarm clock far from your bed so you have to get up to turn it off
  • Go to bed and wake up at the same times daily, even on weekends
  • Use productivity apps to track habits and motivate you
  • Have a morning routine you look forward to as a reward

Change takes time but being consistent with these strategies will reset your body clock. Having social support and a true desire to wake up early also boosts success rates.

Ideal Wake-Up Times by Age

Research suggests certain wake-up times tend to be best aligned with different age ranges:

Age Ideal Wake-Up Time
Teens 7-8 am
20s 6:30-7:30 am
30s 6-7 am
40s 5:30-6:30 am
50s 5-6 am
60s 4:30-5:30 am
70s 4-5 am

However, individual chronotype, sleep needs, occupational hours, and lifestyle play a role too. Some 70-year-olds thrive on 7-8 hours of sleep and naturally wake up at 6 am while some 20-year-olds prefer mornings to nights.

Sample Morning Routines by Time

Here are examples of beneficial morning routines structured around different wake-up times:

5 am

  • 5:00 – Wake up
  • 5:05 – Drink water
  • 5:10 – Meditate
  • 5:30 – Exercise
  • 6:00 – Shower
  • 6:30 – Make breakfast & read
  • 7:30 – Start work

6 am

  • 6:00 – Wake up
  • 6:05 – Make bed
  • 6:10 – Drink water
  • 6:15 – Walk dog
  • 6:45 – Shower & get ready
  • 7:15 – Make breakfast
  • 7:30 – Read or journal
  • 8:00 – Start work

7 am

  • 7:00 – Wake up
  • 7:05 – Drink water
  • 7:10 – Meditate
  • 7:30 – Exercise
  • 8:00 – Shower & get ready
  • 8:30 – Make breakfast
  • 9:00 – Start work

As you can see, mornings can be adapted to suit your needs and preferences. The key is consistency in when you wake up, having a routine you follow, and allowing enough time for self-care.


Waking up early has many potential benefits – from having time for yourself to getting a head start on work. However, it’s not for everyone. Pay attention to your chronotype and bio-needs when setting a wake-up time. The productivity gains are best when balanced with adequate rest.

That said, becoming an early riser can instill discipline, give you quiet focus time, and change what you’re able to accomplish. For many driven people, the peaceful mornings and extra hours are well worth rising with the sun.