Does Waking Up Early Help with Productivity? - the Facts

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Waking up graphic

It is well to be up before daybreak, for such habits contribute to health, wealth, and wisdom. - Aristotle

In elementary school, we are taught that early to bed makes one healthy, wealthy and wise. This saying is one of the most important learnings, relevant throughout our life.

As we all know, mornings aren’t for everyone. Many of us have routines that we believe are tied to our productivity; some of us wake up before the sun and some stay up so late we can see the date on our phone change to the next day.

According to circadian neuroscientist Russell Foster, there is no research that says waking up early makes you more productive. It also doesn't mean you'll be richer. There's no difference in socioeconomic status between late and early risers.

However, early risers are often thought of as energetic problem-solvers leading businesses, organizations, or sometimes even nations.

Countless CEOs attribute their success to waking up early. Apple CEO, Tim Cook, is reported to start his morning at 3:45. General Motors CEO, Mary Barra, and PepsiCo CEO, Indra Nooyi, both get to the office between 6 and 7 am.

Benefits of waking up early

If you find yourself running out of time to get everything you want to be done in a day, waking up early may be a solution.

Wake up Jim Carrey

When I'm lying in bed, covers up to my chin, and the alarm is going off, waking up is the hardest thing in the world. But I'm tired, says that sleepy little voice in my head. What difference would five more minutes make?

More time for exercise

Mark Wahlberg, wakes up at 02:30 to exercise, play golf, pray and recover in a -100C cryochamber.

All of us have our own preferred time to get our daily dose of workout. If working out is important to you, but you often struggle to find the time, getting up early could be the ticket.

It also boosts your strength and performance for the rest of your day. Exercise initiates a surge of those feel-good endorphins that can improve your mood, lower stress and anxiety, and increase your energy levels.

More time to get things done

You don’t have to fill every second to get more, more, more done, of course. But if you need a little extra time, getting up early gives you a distraction-free chance to take care of things you might not otherwise be able to do.

Your early morning hours tend to be the most productive time of day because you get uninterrupted time to yourself. You can accomplish any task faster when you don’t face distractions.

You can use this peaceful and quiet time to plan your day ahead, allocating a certain time frame for each of your tasks. Mentally working out your day before you start it enhances your organizing skills, promoting productivity.

Improved mental health

A recently published study in JAMA Psychiatry found that shifting your sleep schedule back just one hour—that is, going to bed one hour earlier and then waking up one hour earlier—corresponded to a 23 percent lower risk of depression. This makes the possibility of improved mental health one potential scientific benefit of waking up early.

A person's sleep chronotype—which is basically a genetic trait of when we tend to go to bed and wake up—can be explained up to 42 percent by genetics, according to the study by researchers from the University of Colorado Boulder and the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard.

But it's not all left up to genetics: Since more than half of what determines your sleep chronotype is learned or driven by lifestyle (i.e., not connected to a genetic predisposition), the study’s findings can serve as evidence for night owls to prioritize actively becoming morning people.

Productivity improvements from waking up early

According to research studies, it has been shown that waking up early helps you

  • meditate
  • read
  • eat healthily
  • enhance creativity
  • boost your motivation
  • avoiding distractions will double your productivity

What is the best time of the day to wake up?

I used to wake up before dawn. I love the experience of watching the sunrise and seeing as the city comes to life.

It is good to wake up before the sun rises when there are loving qualities in nature that bring peace of mind and freshness to the senses.

Our mornings set the pace and mood for the rest of the day. If you start your morning focused and energized, your day should follow the same path.

The best time to wake up will vary from person to person. In general though people should aim for 7-9 hours of sleep each night. However, it is best to aim for consistency in sleep hours and to wake up at a set time every day as this may help to regulate the sleep cycle.

Sleep requirements by age

Sleep requirements vary by age, and they will affect when a person should go to sleep and wake up.

If you sleep less than 7-8 hours everyday, you will destroy your productivity

The following table shows how many hours of sleep a person needs each day, according to their age

AgeHours of sleep
0-3 months14-17
4 months to 2 years11-16
3-5 years10-13
6-13 years9-12
14-17 years8-10
18-64 years7-9
65 years and above7-8


Our bodies are designed to produce the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin after dark. The sleep-wake cycle in our body is regulated by our circadian rhythms, our body’s internal clock, which works with the light and darkness around us.

Waking up early helps you to develop better habits and improves your daily productivity. You just need to establish consistency in your sleep cycle. Going to bed and getting up at particular period of time is shown to improve your mental health.

Rex Anthony

Rex is a content creator and one of the guys behind ShareTXT. He writes articles about file sharing, content creation and productivity.

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