Are you a night owl or a morning person? Most of us fall solidly into one of these categories and while being a night owl isn’t bad, research shows being an early bird actually has more health benefits. And it turns out, you can switch to being a morning person, if you decide to put the effort in.
But why would you want to? Being an early bird can protect your physical and mental health:
- Better eating habits - Night owls are more likely to skip breakfast, which isn’t ideal since research shows that breakfast can lower diabetes risk and reduce brain fog.
- Better physical health - Getting up early gives you time for morning workouts and those who do are more likely to stick to a regular fitness routine. Exercise can elevate your mood and one study finds that night owls tend to get less physical activity than those who wake up early.
- Improved mental health - With better eating habits and physical health, your mental health improves as well. Stress levels are lower with regular exercise and multiple studies have shown that being a night owl is linked with negative moods, anger, depression and fatigue.
Unfortunately there’s no magic fix that can turn you into an early bird, but there are things you can do to shift when you wake up and sleep. It won’t happen overnight, it’s a process you have to work at, and these tips can help.
- Prioritize sleep hygiene - This is your sleep habits and adding things that relax you to your nightly routine can help you fall asleep faster.
- Use lighting - Getting some sunlight in the morning can make a big impact in helping you feel more awake.
- Make your bedtime 15 to 20 minutes earlier - It’s unrealistic to try to change your bedtime by hours all at once, but gradually shifting it by about 20 minutes at a time is doable.
- Don’t bring your phone to bed - Most of us do this, even though we know we shouldn’t. But the blue light can negatively affect the melatonin release that we need to get sleepy, so you’re better off staying off your phone and not scrolling at bedtime.