Why is it better to be an early bird than a night owl?

There are many advantages of being an early riser. Here are some mental health benefits of being an early bird.
View All Images Woman waking up
Being an early bird has mental health benefits. Image courtesy: Freepik
Natalia Ningthoujam Published: 17 Feb 2024, 08:59 am IST
  • 126
Inputs from

Are you someone who wakes up early or when the morning is about to end? Being a morning person can give you ample time to sit and eat right, go for a run or do yoga to stay fit, as well as do household chores. Early birds who rise with the sunrise also get more exposure to vitamin D through sunlight, which is essential for health. Being an early bird allows space for preparation to stay calmer under pressure. Let us tell you the mental health benefits of being an early bird and how to wake up early every day.

What does it mean to be an early bird?

An early bird is a person who prefers to wake up and go to bed earlier. Early risers often wake up around or before sunrise without an alarm clock, refreshed and ready to start the day. They tend to be the most productive in the morning, and they take advantage of this peak upbeat mood and mental sharpness to tackle essential tasks, says life coach Dr Chandni Tugnait. However, they often struggle if they have to force themselves to be alert late in the night. Their internal body clock is naturally aligned with the sun’s schedule.

Woman in bed
An early bird prefers to wake up and go to bed earlier. Image courtesy: Freepik

But that doesn’t mean night owls are healthier. Night owls stay up late against natural rhythms, accruing sleep debt, making worse diet decisions at night, missing out on sunlight exposure early morning, resulting in poorer health over time compared to early birds. Essentially, being an early bird leads to lifestyle choices and bodily synchronisation associated with better fitness and well-being, says the expert.

What are the mental health benefits of being an early bird?

There are multiple health benefits of being an early bird. It may lead to greater well-being as well as lower risk of depression and schizophrenia, according to a 2019 study published in Nature Communications. Here are some more mental health benefits of waking up early:

1. Lower stress levels

Early risers tend to have lower overall stress and a better ability to cope with challenges. Waking before the typical pressures of workday mornings kick in gives early birds time for centering routines, which prevents anxiety spikes later on, says the expert.

2. Increased optimism

Early birds often cite feelings of hope and motivation to accomplish goals first thing in the morning. They may feel more in control by facing tasks head-on rather than worrying excessively. Sunrise symbolises new beginnings and may also help in having an optimistic mindset.

3. Improved focus and concentration

Morning hours are peak performance times with natural circulation and hormone changes promoting alertness. Early birds capitalise on this clear-headed window for distraction-free, efficient work time before mental fatigue sets in.

4. Enhanced creativity

Early birds may make more mental connections to generate creative ideas in the morning. Along with sharper focus, problem-solving skills may also see an uptick in case of early risers

5. Better emotional regulation

Early rising allows processing time before demands pile on. So, early birds avoid feeling emotionally overloaded.

6. More time for health-promoting habits

With extra morning hours, early risers are more likely to fit in wellness habits like proper breakfast, exercise, meditation and journaling. Making time for these rituals means long-term mental health benefits.

Select Topics of your interest and let us customize your feed.


Now that you know the benefits of being an early bird, let us share some tips on how to wake up early!

How to be an early bird?

You can embrace being an early bird by doing the following:

1. Gradually adjust your sleep schedule

Don’t try to suddenly flip from night owl to early riser. You can begin by waking up 15 minutes earlier per night over days or weeks, suggests Dr Tugnait. This gives your body clock time to adjust to an earlier rapid eye movement (REM) cycle.

2. Establish consistent wake-up times

Pick a reasonable early wake up schedule you can realistically maintain daily, even on weekends. Consistency trains your physiology to expect and adapt to an earlier rise time. Allow enough hours for sufficient sleep though.

Also read: 3 everyday habits to ensure you wake up early without an alarm

Woman waking up
Sunlight exposure is good for you. Image courtesy: Freepik

3. Expose yourself to morning light

Sunlight exposure and avoiding blue light at night helps regulate your circadian rhythm. Open blinds first thing to let daylight activate alertness. Dim artificial lights at least an hour before bedtime.

4. Avoid late-night eating or screen time

Don’t snack close to bed or use phones or TV right before lying down. This strains digestion and overstimulates mentally, making falling asleep difficult. Allow unwind transition time.

5. Place the alarm clock at a distance

Put the alarm clock out of reach so you must get out of bed to turn it off. You can use QR code alarms on phone that make you scan something across the room to turn it off, suggests the expert.

6. Prep gear the night before

Eliminate morning scrambling by laying out clothes, lunch bags, and anything else needed the next day. This lets you flow right into healthy morning routines when you rise with minimal decision fatigue.

7. Start rewarding morning rituals

Make waking up more appealing by doing activities you enjoy, like reading an intriguing book, listening to uplifting playlists, enjoying a healthy, delicious breakfast. Developing healthy morning habits are important.

Sticking with these adaptations consistently can help shift night owls towards morning lark territory.

  • 126
About the Author

Natalia Ningthoujam has written on various subjects - from music to films and fashion to lifestyle - as a journalist in her career that started in 2010. After getting stories from the crime scene, police headquarters, and conducting interviews with celebrities, she is now writing on health and wellness which has become her focus area. ...Read More

Next Story