After quizzing over 1,000 adults about their everyday lives, the study found that those who jumped out of bed at 7 a.m. were generally healthier, thrived in the workplace, and were surveyed as having higher levels of happiness than those who started their day at around 9 a.m..
As a self-proclaimed night owl, I have always avoided early classes. My level of function before 10 a.m. is minimal, unless I have a double caramel macchiato in my system. However, this semester I have a class at 8:45 a.m., forcing me to jump-start my day while the birds are still chirping. Consequently, within these first three weeks of school, I have noticed a positive change in my daily routine. I am far more alert and productive during the day. I return e-mails, pay bills, complete most of my readings for class, and find that I am far less of a grouch. This is a positive change in attitude that former psychology PhD student at Concordia, Denise Jarrin, understands all too well.
“[The] general finding is that early risers do tend to have personality characteristics of being conscientious and open,” said Jarrin.
The University of Toronto examined the habits of two groups of people; young adults and older adults. Researchers found that older adults tend to rise early while young adults tend to sleep in until later hours of the day. This seems to ring true, especially for students who seem more prone to irregular sleeping patterns due to fluctuating school and work schedules. Implementing healthy sleep habits may come easier to someone working a nine-to-five job; however, it proves more difficult for those students trying to meet a deadline or cram for a mid-term.
“Staying up late to finish a paper is a feeling I know all too well,” said Concordia English literature student Angela De Cicco. “Sleep has become bittersweet because pressing snooze feels great, but I often wake up feeling unmotivated.”
Though procrastination seems to be an ongoing theme in a student’s day-to-day agenda, it sometimes leads to late nights over books with a coating of drool—a habit that can be difficult to shake.
Early birds have more hours in a day to cross off tasks on their to-do lists, providing a sense of accomplishment which can make you feel great and keep you motivated. While the benefits of waking early are as clear as black on white, the change in lifestyle is not an easy task.
Cathy Beggan, founder of Rise-N-Shine, a company that came to fruition in 2006, offers all-natural supplements that can help adults wake after six to eight hours of sleep feeling alert and energized without the grogginess. Beggan also gives simple tips like avoiding chocolate, wine and coffee in the evening hours, as well as having dinner three to four hours prior to bedtime. She suggests drinking a glass of water in the morning to help hydrate, and establishing a stretch and breathing routine to help you transition from night owl to morning riser.