12 shocking benefits of waking up at 4 AM

  • One of the least motivational quotes ever coined has to be “The early bird gets the worm”. Who in their right mind wants a squiggly, squishy old annelid as reward for getting up at some ungodly hour? Farmers and milk delivery people have to get up before the sun to work, but the rest of the world seems very happy indeed to stay in the sack for as long as possible before flinging aside the covers and scampering off to work. Everybody needs a good night’s rest, right?Well, it just so happens the earlier you wake and work the better off you’ll be — physically, emotionally, spiritually, and even financially. And here comes another hoary old cliche: “Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.”Sorry to burst your sleep-in-late bubble, but it’s all true. Here are some reasons why:

    Productivity peaks in the early morning hours

    Study after study shows that your brain functions best between the hours of four and ten in the morning. After that, it’s all downhill. Unless, of course, you happen to be Dracula.

    All sorts of hormones and chemicals percolate through your brain in the early morning; their main purpose is to keep you focused and upbeat. That project that appeared to be impossible the night before, that took on the appearance of a soul-sucking entity from the blackest hole in Hades, looks pretty doable in the early morning sunshine. What has changed? Not the project itself, but you — after a refreshing night’s rest, your mind has hit the ‘reset’ button as is ready once again to tackle just about anything with a positive attitude.

    Time for the gym

    Need more be said? If you only have ten minutes to make it to work you’re going to blow off the gym, telling yourself you’ll go during lunch or after work. Right. When you’re up early, with oodles of time before you have to get to work, going over to the gym is super easy. Plus, it’s less crowded!

    Get more work done

    If you’re into that sort of thing — you can pop into the office before the wastebaskets are emptied and go to town. Just as your co-workers are straggling in, gasping for coffee and donuts, you will be finishing up a monster project that made everyone else shudder the day before.

    You’ll eat better

    There’s nothing wrong with a healthy smoothie for breakfast. But if you’ve got the time, why not whip up an egg white omelette with some quinoa and organic chorizo on the side? Take the leftovers into work, instead of going out for lunch. Presto! You’ve just turned into your parents, who always took lunch to work and managed to save enough money by doing so to buy a house when you were a baby.

    Improved sleep patterns

    Of course you’ll have to make some changes in your life if you want to get up early — like going to bed at a sane time, instead of after midnight. And guess what — that is just what your body has been craving all this time — to get to bed early enough to garner a full eight hours of rest. It will now reward you with happy glandular chemicals that simulate some of the ‘high’ that recreational chemicals may have supplied you with in the past.

    Not running late = less stress

    Just imagine. A mild and steady heart rate. No road rage. No blind panic. No hastily gulped carton of overpriced coffee giving you indigestion as you fly in the door. No boss giving you the fish eye. Plenty of time to do your breathing exercises and practice a sincere and friendly smile to greet your coworkers with. What’s not to like?