How early did you get up this morning? We're betting you rolled out of bed around your usual time. But getting up a little earlier can have tons of benefits both physically and mentally.
For starters, sleeping in late might be affecting your performance at work or school. You might not have heard of "sleep inertia", but you probably know it as some variation of the "brain fog" you experience when you first get out of bed. The Journal of Sleep Research (opens in new tab) has found it can take up to four hours to fully dissipate, and this affects cognitive performance.
By getting up a little bit earlier, you allow more time for this "brain fog" to dissipate. By the time you arrive at work, you'll likely be caffeinated enough to do daily tasks, and you won't have long before you shake off the last of that pesky sleep inertia.
This goes double if you use the additional time you have to exercise. The British Journal of Sports Medicine found that regular morning exercise improves our brain's capacity to make decisions and learn visually. It also makes exercise your first priority: after work, with the extra responsibilities of making dinner for the family, other tasks which need to be done, or simply being too tired, exercise often falls by the wayside. Lacing up the best running shoes for men or best running shoes for women in the morning, for some, is the only way workouts get done.
As well as giving you more time in the mornings and alleviating brain fog, getting up early can also help ward off depression. The Journal of Cognitive Therapy and Research (opens in new tab) found "individuals who endorsed a preference for later sleep and activity times also reported more RNT (repetitive negative thinking)". People who tended to rise earlier, on the other hand, tended to think less negatively about themselves.
So how can you foster a habit of rising early? One way to go about it is by using one of the best SAD lamps. Rather than wake you up immediately with a harsh ringing sound, the SAD lamps gradually illuminate your room with warm light that simulates sunlight, boosting your mood in the mornings with a wakeup that mimics a natural bright sunrise.
Bad sleep quality can also keep you awake during the night, which leads to a later start once you finally get settled. You can try popping some lavender scents in the best diffuser for essential oils, or opt for one of our best mattress toppers.
Matt Evans is an experienced health and fitness journalist and News Editor at Fit&Well, covering all things exercise and nutrition on the Fit&Well website. Matt originally discovered exercise through martial arts: he holds a black belt in Karate and remains a keen runner, gym-goer, and infrequent yogi. His top fitness tip? Stretch.
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