People Who Wake Up Early Are Smarter, Healthier & More Productive

Science doesn't lie!

woman stretching waking up Dragon Images / Shutterstock

I always thought when I grew up, I would be a person who got up early. 

My dad is an early riser and the dude is basically a genius. Though to be fair, my mom will sleep as long as she can as often as she can, and she's no slouch either. 

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While recently flagellating myself over getting up at 11 am on Saturday (HELL YEAH NO KIDS) I resolved to start getting up earlier. But there was a devil on my shoulder sleepily whispering, "what's the science behind this puritanical way of thinking? Getting up early isn't going to make you a genius."


Verily, I took to my Googling machine and made some startling discoveries. I kind of don't want to share what I learned about waking up early, but you go-getters are so self-righteous anyway. But I'm a journalist, so I will.

Here's what I found about getting up early with the birds:

1. It makes you smarter.

In 2008, a study by the University of Texas found that students who self-reported as early risers earned up to a full letter grade higher than their classmates who were probably still sleeping while the questionnaires were passed out. 

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2. It makes you happier.

The same study also found that early birds reported being happier with their lives than the night owls. To be fair, this could be because the night owls were super-pissed about being woken up before ten to answer this question.

3. It makes you healthier.

If you get up early, you can do stuff like exercise before the sun sets. The earlier you exercise, the more benefits you get all day long from that workout. Note: waking up early itself does not count as exercise. I know, I'm sad too.

4. It will make you more productive.

A study at the University of Education at Heidelberg found that early risers got more done and felt in more control over their schedules than late risers. I don't know about you, but I'm a super night owl, and while "watching all of the TV" might not sound productive, believe me, it took time and effort. 

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5. It will give you better self-esteem.

Research indicates that those who get up before the butt crack of dawn are more likely to exhibit character traits like optimism, self-satisfaction, and social awareness.

I am a proud pessimist and if you need me I'll be under my covers until the light goes away, please and thank you. I will gladly be all of the horrible things they say you are if you're not an early bird if it means I get to have just five more minutes under my covers.

Rebecca Jane Stokes is a writer and editor living in Brooklyn, New York with her cats, Batman and Margot. Her writing focuses on relationships, pop culture, and news.