Morning People Really Are Happier, According to Science

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By Michelle Darrisaw

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You may want to rethink hitting your snooze button in the morning. According to a new study, the time you decide to rise and shine could impact your overall mental and physical health.

Jacqueline Lane, an instructor of medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital, recently conducted a sleep study and published her findings in the Nature Communicationsjournal. In an interview with TODAY, the professor revealed that early risers are essentially happier and healthier than nighthawks. Lane observed that those who wake up early have a specific genetic component that lowers their risk of developing depression and chronic illnesses.

“Individuals who tend to be happier tend to be morning-type individuals,” Lane said.

The population sample for the study was comprised of two groups: 250,000 people in the U.S. who used the DNA and ancestry services of biotech company, 23andMe and 450,000 people in the U.K. who enrolled in the biorepository Biobank across the pond. Lane and her team of researchers used sleep timing measures to evaluate circadian biology as it relates to genes.

They separated the group by those who identify as morning people and those who can’t pry themselves away from Netflix at night (or, ya know, just go to bed late in general). From there, Lane and her associates examined their genomes to determine the relationship between their genes and their preferred wake-up time and how it connects to their health. And what they found was pretty interesting.

Trying to change a night owl to a morning lark has serious health consequences.

“We show that being a morning person is causally associated with better mental health but does not affect body mass index or risk of Type 2 diabetes,” stated Lane in the study’s results.

“There is also a link between evening preference and a higher risk of schizophrenia (and depression),” she explained to TODAY.

But don’t think that just because you don’t hit the hay as soon as the sun goes down that you’re at risk for developing a mental health disorder.

“It is incredibly complicated,” she added. “The genetics about being a night owl is only part of it. It is more about environment, with living out of sync with your internal clock. Trying to change a night owl to a morning lark has serious health consequences.”

Still, Lane admitted more research needs to be done on how our genes are affected by our sleep cycles. However, it couldn’t hurt to set your alarm to get up a tad earlier.

“Understanding if you are a morning or evening person can really impact the schedule you choose,” Lane said. “It might determine when you choose activities or the timing of your meals.

So, now you know there’s a quasi-scientific reason why all the those morning people in your life tend to wake up so darned peppy.

5 Essential Morning Habits For The Modern Entrepreneur

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Tanner Simkins

Behind the most successful entrepreneurs is often a motivated morning routine. According to researchers at The University of Nottingham, self control, willpower and task-performance all peak in the morning. This means business owners who can max out this crucial time are off to a great start for the day. In this spirit, here are five essential morning habits collected from case studies and best practices in the sports and entertainment industries.

1. Consult a tomorrow list.

Start your morning the night before. In doing so, you will immediately create a sense of purpose and anticipate potential problems. With a plan in mind, your day will already be timely, organized and more effective. Scott Cullather, CEO of inVNT, a live events agency in New York, schedules a meeting with his key support team before the close of business in order to review the following day’s agenda. Cullather says “we review and forecast what tomorrow is going to look like and how we’re going to get through that. It gives us an opportunity to re-prioritize. It also allows us to go to bed at night. Your mind does a lot of work for you while you’re sleeping. You get there the next day and are much more efficient and productive.”

Related: The 10-Minute Morning Routine That Will Clear Your Mind

Another example is athletics, where training schedules and game plans are the norm. Head coach for Team Running USA, Terrence Mahon, says the “benefits of preparing and executing a training plan come in so when the pressure mounts, athletes will feel reassured that they’ve done enough.” The same is true for leaders in business.

2. Practice morning mindfulness.

Entrepreneurs should focus on meditation or exercise in order to pre-establish focus for the entire day. Tim Ferriss engages in both meditation and exercise prior to his workday. In meditating, “you’re practicing focus when it doesn’t matter so that you can focus better later when it does matter.” Former MLB great and now Miami Marlins owner Derek Jeter lists one hour morning meditations as a regular part of his routine.

3. Focus on the morning nutrients.

A healthy breakfast fuels your day. The Virgin Group founder Richard Branson has a healthy fruit salad and muesli to start his day. Twitter’s co-founder and CEO Jack Dorsey has two hard-boiled eggs with soy sauce every morning. For elite professional athletes, nutrition rituals exist as a very specific, and often superstitious, routine to begin the day. Professional tennis player Novak Djokovic follows a long, detailed order beginning with a large cup of room temperature water and ending with muesli or oatmeal, to provide his body with what he needs to perform at peak levels.

Related: 6 Morning Health Hacks to Boost Productivity and Keep You Energized All Day

Rachel DeMita, host/producer for sports highlights network Overtime and a digital content creator, told me in our recent interview that “eating healthy and getting in a good workout are important for me. I’ve been an athlete my whole life and I make sure to continue to stay active for my work. I’m still able to hang with some professional athletes and hold my own in a way.”

4. The quintessence of positivity.

Envisioning success will help you realize success. Olympic gold medalist and author Katie Ledecky writes “think of something else, something that doesn’t cause you stress.” Take Ledecky’s advice to radiate happiness and suppress anxiety.

I recently sat down with Jack McClinton, former NBA player and current CEO of Active Dreamers, a company innovating sports retail with its unique blankets and pillows that resemble player likenesses. He told me in our interview that he always tries to “wake up and win the day.” The athlete turned entrepreneur added “I always try to keep my energy at a positive level and vibrate at a high level because I understand this elevates your mindset.”

Related: 5 Tips to Improve Focus and Get Things Done

5. Track results and review goals.

Most entrepreneurs are already goal-oriented people, but where many of them fall short is in writing down their goals and tracking their progress. Setting specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely goals — SMART goals — is the secret sauce for successful entrepreneurs.

With the proper and consistent application of these five morning essentials, entrepreneurial success is well within reach.

7 Unconventional Ways To Maximize Your Morning

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CW Headley

I recently wrote an article about the role coffee plays in our cultural routine. In addition to its practical one, it also serves as a reliable boost for morale.

Coffee shares this distinction with a good many things, the bulk of which are painfully pedestrian: Eight hours of sleep, a mantra in the mirror, a cup of coffee and a read during your commute – we’ve read it all before.

Monotony is the common enemy of every profession so here are seven unconventional but healthy ways to start your morning.

1.  Eat pasta

Claire Lower made a great case for why breakfast lasagna is a practical morning meal in a piece recently published by Lifehacker. You can make a big ole’ batch that’ll be good throughout the week, it’s relatively easy to make and it’s a great source of fat, protein and carbs if prepared properly.

There’s so many ways to make a tasty-healthy pasta dish, too. Whole grain noodles for your dose of fiber (whole grains also fight disease and reduce your waistline), tomatoes for your vitamin C, and cheese for your needed drench of comfort.

2. Yoga

In 2017, Leah Wynalek did yoga every day for two weeks before heading into work. The results? Most relevantly Wynalek found the routine to drastically reduce the discomfort of sitting in a desk chair all day. She felt “energized” and much more prepared to start her morning.

In a more general sense, yoga has been proven to yield a calmer mind. Mental clarity is the most salient ingredient to a productive morning.  Just 10-12 minutes a day is more than enough to starting seeing results.

3. Quick 5-Minute Meditation

“While the body needs consistent movement in order to be healthy, the mind thrives with regular doses of stillness.” This quote arrives by the curtesy of meditation expert Ralph De La Rosa.

Morning meditation is a great way to energize mood ahead of a productive day. Try and wake up a few minutes earlier than usual, sit at the edge of your bed, close your eyes–and breathe. You’ll notice that things seem just a touch more attainable, you become a little less overwhelmed a little less easily. The sacrifice of a few extra minutes of sleep every morning bestows a feeling of preparedness for your daily challenges.

4 Subbing coffee for healthier alternatives

You’ll find no protest from me regarding the effectiveness of coffee (I probably drink something like 9 cups a day) but I’d be remiss to suggest there aren’t a significant number of healthier alternatives that get the job done just as well.

Things like Matcha, (powerful source of anti-oxidants), chicory (rich with inulin), Yerba Mate, (riboflavin, thiamine, phosphorus, iron, calcium) and chai (lowers risk of heart disease) are all great places to start.  Here’s a link for Healthline’s guide of ingredients and preparation.

5.  Blast Some Tunes

Before I became a fully realized coffee junkie, I used to start every Monday by blasting Another Side Of Bob Dylan front to back. If you’re not careful mornings can be a sort of personality vampire. On the days I leap out of bed and launch straight into work without giving myself even a modicum of personal attention, all of my values and interest feel stale in my mind.

Reserve a little space in your pre-work routine for your favorite song just to remind yourself of your identity outside of the office. Life coach Sharon Stokes corroborates stating: “Music has the ability to shift your state, so play something that gets you in the right mindset for your day. ”

6.  Social interaction

Many of us aren’t the most gregarious in the wee hours of the morning but studies suggest that a little bit of social interaction can go a long way in rebooting your moods throughout the day.

Try and touch base with your significant other before you head in to work (I’ll just leave this here), or ignite a conversation with your barista.  A brief chat, whether superficial or intimate, can boost alertness as well as temperament

7. Make a plan

In his book, Smarter Faster Better: The Secrets of Being Productive in Life and Business, author, Charles Duhigg, counsels us to determine what things deserve our attention. In chapter 4, Duhigg mentions the four classifications of goals frequently utilized by corporations: the specific,  the measurable, the achievable and the realistic – all applied to a timeline.

Make the “smart goal” system keep you on track. Visualizing what you wish to achieve helps your streamline your focus. Setting goals, allows room for the unexpected of course, but having a definitive finish line in mind will make you more productive.

5 Morning Habits That Help You Wake Up In A Good Mood

Preparing The Night Before*

See Habits Here (source: powerofpositivity)

7 steps to a more productive morning

7 steps to a more productive morning
– by Josh Steimle

 

 

When you hear someone talk about mornings, what comes to mind? Do you picture peace and serenity with a warm cup of coffee in one hand and a computer mouse in the other – fervently getting a head start on the day’s tasks? Or do you imagine hitting the snooze button, rolling out of bed, and hastily grabbing a breakfast bar before getting in the car and racing to the office?

When discussing the topic of mornings with people, you’ll get passionate responses and beliefs. There are those who believe mornings are meant for productivity and output. And then there are those who feel like mornings are meant for sleep and idleness. And while there’s a time for both, rarely do you meet successful people who opt for the snooze button over starting the day a few minutes early.

For decades people have said, “the early bird gets the worm.” For many years, this has been nothing more than opinion; however, we’ve recently been inundated with a number of studies that justify the validity of this saying.

Take a 2012 study published in the American Psychological Association journal, Emotion. The study worked with more than 700 people ranging in age from 17 to 79 and showed that early risers report feeling happier and healthier than self-proclaimed night owls.

But why exactly is this true? One theory is that the 8-5 workday structure is oriented around mornings. Morning people tend to procrastinate less and have a proclivity for being proactive.

Christopher Randler, a biology professor who has had some of his work published in the Journal of Applied Social Psychology, has noticed that, “[morning people] tend to get better grades in school, which gets them into better colleges which then leads to better job opportunities. Morning people also anticipate problems and try to minimize them. They’re proactive.”

By the way, this doesn’t mean night owls are bums. Throughout history, there has been a demand for people who are productive at night. It all started with manning watchtowers and is now carried out in the form of night shifts for 24/7 businesses.  And as Randler tells the Harvard Business Review: “Evening types may no longer serve as our midnight lookouts, but their intelligence, creativity, humor, and extroversion are huge potential benefits to the organization.”

With that being said, morning people — on average – tend to be more productive and efficient, especially in a society that is heavily structured around the hours before lunch.

Have a productive morning with these seven tips

Is there hope for night owls who desperately want to enjoy the benefits of morning productivity? While Randler notes that half of each individual’s chronotype is determined by genetics, the other half can be manipulated by conscientious choices.

So, here are some tips that both early worms and night owls can use to become more productive on a daily basis.

1. Prepare the night before

Best selling author and productivity expert Michael Hyatt’s recommends sleeping more to get more done, and his first tip for a good night’s rest and great morning starts the afternoon before by avoiding caffeinated drinks, especially after 4:00 p.m. “In my 20s for sure, but even in my 30s, I could drink a full cup of coffee at 9:00 at night and go right to sleep. It didn’t faze me at all,” he says “But I noticed when I started getting into my 40s that I started developing some sensitivity so that if I had caffeine in the evening… I wouldn’t get to sleep until 2:00 in the morning.”

“Set your intention for waking up, before you go to bed,” recommends Hal Elrod, author of the best selling book The Miracle Morning. He recommends deciding every night to create a positive expectation for when you wake up in the morning. Some people do this by listing three big things they want to accomplish the next day and making a plan for how they’ll get them done first thing in the morning.

If you exercise in the morning (which you should, see #5 below), then prepare your exercise gear the night before so it’s ready to go.

2. Get a good night’s sleep

A productive morning includes adequate rest, which means quantity andquality. While most people think about a good night’s sleep in terms of the number of hours they get, this is just one part of the equation.

Quality sleep depends on having the right sleeping environment and getting an adequate amount of undisturbed sleep. Minimizing artificial light from screens an hour or two before going to bed and leaving your phone outside your bedroom are two quick tips to improve your sleep.

Another is to have a consistent sleep schedule. “This is key!” says Shawn Stevenson, author of Sleep Smarter: 21 Essential Strategies to Sleep Your Way to A Better Body, Better Health, and Bigger Success. “You can literally get amplified benefits of sleep by sleeping at the right hours. It’s been shown that humans get the most significant hormonal secretions and recovery by sleeping during the hours of 10 p.m. and 2 a.m. This is what I call ‘Money Time’.”

One issue for many people is that they sleep on the wrong mattress. Your mattress is where you spend a third of your life and it can have a big effect on the other two thirds when you’re not horizontal. Spend time evaluating your current situation and identifying the best mattress for your specific needs. A lot of new mattresses have come on the market in the past few years and competition has pushed quality up and prices down. You can get a high-tech gel mattress from mattress maker Purple for just $1,000, which might sound like a lot until you shop around and see that similar mattresses are going for thousands.

3. Wake Up in the Right Manner

How you wake up can have a major impact on your first few waking hours. If a blaring alarm clock leaves you feeling agitated, perhaps you should try a more gentle approach.

There are lots of alarm alternatives, including natural light simulations that mimic a sunrise or the Kello “smart” alarm clock that connects to an app on your phone that acts like a morning coach and integrates with services like Spotify and Soundcloud. If you can’t stand getting out of bed and stepping on cold floors, then have a pair of warm slippers waiting for you. Whatever your biggest pain point is, there’s a way to overcome it.

Immediately after getting out bed, start with something you’re passionate about. This could be reading, writing, or playing with your dog. “As humans, we are most disciplined in the things we are most passionate about,” writer Kalen Bruce says. “Start your day with something you’re passionate about and you’ll be much more likely to get up and do it.”

4. Eat a real breakfast

Your parents always told you to eat a good, healthy breakfast in the morning if you wanted to perform well during the day – and it looks like this is more than just parental wisdom. Multiple studies have validated this idea, connecting a healthy breakfast to lower BMI, less fat consumption throughout the day, and having better memory and focus throughout the day.

As Eliza Martinez of LiveStrong.com says, “Eating first thing not only improves your concentration and ability to remember, but it also helps control the number on the scale. When you skip breakfast, your body goes into fasting mode, which increases your insulin response and, in turn, causes your body to store more fat.”

And remember, a real breakfast doesn’t come in the form of a breakfast bar or something greasy from a fast food restaurant. Instead, go for oatmeal with fresh fruit or a fruit and veggie smoothie.

5. Exercise

“Exercise has been touted to do everything from treat depression to improve memory, with the power to cure a host of problems while preventing even more,” researcher MK McGovern notes. “In particular, exercise leads to the release of certain neurotransmitters in the brain that alleviate pain, both physical and mental. Additionally, it is one of the few ways scientists have found to generate new neurons.”

While you can get exercise whenever you want, an early-morning routine can help wake you up and release neurotransmitters that will carry you through the rest of the day. And you don’t need an hour-long workout – just 15-30 minutes will do.

6. Tackle the hardest task on your agenda

We all have tasks that we enjoy doing and those that we’d prefer not to deal with. Make it your priority to tackle the most difficult, least interesting task first. By completing this task early in the morning, you can free up your schedule and change your entire outlook on the day. Instead of dreading certain things, you’re able to enjoy your time.

7. Set some goals for the day

Before you really get into the “meat” of your daily routine, spend a few minutes in the morning setting goals for your day. This may be a list of mental goals, or it could be a physical checklist that you write down. The important thing is that have a plan and you’re managing your time, rather than letting your email inbox manage it for you. This will help you maximize productivity for the remaining hours of the day.

Anyone Can Become a Morning Person

We all have our own natural tendencies. Some are drawn towards nighttime, while others prefer to enjoy their mornings. But the reality is that anyone can train themselves to maximize their morning output by putting into practice habits that squash procrastination and elevate productivity.

Learn from those around you and develop a routine that works for you.

When you hear someone talk about mornings, what comes to mind? Do you picture peace and serenity with a warm cup of coffee in one hand and a computer mouse in the other – fervently getting a head start on the day’s tasks? Or do you imagine hitting the snooze button, rolling out of bed, and hastily grabbing a breakfast bar before getting in the car and racing to the office?

When discussing the topic of mornings with people, you’ll get passionate responses and beliefs. There are those who believe mornings are meant for productivity and output. And then there are those who feel like mornings are meant for sleep and idleness. And while there’s a time for both, rarely do you meet successful people who opt for the snooze button over starting the day a few minutes early.

For decades people have said, “the early bird gets the worm.” For many years, this has been nothing more than opinion; however, we’ve recently been inundated with a number of studies that justify the validity of this saying.

Take a 2012 study published in the American Psychological Association journal, Emotion. The study worked with more than 700 people ranging in age from 17 to 79 and showed that early risers report feeling happier and healthier than self-proclaimed night owls.

But why exactly is this true? One theory is that the 8-5 workday structure is oriented around mornings. Morning people tend to procrastinate less and have a proclivity for being proactive.

Christopher Randler, a biology professor who has had some of his work published in the Journal of Applied Social Psychology, has noticed that, “[morning people] tend to get better grades in school, which gets them into better colleges which then leads to better job opportunities. Morning people also anticipate problems and try to minimize them. They’re proactive.”

By the way, this doesn’t mean night owls are bums. Throughout history, there has been a demand for people who are productive at night. It all started with manning watchtowers and is now carried out in the form of night shifts for 24/7 businesses.  And as Randler tells the Harvard Business Review: “Evening types may no longer serve as our midnight lookouts, but their intelligence, creativity, humor, and extroversion are huge potential benefits to the organization.”

With that being said, morning people — on average – tend to be more productive and efficient, especially in a society that is heavily structured around the hours before lunch.

Have a productive morning with these seven tips

Is there hope for night owls who desperately want to enjoy the benefits of morning productivity? While Randler notes that half of each individual’s chronotype is determined by genetics, the other half can be manipulated by conscientious choices.

So, here are some tips that both early worms and night owls can use to become more productive on a daily basis.