"The early bird catches the worm." is a well-known saying. – This proverb is based on the fact that the dew of the early morning hours attracts the worms to the surface, so that the birds have the best chance to catch fat prey at that time. Transferred to humans the saying says that who rises early, increases its chances of success. There is some scientific evidence for this thesis.
In the sleep magazine we have gone to the bottom of the topic and have dealt with questions such as "How early should one get up??", "What are the advantages of getting up early in the morning??" or "How to go from being a morning person to an early riser?" occupies. Read our article and learn u. a., how you too can become a member of the Early Birds Club and why 5:00 a.m. and 11:00 p.m. respectively is the best time to sleep. 5 a.m. is such a popular time of day for early risers.
Early rising and TCM
Even in ancient China, people were convinced of the benefits of getting up early. The physician Ge Hong (283-343 AD) recommended: "Man should get up with the chickens and go to bed early."
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has always believed that getting up early is valuable for human health. In the guidelines established by Ge Hong, students should fall asleep between 9:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m. in the evening. This period is called haishi. The best time to get up is between 3:00 and 5:00 in the morning. In this context one speaks of Yinshi.
According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, our life energy – the Qi (see also: Bedroom Feng Shui – Qi) – flows best when we are in harmony with nature. – If you use the Haishi phase for going to bed and getting up, respectively. Yinshi phase, you follow the rhythm of heaven and earth. This is how you promote your Qi flow.
However, if one sleeps longer than nature, this leads – according to the Chinese physicians – to a disharmony, which in the medium or long term. can also lead to depression in the long term.
Modern science and early rising
Nowadays, there are several scientific studies that prove the benefits of getting up early. Thus, z. B. In a US study with 824 students as test subjects, it was found that getting up early increases strength and energy and thus ensures more creativity and concentration. Early risers also generally feel happier or more content.
For young people, getting up early tends to have disadvantages, which has been proven in several studies. For this reason, there is always a discussion about starting school later. Alternative approaches are also already being taken in some schools to accommodate the increased need for sleep in the morning and the more limited performance in the early hours of the day by students.
When to get up in the morning?
There are different opinions about the right time to get up early. – In TCM (see above) a period between 3:00 and 5:00 in the morning is recommended for getting up. In addition, there is often the blanket recommendation of 5:00 a.m. as the optimal time to get out of bed.
To reap the benefits of getting up early or earlier, you don’t necessarily have to choose a specific time of day like z. B. 5:00 o’clock in the morning, but can also set itself a goal time adapted to the current usual time for getting up. – For example, one can decide to simply get up an hour earlier than "normal". Just that one hour can help make the start of your day, as well as the rest of your day, more enjoyable. In this way, you gain 60 minutes of "wakefulness", which are not associated with a "must". In fact, in the time before actually getting up, there should usually be no checking mails or making phone calls. One should use this hour consciously for itself alone, in order to start calmly and relaxed into the new day.
What are the advantages of getting up early?
U.S. psychologist Dr. Henry Olders has conducted a study (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12932507/) found that getting up early reduces depression and increases performance throughout the day.
Getting up early is also said to have a positive effect on body weight. – This was the conclusion reached in Australia in a study of 2.000 participants, according to which people who go to bed late at night and sleep longer in the morning are more likely to be overweight than people who go to bed at an earlier time and get up earlier in the morning. Given an identical amount of sleep, people who set their sleep time window earlier are said to stay leaner.
Those who exercise in the morning benefit from a higher body fat burning rate. The plus here should be at approx. 20% compared to a sport unit at a later time of the day and be based in a highly active metabolism.
In order to achieve a weight reduction, it can be sufficient to do a half-hour training session in the morning on two or three days a week.
"The early bird gets the worm." is a saying that also applies to the brain. Immediately after getting up, the brain reaches the creative peak of its performance. This is a much better way to learn a new skill in the morning than at any other time of the day. Who would like to learn thus a new language, the painting or also the relaxing Meditationstechniken, should this for in the morning early directly after waking and/or. How to get up early.
In the morning our visual imagination also reaches its zenith. This can be used to create a picture in the mind’s eye of the ideal course of the day ahead. If one imagines the coming actions and events of the day in detail and always with the best results, this can lead to the fact that our brain gets the feeling that everything has already happened just as positively and acknowledges this with the release of happiness hormones, which further "sweeten" the early start into the day.
How to become an early riser? How can I learn to get up early?
If one wants to become an early riser resp. its sleep window in the direction of an earlier rising in the morning and if necessary. of going to bed earlier in the evening, you should allow yourself enough time to get used to the new routine.
It is believed that the body needs a period of at least three days to adjust to a new rhythm. It can also not directly adapt to an hour or more difference from the previous rhythm. Therefore, it is advisable to implement the targeted shift in 15-minute increments: 15 minutes earlier to bed, 15 minutes earlier out the following day. This readjustment is then maintained for at least three days before implementing the next 15 minutes. Then "work" with the new bedtimes and rise times again for three days before adding another 15 minutes, etc., until one has reached the desired new rhythm.
If you want to adjust your sleep rhythm in favor of getting up earlier, you should make absolutely sure that the amount of sleep you get is not "cut back" by this change or that you do not get too tired. to (continue to) get enough sleep. – In this context, most people manage optimally with an average sleep duration of seven to eight hours, although individual deviations are of course always possible.
Humans are creatures of habit. For a habit to take hold, however, it needs a certain number of repetitions. – It is generally believed that a minimum of 100 repetitions is required for our body to "see" an action as a habit. So you should stick to your newly established bedtime or. Keeping a wake-up time to establish it properly. It is advisable to avoid any deviation from this rule. If one then at least 100 days with the new firm sleep time and/or. If you have survived the first wake-up time, you can sometimes deviate from the pattern in exceptions.
In order to get out of bed better in the morning – especially at an earlier time – it can help if you think about getting up earlier the next day and what you want to do then in the evening directly before going to bed. At this time you can motivate yourself incredibly well, which is related to the fact that the subconscious mind processes these thoughts and impressions during the night.
It is also helpful not to place the alarm clock on the nightstand by the bed, but far enough away from where you sleep that you have to stand up to turn the alarm off. Ideally, one should also "eliminate" the alarm clock immediately after the first ring and not let it ring longer to "fritter away" further time in bed. – Pressing the snooze button or. Snooze button, by the way, is not really a good idea in general. For more information, read our sleep magazine article: Is snoozing harmful to your health?
In order to be ready for sleep earlier in the evening, it is recommended to dim the lights an hour before going to bed. By the light reduction the body begins with the Melatonin production and adjusts itself in such a way for the coming night and/or. the upcoming sleep. On the other hand, it can help in the morning if daylight can penetrate into the bedroom. The exposure to light inhibits the production of melatonin in the body, which reduces tiredness. – You can also read about this in the sleep magazine: Melatonin – the natural sleep aid | Hormones and sleep
The night sleep of humans is divided into different sleep phases, which in turn repeat themselves cyclically. One such sleep cycle lasts about 90 minutes. According to scientists, interrupting the sleep cycle is unfavorable. One should therefore try to wake up after the end of the last sleep phase of a cycle, so that it is completely finished. The duration of sleep should be about seven and a half hours or nine hours accordingly. To determine the optimal sleep window, taking into account fully completed sleep cycles, the use of a sleep phase alarm clock can be useful. You can also use a REM sleep phase calculator to determine the optimal time for sleep.