Fit over 50 Update — Waking up early can make you healthier and wealthier

In my and Phil Bishop’s book, Fit over 50: Make Simple Choices Today for a Healthier, Happier You, we write:

Research from Northwestern University and the University of Surrey in the United Kingdom suggests that self-described “night owls” have a 10 percent greater risk of death than “morning people” and that they have “higher risks for conditions such as diabetes or psychological disorders.” As was mentioned in tip 24, a 2019 British report concluded women who wake up early have up to a 48 percent lower risk of breast cancer. Benjamin Franklin recognized the health benefits of early rising and put this old proverb in the 1735 edition of his Poor Richard’s Almanack [sic]: “Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy wealthy and wise.

Fit over 50, Tip #17, Sleep Sounder, pages 177-186.

A new Ipsos survey reported, “A whopping 95% of Americans hate mornings. And 43% of people “despise” the sound of their alarm clock, while 39% identify as “slow risers” who need to ease into their day.

“Granted, research shows that getting enough sleep is linked with happiness and well being — yet almost half (42%) of American adults usually get less than seven hours of sleep a night.

35 percent of Americans aren’t getting enough sleep. A study out of BYU found that 44 percent of the population are early birds and 32 percent are night owls. 

One research project described early birds as energetic, confident, and more likely to believe in love at first sight. Night owls were found to be shy, sarcastic, and more likely to believe in ghosts. 

In his book When, Daniel Pink contends that morning serves as the best time for morning birds to do analytical work while the afternoon should consist of routine work. For the night owl, the opposite is the case. 

But what if you want to change? A new study identified 4 steps you can take:

  • wake up 2-3 hours earlier,
  • go to bed 2-3 hours earlier,
  • keep your sleep/wake times fixed on both work and free days, and
  • eat breakfast as soon as you wake up.  

Stay up late if you prefer, wake up early if you like, but don’t wear Saul’s armor when you wake up in the morning (1 Sam. 17). Don’t be a second-class them when you can be a first-rate you. The world needs you, not another them.

Dr. Nick Pitts

© Copyright WLL, INC. 2019. This blog provides a wide variety of general health information only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from your regular physician. If you are concerned about your health, take what you learn from this blog and meet with your personal doctor to discuss your concerns.

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