Does waking up early make you happy?

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Happy woman with clock
Those who wake up early don't have to rush through the day — but that isn't the only benefit of being an early bird
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Extra time: a pleasing commodity.

Boing. Do your eyelids spring open at the crack of dawn? Does waking up early make you happy? Or, would you rather begin your day at the crack of noon? Early birds may get the worms. But do early birds who wake up at first light feel any extra measure of joy as they indulge in those big, fat breakfasts? Here are some answers, served sunny side up.


The crack of dawn—the creeping illumination that announces every sunrise—signals the start of the day for thousands of people who like to get a jump on the clock. Some find that waking early grants to them some precious extra hours in that span available before returning once again to the bedroom. Work and play in extra-generous amounts can be accomplished when running out of time is not a concern. In fact, idleness too may be more satisfying when pursued without deadlines.


Do early risers see physical benefits?


Early risers avow that getting a jump-start on the day leads to a variety of health benefits. There is time for energizing all their physical systems with a leisurely, healthy breakfast. There is time to peel a ripe peach, wash some berries or mix up a batch of flapjacks. Every bite can be chewed thoroughly—a luxury not afforded later in the day when things are all in a tizzy.


Upon waking up early, even mildly athletic people find happiness in going for a walk or a jog around the park. Maybe they head for the gym to lay claim to their favorite exercise machine before the arrival of others intent on doing a thousand reps—slowly. Sports aficionados find that if they wake up early, the lanes at the pool that are reserved for lap swimmers generally are free from thrashing traffic. But are these folks exercising with joy? A look at the glow of their complexions and the smiles on their faces might be a clue.


Are there any spiritual benefits?


Members of various religious orders and practitioners of lifestyles that embrace meditative activities such as prayer and yoga have built a rich tradition of waking up early to greet the day with a clear mind—and an open heart. The glories of a sunrise swathed in shades of purple and orange instill joy and wonder—even among atheists.


The senses are fully involved at the start of the day. The sound of birds chirping, squirrels chattering and roosters crowing are the music of the morning—in some parts of the country. And almost anywhere, the sight of a red rose wearing diamonds made of dew drops is one of the sweetest of early-morning treats. Nature seems to be at its best early in the morning. And those who wake up early are the beneficiaries of the bounty. Does waking up early make you happy?


Is there an element of mental satisfaction?


Happiness sometimes is tied to the accomplishment of goals. And early risers seem to have an edge in finishing projects in a timely manner. Alarm clocks, clock radios and automatic timers that enable compact disc players to be activated at a selected hour may help foster the habit of waking up early. People who tackle their next planned assignment first thing in the morning seem to get more done by the time they indulge in a relaxing break at mid-morning. Some say they make fewer mistakes than they might when fatigued—later in the day or in the evening.


Many writers, poets, playwrights and other creative people find the early hours of the day a productive time for hatching ideas that lead to a finished product—produced by noon. Maintaining an informal to-do list, a journal, a daily diary or some other assistive device that helps track the progress of a project can help early risers realize how well their time is spent. Those who wake up early can't help but notice an awfully abundant supply of checkmarks in those ledgers. Those check marks usually mean: job well done. Chances are good that all these early risers will be again waking up happy, tomorrow.

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