10 Holistic Benefits to Waking Up Before the Sun Rises

04/04/2013

Early to rise photoAre you one of those people that wakes up long before the sun has shown its pretty face? Or, do you leave just enough time in the morning to roll out of bed, shower, and grab a cup of coffee en route to work?

We tend to think that we’re one way or the other, and that night owls can't become early risers. But for morning lovers, especially those that have trained themselves to wake up earlier, there’s a magic to the morning. 

Here are some of the holistic benefits of waking up before the sun rises:

1. Counteracting depression

Rising early, during what in Sanskrit is called Brahmamuhurta (4-6 am), helps to destroy the tamas and the rajas. In Ayurvedic philosophy, tamas and rajas are aspects of the personality associated with lust, greed, jealousy, anger, anxiety, fear, and delusion. Being active before the sun rises is one of the best ways to eliminate these negative traits, which in turn, eliminates depression. 

2. Enjoying stillness

Before the world’s symbol for action, the sun, rises into the sky, everything is still. It’s a great time to meditate without the distraction of movement in the world around you. 

3. Expand productivity

When there’s quietude, it’s a great time to get work done for the day ahead. Much of the population is most productive in the morning. By sleeping late, you could be under-utilizing your full potential. 

4. Avoid morning anxiety

If you wake up with plenty of time to get stuff done, you’re not over run with anxiety. When you're running behind, it causes stress. Not to mention the guilt that comes with being slow to rise. When I wake up too late, I already feel guilty because I know it’s going to be a less productive day.

5. Work toward life's goals

You can use this time of productivity to work toward your life’s goals. It’s uplifting to start the day doing something that you know will benefit your life in some meaningful way. Zen Habits calls it MITs, or starting the day by doing your 3 Most Important Tasks

6. Off Work Early

The earlier you get the work day started, the earlier you're done working. This is especially true if you work from home or you have some degree of autonomy in your job. If you finish work early, you have more time in the afternoon and evening to relax, or to spend time with family and friends. 

Sunshine through leaf photo7. Reconnect with nature. 

If you wake up before the sunrises, you have a chance to walk outside, see the sun rise, and watch nature awaken. It’s an amazing opportunity to ground down and find balance. It brings peace knowing that you're only one tiny portion of the circle of life. 

8. You’re similar to many great achievers

Many of the world’s greatest achievers were early risers. For example, Benjamin Franklin once said: “Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.”

Thomas Jefferson and German philosopher, Immanuel Kant were also early risers.

9. Increased creativity

In this quiet time your creativity is left to run wild. Take advantage of this distraction-free paradise to come up with some of your best ideas.

10. Increased fitness

With extra time in the morning, you have time to be active. Take a walk outside, go to a spinning class, or hit your yoga mat. Whatever your workout flavor, those that workout in the morning are the most likely to get it done. 

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Read More: Morning Coffee May Actually Cause You to Slack Off


Sara Novak writes about health and wellness for Discovery Health. Her work is also regularly featured in Breathe Magazine and on SereneKitchen.com. She has written extensively on food policy, food politics, and food safety.


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