This semester, I have four 8:00AM classes: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday. I know what you’re all thinking: “Tim, we already know this – you mentioned this in your blog last month!” Though I know you all have been religiously keeping up with everything I’ve written to date, I’ll jog your memories by saying that at the time I wrote that blog, I was very pro-early mornings. In fact, earlier this semester, there were very few things I could think of that I didn’t like about waking up at 7:00AM each day – besides, of course, the process of actually waking up. Since then, however, my stance on early starts in college may have changed. Although I certainly do stand by some of the things I mentioned earlier, as the semester’s progressed and my sample size of days has grown, I believe I have a much more pragmatic view of the topic – of both the good and the bad. However, without doubt, the overwhelming sentiment on early mornings focuses on the benefits that they can have on your live – in fact, you’d be hard-pressed to find many contrarian pieces. And so, for my blog today, I’m going to systematically evaluate these “benefits” according to an online source against my own experience with 8:00AMs in college.
My source of choice is healthambition.com’s “Top 7 Benefits of Waking Up Early.” Keep in mind, though, that these are only their top seven benefits, presumably to spare you of the endless list of reasons why getting out of bed before the crack of dawn can only be a good thing. Here goes:
Benefit #1: Waking up early correlates with better grades. Well, shoot. This is a somewhat sad way to start things but for me, this is certainly not the case. I’ll spare you the details.
Benefit #2: Waking up early helps you to sustain a better diet. Alright, this one could be true – I definitely am eating healthier than I was freshman year. According to Health Ambition, this is a product of being up early enough to eat breakfast, which they deem “a foundation for building healthy eating habits.” Although I can’t definitively say that this the reason for my improved diet, I’ll give the 8:00AMs the benefit of the doubt on this one.
Benefit #3: Waking up early enhances productivity. I’m definitely torn on this one. Though I’d say I’ve certainly been very productive overall this semester, I have felt fairly unproductive at times because of fatigue, which I presume could be a product of lack of sleep and, by extension, the 8:00AMs. Because of this, I’d say this one isn’t necessarily true.
Benefit #4: Waking up early leads better mental health. Hard to say one way or another on this one too. I feel like I was mentally healthy before, and continue to feel mentally healthy now.
Benefit #5: Waking up early gives you more time to exercise. I’d say this one is true. Really, I’d say it gives you more time to do anything. Except, well, sleep. Another point in the 8:00AMs’ favor.
Benefit #6: Waking up early improves your quality of sleep. Yes. 100%. I find myself so exhausted by the end of the day that I can not only sleep through anything, but it feels like the quality of sleep is better too. If you’re keeping score, it’s 3-2 for 8:00AMs at this point.
Benefit #7: Waking up early helps you enjoy quiet time. Correction: waking up early makes you need quiet time. Often. And by quiet time, I mean sleep. I’d say this is not necessarily as positive an attribute as they may have intended it, so this one’s a no from me dog.
There you have it: among the Health Ambition’s top seven benefits of waking up early, I can confirm three to be certainly valid, three to be not necessarily true, and one to be inapplicable. As such, I continue to be torn. And tired.
Certainly, everyone is different: waking up early may work great for some people and could be a disaster for others. If you’re on the fence about whether or not to register for early classes, I might recommend that you try only a couple early classes a week, rather than stacking your schedule in the morning. I, for one, will not be going out of my way to schedule an 8:00AM anytime soon.