Whenever a productive day is on our agenda, an “early morning” is usually called for.
We’ve been programmed to start our days in the mornings, end them as the sun sets, and regardless of what our body’s opinion on the topic is, this is simply how our species chooses to “attack the day.”
As is the case with most things attack-related, it’s always expected that the proverbial “early bird” will get the worm – so, whenever we’re expected to get sh*t done, best believe we’re probably setting our alarms for 5:45 am, give or take 15 minutes.
Back in college, the morning of a big midterm, you’d wake up early and squeeze in a study sesh during the few free hours you had before your professor physically administered the exam.
Whenever you have a stressful presentation or meeting at work, maybe you decide to get a head start on your day and sit in the sauna at your gym, to sweat out some stress beforehand.
Whatever the specific situation might be, if ever your A-game is expected from you, you’ll always err on the side of “early” as opposed to “late,” regarding the start of your day, simply by virtue of having some time to spare.
And it sounds good in theory. I mean, if there’s ever work to be done, why not spend as many hours of the day awake? You can only be so productive while sleeping, right?
Well, according to a few scientific claims, sleeping in may, in fact, be the most profitable way to start your day.
As told by one blog, Life Evolver, the whole concept of the “early to rise” is something they describe as a “super-replicating belief.”
This type of belief is one defined as a “belief that has some property, which facilitates its own transmission, which makes it be held by an increasing number of minds.”
In other words, super replicating beliefs are ones that lack a certain level of concrete truth, yet continuously seem to perpetuate themselves.
In fact, some feel as though our societal view of sleep, being the result of laziness, results from this category of assumption.
According to Life Evolver, there are a number of different reasons to sleep in, past those hungover mornings when you just can’t seem to get out of bed.
Here are four reasons to turn off your alarm clock and sleep in.
You're probably not getting enough sleep.
In order to attain any level of true productivity, the doctor will first prescribe a proper amount of sleep – and how much is that?
Well, according to Clare Kittredge of Everyday Health, most adult men and women will need around eight hours to operate at full form (seven to nine).
According to Phyllis C. Zee, MD, PhD, “sleep is important for mental function: alertness, memory consolidation, mood regulation and physical health.”
So if you’re sacrificing valuable hours of sleep in order to wake up before the crack of dawn each morning, perhaps you should reevaluate your wake-up strategy.
Zee goes on to expand on the physical issues that can result from a lack of sleep – such as diabetes and obesity – which leads me to believe that the opportunity cost of an early morning might not be such a bargain.
Unless you're going to sleep at like 8 pm every single night, it's pretty unrealistic that you're getting enough sleep, as is.
How "consistently" you wake up is more important than how early you wake up.
While many people buy into the whole “early to bed, early to rise” mentality for success, as Dr. James B. Maas, author of Power Sleep says, would be better suited as “consistently to bed, consistently to rise.”
According to Maas, sleep consistency might actually be more valuable than the amount of hours you spend sleeping.
Unless you’re required to wake up at a certain time, say, for work or class, Life Evolver reports that the specific time you wake up is not important – but consistency in your sleep cycle, on the other hand, is.
Additionally, Huffington Post also affirmed that consistent sleep cycles and wake times were also linked to lower levels of body fat.
Sleeping in can improve your memory.
According to Life Evolver, sleeping in “can improve your long-term memory retention, memory organization and learning.” The reasoning behind this has to do with the existence of our REM sleep cycles.
REM sleep, which stands for “rapid eye movement,” refers to a stage of deep sleep characterized by “predominant” eye movement, the firing of neuronal pathways and, ultimately, dreams.
As suggested by Mark Greer, of the American Psychology Association, we can “strengthen” our brains simply by resting them.
According to Greer, who also quoted Dr. Maas, “besides boosting alertness, sleep – particularly REM sleep – is a way for the brain to store new information into long-term memory.”
And by setting our alarm clocks early each morning, we are also cutting down on the amount of time we spend in the REM phase of sleep, which, in effect, could be curbing our own memories.
Sleeping in can improve your mood and energy levels.
According to the blog Spark People, waking up naturally might be the key to a more refreshed, energized day.
As suggested by author Mike Kramer, how tired you feel in the afternoon is usually a direct result of your wake-up habits.
Kramer continues to explain how early mornings – especially those spurred about by way of an alarm clock and a cup of coffee – will typically result with just a short-lived feeling of alertness.
While you might jump out of bed and think you’re fully awake, you’ll likely crash around 2:30 pm.
Using a study conducted by researchers at Duke University Medical Centre, Kramer reveals that, “both sudden activity and caffeine kick-up your blood pressure and stress hormones, giving you a quick feeling of alertness and energy.”
To avoid this brief adrenaline rush and the inevitable crash that will follow, Kramer suggests waking up naturally – by any means necessary.
If that requires going to sleep a few hours earlier to avoid waking up to an alarm, perhaps it’s worth playing with your own sleep cycle.
According to Kramer, “by coming out of ‘sleep’ mode more naturally, you help your body get off to a more relaxing start to a more energized day.”