Starting off the day right can lead to increased productivity and focus throughout the day. This fact explains why we're suckers for listicles that divulge the morning habits of successful people. It turns out they always seem to offer the same insight: Wake up early. Kevin O'Leary, Anna Wintour, and President Obama are among many who rise at the crack of dawn and then go work out.
Now, there's a new research to even more solidly reinforce the benefits of waking up early. According to results from study published by Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University in ScienceDaily, sleeping late could be one of the unhealthiest ways to kick off your morning. Of 96 study participants, those who slept late went on to commit the trifecta of unhealthy decisions throughout the day. They ate more fast food. They ate fewer vegetables. And they weren't as physically active. This was especially true for the study's male participants.
The study followed healthy adults aged 18-50 who regularly slept more than six and a half hours each night. For seven days, participants kept food diaries and wore SenseWear armbands to track physical activity. "Our results help us further understand how sleep timing in addition to duration may affect obesity risk," principal investigator and associate professor of neurology Kelly Glazer Baron said about the study's findings. "It is possible that poor dietary behaviors may predispose individuals with late sleep to increased risk of weight gain."
The researchers don't claim that waking up late causes people to make unhealthy decisions later in the day. They're simply reporting that morning people tend to eat better and move more. The study didn't go on to theorize why this is the case. Perhaps it's because people who sleep late never intended to get to the treadmill or eat a spinach salad for lunch in the first place. Those who rise early may do so because they have an early-morning workout planned at or spend their morning preparing healthy meals for the rest of the day.