The mornings provide a good chunk of time to be productive and get one’s day started on the right foot.

A commonly voiced theme among college students — especially toward the end of semesters — is there being a lack of time. Whether it be personal downtime or simply more hours needed to study for exams, students don’t have much time at all. Many students find themselves staying up throughout the night in order to complete these tasks they otherwise can’t find time for, yet the answer is right in front of them — waking up early. It’s a positive habit that supports mindfulness, feelings of success and motivation and allows students a much-needed extra block of time. 

Perhaps the greatest benefit of waking up early is that it allows people to establish a morning routine. Morning routines are important because by setting a constructive and effective tone when the sun first rises, they create a positive outlook that’s likely to carry on throughout the rest of the day. Tying into this idea of early-morning effectiveness, persistently setting goals first thing in the morning will ultimately lead to a more productive day. This can act as a daily reminder of what needs to get done.

Science shows that the brain is typically more alert in the morning. Therefore, the morning is an ideal time for students to study or get work done, especially when considering that being up before everyone else leads to fewer distractions. This early-morning alertness also allows for an energy surge that sticks around the entire day. This could be beneficial in ensuring a more productive day as well.

For some students, it’s less about the time constraints on accomplishing academics and more about a lack of personal time. Early mornings are the perfect fix as they’re typically quieter, less busy and more relaxing than other times of the day. Many students — and people in general — lack a practice of mindfulness, which is the concept of being in the current moment and ignoring stressors. The early morning is the best peaceful time to practice being mindful, which could entail meditating in the arboretum, reading or simply taking a walk. Being mindful allows for better focus, which then translates throughout the rest of one’s day.

Another massive benefit to waking up early is related to physical health. People who wake up early are more likely to eat breakfast. Breakfast is notoriously the most important meal of the day, as it jumpstarts the metabolism and is crucial to improving energy and mood. JMU dining halls are open bright and early and are typically much less crowded in the mornings, making them some of the more effective places to get work done on campus. Eating there could ensure both a nutritious breakfast and a productive workspace.

Most successful people claim to wake up early, starting their day at 5 a.m. and even earlier. There is definitely a method to the madness of waking up early. Even just trying to incorporate one early morning a week into a routine could greatly improve the quality of the day ahead.

Josie Haneklau is a freshman political science and psychology major. Contact Josie at hanekljr@dukes.jmu.edu.