Why waking up early reduces stress

By M.Farouk Radwan, MSc.

Stress and your mind

What does waking up early has to do with stress reduction? In order to know the answer you first need to know how stress happens.

In my previous articles about stress i explained how thinking about 2 things in the same time using your conscious mind can cause stress. For example thinking about the task in hand while worrying about a deadline can certainly cause stress.

If you had a lot of work but no deadline or at least enough time to complete your work then you are much less likely to experience stress.

In other words you get stressed when your mind stars worrying about something while being stuck with something else.

Why waking up early reduces stress

Lets suppose you had few important tasks to do the next day. The first thing your mind will do when you wake up is to check if you have enough time to do them. If your mind believed that you are short on time then it will start to worry about the deadline the whole day.

Now because your mind will be stuck worrying about the deadline anything else that you do on that day will make you stressed (working on something while worrying about something else causes stress).

Consider your mind a computer that can't run two programs in the same time (at least two conscious programs not unconscious ones). Now because worrying is a conscious process any other conscious process that runs in the mind will cause stress.

By waking up early you will eliminate a very big part of the worrying and as a result you will be much less likely to experience stress.

How you perceive time

In my article How checking the clock affects your mood i explained how checking the time every now and then can cause a lot of stress.

But there is a point to consider in here. People perceive time differently. For an impatient person approaching a deadline while he is still stuck with work can cause a tremendous amount of stress. (see also The Connection between impatience and worrying)

A worrier might start to worry as soon as he wakes up if he believed he didn't have enough time. A person who doesn't worry often will certainly get less stressed if he was subjected to the same pressures.

This is why its extremely important to understand yourself well. Do you check the time every now and then? Do you worry often? Are you impatient?

Then you must wake up early if you have important tasks to do the next day else you will get really stressed. And even if you are not a worrier you will still get stressed if the deadline approached and you were late so in all cases try to wake up early.

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