People who wake up early and stay active have better mood, mind: Study
A new study in the US shows early risers who also stay active throughout the day performed better on cognition tests and had lower rates of depression.
Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center discovered that waking up early benefits elderly adults who are awake closer to dawn — before 7 a.m. — and exercised consistently.
Combined with early rising, the consistent exercise could be linked to improved or maintained cognitive health as people age.
The study, published in JAMA Psychiatry on Tuesday, used data from 1,800 people over the age of 65 who were hooked to accelerometers.
As a result, the researchers discovered that the group who tested best on cognitive exams and were the least depressed was the 37% of participants who woke up at or before 7 a.m. and stayed active throughout the day.
"There's something about getting going early, staying active all day, and following the same routine each day that seems to be protecting older adults," said Stephen Smagula, Ph.D., the lead study author and assistant professor of psychiatry and epidemiology at the University of Pittsburgh, in a statement.
“Many older adults had robust patterns: They get up before 7 a.m. on average, and they keep going; they stay active for 15 hours or so each day. They also tend to follow the same pattern day in, day out,” said Smagula. “Lo and behold, those same adults were happier, less depressed and had better cognitive function than other participants.”
While a third of people held consistent routines, they woke up late in the day or went to bed earlier, resulting in poorer test results and increased reports of depression. But the remaining 30% of participants came in last due to inconsistent daily patterns and inconsistent activity, scoring the worst on tests and reporting more depression.
There are many benefits to waking up early in the morning, and knowing these benefits will motivate a person to end his sleep and rise at least two hours before sunrise.
There are also many benefits in praying in the later part of the night and before dawn, which has been recommended by all religions, as well as schools of philosophy and ethics.
Rising early in the morning is inherently beneficial. But incorporating prayer at this time will maximize the gain.