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An International Study of 85,000 People Says There’s an Astounding Benefit to Getting Up Early (Really)

You thought we’d put to bed the idea that to be successful, you have to get up at 4 a.m.?

Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek. 

It was the controversy around which people came to blows.

Well, blows of virtual spittle on Twitter.


Can it really be true that the most successful people all get up at 4 a.m.


It was piffle, of course. The only reason I can imagine Richard Branson getting up at 4 a.m. is to go home.

All the same, I sank to trying this early-rising thing. I didn’t last three days.

We’re settled then, right? You can get up at any time you want.

And then this afternoon I collided with a new piece of research conducted by the UK’s University of Exeter and America’s Massachusetts General Hospital.

The researchers tried to see how early rising might affect mental health and disease.

Might I cut past the chase to their finish line?:

We show that being a morning person is causally associated with better mental health.

No, please no.

This I can’t bear. Are these researchers really suggesting that getting up early suggests a saner, sounder mind?

It seems so.

Exeter’s Michael Weedon, who led the research, sounded painfully emphatic:

The large number of people in our study means we have provided the strongest evidence to date that ‘night owls’ are at higher risk of mental health problems, such as schizophrenia and lower mental well-being.

Yes, of course he added the rider that further studies are needed to entirely comprehend how this all works.

But it’s another damnable tool for the pre-dawn propagandists to use against the (people I always thought) saner.

Because you might be distraught about this, I’ll offer you an interlude to say that these researchers asked participants if they were morning or evening people before they analyzed their genomes to see what links there might be to their sleeping patterns.

What they didn’t find was any link between getting up early and diabetes or obesity.

What they did find, however, will naturally worry some.

Still, in the future our robots will tell us when to get up for maximum efficiency.

I wonder how that will affect our mental health.

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