Photo of an alarm clock
Getting up earlier may be a healthy habit, say scientists

Early risers are healthier and happier

15 November, 2011

Natural Health News — Getting up early – and eating breakfast – could be good for your health and happiness, according to new research.

Researchers from the University of Northampton and University of Roehampton carried out a representative UK-wide survey of adults measuring whether they were ‘morning’ or ‘evening’ people, as well as their well-being, conscientiousness and eating behaviour. They found that morning people tend to eat breakfast more regularly, be happier, thinner and more conscientious.

According to Joerg Huber, Professor of Behavioural Health Sciences, Centre for Health and Wellbeing Research, University of Northampton School of Health:

“These findings bear out the consensus that there are morning people and evening people, and that morning people tend to be healthier and happier, as well as having lower body mass indices. These effects are small, and in some occupations and situations there are clearly advantages to being an evening person, but they are highly statistically significant.

He added: “Curiously, those who watch more TV are more likely to skip breakfast, perhaps due to snacking while watching TV in the evening and as a result being less hungry in the in the morning.”

The researchers are continuing to investigate why some people say they must eat breakfast to function well, while others literally can’t stomach a meal soon after waking, in light of fairly recent research suggesting that people who eat breakfast are less likely to be overweight.

Indeed, several studies show the importance of breakfast in weight loss and maintenance in both adults and children.

Dr Huber concluded:

“Morningness is partly a matter of the individual’s body clock and partly a question of preferences that have developed through life. It is a factor that should not be ignored if we are trying to encourage more people to eat breakfast.

The research was presented at the recent Annual Conference of the British Psychological Society’s Division of Health Psychology and, in more detail, at the recent Federation of European Nutrition Societies meeting in Madrid.