How can the average student become a topper

Learn to get up early

"The early bird catches the worm." - This proverb is based on the fact that the dew in the early morning hours attracts the worms to the surface, so that the birds have the best chance of fat prey at this time. Applied to humans, the saying says that whoever gets up early increases their chances of success. There is some scientific evidence for this thesis.

In the sleep magazine we got to the bottom of the subject and dealt with questions such as "How early should you get up?", "What are the advantages of getting up early?" Or "How do I go from being a grumpy person to an early riser?" Read our article and find out, among other things, how you too can become a member of the Early Birds Club and why 5:00 a.m. or 5:00 a.m. such a popular time for early risers.

Getting up early and TCM

Already in ancient China people were convinced of the advantages of getting up early, so the doctor Ge Hong (283-343 AD) recommended: "Man should get up with the chickens and go to bed early."

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has always assumed that getting up early is valuable for human health. According to the guidelines established by Ge Hong, one should fall asleep in the evening between 9:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m. This period is known as the Haishi. The best time to get up is between 3:00 a.m. and 5:00 a.m. In this context one speaks of Yinshi.

According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, our life energy - the Qi (see also: Furnishing the bedroom according to Feng Shui - Qi) - flows best when you are in harmony with nature. - If one uses the Haishi phase or Yinshi phase for going to bed and getting up, one follows the rhythm of heaven and earth. This is how you promote your Qi flow.

However, if one sleeps longer than nature, this leads - according to the Chinese doctors - to disharmony, which in the medium or long term can also lead to depression.


Modern science and getting up early

Nowadays there are several scientific studies that show the benefits of getting up early. So was z. B. in a US study with 824 students as test subjects found that getting up early increases strength and energy and thus ensures more creativity and concentration. Early risers also generally felt happier or more satisfied.

For adolescents, getting up early tends to have disadvantages, which has been proven in several studies. For this reason, there is always a discussion about starting school later. In some schools alternative concepts are already being pursued in order to take into account the increased need for sleep in the morning and the reduced performance in the early hours of the day of the students.

You can find more information on getting up early for adolescents on the Internet:
Getting up later makes students fitter - Spiegel.de
The morning hour is unhealthy - Frankfurter Rundschau


When should you get up in the morning?

There are different opinions about the right time to get up early. - In TCM (see above) a period between 3:00 a.m. and 5:00 a.m. to get up is recommended. In addition, there is often the general recommendation of 5:00 a.m. as the optimal time to get out of bed.

In order to benefit from the advantages of getting up early or earlier, you do not necessarily have to set a specific time, e.g. B. aim at 5:00 in the morning, but can also set a target time that is adapted to the current time to get up. - For example, you can choose to get up an hour earlier than “normal”. Just this one hour can help to make the start of the day and the rest of everyday life more pleasant. In this way, you gain 60 minutes of “alertness” that is not associated with a “must”. In the time before you actually get up, there should usually be no checking of emails and no telephoning. You should consciously use this hour for yourself to start the new day calmly and relaxed.


What are the advantages of getting up early?

The US psychologist Dr. Henry Olders found out in a study (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12932507/) that getting up early reduces depression and increases performance throughout the day.

Getting up early should also have a positive effect on body weight. - This is the conclusion reached in Australia in a study with 2,000 participants, according to which people who fall asleep late in the evening and sleep longer in the morning are more likely to be overweight than people who go to bed earlier and get up earlier in the morning. With an identical amount of sleep, people who set their sleep window earlier should stay leaner.

Those who do sports in the morning benefit from higher body fat burning. The plus here should be around 20% compared to a sport unit at a later time of the day and be due to a highly active metabolism.

In order to achieve weight loss, it can be sufficient to do a half-hour training session two to three days a week in the morning.

“The morning hour has gold in its mouth” is a saying that also applies to the brain. Immediately after getting up, the brain reaches the creative peak of its performance. This way you can learn a new skill much better in the morning than at any other time of the day. So if you want to learn a new language, painting or relaxing meditation techniques, you should do this in the morning immediately after waking up or getting up.



In the morning our visual imagination also reaches its zenith. This can be used to create a picture in your mind's eye of the ideal course of the day ahead. If you visualize the upcoming actions and events of the day in great detail and always with the best results, this can lead to our brain getting the feeling that everything has already happened just as positively and this acknowledges with the release of happiness hormones that the early start "Sweeten" the day further.


How do I get up early? How can I learn to get up early?

If you want to get up early or want to change your sleep window in the direction of getting up earlier in the morning and possibly going to bed earlier in the evening, you should allow yourself enough time to get used to it.

It is assumed that the body needs a period of at least three days to adjust to a new rhythm. He cannot adapt directly to an hour or more of difference to the previous rhythm. It is therefore advisable to implement the planned shift in 15-minute steps: 15 minutes earlier in bed, 15 minutes earlier out on the following day. This readjustment is then retained for at least three days before the next 15 minutes are implemented. Then “work” again for three days with the new bedtime and wake-up times before adding another 15 minutes, etc., until you have reached the desired new rhythm.

Important! Pay attention to sufficient total sleep time!

If you want to adjust your sleep rhythm in favor of getting up earlier, you should make sure that the amount of sleep is not "curtailed" by this change and that you (continue to) get enough sleep. - Most people get along optimally in this context with an average sleep duration of seven to eight hours, although individual deviations are of course always possible.

You can also read about this in the sleep magazine:
How many hours should I sleep to be rested?

After all, humans are considered creatures of habit. For a habit to take effect, however, it needs a certain number of repetitions. - It is generally believed that a minimum of 100 repetitions is required for our body to “view” an action as a habit. So you should stick to the newly introduced bedtime and get-up time for at least three and a half months in order to establish this correctly. You should avoid any deviation as much as possible. If you have survived at least 100 days with the new fixed bedtime or wake-up time, you can in exceptional cases deviate from the scheme.



In order to get out of bed better in the morning - especially at an earlier time - it can help if you think about getting up early the next day and what you want to do in the evening right before going to sleep. At this point in time, you can motivate yourself incredibly well, which is supposed to be related to the fact that the subconscious processes these thoughts and impressions made immediately before going to sleep.

It is also helpful not to place the alarm clock on the bedside table, but far enough away from where you sleep that you have to get up to turn the alarm off. Ideally, you should "eliminate" the alarm clock as soon as it rings for the first time and not let the alarm clock ring longer in order to "waste time" in bed. - By the way, pressing the snooze button or snooze button is generally not a really good idea. Please also read our sleep magazine article:Is snoozing bad for your health?

In order to be ready for sleep earlier in the evening, it is advisable to dim the light an hour before going to bed. By reducing the light, the body begins to produce melatonin and thus adjusts itself to the coming night or the upcoming sleep. On the other hand, it can help in the morning when daylight can enter the bedroom. The exposure to light inhibits the production of melatonin in the body, which reduces tiredness. - You can also read about this in the sleep magazine:Melatonin - the natural sleep aid | Hormones and sleep

The night sleep of humans is divided into different sleep phases, which in turn repeat themselves cyclically. Such a sleep cycle lasts about 90 minutes. According to scientists, interrupting the sleep cycle is unfavorable. You should therefore try to wake up after the end of the last sleep phase of a cycle, so that it is completely over. The duration of sleep should be around seven and a half hours or nine hours accordingly. The use of a sleep phase alarm clock can be useful to determine the optimal sleep window, taking fully completed sleep cycles into account. You can also use a REM sleep phase calculator to determine the optimal bedtime.


Other interesting links on getting up early on the Internet: