A New York Times article on September 9, 2011, To Earn an ‘A,’ Set the Alarm Clock Early, reported that early morning classes, at least at one college in New York, correlate to higher grades. The professors who conducted the study found a direct relationship between later morning classes and higher incidence of alcohol use.

The article did not make it clear whether the morning classes were the cause of the tame nights, or whether students already inclined not to drink were the ones who chose early classes. What was clear is that students with later classes drank more and slept more poorly, albeit for more hours, than did their early bird counterparts.  Apparently their grades suffered.

Could an early schedule actually be a cause of sobriety and overall responsibility?  If so, it seems that registering for early morning classes is a good idea for any college student.  Why tempt fate?

And perhaps the same rule applies to people in the workforce.  Certainly people who get up at 5am for work every day are unlikely to spend their weeknights pounding shots until 2am. So what about business owners and job seekers?  Those early morning BNI and other networking events might be keeping us on the straight and narrow.

I am not a drinker myself, but I do know that when I don’t have early morning appointments I tend to stay up later – working, not playing, but perhaps I would be more productive if I were to go to bed by 10pm and get up at 5am each day, rather than slide into a 1am to 8am sleeping pattern.  Am I hurting my “grades” by doing that?  I’m starting to wonder.

If you are someone who does not have an external force keeping you to a schedule, perhaps it is a good idea to create an early morning appointment of some kind to train you to go to bed at a decent hour.  Some people I know have a mini coaching call with a friend each morning.  Some go to the gym religiously at 7am.  If you knew you would perform better overall by starting early, would you do it?

One of my friends and informal coaches keeps telling me I should stop working at night.  I generally haven’t listened to his advice (note:  I wrote this blog at 10pm on a Saturday night).  But I’m going to try an experiment.  This week I am going to go to bed by 11pm every night, and get up at 6am. Will I see a difference in how much I get done, or in how well I do it?  I’ll keep you posted on the results.


  1. Great discussion Brenda. In high school I dated a girl who was probably #1 in the class. I was probably #2… from last place. I asked her once what her secret was and she said she went to bed early and woke at a reasonable time. Thereafter I practiced what she preached and performed much better. In college I applied the same rule and ended up getting a 4.0 GPA. Not that the “early to bed” made me wise, but it certainly contributed performance and gave me structured discipline. Today I wake at 4 AM, workout and then start working soon after. I get to bed by 9:30 PM. While I’m not wealthy as Franklin predicted, I feel more healthy and wise. 😉

    • Thanks for your comment Brian! I wonder if there is a societal “listening” of people who get up early and go to bed early that they are more productive? Clearly some people, like BeeGee, have a different experience of life! One of my challenges is that some of the people I work with send me things to do late at night, and some are in time zones where if I do not respond I lose an entire day of potential communications. Despite my promise to go to bed at 11pm last night, I was up until 11:45 and got up at 6:45. Hey, at least the times started with my promised numbers! And I did get a LOT done this morning from 7-9am.

  2. I agree. I get the most accomplished during the day if I get up early. I don’t necessarily love getting up early, but I feel much better about my productivity when I rise early. I also took early morning classes during college and I earned A’s and B’s. I feel like once I “woke up”, I was much more alert for my morning classes than in the late afternoon or evening when my energy was dragging. Great post!

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