While I cannot speak directly to the “wealthy and wise” part, there is ample evidence to suggest that getting to bed early will change your health.
Studies show that night owls were at a higher risk for early death, weight gain, heart, mood and blood sugar concerns compared to those who went to bed early. (1-4)
In one study published in the journal Diabetic Medicine, 210 volunteers were evaluated. Half of the volunteers were the early to bed type, and the other half went to bed late—the night owls.
The night owls had a higher basal metabolic index (BMI) and higher weight compared to those who went to be earlier. (1) The late-to-bed group ate breakfast later than the early-to-bed group, which may have contributed to their weight gain.
Another study evaluated the sleep habits of 433,268 participants aged 38 to 73 years for 6 years. The participants were classified into four categories: “definite morning type,” “moderate morning type,” “moderate evening type,” or “definite evening type.”
Researchers found that those who went to bed later had a 10% increased risk of early death compared to those who went to bed early. (3)
More specifically, in another study of 470 people from eight countries, getting to bed late was linked to less sleeping hours. Getting less than six hours of sleep was linked to a 50% increased risk of dying from heart-related issues. (4)
Getting to bed late can alter the body’s biological clock which syncs body rhythms with nature’s circadian rhythms. Just pushing the clock back by 2 hours, such as going to bed at midnight instead of 10pm, has been linked to a plethora of health concerns. In summary, going to bed late has been linked to health complications such as weight gain, metabolic concerns, negative psychological outcomes, including depressive and anxiety symptoms, and poor blood sugar control. (2)
How to Become an Early Riser
1. While some of the tendencies for staying up late are associated with genetic predispositions, the science does suggest that these tendencies can be overcome with a healthy lifestyle in sync with the natural cycles. (1-4)
Resetting the biological clock can take place in just one weekend according to one study, where a group of volunteers with a circadian imbalance went camping for a weekend with no artificial lights or cell phones. In just one weekend, they were able to reset their clock by 69%! (5)
We RecommendReset Your Circadian Clock This Weekend
2. Try preparing for bed early, so that by 8:30-9pm, you are in bed with a reading light on and a boring book in your hand. All the work for the day is done, house lights off, you have bathed and are ready for bed—no external distractions. By 9:30pm or so you, may start to drift off to sleep. When that happens, turn off the light and fall off to sleep.
If you wait until past 9:30pm or 10pm, the circadian clock shifts to liver detox mode, and this may wake you up. It is important to get to bed in the early evening to best catch the sleep train.
Early To Bed with Ashwagandha
Withania somnifera or ashwagandha is named after its ability to help de-stress the body and support healthy sleep. The word somnifera in Latin literally means “sleep inducer.” It is the perfect herb for a circadian reset. Instead of sedating the body for sleep, ashwagandha is one of the best rejuvenating herbs to help give the body the energy it needs to settle itself down and fall asleep.
Studies show that ashwagandha supports healthy sleep cycles after periods of sleep deprivation, suggesting that it can help restore the natural rhythms of the biological sleep clock. (6,8,9)
In one study, when individuals under stress supplemented with ashwagandha, there were significant reductions in cortisol levels and weight as measured by body mass index (BMI). In that same study, the participants also experienced a reduction in perceived stress, more happiness, and less food cravings. (7)
As an adaptogen, ashwagandha has shown to support the brain in response to circadian rhythm-altering sleep deprivation and encourage healthy levels of locomotion, learning, and memory. (8)
As an adaptogenic herb supportive of a desire to sleep in rhythm with the circadian clock, constituents in ashwagandha have also been shown to activate nerve cell receptors for the mood-calming neurotransmitter, GABA. (9) GABA is considered the body’s principle neurotransmitter for the circadian clock. (10)