When I got married, my husband and I quickly realized we were not created equal when it came to sleeping schedules. I was always more of a night owl and preferred the quiet of the evening hours to read and unwind. My husband, on the other hand, would rather go to bed with the sun. Then he would get up before the sun in order to watch the sunrise with his first coffee of the day. One day he woke me up at 4 am so we could drive to the lake and watch the sunrise over the water. He called it Sunrise Therapy. Needless to say, I was NOT a happy camper. I used to tease him about how he turned into a pumpkin at 9 pm instead of midnight. Then one day he sent me articles detailing the studies. And he was right.

Research shows that most successful people who are happy and fulfilled in their lives have something in common. They are early risers.

Getting enough sleep, and rising early to mentally prepare for your day can go a long way towards the kind of day you will have. You will have more energy, feel more confident, be more alert and therefore more responsive to curveballs, and feel better about what you did that day. For the small business owner, this can be a world of difference.

Later in our marriage, I got a corporate job in the city. This required me to get up really early to beat the traffic and make it on time. I hated having to get up and leave while it was still dark. But after a while, my body got into the rhythm, and I started waking up before my alarm. I used to be in the habit of going from pillow to car in about 5 minutes flat. But when I didn’t snooze the alarm because I was actually already awake, I found I had a much more pleasant morning not being so rushed. I went into my day better prepared. Those days, I noticed that I accomplished more on my to-do list. Soon, even on Saturdays, I was waking up at the same time, and guess what? I had more satisfying, productive days off, even though I wasn’t at work!

Give it a try. Take your sleep seriously, get the recommended 8 hours, and rise early. Take your coffee to the window, or outside. Get some vitamin D for a minute. Stop and smell those roses before you get to the grind that day. You’ll notice the difference, I promise. There is something amazing about calling it quits for the day early enough to wake early. It makes you wake up refreshed and mentally stronger. And not immediately dialing into your day makes that fresh feeling even stronger. You will be so ready for anything life has that day. All because you took a moment to breathe in the morning.

Written by Emily Dominguez