Influence of early rising on performance in tasks requiring attention and memory

Indian J Physiol Pharmacol. 2012 Oct-Dec;56(4):337-44.


Rising early in the morning has been a prescribed discipline of ancient Indian tradition. While there are no scientific studies comparing early rising volitionally versus circumstantially, selected studies on the latter (rising forcefully) have shown negative impact on an individual's peroformance. Hence the present study was undertaken to assess the influence of early rising (during Brahma-muhurtha) on tasks requiring attention and the ability to recall. Fifty four normal healthy male volunteers, with ages ranging from 16-22 years from a residential school were selected. They were randomly allocated to two groups (Brahma-muhurtha and control). They were assessed on day 1, day 10 and day 20 of the intervention, using a digit letter substitution task and verbal and spatial memory task. The Brahma-muhurtha group were asked to rise before 4:30 am in the morning based on the traditional Indian astrological calculations, while the control group were allowed to wake up just before 7 am which was their regular timing for waking. Brahma-muhurtha group after 20 days showed a significant improvement in the net scores for digit letter substitution task as well as scores for verbal and spatial memory tasks. The control group also showed an improvement in the memory task but not in the task requiring attentional processes. The present study suggests that rising early in the morning as described in ancient Indian tradition influences the process of attention and can improve the ability to recall.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Attention*
  • Circadian Rhythm / physiology*
  • Humans
  • India
  • Male
  • Memory*
  • Sleep
  • Young Adult