You snooze, you lose.

Starting your day between 4am and 7am, when it’s still dark outside might seem counterintuitive, but research supports the early bird lifestyle. People who pry open their peepers in the wee hours of the morning are more likely to be successful, happy, proactive, in good shape and less fatigued than their night owl counterparts.

Laura Vanderkam, author of I know How She Does It: How Successful Women Make the Most of Their TIme and What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast tells Moneyish, “People think they’re not morning people because they’re tired when they get up, but that’s because they’ve stayed up too late watching TV, surfing the web or otherwise doing things that aren’t high quality leisure activities.”

Here’s why you should set your alarm for a bright and early wake up call:

More successful
Entrepreneurs like Virgin’s Richard Branson, Apple’s Tim Cook and Twitter cofounder Jack Dorsey have one thing in common—they all rise before the sun. And their careers have all catapulted to mystifying lengths. From exercising to meditating to enjoying a cup of coffee—the early morning offers many successful people a quiet time to focus on what’s important to them. “Morning people aren’t better people than night owls, however they do tend to have an easier time succeeding in our society because of the way most institutions are structured,” says Vanderkam.

Happier
In a study conducted by The American Psychological Association, people identified as “morning types” reported they were in better moods than “evening types.” This may be because they’re exposed to morning light, which research shows can alleviate some depression.

More proactive
Biologist Christoph Randler conducted a survey of more than 350 university students for the Journal of Applied Social Psychology and discerned that early risers were more likely to acknowledge feeling in charge of making things happen, being able to anticipate problems and to plan, organize and set goals. That may explain why early risers tend to get better grades in school, which can land them better jobs. “Morning hours are great for anything that’s important to you that normal life has a way of crowding out. I know some busy executives who reserve early morning hours for thinking about long term strategy and executing on any priorities for the day that require focus. When they show up at work, they’ve already scored a major win for the day,” says Vanderkam.

Better health
A study conducted by the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine indicates that people who wake up and eat earlier in the day (between 8 am and 7pm) remain satiated for longer and therefore eat less. Meanwhile,
eating later in the day (between noon and 11 pm) can result in weight gain as well as increased insulin and cholesterol levels—three markers that can lead to a higher risk of heart disease, diabetes and other health problems.

Less fatigue
According to a study at the University at Buffalo, people who work later in the day are twice as likely to report being tired. While examining shift schedules of police officers, the study showed that those working from 4pm to 2am reported feeling tired “somewhat” to “very much” of the time as opposed to those working the earlier shift. For those who begin to wilt in the afternoon and early evening, Vanderkam says, “Try going to bed earlier and waking up earlier and turning unproductive evening hours into productive morning hours.”