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10/23/2014 12:09 pm ET Updated Oct 30, 2014

Awake And Lonely At 5 A.m.? Just Call A Boomer

Mark Hatfield via Getty Images

Almost half (47 percent) of Baby Boomers rise before 6 a.m. and the very first thing most of them (73 percent) do is check their personal email, according to new research from AOL about people’s morning rituals.

The AOL Morning Rituals study of 4,000 participants didn't delve into why they get up so early -- 42 percent never even hit the snooze button on their alarm -- but we suspect many Boomers may just be eager to end the nightly tossing and turning that comes with aging and plagues that generation.

Millennials, on the other hand, stumble out of bed later: The study found that only 4 percent of Millennials get up before 5 a.m. and 19 percent between 5 a.m. and 6 a.m. In fact, Millennials are the latest risers of all; they wake up, on average, at 6:58 a.m. compared to 6:17 a.m. for Generation X and 6:02 a.m. for Boomers.

Denise Brien, senior director of Consumer Analytics & Research at AOL, noted that one in four people (overall) looks at their smartphone before getting out of bed (for Millennials, it’s three in five). "It speaks volumes about how innately attached we are to tech," she said. "It’s the first thing we think to do after opening our eyes!”

The study also asked about morning rituals. More married people -- 46 percent -- ate breakfast regularly during the week, compared to just 41 percent of singles. Boomers feel the most informed in the morning -- 41 percent. And
compared to Millennials, Baby Boomers feel more prepared (37 percent), organized (36 percent), productive (32 percent), and mentally stimulated (26 percent). Millennials, on the other hand feel more tired (26 percent), stressed (13 percent) and lazy (14 percent) than Baby Boomers (tired 10 percent, stressed 5 percent, lazy 3 percent).

A full belly vs. a full inbox? Belly loses. While only around 40 percent of working adults make time for breakfast before heading off to work, 61 percent of full-time employees check their work email in the morning before leaving home.
There’s always time for technology.

Half of us check our social networks before heading out the door in the morning. Millennials are 20 percent more likely to do this than Generation X and 40 percent more likely to do this than Boomers. It's probably because they have so many more social media networks to check. Millennials look at Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and SnapChat.

It wasn't just age that set apart people's morning routines. People who live in the Northeast are much more likely to stop on the way to work for coffee. People in the South are the most likely to pray or meditate in the morning (almost half of Southerners say they pray or meditate at least some days throughout the week). Those in the Northeast are the least concerned about their spiritual well-being (at least in the morning); less than one in three prays or meditates during the week. And apparently the early bird gets the workout. Only one in five of us exercises every morning, but the early risers -- those up before 6 a.m. -- are 20 percent more likely to do it than the late risers (those getting up after 8 a.m.).

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