Night Owls, Meet The Early Birds

A typical weekday morning doesn’t include a rowdy party filled wall-to-wall with people, chugging coffee and dancing before their coworkers even wake up.

Then again, attending an event like Daybreaker is far from typical. The monthly experience is sweeping across the country with sights set on making dawn the new dusk.

Attendees wake up for a 7 a.m. party where they can mingle with strangers, exercise through dance, and experience a feeling of solidarity with hundreds of equally sleepy adults.

According to the Daybreaker website, each individual gathering is considered a “morning movement,” designed to give busy professionals the opportunity to start their day on a positive note.

“Daybreaker was started as a social experiment,” says Maya, a frequent attendee and 21-year-old student. Maya works late nights as a waitress on the Upper East Side, and is often scheduled to work while her friends go clubbing.

“A bunch of people get together in the morning, fully sober, and dance.”

Daybreaker simultaneously defies the standard rules of late-night partying and avoids the dreaded consequences of drinking excessively on a weeknight.

“At night things end up messy, because people are intoxicated,” Maya explains, “but after Daybreaker ends, everyone goes on with their day without hangovers.”

Without the use of alcohol and drugs, attendees like Maya feel they have a genuine, memorable experience that often surpasses a late night of clubbing.

“I think it was just as fun as a nighttime party, if not more so,” she adds.

Maya, along with hundreds of other NYC students and professionals who describe themselves as severe night owls, became hooked after her first Daybreaker event. A coworker invited her during an internship, though she was not aware of the 6 a.m. wake-up requirement.

“I went because I already committed, and didn’t want to leave a bad impression,” she clarifies, and definitely “didn’t expect” to return for upcoming events in the future.

However, Maya’s initial experience at Daybreaker prompted her to return as a volunteer; overcoming the reluctance to wake up earlier than she normally would.

“It’s such a rejuvenating and amazing experience,” she says, “for the remainder of the day, I experience sky rocketing levels of optimism…there is always a point when I do feel tired, but with a good lunch and cup of coffee, I’m always good to go.”

While Daybreaker began as a simple experiment between co-founders Matthew Brimer and Radha Agrawal, the science behind sleep explains why the event is beneficial for busy professionals.

Christoph Randler, a biologist who conducted a study on college students, concluded that waking up early boosts proactivity, and thereby productivity.

“A number of studies have linked this trait, proactivity, with better job performance, greater career success, and higher wages,” Randler explains.

“One theory is that morning people are more proactive, because getting up early gives them more time to prepare for the day. If that’s true, then increasing your morning-ness might improve your proactivity.”

Because they’re waking up earlier, Daybreaker participants may actually boost their performance for the remainder of the workday after attending the early morning events.

“Adults deserve a break,” says Maya, “and having fun in the morning helps.”

In addition to a spike in mood and productivity, Maya believes that attendees also benefit from socializing with new friends in a positive and uplifting environment. As a result, she’s discovered both a newfound empathy and brazen sense of confidence.

“I connect with a lot more people on these days, and because of that I’m open to more connections in the workplace,” she says. “Plus, the friends I have made through Daybreaker are for life.”

As Daybreaker grows in popularity, the events are also finding their way to new cities and encouraging morning positivity in professionals beyond the residents of New York City.

Daybreaker now occurs in San Francisco, Atlanta, Seattle, and various locations outside of the US, with hopes of bringing the movement to even more foreign locations. Meanwhile, the events are gaining in popularity with a mainstream audience.

“It’s unconventional, but it’s also plain old fun,” says Maya. “Working professional, student, stay at home mom, whatever… anyone can appreciate the simplicity of just waking up and dancing. Adults deserve a break.”

To learn more about Daybreaker, head to their website and submit your email address to receive messages about upcoming events, news, and promotions.

All photos courtesy of Sara Wass. To see more, follow her on Twitter and Instagram.