“Early to bed, early to rise keeps a man healthy, wealthy and wise,” Benjamin Franklin famously said some 300 years ago. Now, scientists have confirmed it.

Researchers at the Roehampton University in the U.K. found claimed that early risers are slimmer, happier and healthier than those who get up later in the day.

Worst off are night owls, the researchers said, as late nights appear to be taking their toll on health and happiness, the Daily Mail reported.

For their study, the researchers quizzed almost 1,100 men and women about their health and sleeping habits.

Some 13 per cent of those questioned were larks, getting up before 7a.m. during the week and seeing no need for a lie-in at the weekend.

Night owls, who fall out of bed just before 9 a.m. Monday to Friday and sleep-in on Saturdays and Sundays, accounted for another 6 per cent.

The remaining 81 per cent fell somewhere in between.

The analysis revealed the early risers to have fewest signs of depression and anxiety.

They were also more likely to eat breakfast — something that has previously been linked with slimness, a British Psychological Society conference heard.

Study author Dr. Jorge Huber said: “These effects are small — and in some occupations and situations there are clearly advantages to being an evening person — but they are highly statistically significant.

“If you are an evening type, you are not necessarily a miserable person but there is some difference.”

Dr Huber wasn’t sure of the cause, but he believes it may be that late bed times make for a worse night’s sleep.

Politcial theorist Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790), who was one of the founding fathers of the U.S., was perhaps the first to point out that going to bed too late is bad for both health and mind.