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Is it Possible to Become a Morning Person?

By , SparkPeople Blogger
"Night owl" is not a term anyone has ever used to describe me.  Even in my younger years, before kids made me more tired than I ever thought possible, I didn’t stay up late.  I can comfortably last until around 10 p.m., and then it’s time for bed.  But getting up early doesn’t bother me.  I like to get a lot of things done early in the day, including exercise.  So most days around 5:30 a.m., you’ll find me on the treadmill or in front of the T.V. doing an exercise video.
 
I know people who say that although they’ve tried hard to become a morning person, it never happens.  My mother-in-law, for instance, does her treadmill run around 8:30 every night- just as I’m winding down for the day.  What works for one person doesn’t always work for another.  But sleep experts say that with time and effort, it is possible to reset your biological clock and become that morning person you’ve always hoped to be.
 
Your biological clock controls your circadian rhythm, which controls your sleep-wake cycles.  It’s a little more complicated than just going to bed earlier and suddenly being able to wake up at 5 a.m., rested and alert.  Sleep experts suggest starting by getting up 20 minutes earlier each day until eventually you’re getting up at the desired time.  After a while, you’ll start getting tired a little earlier each night.  It’s also important to get moving as soon as the alarm goes off.  Don’t lay in bed hitting the snooze button.  Experts also say that light has a direct effect on our circadian rhythms.  That means you’ll want to turn the lights on when you wake up, and when you’re trying to fall asleep, keep the light to a minimum.  That means no T.V. or computer in bed. 
 
Making these changes and sticking with them consistently requires a lot of self-discipline.  It’s easy to fall back into old habits and routines.  "Besides computer screens, the biggest saboteur for an aspiring morning person is the weekend. Staying up later on Friday or sleeping in on Saturday sends the brain an entirely new set of scheduling priorities. By Monday, a 6 a.m. alarm will feel like 4 a.m."
 
Learn more about how to Wake Up Naturally to a More Energized Day, and how you can Learn to Love A.M. Exercise.
 
Are you a morning person?  If not, have you tried to become one?  What did you do, and did you find any success?

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Comments

I am a college student, so naturally, mornings don't really come easy to me, but when I was traveling between the US and UK, my clock stayed on UK time so I was easily up by 7am (12pm UK time), but since starting school again I have been up later doing papers and homework, socializing in general. Though, I do miss getting up early because I felt like I could get so much done when I didn't feel like the day was half way gone already. I would love to be able to get up early enough to do some morning yoga, which really makes me feel ready for my day. Report
I disagree that you can change. I made changes like this for quite awhile. A LONG period of time. I got up and worked out in the morning before going to work. I did this for months. Regardless of this, it was just as hard for me to get up every morning and it never did get any easier. I agree that I had more energy during the day when I woke up and worked out in the morning. I am neither a morning person nor a night owl. I am ready for bed at 10:00pm and I have a difficult time getting up before 7am. Light does help matters for me is I am light oriented but no matter how long I "attempted" to be more of a morning person, it never happened even after months of changing the routine. Report
this article would be more credible written by a converted night owl rather than a smug morning person who's getting 10 hours of sleep a nihgt Report
I attempt to get up early, but that snooze button always finds itself under my groggy hand...Working out in the morning sounds like it might help me out of this routine. Report
If someone wants to become a morning person, great. More power to you. Me? I'm not a morning person, never have been, never will be. It just isn't who I am. Report
It is my understanding that afternoon is the ideal time to workout - so what difference does it make if yu are a morning dove or night owl? Just figure out when things work best for you. Report
I think the issue might be that there are tons of articles out there about how us "night owls" can change to be more like "normal" people (i.e. morning people) so our lives can become "better." But you hardly ever see any articles telling morning people how to become night owls. The implication is that being a morning person is somehow preferable to being a night owl. Surely even the most hard core morning person can understand how that might be a little irritating to us night owls who are happy with who we are?

Personally, I see no reason to change, any more than I see a reason to change being left-handed or having hazel eyes. My whole family are by nature extreme night owls. Left to our own devices, we'd just be getting to bed along about the time those "morning people" were first getting up. There's something magical about the wee hours of the morning before the sun comes up, when everyone else is asleep and the world around you is peaceful and still.

For myself, I'm up by around 6am on weekdays because of my job -- but despite doing it for 8 years now, it still hasn't turned me into a morning person. Which actually has its advantages -- for instance, I don't get that late afternoon energy slump that affects my morning person friends. By the afternoon most days, I'm just getting revved up, while they're sucking down "energy shots" trying to stay alert. On the other hand, they're great at getting things done first thing in the morning, while I need a little more time to get my motor running. Point is: there are advantages and disadvantages to being either a morning person or a night owl. Neither one is better or worse.

If you're happy being a morning person, by all means get up as early as you like. If you're happy being a night owl, stay up and watch the sun rise before you go to bed. If you want to change (in either direction), then start getting up earlier or staying up later. Just please don't take it upon yourself to try to convert everyone else to match your choice. Vive la difference! Report
123ELAINE456
I have never fully been able to become a day time Gal. Have had problem most of my life with my inner clock all mess up. It has cause me untold problems trouble down thur the years. I have miss doctors, other things I would miss out on, because of sleeping at all differant hours during the day because I could not sleep at night. I am having trouble with my doctor wanting outpateint tests done and can't do until I get myself turn around long enough to get them done. So will try suggestions in article to see if they can help. Will have to wait and see what happens. God Bless You and Have a Wonderful Week. Report
Let's not be hard on the author. The point being made is that if you desire to become a morning person, there are ways to switch over to a different schedule. If you have no need to switch, then carry on. I enjoyed the post AND I'm an evening girl. Report
GMAGEE
I'm with SHANNONPIXIE: why do people always insist that we nightowls change and not vice versa?

My hubby has been after me for years (decades now!) to become a morning person like he is, but I remember tons of mornings that I dragged myself out of bed to go to work while he stayed nestled in the warm covers of our bed.

With age, all our habits become more solidified. Now he really CAN'T sleep much beyond 5:30 in the morning and is asleep by 10 most nights, while I have trouble getting to sleep and staying asleep before midnight even though I'm up by 8 every morning.

Unfortunately, I have recently read that being a nightowl isn't so good for one's health (sigh), so I'm sticking to my 7:45-8 AM wake up time. That's my concession to being a morning person. Report
The morning workout rocks! I'm a night owl by nature, but my family's schedule doesn't work that way for me right now. So, I get up at 5 a.m. and get in a 30 minute workout that gets the endorphins pumping and keeps me in a good mood all day. I would still switch to my preferred schedule if I could, but I'm pleasantly surprised to find how much exercise helps. Report
Why is being a morning person something we should all aspire to? I think that is ridiculous - I love being a night owl - that is my quiet peaceful time. I change when it is necessary - otherwise night is my time. Report
LEAHSHINE
I am a mid-morning girl, but would LOVE to become an early-morning girl: especially since I don't have to be at work until 10am. I will definitely try these tips out!

Thanks!! Report
EFAY32
I was never, ever a morning person until after I graduated college and got a full time job. Now, I love waking up at 7am on a Saturday and just enjoying the quiet of the house and sun rising. It's so peaceful. Still, 7am is my limit. I have trouble getting up earlier than that and not feeling tired. So far anyway. Report
I'm sort of curious as to WHY us night owls have to change?

I'm happy being a night owl, even if it makes some days more miserable than others (because I'm tired.) But I've tried for years to "be a morning" person, and while I'm much better than I was, I will always be a night owl.

I sort of love how this article was written by someone describing themselves as always being a morning person...you sure know a lot about making that change! Report
I've tried, but with a husband who works an opposite shift, I stay up really late on the weekends in order to catch up on time with him!

Someday, maybe, but for now, I'm not stressing about it. Report
I have always been a morning person, but now due to scheduling, I may have to work out later than 6 am, maybe even in the evening! the thought is making me sick, I have zero energy in the afternoon/evenings. Report
I am by birth a night prson ,have always been one.
However it is possible to 'retrain' I do get up with my DH at 5;15 am to go to gym
and therefor I go to bet at 10;00pm, but if i stay up longer i revert back to the "night owl" state Report
PIXIESTIX6669
Yep, I've changed from a night owl to a morning person since adjusting my lifestyle...I dig it! I've always loved the mornings... Report
I like getting up early in the morning. It is my quiet time. Report
I'm content being a night owl. Report
GUDDIGO
I have always been a morning person....but not my choice... Report
I will never be a morning person, circadian rhythm or not. I've been waking up at 6 a.m. for months and my body will still not allow me to fall asleep before 10pm. 11-12pm is more doable, but I still never experience exhaustion to the point of actually WANTING to fall asleep at those times, despite being a very active person. But when I do fall asleep, I crash for at least 8 hours and I sleep like a rock, which is why waking up early will never be one of my favorite things to do!!! Report
PRUSSIANETTE
This blog doesn't really make a lot of sense to me. The people I know that aren't "morning" people don't go to bed late at night. And, they get up early in the morning, so getting up "20 minutes earlier each day" would be ludicrous. They simply are not mentally at their peak until later in the morning. Report
EMMANYC
I'm a morning person but there have been phases in my life (e.g., as a student) when I functioned more like a night person, getting up at 10 or 11 and staying up studying until 2 or 3. Report
I'm a night owl mascarading as a morning person. I leave my house for work at 5:30. I've done it for over 10 years but I love being able to stay up late and sleep in on the weekends, even though I know it's harder for me. I also exercise around 4-5 in the afternoon when I get home. I just feel like I have more energy then, plus, I couldn't get up any earlier than I do to exercise. Report
MAGGIE101857
Have always been a morning person - but my BH is a night owl. Makes life interesting!!! Report
MSKIZ69
Mornings definitely work for me--starting with a workout gets me going to take on the day!! Report