The Magical Life Of The Morning Person

It's a little sad, but if I could change one thing about myself it would be to magically turn into a morning person. There was an article in the Evening Standard this week called, "Why Morning People Rule the World" and that pretty much says it all.

Also, my Dad thinks non-morning people are lazy. This article agreed. "Morning-ness is perceived as a sign of activity and zest, whereas evening-ness implies laziness and loafing," it explained.

But the article also stated that scientists have been able to prove that we don't have much choice over when we are awake – our genes dictate our natural propensity for being more alert at certain times of the day. Apparently we evolved this way so that there would always be someone awake to scope out danger, like rival tribes attacking or hungry stray coyotes. Unfortunately, these days, if you want to have a job, most are 9 to 5-ish – take it or leave it.

Thus, mornings are a dark time for me. I'm not really prone to depression (I'm more the anxious, paranoid, high-strung type), but I get a taste of what it might be like as I peel my body from the sheets and drag my corpse-like body into the shower. "I just can't go on like this," I think as I'm washing my hair. I've tried everything to make this process less painful and I just can't seem to, no matter what time I go to bed or how many pancake breakfasts I promise myself I'll make.

So what's a sluggish girl to do? First, there's coffee. I try to keep it to one in the morning and then tea or maybe soda for the post-lunch dip. My grandmother will be 94 this year and she drinks a reasonable amount of coffee. She's totally fine – and much sprightlier than me, I should add. She still does aerobics.

Second, I've learned to work with what I've got. I resisted this for a very long time. There were experiments with getting up early to write in the morning before work or trying to establish a morning meditation routine. As if. Morning meditation is just a good excuse for going back to sleep. Now I dismiss these silly ideas straight away. When I started thinking about when to write this blog, I conceded it would have to be after work or maybe during my lunch break.

Third, I am trying to get up at the same time (that ungodly hour of 7 a.m.) every day to at least have a routine, instead of convincing myself I can go back to sleep for just another five minutes about 20 times. And then I am extremely kind to myself about when I get to things in the morning. I don't do too much brain-powered work first thing as I ease into my day. I also don't eat right away – I'm just not hungry – no matter what those experts say about breakfast first thing. And I've started walking to the further train station so I have 25 minutes of sustained heart pumping blood around my body. I certainly don't walk fast – it's more like painful plodding – but by the time I get on the train I have started to feel less like a zombie.

I am still hoping that I will someday stumble on an article with a really good suggestion for how to change myself into a morning person without the aid of a fairy godmother (believe me, I have looked). There are still many mornings when I am able to convince myself that I can probably sleep until 8 a.m. and make it into work by 9 a.m., even though it takes me about an hour to get there. On those mornings, even if it is sub zero outside, my hair is dripping wet and probably I am not wearing matching socks.

I wonder if there are similar challenges for morning people. Personally I can't imagine them, but if you're a morning person, please do comment, I'd be quite interested to hear how your life is less magical than I think.


  1. One of my new year's resolutions this year was to get up at 6 am so I could do my creative projects, because in the evening after my 10 hour work day I was WAY too tired. I normally set my alarm for 6.45 am. So I set it about 5 minutes earlier every week, until I got to 6. Then, I had a rule that I had to get out of bed within 5 minutes of my alarm going off. It's still not easy, but I'm doing it. You do get used to it.

    The latest wrinkle is that ,for some reason, I wake up at 5.20 am. I have no idea why. Someone has decided that that is what I must do. My big debate now is weather I just get up and roll with it, or hit snooze for an hour!

  2. For as long as I can remember my body clock has always been programmed to wake up between 5am and 6 am. Even on those nights I'm out until 3 am, I find it difficult to sleep beyond 8 am - as much as I wish I could sleep until noon - and even then, I'm forcing myself to stay in bed. I'm never going to be one of those people who gets the recommended 8 hours a day, and I'm no more productive for it. I just lounge around the apartment, enjoying a cup of coffee while watching music television - hardly reflecting activity and zest as the Evening Standard asserts. But maybe this is my down time and it allows me to get through my day and my nights. If you aren't a morning person, don't be hard on yourself. Embrace the sleep that we sleep-deprived long for.

  3. Thanks K, for sharing the downside to being a morning person! It's a good lesson that the grass isn't always greener. And CC, I'm impressed you were able to do that. How did you stick to the 5 minute rule? Was there something specific you told yourself? I think that's the moment where my willpower always breaks down!

  4. The real downer to be a SLEEPER person, rather than morning or night. I seem to be most productive in the right working hours, 9-11'ish. Sounds perfect? As if... 2-hour a day productiveity is by no means highly welcome in the 8-10 hour working day jobs. For me your routine of going out after work is impossible as I'm so exhausted after 7 pm, that any entertainment takes form of a sheer torture. How's that for a talent? I can't function if I get less than 7.5 hour average daily sleep, and it's a luxury nowadays. I don't mind how these hours stock-pile, as long as they are within the 24-hour preiod. May be siesta is an answer? Shall I move to Spain? My dream is to be able to leave on 6-hour sleep routine! And grass is definitely only greener on someone else's pastures :-)


Back to Top