General Question

intrepidium's avatar

Never a morning person - can I change?

Asked by intrepidium (1215 points ) July 22nd, 2011

For years, I’m barely human in the morning and definitely not someone to talk to before I had my cup of Joe. I’m curious as to how much of this is hardwired as part of one’s character – can and do people change their morning ‘types’ even in middle age from a curmudgeon to more of a Polyanna type (without going through electroshock therapy or anything drastic like that)?

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37 Answers

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

Maybe.
Personally, I’ve tried every trick in the book… and I am still not a morning person. My parents always joke that I wouldn’t sleep at night as an infant, toddler, child, teen, or adult. Still waiting to grow out of it 29 years later.

intrepidium's avatar

Hmmm maybe I shouldn’t hold my breath then huh? Last thing I wanna do is have to reach for my bong 1st thing in the morning just so I’d be sociable…

filmfann's avatar

I made that change in my 30’s.
Now, even on my days off, I am bright awake at 5 or 6am.

gondwanalon's avatar

You most likely will never become a true morning person but don’t let that stop you from trying.

A morning person is like an electric car, they simply turn on and go. I’m like a steam locomotive. It takes a while for my boiler to build up some pressure before I can get going. Which includes a couple of cups of green tea.

I don’t consider myself a morning person, yet for years I regularly get up at 4:30 a.m. so that I can exercise for at least one hour each day before going off to work.

You don’t have to be all bright-eyed and bushy tailed to function adequately in the early morning. All you need is a desire to make it happen.

woodcutter's avatar

A morning romp in the sheets should put a twinkle in your eye. No?

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

You got to get to bed at a reasonable hour, first and foremost. Upon first inkling of awakening, you’ve got to just leap out of bed and get moving. I exercise while brushing my teeth.

Sleeping in late is often a sign of depression.

Great Question!

Coloma's avatar

I’ve been both, the balance is pretty good these days.

Yes, you can modify your sleeping habits.

It will just take discipline to get started. Probably going without sleep so you can regulate going to bed earlier and set the changes in motion.

‘They’ say it takes 3 weeks to make or break a habit..but, it can be done.

You are re-programming your bio clock to a new setting and that will take some adjusting.

I have always popped out of bed and been ready to start chattering away, my brain wakes up quickly, but my body is taking longer these days. lol

I go to bed sometimes, really early in the winter, but, regardless, I always wake around sunrise. Sometimes, like now in mid-summer, I usually stay up til at least 11, sometimes midnight or later, I still pop awake at sunrise, but I will dash out naked to the barn at 5:30, let the animals out and then go back to bed til maybe 7ish.

I do have a really chill 11 to 5–6 work schedule, but, I have farm pets that are screaming to be let out of their barn at daybreak. Not to mention the ‘neigh-bors’ the herd of mules and donkeys that sound off for hay at the first light.

As long as I get my 8–9 hrs. a few times a week I’m good.
I do like winter though when I get lots of good sleep.

intrepidium's avatar

@gondwanalon So maybe the trick is to get up super early so I’d have a head start on getting warmed up by the time most other people are awake… hmmm that’s a thought. Not too sure about exercising so early myself – I recall reading about some research study on how more heart attacks happen before 9am than anytime, triggered in part by early stress and exertions?

As to desiring it to happen, I do when I’m wide awake (like now) but in the mornings, I’d be resentful of even the thought and be cussing etc. I’m kinda hoping to skip past that stage somehow…

@woodcutter No can do without a fellow romper – and trying it would be like making out with a Black Widow spider and we all know how that usually goes

intrepidium's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies Maybe there’s that too – to just get going real quick and without thinking or dwelling on how lousy I feel. Sounds simple but we’ll see – probably easier said than done, but sure worth a shot

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

@intrepidium are you getting enough sleep at night? Or is that part of the problem?

intrepidium's avatar

@ANef_is_Enuf I get an average of 7 a night and it’s pretty standard for most folks – so that can’t be it…

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

“without thinking or dwelling on how lousy I feel”

OK you’re being a bit more forthcoming now. That’s good! And your desire to question your current routine is also good. Consider that sleeping in late may be a symptom, and not necessarily a lifestyle.

I think you’re on the right track. It’s tough, but you got to force it. And you will have lapses. You got to get over them. I can vouch for vitamin D being a tremendous help. I eat mushrooms constantly just to keep my mood positive. If I don’t eat them, I’ll sleep in late and then beat myself up mentally for being such a loser. It’s weird how chemistry works.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

BTW… if you try the mushroom thing, set them out in the sunlight for thirty seconds before eating them. Do this with the gills facing upward and they will increase their vitamin D content by 10,000X… NO SHIT. During the time they are sitting in the sunlight, soaking up all the power of the universe, consider meditating or praying a few nice thoughts about yourself. One consistent theme I meditate and pray about is patience and motivation. Be kind to yourself. Forgive yourself.

woodcutter's avatar

Psilocybin?

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

I’ve never tried it. But I will one day. I won’t do that until I can approach it with the respect it deserves, and for the reasons most personal to my own awareness. Not intended to suggest that for issues of sleeping in later than one thinks they should @woodcutter.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

@woodcutter that would make anyone a morning person.

woodcutter's avatar

I was thinking the first few times would be a little crazy but once you built up some resistance to it there would be something much more manageable. You know, to that point where the laughing isn’t as bad.

skfinkel's avatar

I heard a lecture on this and learned about the research done that showed that 20% of people are morning people and 20% night people, and they don’t change.

Coloma's avatar

I’m a 9er for optimum zip and performance. 8 is good, 7, borderline, 5–6, I’m a zombie.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

Well then @Coloma. Better hope Velma never pays you a visit between 5–6 am.

Coloma's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies

Haha
No prob. that’s the usual time I wake up, courtesy of the barnyard friends. :-)

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

When left to my own devices I’m lucky to be in bed by 9am, certainly not waking up.

New studies are finding that the tendency to be a night owl are genetic, and may link back to the early evolution of man.

john65pennington's avatar

I love my wife, but in the morning, she is like a bear that’s fresh out of the woods and mean as a snake. For the first five years of our marriage, I attempted to change her sleeping habits, so we could be two sane people in the morning. Boy, did I get a fooling. She fixed a bowl of cream of wheat one morning that was so thick, that a spoon stood straight up in it and stayed there. Needles to say, we had some down and out words for each other.

Since that morning, I began to realize that my wife was having a difficult time sleeping. After two sleep studies, her doctor told her she had aleep apnea. She would go into Relm Sleep for about 3 minutes, at the beginnig of her going to bed, rather than at the end of sleeping. In other words, she could sleep for 3 minutes and it was like a whole nights sleep for her. Now, I understand her sleep disorder. She was prescribed Lunesta and it has been a miracle for her.

Case in point is that not all people are truly night people. Some have sleep disorders that make them this way.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

@john65pennington that’s true, absolutely. But the OP stated that s/he has never been a morning person.

Aethelflaed's avatar

I don’t think so. For me, no amount of going to sleep at a proper time, and getting up at a proper time, and doing this as a set schedule every day will make the first 3 or 4 hours after I get up any more pleasant. I just don’t do well until about noon.

scarletheels's avatar

Nope. I have never been a morning person and never will be. I believe we all have an internal clock and, no matter what steps you take to condition yourself, it will never work.

Blueroses's avatar

Some people are more “wired” for nights. I’m one, and it has nothing to do with diet or vitamins; I just come to life after twilight. That said, I have trained myself to be a morning person because I had to.

It’s a matter of “act as if.” Think to yourself how you would feel if you were a morning person and act that way. It becomes reality fairly quickly.

But stick with it, even on your days off. When I have complete freedom (vacation), I quickly fall back into my rhythm that feels natural – awake until 4 am, sleep until 11.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

@Blueroses same here. I have trouble adhering to a morning schedule even when I’m doing it regularly, I have to admit. But, all it takes is one day to switch me right back in the other direction. You really have to stick with it.

Aethelflaed's avatar

@Blueroses But… when I think of how a morning person would act and feel, all I come up with is a person so perky and bubbly and judgmental towards those who aren’t that they make everyone’s shit list in 7 minutes flat… Yes, I’m thinking of a few very specific people. But the point stands – this is not an improvement.

Blueroses's avatar

@Aethelflaed I know morning people are annoying but you have to put yourself into that mindset. “Act” like one. Try getting up with the attitude “Fabulous! I love being awake with the birds and the smell of the dew.” It really helped me to have to adjust during the warm time of year when it is very pleasant outside in the morning. Stagger out of bed and get outside ASAP.

My brain still doesn’t fully engage until after 2 pm, but I can fake it until then.

Aethelflaed's avatar

@Blueroses But again, how is pathologically annoying really any better? The whole point is to improve your life, and I think if everyone hates me so much that they’re plotting ways to screw with me (putting urine in my coffee, rearranging all my files, etc) that’s not really an improvement.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

I don’t think that pretending to be a morning person, and really changing your tendency to not be a morning person, are the same thing.
I think you’re born with it, or you’re not. Then again, I don’t expect the morning people in my life to ever be up to washing walls with me at 2am.

Aethelflaed's avatar

@ANef_is_Enuf Very true. All the pretending in the world won’t make it so that my head doesn’t feel like a sledgehammer hit the back of it.

Hibernate's avatar

I don’t eat in the morning and I usually get out of the bed really hard [unless I gotta go to the bath].

I got used with it and didn’t try to change after a few tries.
Now it’s all good.

Supacase's avatar

There are methods of retraining your sleep cycle. One is lengthy – something along the lines of going to bed and waking up 15 minutes earlier every few days until you’re on schedule. The other method only takes a couple of weeks, but is more of a shock to your system and requires significant and immediate changes in behavior. I have the paper from my sleep specialist around here somewhere… will be back with more specifics if I am able to find it.

I have made several honest attempts at becoming a morning person and have managed to at least keep up the schedule, if not exactly the attitude, for quite some time. I always revert back to being a night owl, though.

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