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sarahjane90's avatar

Tips for becoming a "morning person"? How do you do it?

Asked by sarahjane90 (1805points) January 27th, 2011

I am definitely a “night owl” offender. I am actually very productive at night, doing my work and household duties, but I feel terrible all day (drowsy, irritable). Everything seems much more exciting at night, I seem to have a lot more brain activity going on the later it gets. I usually take Ambien, but sometimes I even stay awake through it! Watching tv is also a problem – I really enjoy doing it at night.

The problem is, I am much more productive over the day time if I do manage to wake up at a reasonable time. Getting to sleep before midnight is difficult too. What are some ways you train yourself to be a morning person? How do you encourage yourself to get to sleep at a reasonable hour in the night?

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26 Answers

Lightlyseared's avatar

A double espresso.

thorninmud's avatar

One thing that really seems to help reset the circadian rhythms is morning exposure to bright light, especially blue or green wavelengths. Here’s a report on the research.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I don’t. I don’t think you can just switch like that. I can approximate a morning person if I had more than the usual number of hours of sleep.

mrlaconic's avatar

First couple of days force your self out of bed and go for a nice jog pretty soon you will be waking yourself up to go do it.

Cruiser's avatar

It’s all in your routine. Try going to bed and especially waking up at the same time everyday including the weekends. I have to wake up at 5:15 every work day and I tend to rise about the same time on weekends I most always wake right before the alarm. It is hard for me but somehow I survive. Good luck

markehost's avatar

I would say, accept who you are and adapt your life to your body. Its better to live comfortably than to force yourself to be someone you are not, based on social norms.

That being said. If you want to do this, you need to be a morning person, you need to gradually adjust your circadian rhythm. But it takes a long time and dedication.

Here is a great article on sleep and how to stay awake longer by taking naps… with some neuro research thrown in for interest.

SmashTheState's avatar

In the long term, I don’t think it’s possible to change. As a young child, I wept when I was put to bed because I just wasn’t tired. I’d sneak books into bed with me and read them under the blankets with a booklight. My parents were frazzled trying to force me to sleep at nights. They just never understood that I was born a night person.

Over the decades I’ve been forced to conform myself to the tyranny of the diurnal majority, but my circadian rhythms have always eventually reset themselves to my baseline, which is diametrically opposed to most of the population. As a result I suffer great discrimination (with which you are no doubt familiar) like noise bylaws condoning ear-splitting construction during the daylight hours while I’m trying to sleep, while every store is closed during the hours I’m awake.

Really, I think you’re stuck being nocturnal.

KatawaGrey's avatar

I am ordinarily not a morning person either. However, when I need to be, what does it for me is waking up at least an hour earlier than I have to. This way, I have time to do things slowly rather than rushing through my morning routine. It also allows for things like a bigger, tastier breakfast and a slightly longer shower. Usually, I lie in bed for a half hour or so and read and then make myself a nice breakfast and go on the computer. This way, I’ve started my routine earlier than usual and I’ve given myself some time to wake all the way up.

sarahjane90's avatar

@SmashTheState I feel exactly like you. I was also the same kind of child, my parents didn’t get a full nights sleep until I was almost 8!

Rarebear's avatar

Go to bed earlier.

TheBot's avatar

Agree with @Rarebear , the hardest part of becoming a morning person is to stop being an evening person. As you progressively become used to waking up 2–3 hours earlier, you’ll also feel more and more incapable of staying up. I also tend to be a night owl, but do sometimes shift to early mornings out of necessity, say during the second half of a semester of study or something. It feels good to be up very early and be up and running when others just get out of bed, but it also sucks to be tired as hell at 11pm when everyone is going out. Also somewhat agree with @SmashTheState : you will have a natural tendency that you can almost not get rid of. I say almost because like with everything, you may just be able to form a strong enough habit to counterbalance your nature.

charliecompany34's avatar

being a morning person is inherited. if you always knew your dad or mom to wake early and start doing stuff around the house, you found yourself doing the same. if you were part of a family that always did chores or outdoor work, morning became a part of you and you understood later in life that the early bird really does catch the worm.

i shop for groceries at 7 in the morning because i want to get it out the way to not have to deal with crowds later on. when people are late afternoon shopping, i’m home already and doing what i gotta do at home.

faye's avatar

@charliecompany34 I disagree. I was born into a farm family, but I am a night owl. Fortunately I could work evenings as a nurse or nights and this worked well for me.

charliecompany34's avatar

@faye i feel ya. everybody don’t always get up with the birds. early to bed early to rise. everybody is not a morning person. my wife starts cleaning up at 11 at night. i mean, major projects like totally detailing a closet. every mountain she climbs at night i’ve already climbed 18 hours ago.

sarahjane90's avatar

@charliecompany34 Both my Mom and Dad are very active morning people. I was only a morning person when one of them came in my bedroom, usually brandishing a yard stick with the hope that it would get me hopping out of bed. Ok, that did work, but I don’t have Mom and Dad as my alarm any longer! lol.

josie's avatar

See @Cruiser It’s a matter of conditioning. I never knew what 0500 was until I went to basic training. After a while, it made a lot of sense. Since humans get most of their sensory information from vision, you are designed to operate in the daylight. You have to act according to your nature, or you are living dishonestly.

charliecompany34's avatar

@sarahjane90 yup, i tend to do my kids the same way. they all hate mornings unless getting up means doing something they really want to do. but i feel later in life, they will embrace the morning as much as i do.

i’d rather go for a run in the early morning than in the afternoon because the streets are quieter. an early morning person loves early mornings because they want to get things accomplished. not that night people don’t, but mornings have certain rewards only morning people will ever understand.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

I did it one year by making myself become ultra organized. I’d lay out my clothes the night before, tidy up my bathroom and bedroom, think of what I’d eat for breakfast and then make myself jump from the bed with the alarm and rush into the shower. It took several months to get into it but it worked. To get to sleep though, I need to be clean and rub lotion on my feet and hands. The bed also has to feel clean and fresh to me.

Buttonstc's avatar

As other owls have already mentioned, it’s possible to do but realize that you are facing a LIFELONG battle. Your genetics are your genetics. Most night owls recall being the same way since childhood. I spent all my childhood nights half smothering myself reading under the covers with a flashlight :) I just wasn’t tired enough to fall asleep at 7–10 PM every night.

Ambien and any other types of prescription sleeping pills are a horrible idea for two primary reasons. They have a VERY HIGH potential for addiction.

Secondly, they interfere with your QUALITY of sleep because they disrupt or partially eliminate the natural REM cycles. REM refers to the dreaming phases of sleep which are so necessary for brain restoration.

The importance of sleep for health lies not only in the quantity of sleep but the QUALITY.

Prescription sleep meds (or alcohol) severely decrease the quality of sleep because they impose upon its natural rhythms.

Before you make a decision about this do yourself a favor and do some research about this. Armed with some facts about what the state of the art research in this area has revealed, you will be in a better position to decide if you want to engage in a lifelong struggle against your genetics.

I can’t do links from iPhone but this is simple enough. One of the best websites for accurate info about the latest in sleep research is

Once you’re on the site, input the following into their search bar:


This will take you to a good starter page with lots of areas to explore. For starters try the sections focusing upon “LARKS and OWLS” and read the section about the “CLOCK GENE”

Just because both your parents are morning people doesn’t mean diddly-squat. Ever hear about “recessive genes” ?

Armed with some further info on this whole subject, you can then make the best decision for yourself.

I had spent a good portion of my younger years thinking I was an insomniac. The plain fact was, I was trying to force my body to sleep at the wrong times. Once I got into a position where I could sleep when I was tired and wake up when refreshed (regardless of what society thought about it) I never had any problems needing sleeping pills or alarm clocks. I learned to trust my body’s own rhythms and ability to take care of itself.

I don’t have insomnia at all now (and actually never did). I’m just in that 30% of the population with an atypical sleep cycle. It doesn’t make me lazy or slothful, just different. I didn’t choose it. That’s just the way it is. Once I accepted that, life improved immeasurably. I don’t sleep any more hours than anybody else. I just sleep at different times.

But there are others in that 30% who take a different path due to either choice or necessity. Everyone has to find their own way. But the better one is armed with accurate information, the better they will be in a position to make the best decision for themselves.

I don’t have much helpful DIY advice for you on forcing yourself to be a lark, but I know it can me done if one chooses that route. You’d be better off seeking the guidance of a sleep specialist. Possibly get a study done at a sleep lab. This will reveal much about what the problem actually is.

Do some research on light boxes. I’m not talking about ordinary light bulbs, but those specifically designed to give off a particular spectrum of light. Sleep specialists have had success with combining these along with some precise gradual schedule changes to re-set the internal clock, so to speak.

They’ve had the most success with rotating shift workers, airline personnel, and frequent travelers. But these are primarily folks in the 70% with typical sleep patterns being disrupted by their work or circumstances. The right combination of light and sleep-wake schedule can swing them back to normal fairly quickly and efficiently.

For owls, it really depends more upon strict adherence to those morning patterns, once established. This means no sleeping in on weekend mornings or late night weekend movie marathons. Every day has to be treated the same. Body rhythm patterns don’t comprehend “downtime” off schedule weekends :)

So, changing your natural body rhythm can certainly be done but it won’t be that easy and will require CONSTANT discipline and vigilance to maintain.

Do ypuself a favor and get some more accurate info before you decide. Good luck.

Staalesen's avatar

Early up, early to bed ;)

sarahjane90's avatar

Thank you for all your feedback. I will read into all the articles you all have suggested. I do have to say that Ambien really changed my life for the better. I use to wake up nearly every two hours, even when I was able to sleep. Sometimes I wouldn’t be able to get back to sleep when I woke up. At least now I do get a full nights sleep (albeit depending on when I do get to sleep ;) ) I don’t mind taking something that is actually helping me feel better. Anymore it is not so much getting to sleep, its more trying to eliminate the battle and habit of wanting to stay up lateā€¦ eg. starting some silly project, determined to read on some topic I suddenly thought of as important. I did discover, not drinking any caffeinated drink after 2 PM has worked well in allowing me to wind down as the day goes on. Maybe an easy thing for someone to try if you’re also experiencing this same sort of issue.

vannaguo's avatar

1. get a boyfriend
2. let him sleep over for the night
3. wakeup s..

chewhorse's avatar

I have found the common denominator that makes a person a morning or night person (and those in between).. It has to do with the hour and minute of birth.. If you were born in the morning (6:00am to 6:00pm) then you are (1) a morning person and (2) as you get closer to the 6pm period a bit more difficult.. The same works for night owls (6:00pm to 6:00am) where the first four hours are definite night people working up to 6am as being less a night person.. So if born at 6:35am you would have no problem waking up early.4:00pm would probably be a bit difficult but not impossible.. 7:30pm you would enjoy working graveyard shift but 5am could make you drowsy in the middle of the shift.. So, determine your birth hour and minute and see how easy (or hard) it would be to go against your own nature. And if you were born a 6:00am but still have a problem getting up then your working on a cusp and/or it could simply be laziness or the lack of a good nights sleep like a bed or pillow that doesn’t help you get comfortable..

Buttonstc's avatar


Do you have citations for any reliable, scientific studies to back that up ? It’s an interesting theory, but upon what is it founded ?

If it’s founded upon the assumptions of an astrologer, I wouldn’t place as much confidence in it as I would in sleep labs associated with universities who have done extensive sleep studies with volunteers.

If it has any validity, it shouldn’t be that difficult to prove with an unbiased scientific study.

But I’ve yet to encounter that in papers written about sleep studies.

chewhorse's avatar

That’s probably because it hasn’t been studied by the scientific arena but because it hasen’t, does it null it’s potential validity? I have determined this through my own investigation when I noticed (possibly as coincidence) factors that led me to this theory.. Whether the scientific world (which I do not view as all inclusive) determines this to be a reality or a farced sham is immaterial (to me) that I see this when ever I view someone’s birth hour convinces me to continue comparing the two through further study.. That I revealed this on this forum only indicates that it is my and only my opinion..
Let’s just say that I indulge in minute details such as the detail concerning Adam & Eve (for those who believe).. These being the only created man/woman how then could their race had multiplied once children were born? Through incest? There had to be at least another unrelated humaniod race for this to have happened (especially the story of cain & abel).. Yet nothing is said of this most important issue. And because I have brought this out, then those who ponder such thoughts can indeed place biblical evolution with scientific evolution because their separate in their prospective field yet at the same time combined to give it a mystical element.. In my mind no mystical event at all, simply (at least) two separate races (possibly extraterristrial as the bible even indicates)..

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