T Nation

Can You Become a Morning Person?

This is something I have been wondering every morning when my alarm goes off.

Do you think being a morning person or night person is something that you can become, or is everyone just born with a certain body chemistry that dictates which of the two they will be.

I’ve always considered myself a night person, not much problem staying up late, but i have trouble sometimes waking up early.

Just something i thought i would throw out there.

Yes, absolutely. Get to bed early, get enough sleep, and you won’t have any trouble getting up earlier.

I would be very surprised if you couldn’t. Human beings can be conditioned to do almost anything…

Gradually build up to it.

Good question. I used to be a morning person until 12-14, or better said untill being up as much as possible became cool. Turning it back naturally seem impossible

However a few weird rituals seem to help momentarily:

  • Wake up in a warm room
  • Don’t think (this is a must, because brain will give 1.000.000.000 answers of why it’s better to keep on sleeping)
  • Get out of bed asap! (or brain will convince me to stay)
  • Do something asap! (allso to keep brain from working unproductive)
  • Start imageing something complex in your head (Brain systems check :slight_smile:

Tiredness seems to be directly proportional with the time I use from the moment my counscious knows it’s not sleeping, to when I’m starting to do something. But the bed is sooo warm and tempting ;(. I’ll be watching the thread if more suggestions come. Permanatly becoming a natural morning guy I don’t believe is possible tho.

I think some people, like myself, never get used to getting up in the morning.

It doesn’t matter if I go to bed early or not, I always battle in the morning.

I am proud of the fact that I have never been late for work in my working life, but every day it is a struggle to get up and get going.

I think some people’s natural rythmns are this way.

As an aside, I have been taking ZMA recently which definitely increases the quality of my sleep BUT makes it harder for me to wake up in the morning. I sleep through my alarm or other small noises.

I do feel better once awake though, and wake up with a massive boner too.

Well, when I was a fat ass I slept in all the time, and could never eat breakfast. Now, when it’s traing season I wake up at 5am to do cardio and eat a healthy breakfast. I don’t like it, but I do it. Doesn’t really have much to do with being a morning person, I’m not, I just a the desire and willpower to do it.

I too have been taking ZMA over the last few months. I don’t really feel much more refreshed in the am.

For me, whether i get a good nights sleep seems to depend more on what time I wake up than how much sleep i get.

That might seem weird, but i can go to bed at midnight and wake at 6:30 am and feel very tired, but last weekend went to bed at 6:30 am and woke at around noon and felt well rested, although hung over.

I try to get to bed early, but never seem to be able to fall asleep before a certain time no matter how much sleep i got the night before.

PharmD Pete, it’s also very important for you to establish a consistent rhythm with your body. You need to get to bed at a decent hour, get enough sleep, then wake up at the same time very morning. Even on weekends.

I didn’t say it would be easy. :slight_smile: I just said it’s possible.

Don’t underestimate the need for a consistent rhythm.

The Army, years back, when doing weekend leave sort of thing, used to let the soldiers go when the time came, and they didn’t have to be back until leave was over, say by early Monday morning when role was called.

They discovered that they got better health results out of their soldiers if they required them to be at role call every morning at the same time, regardless of how late they stayed up the night before. In other words, they could climb into bed at 5:30, but have to be up for role call at 6:00. After that, they could have another day off. But the simple fact of requiring them to be awake and at roll call at the same time every morning, even on the “off days”, made for a healthier soldier.

This is as I remember it as told to me by my doctor, so please forgive me if it’s not entirely accurate. But the point is, no matter when you go to sleep, if you force yourself to be up at the same time, the morning thing will come. If you need to take a nap later in the morning, or early afternoon, then that’s fine. But keep the rhythm.

NO, if you are truly not a morning person genetically, it is NOT possible to change that fact. Read this:

Thank GOD someone finally studied this in order to prove that I’m not crazy. I’ve been working for over 7 years now in a job that requires me to get up at 5:30 in the morning. I always do it, am never late for work, but always, ALWAYS feel like shit, no matter how early I try to go to bed. It’s something I absolutely deplore, yet cannot change. I envy tremendously those who just naturally “pop up” at 6:00 or 7:00 am on weekends with no alarm.

All my life I’ve been a night owl, the antithesis of a morning person, and so has everyone in my immediate family (my sister and both parents). ALL of us are capable of being disciplined enough to get up whenever we need to and do what we have to do. BUT, even though we get up super-early during the week (me especially), as soon as Saturday rolls around, even if I went to bed at 10:00 pm on Friday night, I sleep until 11:00 or 12:00 on Saturday. EVERY weekend. Explain that? I am NOT genetically programmed to be a morning person. And I strongly resent those who claim, “All you have to do is teach yourself to go to bed a bit earlier!” Yeah, ok, tough guy. Now try it with my genetic makeup. Doesn’t work – period. I get up early, but I loathe it, and I function at half power, at best.

Being a morning person may have something to do with hormonal imbalances. I have heard that low cortisol (spelling?) levels upon rising makes it a lot harder to wake up. That being said, I feel will power and keeping with your circadian rhythm or of extreme importance. I have also heard that if you stay up late on Friday night, your circadian rhythm will be off until Tuesday. I am a layman when it comes to this stuff, but I thought it was worth throwing it out there. Maybe Cy Wilson could explain the cortisol concept a little more and how one could address it if it is true.

Lots of good thoughts.

My initial thoughts were that people had genetic or hormonal makeups that would just determine if you were an “early bird” or a “night owl.”

I agree with those who say you can condition yourself to make it easier, but as someone else said, for some it will be a lifetime struggle and we may never be able to overcome out chemical or genetic disposition to stay up late.

i would deff like to hear some profesional comments from the T-Nation staff on the cortisol and the study.

motion for a reply!!!

I worked graveyard loading trucks for two years (10:00 to 4:00) while getting my teaching degree with independent study courses. I slept fro 4:00 AM to 2:00 PM most days (after eating 6 cream filled chocolate long johns and drinking a quart of whole milk). I then went straight into student teaching which required me to be out the door by 5:50 AM. It wasn’t a problem because I was excited to get to my teaching, but the next year when I started teaching full time I would flat out fall asleep during my lunch break or off periods. That took about a year to go away.

Wait until you have kids, they seem to wake up at 5:30-600 every Saturday and Sunday…

I can’t wait until they are teenagers that want to sleep in until 1:00! I will then get my revenge!

I can wait…

Did you ever try light therapy? Before the advent of modern electricity people used to live with the sun’s rhythm. Since this is not possible for most of us one may try to stimulate sunrise (and sunset).

Two products that may be helpful in adjusting your life to getting up early are:

  1. An alarm clock that wakes you up with light. There are several manufacturers. I found one on the mercola-site: mercola.com/forms/sun_alarm_clock.htm Personally I’ve used Lumie’s Bodyclock in the past and liked it. bodykind.com/productdetails/CatIDx67/ProdIDx125/lumie-bodyclock-advanced-daylight-alarm-clock-1x.htm
  2. As an alternative or in addition to such an alarm clock you may use bright light in the morning, employing a light box. Again I found one at the mercola site: mercola.com/forms/light_boxes.htm

You may also want to have a look at these site:
lighttherapyproducts.com/

I have no personal experience with light boxes but plan to buy one soon to help with my insomnia. If anybody has experience with light boxes I’d be happy to read about it.

My view on this issue is that many people are forced into unhealthy lifestyles by job, school, or family obligations, thus leading to bad habbits which can be hard to correct. Genetics may well play a part, but I’m convinced that society is the main culprit. From the time that children are 6, they are forced into a “lark” routine that gets worse and worse as they age. By high school, most teenagers’ sleep schedules are a complete disaster. This is a well documented fact whose ramifications are easily noticeable in any high school classroom. For a healthier populace, schools ought to start no earlier than 9:00 AM in the morning, and run much shorter than they do now.

[quote]Al Shades wrote:
My view on this issue is that many people are forced into unhealthy lifestyles by job, school, or family obligations, thus leading to bad habbits which can be hard to correct. Genetics may well play a part, but I’m convinced that society is the main culprit. From the time that children are 6, they are forced into a “lark” routine that gets worse and worse as they age. By high school, most teenagers’ sleep schedules are a complete disaster. This is a well documented fact whose ramifications are easily noticeable in any high school classroom. For a healthier populace, schools ought to start no earlier than 9:00 AM in the morning, and run much shorter than they do now.[/quote]

Bullshit.
When I was in HS we started at 8. My parents–and the parents of all the kids I knew–made sure we were in bed by 10 at the latest on school nights.
If there were more parents like that now it wouldn’t be an issue.
And what happens when you get to college and have an 8AM class? Or a job where you need to be there at 7 or at least leave the house at 6 30 or so?
You can’t blame society for everything you don’t like.

[quote]Al Shades wrote:

For a healthier populace, schools ought to start no earlier than 9:00 AM in the morning, and run much shorter than they do now.[/quote]

Al, I have to disagree. It is normal to get up and get going in the morning.

It is abnormal to sit and type on the computer or watch TV after dark.

I was always a night person. I would stay out until 2 AM doing whatever or sitting on my computer and I wouldn’t crawl out of bed until noon.

But now, after college and 2 years of working full-time, I’d say I’m a morning person. I even get up at 8 AM on the weekends (not because of my alarm either, I just get outta bed on my own).