Generally, we define ourselves as either a morning or evening person, also called your chronotype. One's chronotype has been proven to be genetically determined and is, therefore, "hardwired" into us, meaning we cannot change it.
Typically, chronotypes fall onto a spectrum; however, researchers have found four main categories. You are probably already aware of whether you prefer to wake up early or not; however, there are various online tests you can do to figure out your chronotype. The four main categories are loosely named after the respective animal's sleeping patterns.
Bear - this is the most popular chronotype, with around 50% of the population falling into this category. Their sleep cycle follows the sun, and they usually have no problem falling asleep or getting up. Productivity follows regular office hours, and they may experience an energy dip in the afternoon.
Wolf - those with the wolf chronotype are night owls. They usually go to bed late and struggle to wake up. Their productivity is generally highest, just past noon.
Lion - these are the early risers, with productivity highest before midday. They are early to bed and prone to hitting a wall in the afternoon.
Dolphin - this category comprises those who struggle to sleep and typically do not get a full night's sleep. Insomniacs fall into this chronotype.
Individuals who are not biologically inclined to be early risers (wolves or dolphins) find that they perform better in the afternoon. This means that waking up early could be counterproductive, and you could end up feeling groggy in the morning and burnt out by the afternoon when your body is wired to be its most productive.
In saying that, some people have commitments that require them to wake up early despite their chronotype. This may be due to work or lifestyle obligations. Research has shown that being a morning person can be advantageous in many areas of your life, so read on to find out some benefits and tips to becoming one.
Why waking up early is good for you.
Waking up at an earlier hour can set you up for a great day and give you more time to do things you enjoy. Here are some benefits that you can get as an early riser:
More time for a morning workout - typically, starting your day with a workout can set you up for a healthy day ahead, as you are more inclined to make healthy food choices. It can also stimulate a happier day, as exercising encourages the brain to produce endorphins, a "feel good" hormone. This will help start your day with a positive and more optimistic outlook.
Reduces stress - waking up early generally means that you have more time in the day to complete tasks. Therefore, you are less likely to be overwhelmed as you have allowed yourself enough time to complete everything and are not exposed to any time crunch or added pressure. As an additional bonus: waking up early could mean you miss peak hour traffic which could ignite stress or even road rage - this is not how we want to start our day!
More time to make a healthy breakfast - waking up that little bit earlier will give you time to make a balanced, filling breakfast instead of grabbing something unhealthy later - or worse, not eating at all. A filling breakfast will give you more energy to take on the day and keep you feeling full, preventing poor food choices later in the day. Read our 10 Different Ways to Use Protein Powder blog to find a breakfast option that suits you.
Peace and quiet - if you aren't used to it, the calmness in the earlier hours of the morning can be pretty astonishing. Use this time to enjoy no distractions, practice mindfulness or meditation, or just to enjoy a coffee and the sunrise. These moments are much needed every once in a while. They can also help the brain, as your breathing generally becomes more profound and more controlled during these moments, delivering more oxygen to the brain and leaving you calmer.
How to become a morning person?
1. Develop a morning and night routine
By creating a bedtime routine and sticking to it, eventually, this will become a habit, and your brain will acknowledge that it is time to rest. Develop a nighttime routine with calming activities to help you wind down. For example, having a bath, reading a book, meditation or a light stretching session. Doing these things in the same order, night after night, will help this behavioural cue become even more effective.
2. Regular sleep schedule
An irregular sleep schedule can disrupt your Circadian rhythm, which aligns sleeping with day and night. The sleep-wake cycle is a part of the circadian rhythm, and when properly aligned, this rhythm promotes consistent and restorative sleep. When your circadian rhythm is thrown off, the body does not function optimally, and you may experience sleeping problems. A regular sleep schedule will ensure you get consistent and restorative sleep that will leave you more energetic in the mornings.
3. Give yourself something to look forward to
Waking up isn't always easy; sometimes, you need that extra push to get you out of bed in the mornings. Giving yourself something to look forward to will help subside the dread and eventually lead to you enjoying your mornings. An example could be going for a walk with friends, making a breakfast you enjoy or simply appreciating your morning coffee.
4. Natural light
Your circadian rhythm (which we discussed earlier) is synced up to light, so exposing yourself to natural light in the morning will help restore its natural pattern. This will help you feel more awake as light tells your brain it is daytime. If natural light is unavailable, try waking up to a sunrise lamp.
5. Make a note of the positive impacts
By following these tips to becoming a morning person, it is likely that eventually, you will start to enjoy your mornings. Start to take notes and write down the positive feelings you experience or things you feel as a result of waking up early. Refer back to these when you want to give up, and it might just be the thing that keeps you going.
People are generally divided up into certain chronotypes, which affect when you are your most productive.
Some people are not biologically inclined to wake up early and be productive; however, various commitments may require them to be.
Waking up early has considerable upsides and can contribute to a happier life. If you want to become better at waking up early, try our five tips for becoming a morning person.
- Loureiro, F. and Garcia-Marques, T. (2015). Morning or Evening person? Which type are you? Self-assessment of chronotype. Personality and Individual Differences, 86, pp.168–171. doi:10.1016/j.paid.2015.06.022.
- Lee, H.-J. (2021). Is It Advantageous To Be a Morning Person? Chronobiology in Medicine, 3(2), pp.41–42. doi:10.33069/cim.2021.0015.