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How to Adjust to an Early Morning Schedule

All of my life, I have been a classic night person. There are even photos of me on Christmas morning, at three years old, curlers in my hair, half asleep with an uninterested look on my face, unphased by all the presents around me. Apparently, as the story goes, my mom had to wake me up, and even though she reminded me that Santa had come, I still wanted to go back to sleep! Let’s just say I never had to wake up either one of my children on Christmas morning; they were waking me up; however, by that time, I had learned how to adjust to an early morning schedule.

Some of the ways I adjusted to an early morning schedule were:

  1. Became a parent!
  2. Tried not to make drastic changes (ha ha)
  3. Went to sleep earlier (passed out after a day with toddler boys)
  4. Placed the alarm clock out of arm’s reach
  5. Left the bedroom as soon as I shut off the alarm
  6. Tried not to rationalize with myself
  7. Allowed myself to sleep in once in a while, especially on the weekends
  8. Made waking up early a reward
  9. Took full advantage of all the extra time
  10. Stayed in Michigan; I would have never been able to adjust to New York night life and raise a family!

According to The Sleep Foundation, they recommend the following ways to adjust to an early morning routine:

Before you start shifting your sleep schedule, it is beneficial to establish healthy sleep practices, commonly referred to as sleep hygiene. Sleep hygiene encompasses a set of habits that are said to promote better sleep, such as:

  • Exercising regularly
    • Avoiding caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol, especially before bed
    • Avoiding afternoon and evening naps
    • Finding relaxing pre-bed activities
  • Develop a nighttime routine
  • Stay on a consistent sleep schedule
  • Gradually shift your bedtime earlier
  • Develop a morning routine
  • Use light strategically
  • Shift mealtimes earlier
  • Be careful with coffee,”

Morning person vs night person psychology

I really wanted to dig into this area as my ex-husband and I are opposites in this area, too (shocking!). While reading a Psychology Today article, I found that based on their research, they said, “…morning people are most alert from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Their level of sleepiness gradually rises throughout the day, and by evening, they express significantly higher levels of sleepiness than the other three chronotypes. Evening types, on the other hand, are considerably more tired than morning types when they wake up—but not as tired as afternoon types. Evening types don’t really get going until about 10 in the morning. Their level of alertness, however, stays consistently high throughout the day; sleepiness does not set in until after 10 p.m.

Some other research suggests that whereas early risers are typically considered to be more responsible than night owls, night owls tend to exhibit enhanced divergent thinking and reasoning skills and may demonstrate greater creativity than early birds.

Furthermore, the psychology behind being a morning person (often called a “lark”) versus being a night person (“owl”) is a fascinating topic that delves into both personality traits and physiological differences.

Research has shown that these differences in sleep patterns, or chronotypes, are influenced by a combination of genetics, lifestyle, and even age. For example, during adolescence and young adulthood, many people naturally lean toward a night owl schedule. As people age, they often transition back into morning-oriented schedules.

Morning person vs night person personality

Personality traits also play a significant role in these preferences. Morning people are often found to be more conscientious and proactive. They tend to plan ahead, are disciplined, and may exhibit a stronger sense of responsibility. This makes sense when you consider that our society’s structure generally rewards early risers with early work hours and school times.

On the flip side, night owls have their unique advantages. Research often points to higher levels of creativity and cognitive flexibility in those who prefer late nights. Night people may also possess a knack for tackling problems that require non-linear thinking or innovation. This could be linked to the solitude and quiet of late hours, which can foster creativity without interruptions.

One lesser-known aspect of this conversation is the impact of social jetlag. Social jetlag is a term used to describe the misalignment between an individual’s internal clock and their social obligations, like work or school schedules. Night owls, in particular, may suffer from this more frequently because they are often required to wake up earlier than their natural rhythm would allow. This chronic misalignment can lead to sleep deprivation and even contribute to health issues such as increased stress, poor dietary habits, and a higher risk of mental health disorders.

Interestingly, the concept of chronotype can also extend to reflect broader circadian rhythms in our body, which affect not just when we prefer to sleep but also our energy levels, body temperature, and even hormone production throughout the day. Could be why night owls may find themselves hitting their peak productivity in the evening while morning people struggle to keep their eyes open past 9 p.m.

Likewise, individual chronotypes can influence social and romantic relationships. Imagine an early bird who loves to hit the gym at 5 a.m. living with a night owl who gets their second wind around midnight. While this can create tension, understanding and compromise are essential. Recognizing each other’s natural tendencies can lead to creating a more harmonious living situation where both parties feel respected and understood.

In terms of performance, various studies have suggested that while morning people tend to excel in structured, routine-oriented tasks, night owls often shine in more creative or problem-solving activities. For instance, a study published in the *Personality and Individual Differences* journal found that night owls perform better in tasks that require divergent thinking—a key component of creativity. This could be why many artists, writers, and musicians find their late hours to be the most productive.

How to adjust to an early morning schedule

In conclusion, while I only had a hunch about us night owls being more creative, after learning more from credible sources, it turns out it’s true. So sleep in, my fellow creative!

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