Friday, January 17, 2014

I'm A Morning Person, What Are You?

A morning person too? Or a night owl?

Our windowsill capturing the glowy, morning light

I always think this is an interesting topic and maybe I'm wrong, but I think your answer to this question tends to say a lot about who you are.

I am most certainly a morning person. I set my alarm for 6:30 every day (even weekends) and sleeping in always makes me feel a little guilty, like I've shortened my day and wasted the best hours of it, to boot. (Although going back to bed with a cup of tea and a book is just about the greatest guilty pleasure I have.) I love the morning quiet and witnessing light come into the world, watching it change from grey to pink to yellow. The routines of morning are comforting to me. Making tea and grabbing my computer to write, often talking to my mom on the phone, eating a healthy breakfast. Even when my first few waking hours were more hectic--up at 6, out the door by 7 armed with music books, my lunch, a travel mug, and a metro card--I still liked my mornings best. There's such a freshness and energy about the hours before noon.

In college and grad school, I always made a point to do most of my practicing in the early part of the day and was amazed by friends of mine who would stay in the practice rooms until midnight or later. My mind--not to mention my fingers--just weren't up for late-night workouts. And in my opinion, "pulling an all-nighter" (which I've never done) is just about the worst thing anyone could possibly put themselves through. The mere idea of no sleep for 24 hours or more makes me ill. Not only am I a morning person, but I don't do well on little sleep.

It's a good thing I'm not embarrassed to admit that I'm an old soul because, once again, this particular trait of mine pegs me as just that. I'm sure I don't have to tell you that most 25-year-olds are not morning people. And I think most of them are much more fun in the hours after 9 pm than I am, too!

So here's my theory: I think that "night owls," by and large, tend to be energized by interacting with other people and being in an environment that is awake and active, whereas "morning people" seek the quietness of a world that is still a bit sleepy and use this time to recharge.

Is this obvious? Or way off base? Or just a completely boring topic??

I guess this post is stemming from my belief that there's something to be discovered in seemingly mundane human tendencies and preferences--winter or summer? white or red? Apple or PC? milk or dark?--and that we can learn a lot about ourselves by paying attention to even our smallest, simplest quirks and choices.

Psychologist Kate, signing off now.


  1. Well.... I used to be a morning person. I would get up before Alex and work out, run errands, make a nice breakfast, and then he'd roll out of bed around 10:30/11:00 and I would feel so accomplished. But now he's worn off on me.

    I completely agree about night owls vs. morning people. I NEED the quietness. And sometimes I will actually stay home while Alex goes out in the evening, not because I am too tired to stay out late with friends, but because I want the house to myself for peace and quiet. So I'll end up staying up until 1 am, but it's no different than the mornings I wake up early. It's more about the quiet than the time of day.

  2. I like what Tina said "It's more about the quiet than the time of day." I've always had a lot of difficulty waking up in the mornings--which has been compounded by the fact that, for the past 2 years, I've been taking a heavy medication every night which makes me very drowsy the next morning. I tend to stay up late not because I'm out doing crazy things (no real desire for that on a regular basis).... I just can't fall asleep. I like being in the quiet and comfort of our home during the evening hours. I like relaxing after a long day--and working 2 jobs every day--by reading a book or watching Netflix (Agatha Christie's "Poirot" and the like, hehe). There have been a small handful of mornings where I've woken up early and I really enjoyed getting a head-start on the day (and a little more time to relax with a coffee and the morning news). I wish that early mornings could be a daily thing for me, but it just doesn't seem to work with my body for some reason. It's definitely an interesting subject and I truly feel like there is something to be learned from everyone's tendencies, no matter how small, but sometimes the answers are a little more involved, it seems.

  3. Great point, and I do that too. Snatching up quiet time is always a priority, even if it has to be at night!

  4. Oh yes, I was definitely making quite a generalization :) I agree that nighttime can be just as quiet and peaceful and still as the morning, and there's truly something so cozy about being awake at home late into the night. You totally shouldn't feel bad about not being a morning person or feel like you're missing out. There are so many good things about being a night wine, candles, movies, curling up with a blanket on the couch. At least that's what I would do until the wee hours if I didn't get so sleepy! Enjoy it!!

  5. I am totally a morning person...but I sort of like the late night hours, too. Not out at clubs, but snug in the house, when all is quiet. My husband and I get up pretty early, but we also usually stay up too late. Hmmmm...I don't know if we're morning people or night owls. (We don't get enough sleep, I guess!)

    Laura @

  6. I am so chuckling right now… :) I can't even begin to explain the Great Sleep Dilemma of my life. I have tried and experienced everything you and the other commenters described (2 all-nighters in a row, hello freshman year! 5 am workouts, hey!) I have always valued larks (morning people) and have tried to change into one (it's been an on-and-off thing throughout high school). And then, cue the harps, I read the most helpful book ever. Sleep Right in Five Nights finally helped me come to terms with my sleep-phobia (now that's a long, painful history), made me appreciate sleep a bit more and now I'm totally okay with the fact that I have always been a night owl (apparently, we all tend to be either natural larks/owls ). Soon, I figured out my perfect sleep pattern (12:30 to 8am), stuck to it and finally felt awake for the first time ever (no more dizzy spells, constant lethargy or my notorious, and I mean, notorious sleepless nights). Unfortunately, my new schedule demands I wake up at six everyday. But, as I learned, the best secret to good sleep is regularity! So six am on a Monday or a Sunday, I'm up!
    P.s. Sooo not a boring topic (just look at all these little essays xx
    P.p.s. I pick winter, white, Apple and dark!

  7. I am a morning person - but only on days that are "my own." On vacation or weekends, I love to get up early, whether it's to enjoy a few quiet hours around the house, go for a walk, or get an early start on projects or errands. And rising early comes naturally then, unlike for many of my 20-something counterparts. I even like going to sleep early on weekend evenings when I feel relaxed. But on work days, I'd rather sleep in at long as I can, and I'm more inclined to stay up later at night. I guess that's just how I adjust to a schedule that isn't my own design.

  8. I'm most definitely NOT a morning person (and morning people beware: don't try to ask or say anything important before at least 10am if it demands a response - I won't register brain power at all). Yet I am an old soul. I do love the evenings, staying home hunkered down (especially in winter), and my creativity comes alive at night.

  9. Everyone's responses are so interesting! Clearly they prove that my theory was a simplification and that night owls can be the kind of people who crave stillness and quiet at home, too :)

  10. You are 100% right! I'm not a night person at all, and do not need the craziness and crowds to make me feel good. I enjoy the quiet and love to get things done when the rest of the world is sleeping. I'm definitely an old soul...I'm pretty sure I have always been this way. I also tend to get along better with those older than me than some of my peers.

  11. Katie @ Loverly SheJanuary 20, 2014 at 9:33 AM

    I’m TOTALLY a morning person too! When you come visit (someday) we can have an early morning cup of tea together x

  12. Me too! I really get along well with people older than me. I also find they have so much wisdom to offer so why not hang out around them?!

  13. Hi Kate! I think you're on to something. To me night owls are energized by relaxing whether it is social or quiet. Their creative high is in the evening. Morning people are energized by the start of a new day and all of the productivity that is possible within the quiet routines. I use to do all my practicing in the morning too! Before having a toddler and baby soon to be I was definitely a morning person. Such a lovely time of day! Do you prefer to exercise in the morning too? I miss those days of being able to just head out for nice morning run.

  14. Congratulations on your pregnancy Sarah! How exciting! You'll be in my thoughts and prayers :)


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