You’ve likely heard that being a “morning person” can benefit one’s mental health significantly. You’ve probably seen a bunch of stories about how waking up with the and even before the sun helps people feel more accomplished, gets more done in the day, and feels healthier both mentally and physically.
You may have tried becoming a morning person yourself, trying to squeeze in a workout, a full balanced breakfast, a time to journal, and meditation. You also probably have to wake up early to go to school, and maybe even earlier if you’re in a club or sport that requires you to be there before classes begin.
However, similar to the now debunked idea that less sleep = more time to be successfully productive, you actually don’t need to be a morning person to be productive and feel like you have everything together. What it really comes down to is understanding what’s best for your body and when your mind feels that it functions best. There are some people who do benefit from waking up early; for them, being a morning person means having control over what they want before their day officially begins and gives them a sense of accomplishment of having items on their to-do list already checked. Meanwhile, others may be at their peak in the middle of the day, or even in the middle of the night.
Unfortunately, because of the 9-5 work life and 7-2 school day, our culture favors those who wake up and function early, especially because those who function at other times are likely too exhausted because their body’s naturally preferred sleep cycle is so disrupted. But if you look around your coworkers and peers, most of them are likely too groggy, cranky, or about to go right back to sleep first thing in the morning.
So no, you don’t have to become a morning person if you want to have a well-rounded, productive, and healthy lifestyle. Although we still life in a 9-5 and 7-2 culture, those who benefit from being productive later in the day can still do so, but they just might have to do a little more work adapting and making sure that they can still get what they want done while still getting enough sleep.
Which brings us to our advice: whether you’re an early bird or night owl, try to do your best to establish a routine for when you want to be and feel your most productive. As long as you’re able to get 7-8 hours of sleep a night (and ideally waking up whenever you want to), you should be in good shape. If you’re in college and are more productive later, try to schedule your classes for later in the day. The pandemic has made it easier for people to work remote, so those who can and live on the east coast, remote west coast jobs will allow you to have a schedule that starts later in the day too.
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Are you a morning person? Have you ever wanted to be a morning person, or have you trained yourself to be one? When do you find yourself to be the most productive?