Rise And Shine: A Reluctant Defense Of The Morning Person

So I guess I’ve become a morning person. I never set out for it to happen. It snuck up on me, and I’m still not sure how I feel about it.

Morning people don’t have the greatest reputation. The phrase itself evokes an image of the guy who wakes up before dawn to make homemade granola and feed it to baby birds along his eleven-mile daily “fun run.” The guy who wears shorts when he jogs, even in the dead of winter. The guy who has never seen How I Met Your Mother because it’s on “past his bedtime.” He’s a grown man with a bedtime. That’s a morning person.

Morning people are no fun. Fun doesn’t happen in the morning. Work happens in the morning. And anything that happens in the morning is worse than work. It’s homework. Why would you wake up any earlier than you have to? For exercise? And granola? Lame.

Waking up in the early morning is almost creepy. Getting in trouble in the evening is almost standard. Maybe you get a parking ticket or have a scuffle at a bar broken up. If you have to deal with the police in the morning, chances are they’ve been looking for you for a long time, and your neighbor tipped them off to your scary walk-in freezer full of arms.

Fun happens at night. Nighttime is when all the good stuff goes on. If you have a slice of pizza at night, you’re grabbing a quick dinner. If you have a slice of pizza in the morning, you’re hung over. If you go to a movie at night, you’re having a good time. If you go to the movies in the morning, you’re unemployed. If you’re drinking until 3 a.m. it means you’re a party animal. If you start drinking at 6 a.m. it means you have a problem.

What happens in those three hours that makes all the difference? It’s sleep. Stuff you do that puts off sleep is cool: Parties, Dancing, Hooking Up. Stuff you do that you have to wake up for is uncool: Jobs, Jogging, The Walk of Shame.

So it’s with great trepidation that I publicly admit I have joined the ranks of the morning people because it means that I, by extension, am not a lot of fun. I am not the least exciting person. I do not exercise before the sun rises. Nor have I ever described any amount of running as “fun.” I have never knitted publicly.

My only real qualification as a morning person is I can’t sleep late. Regardless of when I go to sleep, I wake up by 9:30. And that’s pushing it. It’s a result of my years of performing at night only to wake up and teach in the morning. If it gets too late, I know I will be useless the entire next day even if I have nothing to do in the morning. Also, I become exponentially less useful after 10 p.m. From ten until midnight, I can still form coherent thoughts and stand upright, but that’s about it. From midnight until 2 a.m. I can sit upright and nod coherently. After two, I fight off sleep, every few seconds jerking my head back like a blind piano player to keep my eyes from clenching shut.

As a response, I stopped trying to pull all-nighters. I’ve come to terms with my own boringness. It took the simple realization that I would rather be productive tomorrow than exciting tonight. Which is, when it comes down to it, the morning person’s mentality.

Realistically, very few night owls are burning the midnight oil to cross items off of their to-do list or work on inventions (I don’t know what people do). The folks that stay up late are the folks that don’t have an outlet for fun and fulfillment during the day, so they need to squeeze as much as they can in after dark. There are those dedicated insomniacs that burn the midnight oil to write the next great novel or learn a language, and I respect and envy those people. I just can’t keep up. I need those extra few hours in the a.m.

Since realizing my innate morning person tendencies, I have committed to trying to live my life in such a way that my daylight hours are full of friendship and excitement and creativity. That way I don’t need to stay up until dawn trying to squeeze the last usable moments out of the day.

I don’t mean to imply that there’s anything wrong with staying out late. Sometimes even boring old me has fun doing that. What I do mean to say is that it’s better to know your own body and schedule than to just assume that all of your entertainment has to happen in the wee small hours. So tomorrow morning, when most of my friends are still passed out, recovering from tonight’s festivities, I’ll be trying to figure out what a non-jogger can do before his girlfriend wakes up. And I’ll see you all at noon. TC mark

image – thinboyfatter


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  • http://www.facebook.com/natehermes Nate Hermes

    I’m a morning person, but I think that’s just part of getting older.  You realize all your weekday bar nights become repeats of themselves and your hangover isn’t helping your daytime productivity goals. 

    Still enjoy a good drunkfest late night, but disagree all the ‘fun’ stuff happens at night.


      Exactly. Every weeknight bar trip is a carbon copy of the every other weeknight bar trip. 

      7 PM- Decide you’re going out. 
      8 PM- Have a beer or two at your house with 1 friend. 
      9 PM- Meet up with 2 other friends and drink 2 beers. 
      10 PM- Realize it’s already ten and frantically drink 2 more beers. 
      10:45- Realize you’re only talking to your 3 friends…. why didn’t we just stay home?
      11 PM- Be “really close” to being drunk enough to dance/talk to that girl/cut loose etc. 
      12 PM- Smoke a cigarette and realize you’re smoking a cig on a tuesday. Immediately decide you need to go home soon. 
      1 AM- Eat food you clearly don’t need or want. 
      2 AM- Why am I drunk watching netflix?
      3 AM- Fall asleep. 
      7 AM- Why the fuck did I go to the bar? In a tired stupor microwave the food you didn’t need or want from the night before. Shocker, you don’t need or want it now either. 

      • Enah Cruz

        You can actually publish this on TC

  • Bee

    I’m not sure waking up at 9:30 is so much being a morning person as it is being an adult in the real world. Us college students are hungover or sleep until it’s noon because we can but once you hit the real world, a lot of that SHOULD change. And it’s funny because I say us but I don’t really mean it. I get up at 6:30 most mornings and I use that time to study, catch up on blogs and/or get ready for my day. I am a morning person. (Though I’m atypical because I’m grumpy as hell.)

    • http://www.facebook.com/katie.n.reed Katie Reed

      Dead on for me as well!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1363230138 Michael Koh


  • Thegirlwhofellasleep

    Mornings are grand.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=9383035 Scott Muska

    I tried running before work the other day. I envy the people who can make a habit of that.

  • http://www.nosexcity.com NoSexCity

    I spent a year trying to become a morning person. I’d be in bed by 10pm and up between four and five to exercise before I showered, ate breakfast and went to work. I was usually on the job site no later than 7am and home by 4pm. 

    You can train yourself to do it if you *have* to, but I noticed once left to my own devices, my brain wandered back into Night Owl territory. Too bad, ’cause it’s almost fun to be “that person” out of your group of friends.

  • Anonymous


  • Enah Cruz

    In all fairness, I actually honestly loved this article. IDK why tho, I’m not really a morning person but I wake up at 9AM every morning, like some sort of a body clock thingy.

    I don’t consider waking up at 9/930AM being a morning person tho? My dad wakes up at 4AM. So.. there. He’s the GENUINE morning person i think.

    • Josh Gondelman

      My dad has always gotten up at 5 or 6 for work, and I think he’s a real-deal morning person. Generally, I wake up between 7 and 8:30 with no alarm. 9:30 for me is if I’m up until 4:30 the night before. It’s very rare. But even that contrasts against folks I know who sleep until noon or one regularly.

      • http://twitter.com/mung_beans 371747

        Yeah, if no man or clock is there to stop me, my ~natural~ wake up time is around 4pm.  

  • Anonymous

    waking up at 9:30 doesn’t make you a morning person. i wake up most days around 7:30-8:00 but what i do is close my eyes, and go back to sleep.  

  • chris

    “The phrase itself evokes an image of the guy who wakes up before dawn to
    make homemade granola and feed it to baby birds along his eleven-mile
    daily ‘fun run.'”

    I live near way too many of these people. I can’t decide if it makes me feel cool or not.

  • http://twitter.com/mung_beans 371747

    I have one friend who is a morning person.  On weekends she ‘sleeps in’ until 7 or 8.  On weekdays, she gets up at 4:30 to get all of her stuff in before taking the train to work even though she has a car because she cares about mass transit.  She also has a 401k.  She’s 2.5 days older than I am and I can’t help but feel those days really made a difference.  

  • http://www.facebook.com/ubeda Joant Ubeda

    Best part of being a morning person? Having sex at night, cuddling naked, falling asleep, waking up early in the morning, stretching, running 10 miles, taking a hot shower, stretching, slowly going back into bed with girlfriend/boyfriend, morning sex, cuddling, sleeping a few more hours, waking up, and finally having breakfast together.

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