Last Updated on October 1, 2023 by Louise Carter
Sleep schedules are vital to the way we live our lives. Unfortunately, it can make things difficult for night owls, who function best in the small hours of the morning.
The world is made for early birds because work and school almost always require early starts. That motivates countless people to modify their sleep schedules to become morning people.
Unfortunately, a night owl can’t become a morning person because the chronotype that makes you a night or morning person is a natural genetic trait.
You can alter your circadian rhythm and train yourself to wake up and function better earlier in the day.
Evidence suggests that age and genetics play a vital role in determining our sleep schedules, meaning that people who were once night owls may naturally become morning people as they age.
What Makes A Morning Or Night Person?
Most of us are morning or night people in our most energetic periods.
Nature Communications found that 48.4% of women and 39.7% of men are morning people. However, some people have a more complex or unusual sleep schedule.
Whether you’re a night owl, an early bird, or do your best work at midday, this sleep schedule is called your chronotype, which you can’t change. However, you can alter your circadian rhythm.
According to the National Institute of General Medical Sciences, like a person’s chronotype, a circadian rhythm is partly set by genetics, but it’s more personal than the chronotype.
Circadian rhythms are physical, behavioral, and mental changes in a person in 24 hours.
They’re intimately connected to the cycles of light and dark. When you attempt to change from being a night person to a morning person, your circadian rhythm attempts to change.
Can You Be A Morning And Night Person?
It’s not possible to be an early bird and a night owl.
Staying awake late and getting up early is most likely to cause sleep deprivation, increasing the risk of health issues. Also, circadian rhythms and limited human stamina mean you’ll grow fatigued.
Even if you can stay up late and get up early, you’ll unlikely be at your best throughout the day. The symptoms and repercussions of sleep deprivation (SD) include:
- Increased stress.
- Symptoms of depression and anxiety.
- Lower attention span.
- Suppressed immune system (Severe/Prolonged SD).
- Slow healing (Severe/Prolonged SD).
- Increased risk of obesity, heart attacks, strokes, and other health issues.
- Brain fog.
- Poor memory.
- Lower inhibitions/risk assessment capabilities.
Focus on getting enough rest and increasing your productivity. This can be achieved by adjusting your circadian rhythms to meet the requirements of your daily schedule.
This requires similar steps to preventing or recovering from jet lag when traveling long distances.
Can You Turn Yourself into a Morning Person?
Changing your sleep schedule and circadian rhythms isn’t easy, but it’s possible. Before you make modifications, consider why you want to do so.
After all, while people see being a morning person as a positive, each schedule has strengths and weaknesses. There are also pros and cons to changing our sleep patterns.
Early birds often find success easier in traditional work and school environments because they have more energy during the day. However, they may be tired during social events in the evening.
Likewise, night owls might find it harder to get out of bed in the morning because they still feel tired. They flourish in social and professional settings that require alertness well into the night.
Changing your sleep pattern takes time and effort, so you may need to do this to make your life easier. However, switching to a job that suits your sleep schedule may be better.
How To Change from A Night Owl To Early Bird
When changing from being a night owl to being an early bird, do the following:
You can’t change your sleeping schedule quickly. While you may go to bed early and wake up early once, a long-term shift requires consistent and sustainable habits.
Making small changes over a longer period until you find waking early easier.
You may struggle to switch from going to bed at 1 AM and waking up at 9 AM before bed at 9 PM and waking at 6 AM one night. However, you can start going to bed at midnight and getting up at 8 AM.
Focus on gradually transitioning the time you go to bed and get up so it isn’t overly stressful.
As you move your sleep schedule to an earlier timescale, create a nighttime routine that promotes restful sleep. This includes the following modifications:
- No large meals.
- Avoid caffeinated drinks.
- Avoiding technology for 1 hour before bed.
- A late evening walk.
- Temperature regulation.
- Taking a warm shower.
These practices ensure you sleep better and for longer.
Establish a robust and enjoyable morning routine because getting out of bed when tired can be difficult. That’s why having something to make it feel more worthwhile is important.
Incentivizing your morning routine could make getting out of bed easier. Translational Issues in Psychological Science found that incentives positively reinforce desirable behaviors.
Can You Become A Morning Person?
You can become a morning person with the right incentives and a consistent schedule.
Set a routine that involves a few things you genuinely enjoy, including:
- Relaxing bath.
- Yoga or meditation.
- Delicious breakfast and tea.
- Reading a book.
The morning and evening routines are the most important part of changing your sleep schedule. However, what you do during the day also matters.
A healthy lifestyle and diet make it easier to sleep. This means that changing your daily habits could be beneficial if you don’t feel well-rested as you shift your sleeping patterns.
Ensure you get enough exercise. The American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine found that morning and evening exercise can help night owls get quality REM sleep.
It can even help move their circadian rhythms 30 minutes earlier. Going to the gym once or twice a week could make transitioning into a morning person easier.
Eating earlier can help you shift your sleep schedule and become a morning person because the times you eat impact your circadian rhythm.
If you eat late, you may find it hard to get a restful sleep as the body tries to carry out certain components of the digestive process while you sleep.
Consume less caffeine when going to bed earlier. The Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine found that having caffeine 6 hours before bed can impact the quality and length of sleep.
How To Become a Morning Person from A Night Owl?
Light is inextricably linked to our circadian rhythms. Switching to dim lighting and minimizing blue light in the evening can help you sleep earlier.
Leaving the curtains open to let in the morning sun could help you get up earlier in the summer.
If you’re a night owl by nature, you may find it easier to shift your sleep schedule in the summer when the mornings are lighter and the days are longer.
Is Changing Your Sleep Schedule Bad?
There’s limited research into the results of changing your sleep patterns. According to BMC Public Health, evidence shows that irregular sleeping habits can be detrimental.
In short, there’s no reason to think that changing your sleeping pattern is bad, as long as you’re consistent and get good quality sleep when you go to bed.
Irregular sleeping patterns are associated with many issues, but the most notable is fatigue due to sleep deprivation. This increases the risk of health problems but can also cause other issues.
The most notable problems include the following:
- High or fluctuating blood sugar.
- Increased risk of accidents as a result of fatigue.
- Poor short-term memory.
- Brain fog.
- Poor emotional control.
Studies have found this isn’t entirely caused by sleep deprivation but also by sleep variability. Sleep variability or sleep cycle variability refers to frequently changing sleep schedules.
Shift workers with little consistency in working hours and healthcare professionals switching between night and day shifts experience this problem.
Diabetes Care found that the risk of negative effects of variable sleeping patterns and metabolic abnormalities rose by up to 27% for every hour of variability in a person’s sleep schedule.