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5 Ways Morning People Achieve More Success

Tuesday March 29th, 2016

Estimated time to read: 3 minutes

"Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise" is a saying we’ve all heard a thousand times over the years. But as it turns out, Benjamin Franklin may have actually been on to something. It is likely that you very well know which side of sleeping schedules you fall on. If you are a morning lark, here’s a chance to read all about what you already do better. If you’re a night owl, here is a little extra encouragement to join the early risers.

For your first fun tidbit, “larks” and “owls” are the actual names social scientists use to refer to those who are up with the sun versus those who would rather be up all night. And even if you are positive you will always be one who prefers moonlight to sunlight, take heart. Your chronotype (sleep preference) can slide either direction over your lifetime.

Early Risers Tend to Be Happier

A great deal of our world starts around 9:00 in the morning and fails to extend too very late into the night. Whether that includes work, school, or shops, most of the places where we get things done are geared toward the larks. The disconnect between this usual daytime schedule and night owls actually has a name: “social jetlag”.

Being forced to wake up earlier and perform most of their daily tasks during their ‘off hours’ can lead to unhappiness in owls. This can also cause loss of sleep, which adds to stress and lowers moods while decreasing opportunities for success.

Larks are More Agreeable, Cooperative, and Proactive

Early morning folks have been tested to be more compliant and willing to cooperate than their night-loving counterparts. Larks are able to more readily form and build connections with others by being more socially connected during awake and alert hours.

Night owls are often found to be procrastinators. This may be connected to the idea that most activities done at night are done for fun while the day is for work. The idea of putting off required tasks until the evening hours can cause trouble in a work environment with inflexible working hours.

Night Owls are More Prone to Bad Habits

While Franklin’s adage has yet to be proven about wealth or wisdom, he may be correct about being healthy. Studies have found that those who have their peak hours in the evening are much more prone to be smokers, are much less likely to quit smoking, and that they even tend to drink more alcohol than early risers.

This might not come as a huge surprise, since it tends to be more socially acceptable to drink and/or smoke during the nighttime hours. However, whether night owls partake of these habits because they are already awake or if the stimulants are keeping them awake is still not fully researched.

Working in Off Hours is Easier for Morning People

Both problem solving and logical thinking are more difficult for both groups when forced to do so during their non-peak hours. However, night owls seem to feel the pressure more strongly than the early risers.

Interestingly, this effect can even been seen in a study involving people playing baseball. While the lark players ended up with slightly lower average batting scores than the owls, the owls found playing in early games struggled more extensively than the larks found playing in night games.

However, both sides can take advantage of their personal off-hours by using them to work on creative skills. Both larks and owls were better at solving ‘insight problems’, (problems that are often solved with an ‘aha’ moment or a burst of creativity) during their non-peak hours. This lends credence to the incubation theory of creativity, or that taking a break from a problem and getting away from mental fatigue can lead to increased insight.

Early Morning Folks Hold More Business Success Cards

Research tends to show that early risers tended to get better grades in school, as they were most alert when new information was presented. Those with better grades are allowed into better colleges, which can lead to better job opportunities later in life.

While times are slowly changing, businesses still generally use the 9-5 model. Being at your best during business’ peak hours can help you lead a more productive day.

Rise and Shine

Being more synched with the world in general can be a fantastic boon to have for both business and personal successes. If you are a night owl and find yourself wanting to try and take advantage of a new routine, there are always things to try and shift your personal chronoschedule.

Try easing your waking time back 15 minutes every few days until you are able to comfortably wake at an earlier time. And remember that the sun can play a big part in waking your body up, so attempt to make sure you see the rays first thing in the morning. The daylight resets your circadian clock and helps shift you toward alertness.

With these tips and our list of encouraging reasons to join the early morning larks, you’re well on your way to successfully catching the worm, and maybe even your next promotion.