Morning people are the dominant bio-type, and they set the attitudinal tone of the entire culture. They’ve decided that morning is the best time of the day, and that people who are not naturally bright-eyed and bushy-tailed at the very ass crack of dawn are in some way lazy and unfocussed.
Well, screw that.
Morning is not the best time of day. It’s a fine time of day of course, but it isn’t inherently better than any other time. Getting up early does not mean you’re more productive or a better member of society. Being on time during the pre-noon hours doesn’t mean you care more or that you’re a better person.
As a night person, I’ve been chronically late to morning events my entire life. I’ve been told my tardiness proves my lack of commitment or concern about jobs, classes, and friends. It’s been condescendingly explained to me that if I just “made an effort” to go to bed on time I’d be on the “right” schedule and would find myself reaping the benefits of a morning person lifestyle.
Bah fucking humbug.
As a night person, I wake up every single morning of my life groggy and soft-headed. I do not find every morning fantastically beautiful – many of them are gray and cold and not at all inspiring. I do not feel vibrant and creative and fully engaged until after 9:30 PM. Ever. I do not get my best work done while the sun is up. Ever.
I do not feel better when I’m on the morning peoples’ schedule. All my life I’ve heard that it’s simply an issue of self-discipline, that if I just “got myself on a proper schedule,” I’d feel as sprightly as morning folk do.
In point of fact, I’ve felt guilty and flawed all of my life for not finding the strength to properly “apply myself” to being one of those happy, well-adjusted morning people.
Now, at 36, I’ve spent most of my life trying (and failing) to be a morning person, and having spent months and years on a “proper morning people schedule,” these are my findings:
The only good feelings I get out of artificially forcing my body onto a morning person’s schedule is a reduced amount of guilt for being what I am, which is simply a night person. When I’m on a morning schedule, I am not happier, I don’t notice that I’ve slept better, I am not more productive, and I’m definitely not more creative.
Here are the morning people lies I’ve been force fed my entire life:
1. You just need to get on a proper sleep schedule.
Wrong. While I’m capable of going to bed at 9:30 and getting up by 6:00, I dislike it and it’s uncomfortable for me.
2. Just give it some time and you’ll discover the untold benefits of being a morning person! It’s so much better than your lazy night owl lifestyle!
Wrong. I once spent two years on (my ex-husband) Brett’s schedule, and other than feeling less guilty I did not experience any particular benefits. All I did was sleep through my most exhilarating and productive hours every day.
3. You’ll get more done on a proper schedule.
Wrong. The fact that I’m awake for six hours before noon doesn’t mean I’m a shining example of robust activity. My morning hours are groggy, no matter what. I actually get more done more easily on my own night person schedule. It doesn’t matter if a thing gets done at 9:30 AM or 9:30 PM as long as it gets done.
4. Your tardiness reflects your attitude. You obviously don’t care enough to be on time.
Wrong. I do care. But since you morning people are dominant, you schedule shit at the wrong time. Ask me to show up at nine in the evening and I’d be the leader of the pack. I bowled a 9:30 league last year and in eight months I was only late twice, and once was because I’d taken a nap from having gotten up so damned early that morning.
5. There’s no such thing as a night person. You’re just lazy.
Wrong. There are tons of us night people, but because you morning folk have labeled our biorhythms as wrong and inferior, there’s not much stuff to do when we’re at our peak. So we do what there is to do: go to bars and clubs and coffee shops. (All “bad” activities to many of you stuck-up morning folk, mainly because you reject what you’re not awake for as being useless to you.)
6. Everyone knows the morning people schedule is healthier for you. Even Ayurved says so.
It’s healthier for morning people, not for me. And as for the folks I know who live an Ayurvedic schedule, well, I’ve certainly got my problems… but so do they. They are not, as a group, more shining examples of robust health than I am on my natural schedule.
7. You’re just not applying yourself!
My (ex-) husband is a genuine, dyed-in-the-wool morning person. He falls asleep early and wakes up truly happy and energized. I lived with him for seven years, and I’ve spent long, long, loooong stretches of time on his schedule. It’s not an issue of “applying” myself, it’s an issue of genuine body rhythms.
No one should be expected to sleep through their creative hours day after day, month after month, year after year! Whenever I go off Brett’s schedule and creep toward my own, I begin to experience those late evening hours of clarity, creativity, and sparkle, and it makes me feel invigorated. I never, ever feel that way before noon, no matter how much coffee I drink. I am simply not a morning person. The assumption, that the morning person lifestyle is better, healthier, and more correct, is simply a wrong one, and I refuse to feel guilty and inferior any more.
The morning people vs. night people schism is real, and the world at large is set up by and for morning people. Morning people look down on people who are not like them, and demand we accept their natural rhythms as superior and right. They have most of us brainwashed into thinking that they are right, and that we do “just need to apply ourselves,” and that we are happier on their schedules.
The saddest part is that we even manage to dupe ourselves into agreeing with them! But I’m here to say that we don’t feel better, we just feel less guilty and lazy. I myself have counciled other night people to patience and self-discipline in the quest for happiness on the morning people’s schedule, and in turn been councilled the same by other members of my group. THAT’S how condescending and pervasive the morning people ethic is.
Night people, throw off the yoke! Quit your day job and start working swing! Laugh at your morning person partner when s/he says you’re clearly flawed not to adore morning simply because that’s when s/he feels best! CLAIM YOUR NIGHT PERSON RHYTHMS, AND BE HAPPY ABOUT IT. Morning people are not better than we, and the next one who denies me my right to feel best after s/he’s in bed can Kiss. My. Ass.
Update 2007: When I’m not on a morning person’s schedule, I don’t drink coffee. I don’t need coffee when I work swing shift. SO THERE. *pbbbbth*
Update 2008: Edited for content.
Update 2011: Night owls may want to dim their lights