9 reasons why it’s a myth that morning people are more successful

There’s a common belief out there that morning people, or “larks”, are more successful than the night owls among us.

This idea is perpetuated by countless self-help books and motivational speakers who champion the early bird model of productivity.

But here’s the twist – this might not be entirely accurate, and I’m here to tell you why.

In this article, we’ll dive into the science and studies that challenge this long-held assumption.

Because, let’s face it, success isn’t determined by your alarm clock.

1) Success isn’t tied to a specific sleep schedule

There seems to be an unspoken rule that waking up at the crack of dawn equates to success.

This misconception is often fueled by the routines of highly successful people, many of whom are early risers.

But what if I told you that your sleep schedule and your success aren’t really as linked as we’ve been led to believe? Research suggests that our sleep patterns, or chronotypes, are largely genetically determined. So being a morning person or a night owl isn’t really a choice.

More importantly, there’s no concrete evidence that links waking up early to being more successful. Success is subjective and depends on various factors like hard work, dedication, and sometimes, just plain luck.

And remember, just because many successful people wake up early does not mean waking up early makes you successful.

2) Personal experiences don’t always align with the “early bird” narrative

I’m not a morning person. There, I said it.

While my alarm clock is set for 6 AM, I often find myself hitting the snooze button multiple times before finally dragging myself out of bed.

Does this make me less successful? Not really.

Throughout my career, I’ve held various roles and achieved considerable success, despite not being part of the early bird club.

I’ve found that I’m most productive in the late morning and early afternoon, and so I’ve tailored my work schedule to align with these hours.

My personal experience is proof that success isn’t exclusive to those who rise with the sun. It’s about finding your own rhythm and making it work for you.

3) Notable night owls who’ve achieved remarkable success

Let’s shift our focus to some famous personalities known for being night owls.

Take Winston Churchill for example. He was known for his unconventional routine. Churchill would often work through the night and wouldn’t go to bed until 3 AM. Despite this, he led Britain through one of its most challenging times.

Or how about President Barack Obama? Despite the early morning demands of his role, Obama has always identified himself as a night owl, often working into the early hours of the morning.

Clearly, these remarkable leaders show us that success does not have  anything to do with a specific time of day. It’s more about dedication, hard work, and perseverance.

4) The importance of quality sleep over waking up early

This point cannot be stressed enough – quality sleep is essential for our overall health and productivity.

Research indicates that lack of sleep can lead to a variety of health problems, from heart disease to depression. And, it can also impair our cognitive functions, affecting our memory, decision-making skills, and creativity.

Here’s the thing: you might be waking up at 5 AM, but if you are not getting enough quality sleep, your productivity and performance could suffer in the long run.

So instead of focusing on being an early bird, prioritize getting a good night’s sleep. This could mean different things for different people. For some, it might be eight hours of uninterrupted sleep, while for others, six hours might be enough.

Ultimately, it’s about finding what works best for you and making sure that you’re well-rested and ready to tackle the day – whenever it may start for you.

5) Everyone has a unique biological clock

We all have an internal biological clock, known as our circadian rhythm, which regulates our sleep-wake cycle.

Some people are naturally inclined to wake up early and go to bed early. These are the larks. Others, the night owls, thrive in the late-night hours and prefer to sleep in.

So forcing yourself into an unnatural sleep schedule can actually lead to a state of chronic sleep deprivation, which can hamper productivity and overall health in the long run.

So if you’re a night owl trying to force yourself to become an early bird, you might be doing more harm than good. It’s crucial to listen to your body and respect your natural sleep-wake cycle for optimal performance and well-being.

6) Embrace your individuality and define your own success

We live in a society that often celebrates the early risers, and this can make night owls feel less valued or even unsuccessful.

But here’s what I want you to remember – you are unique, and so is your path to success.

Your worth isn’t determined by the time you wake up. It’s about what you do with the time you have, how you treat others, the passions you pursue, and the goals you aspire for.

Success is a personal journey, and it looks different for everyone. 

For some, it might mean climbing the corporate ladder. For others, it could be about achieving work-life balance or making a difference in their community.

Don’t let societal norms dictate your worth or success. Embrace your individuality, listen to your body, and carve out your own path. Because at the end of the day, true success is living a life that feels right for you.

7) The struggle of fitting into a 9 to 5 world

I’ve always struggled with the traditional 9 to 5 work schedule. I remember those early morning meetings that felt like a battle against my own biology. I’d sit there, coffee in hand, desperately trying to keep my eyes open while my colleagues seemed effortlessly alert.

This led to a lot of self-doubt. I questioned my capabilities and even my worth. Was there something fundamentally wrong with me because I wasn’t a morning person?

But with time, I realized that it wasn’t about me being less capable. It was simply about not working in harmony with my natural sleep-wake cycle.

When I started acknowledging and respecting my night owl tendencies, things changed for the better. I adjusted my work schedule as much as possible, prioritizing important tasks for when I felt most alert and productive.

And guess what? My productivity soared, and so did my self-confidence.

This taught me an invaluable lesson – it’s okay not to fit into the conventional mold. It’s important to understand yourself and find ways to work with your natural rhythms, not against them.

8) The world is changing, and so are work schedules

We’re living in a time where the traditional 9 to 5 workday is becoming less of a norm. Thanks to advancements in technology, remote work and flexible schedules are more possible now than ever before.

This shift is particularly beneficial for night owls. Companies are gradually recognizing the benefits of this flexibility. It leads to happier employees and often results in increased productivity and creativity.

So the idea that success is tied to waking up early is becoming increasingly outdated in our evolving world. What matters more now is how effectively you can use your time, regardless of when your day starts.

9) There’s no one-size-fits-all formula for success

The most important thing to take note of is that there’s no universal blueprint for success. It’s not about waking up at a certain hour or following someone else’s routine.

Success is about knowing yourself, understanding your strengths, and leveraging them effectively. It’s about setting your own goals, pursuing them with passion and determination, and not being deterred by societal norms or expectations.

So here’s the thing: whether you’re an early bird or a night owl, the key to success lies in maximizing your own potential and working in sync with your natural rhythm. Embrace who you are, respect your body’s needs, and chart your own unique path to success.

The final wake-up call

There’s a powerful quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson that goes: “To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.”

This rings especially true when it comes to our sleep patterns and notions of success.

Whether you rise with the sun or burn the midnight oil, the key to success is not in conforming to societal expectations, but in understanding and embracing your own unique rhythm.

Your biological clock, your productivity, your creativity – they all dance to their own beat. It’s about tuning into this rhythm, respecting it, and synching your life around it.

So if you’re a creature of the night living in an early bird world, remember this – your path to success isn’t dictated by the time you set on your alarm clock. It’s carved out by your passion, dedication, and the unique way in which you choose to go about your day.

Take a moment to reflect on this. It might just be the wake-up call you didn’t know you needed.

Ethan Sterling

Ethan Sterling has a background in entrepreneurship, having started and managed several small businesses. His journey through the ups and downs of entrepreneurship provides him with practical insights into personal resilience, strategic thinking, and the value of persistence. Ethan’s articles offer real-world advice for those looking to grow personally and professionally.

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