The Morning People Shall Inherit the Earth

An intriguing article by biologist Christoph Randler from the Harvard Business Review contends that morning people are actually most successful in the business world, due to their proclivity to be more proactive. Honestly, it makes a lot of sense.

And if you’re not a morning person (I’m not either), just please don’t be like that guy in a recent McDonald’s commercial who refused to speak to anyone – regardless of the critical nature of their inquiry – until he had his coffee. Oh, you’re so precious and delicate that no mere mortal is allowed to speak to you until you’ve had some caffeine? Wish somebody in that ad would’ve just said, "Great, here’s some scalding Folgers in your face. You awake now, tough guy?"

Anyway, here’s an excerpt:

If I wanted to train myself to be a morning person, how would I do it?

The fascinating thing about our findings is that duration of sleep has nothing to do with the increased proactivity and morning alertness that we see among morning people. But while the number of hours of sleep doesn’t matter, the timing of sleep does. So you could try shifting your daily cycle by going to bed earlier. Another thing you could do is go outside into the daylight early in the morning. The daylight resets your circadian clock and helps shift you toward morningness. If you go outside only in the evening, you tend to shift toward eveningness.

If I taught myself to be a morning person, would I become more proactive?

I don’t know. One theory is that morning people are more proactive because getting up early gives them more time to prepare for the day. If that’s true, then increasing your morningness might improve your proactivity. But there’s evidence that something inherent may determine proactivity. Studies show that conscientiousness is also associated with morningness. Perhaps proactivity grows out of conscientiousness.