Great news: not being a morning person doesn’t mean you’re lazy after all

Confession right up front: I have never been a morning person. Never, ever. I have managed to be reasonably responsible and fairly successful despite this flaw, but there has never been a time when I have not believed that if I had tried harder (or at all) to overcome this shortcoming I would have been a better person. I knew how lazy I really was. How much I loved staying in bed after the alarm went off, preferably sound asleep.

Until now. As of today, thanks to my new hero, Amanda Ruggeri of, I realize that I’ve had it all wrong for the past 70 (OK, 71) years. Being a morning person isn’t a sign of virtue after all, it’s just a matter of genetics.  Ruggeri’s recent article, Why you shouldn’t try to be a morning person, has me walking with my head held a bit higher.

The message is everywhere. We are told about how people in charge – successful people – get up at obscenely early hours after scandalously few hours of sleep. Typically, these same paragons of virtue hit the gym or the trails before the sun comes up and are busy in their offices before the rest of us leave the house. Knowing this has always made me feel a bit defeated before I even started my day – although not defeated enough to get up earlier.

Having read Amanda Ruggeri’s life-altering article, I now know that being a morning person or a night owl (or in the middle, as is half the population) is genetic, nothing more. It turns out that getting up early every morning, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, isn’t necessarily a sign of an extremely motivated, self-disciplined person who attacks every aspect of their life with the same steely resolve. Gosh, I wish I had known that many, many decades ago.

I had an inkling that this may be more the case than I had always assumed when a long-time friend of mine, who is a stereotypical morning person – and someone who bakes her own bread (something else that I am not genetically disposed to) – disabused me of the notion that she approached all life tasks with the same sense of commitment that she did those that I noticed the most. She just tackled what she really wants to do with a vengeance, and started very early. So, even before I read this liberating Ruggeri article earlier today, I had slowly started to absolve myself of the sense that because I started doing things (much) later in the day I was somehow less of a human being. I don’t get to the Saturday Market at 7 a.m., in fact more often than that I don’t get there at all, but that doesn’t make me a bad person. I would never thinking of running before 10 a.m., even though some people I know are at the gym or pool before work; surely a lunch hour or after work is just as good? Even better when you’re retired, when any time of day is available.