A morning person is someone who generally feels at his or her best during the hours before noon. Many morning people feel energized after a full night's sleep and can shake what few cobwebs remain by taking a bracing morning shower. They often find the early hours are also ideal for taking care of routine matters, such as email correspondence, household finances, and reading the newspaper. The opposite is a night owl, who typically feels best later in the day or during the night.
Unlike their night owl counterparts, morning people actually gain energy from the sights and sounds of a day just beginning. Waking up to the first rays of the sun or an alarm clock set in single digits is rarely a problem. Jogging or walking can seem more invigorating when performed in the crisp morning air, and many morning people enjoy the feeling of accomplishment before they start their actual workday.
There are a few drawbacks to this routine, though. Many stores and professional services are not available during the early hours, so in order to maintain a morning riser schedule, a morning people may also have to go to bed earlier in the evening than their night owl family members and friends. They rarely stay up past 9 or 10 o'clock at night, which means that they may miss out on some late night activities.
Some scientists suggest a morning person's preference for the early morning hours is partially based on genetics, particularly on a gene that affects a person's circadian rhythm and response to sunlight. This type of person has a natural sleep cycle that depends on a bright light source arriving at the proper time. If he or she does not receive this light cue during the early morning hours, he or she may feel just as groggy as a night owl forced to wake up too soon.
Conversely, a night owl can sometimes learn to become a morning person by deliberately turning on a bright light source upon waking in the morning. Moving the alarm clock away from the bed can also prevent a night owl from hitting the snooze button too often. Making the bed within minutes of waking can also discourage someone from crawling back under the covers. Many people would have considered themselves morning people at some point in their lives, but the opportunity to sleep in or a preference for late night activities have converted them to night owls.
Converting from a night owl to a morning person will not happen overnight, but sleep experts suggest that individuals go to bed no later than 10 o'clock at night, avoiding eating or watching television just before bedtime, and maintaining an early wake-up schedule every day of the week, including weekends. Eventually, the body will adapt to the change in light cues and a converted night owl should have a higher level of energy in the morning.