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Does it pay to be a morning person?


Coach Kenneth Rippetoe


Health, Fitness, and Beauty

Kenneth is the founder and head coach of One with the Water, a nonprofit swim school that offers need-based scholarships to children with special needs, adults, low-income families, and service-disabled Veterans. He is a certified US Paralympic Disabilities Swim Coach and a strength and conditioning coach.

Calling all night owls! Is there any truth to the statement, "I'm not a morning person"? Does early to bed, early to rise really make a difference in our day to day lives? Do our sleeping and waking preferences make an impact on our health and fitness habits? You've got questions, we've got answers. 


Everyone is born with a specific, unique chronotype (the biological trait that helps determine our wake time preference) and it’s mostly determined by genetic factors. (Science started by Kleitman, N. Sleep and Wakefulness as Alternating Phases in the Cycle of Existence. published in 1939)


There do seem to be some health benefits to being an early riser … with the most prevalent being related to insomnia, obesity, and depression. In fact, one UK study published in 2016 did find that people up before 7 am are happier, thinner, sleep better, and are less likely to be depressed. (


So can we train our body to wake up earlier? There are masses of information and techniques out there from medicine to meditation to sheer willpower. Here are some simple tips to get you started: 

  1. Implement change in small steps. Changing your routine just 15 minutes at a time may not seem like much, but is easy to sustain because it’s such a small change. 
  2. Control your environment … bedrooms are for sleeping! Get off your screen about an hour before bed, and block out all forms of light to create a quiet, dark, calming environment. 
  3. Break up with your snooze button! Going back to bed can actually send you into a deeper sleep cycle, making it harder to get up when your alarm does go off. That’s why when people hit snooze and go back to sleep for 5-15 minutes, they wake up thinking the time went by fast.


Does it affect our workouts? Being a morning person or a night owl can help you determine when it’s best to workout. Depending on your body type you might work out best during certain times of the day. If you're a morning person, then you might workout best between 6am – 10am. If you're a night owl, then maybe you should workout at lunch or after work. It will help calm your mind and allow you to fall asleep quicker. Choosing the time of day to work out based on your body-type can also help you figure out what type of exercise or sport to play. I was NEVER a morning person and during college, I used to take my pillow to morning swim practice. But after 4 pm, I was able to swim much faster and always had a lot more energy. 


Kapha Dosha – Ayurvedic Constitution

Times of Day: 6am – 10am and 6pm – 10pm


Pitta Dosha – Ayurvedic Constitution

Times of Day: 10pm – 2am and 10am – 2pm


Vata Dosha – Ayurvedic Constitution

Times of Day: 2am – 6am and 2pm – 6pm



In my line of work as a Swim and Strength Coach, I had to become a morning person for those that prefer to workout during the morning. To become a morning person, I taught myself to wake up without using an alarm clock and I never do anything strenuous until after 10 am. I use early morning hours for thinking and observing, and planning my day. Sometimes I'm so productive that I'm done with everything by 10 am. My brain is awake, however, I know that because of my body type and experience of being an athlete for 45 years, that my physical body isn't ready to do anything until 10 am. Regardless of whether or not you are a lark or a night owl, it’s healthier for you to work out when your body is ready and able to do so.




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