Do You Have To Be A “Morning Person” To Be Successful?

“Wake up before the sun and workout first thing in the morning.” This was advice I was given by a mentor when I asked “what was the key to their success and productivity?” I have often told others the same advice. I have since learned that this advice may actually do more harm than good for some people depending on your genetics.

We’ve all heard that some of the most successful people on the planet “get more done before breakfast than most people get done in a day.” Many entrepreneurs and high-achievers look for every possible way to become a morning person and make waking up earlier easier. This begs the question, “Do you have to be a morning person to be successful?”

According to Dr Michael Breus, aka The Sleep Doctor, depending on your genetics, your body may be more resistant than others to becoming a morning person. Dr Michael Breus says that everyone has a sleep chronotype thats influenced by their genetics.

A chronotype is essentially a how your bodies natural biological clock manifests itself. Ever hear someone say that they are a “morning person” or a “night owl”?

That is chronotype.


Two categories of chronotypes (early birds and night owls) is evidently too narrow of spectrum. Dr Breus shared with me an interview on our Neuro Lifestyle Podcast that there are actually four different chronotypes:

Bear — The most common chronotype, which accounts for roughly 50–55% of the population. Bears tend to rise and sleep according to the sun. They’re neither early birds or night owls. According to Dr Breus, we live in a Bear’s world and bears tend to be the people who accomplish a lot.

Lion — Lions account for roughly 15% of the population and would be considered your type A do-ers. Typically they are early risers but crash early at night.

Wolf — Wolves account for 15% of the population and would be considered your classic “night owl.” They tend to be more creative types like authors, actors, etc.

Dolphin — The last 10% of the population would be considered dolphins. Dolphins typically have abnormal sleep patterns that manifest themselves often with sleep disorders or insomnia. People with a dolphin chronotype tend to be highly intelligent and tend to have higher rates of OCD.

You can listen to the full interview of Dr Breus by clicking here.

Does Your Chronotype Determine Your Success?

Based on my interview with Dr Breus your chronotype does not determine your success, but allows you to become more aware of how your schedule effects your success. Knowing, based on your genetics and chronotype, what time of day you will be most effective can make a substantial difference in your level of productivity and success.

For instance, a lion is a morning person. Therefore it is easy and takes less energy for them to wake up early and tackle the day. The morning tends to be their optimal time to accomplish and manage high priority tasks.

On the other hand, a wolf isn’t genetically hardwired to be a morning person. They theoretically could force themselves into a lions schedule, but it will take much more energy to do so. A wolf tends to be much more effective at night and should prioritize their time to manage high priority tasks at night.

So is it necessary to be an early riser to be successful? No. Depending on which chronotype you are, trying to force yourself to become a morning person could be draining your energy and making you less effective and productive, which can hinder your success.

Knowing your chronotype can give you powerful insight for better understanding yourself and learning to schedule your time in a way in which you can plan your highest priority tasks for when you have the most energy and therefore make you 10X more productive.

You can test your chronotype by using Dr Michael Breus’ Power of When Quiz by clicking here.

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