Late birds also get worms


Esther Kim

Many people, including students, are familiar with the phrase, “The early bird catches the worm,” establishing the idea that people must wake up at the earliest hours of the morning to be successful. The Sidekick executive editorial page editor Sreeja Mudumby thinks waking up early is not the only way to achieve your goals. Illustration by Esther Kim

Sreeja Mudumby, Executive Editorial Page Editor

Every time my eyes snap open as my alarm blares next to me, I question my existence. 

Last year as a virtual student, I was a big morning person – waking up at 6 a.m., finishing the set of exercises in the Chloe Ting challenge, showering and studying for two hours – all before lunch time. 

But as time passed and my pile of work increased, my 11 p.m. bedtime turned into 2 a.m., and my 6 a.m. alarm is snoozed four too many times a day. I used to force myself to wake up early no matter how late I slept, just to keep that “productive mindset” going. I was convinced that the day I woke up late would be the day I failed a class. 

My body caught up to me and eventually one day, I did wake up late. One day became multiple, and soon my bedtime shifted enough to where I could not even say I had a bedtime. I have a reputation among my friends for never having dark circles but I started seeing small dark lines under my eyes one morning, and I knew something was not right. 

Though my body clock changed, I learned that I could still be productive. There are many CEOs, government officials and other successful people who do not wake up at the break of dawn. I did not need to wake up at a certain time in order to accomplish my goals, I just needed the discipline. Discipline does not need to have a fixed time or circadian rhythm; that’s for you to decide. 

When we have commitments, such as school or jobs, we need to follow their timelines in order to fulfill our responsibilities. However, when given the choice, following your personal body clock is so much more important than forcing yourself to wake up early. A healthy amount of sleep is the biggest thing a body needs in order to survive at its optimal function

I am not going to tell you that you need to sleep more. I’ll save that for every one of your parents, teachers and your conscience. I am just asking you to not fall into the trap of forcing yourself to become a morning person just because some YouTube channel says so. Listening to your body should be above all else and will ensure the best for your success. 

Operating with low energy levels for the rest of the day is more counterproductive to reaching your goals compared to getting a few extra hours of sleep. Disrupting your body clock might actually be harmful to your health, as you are forcing yourself to adjust the cycle of rest and being active. 

If you are a morning person, be a proud morning person. But if you are a night owl, don’t be afraid to embrace it when appropriate. I wake up at 11 a.m. on the weekends and still have enough time to get all my homework done, spend time with my family and work on my college applications. I am happier, less stressed and ultimately more productive.

Follow Sreeja (@sreejamudumby) and @CHSCampusNews on Twitter.