Stay up to date with notifications from The Independent

Notifications can be managed in browser preferences.

17 people who prove you don't have to be a morning person to be successful

Tuesday 01 November 2016 18:15 GMT
Winston Churchill did not get out of bed until 11am
Winston Churchill did not get out of bed until 11am

Look up habits of successful people, and one thing comes up over and over: Successful people tend to wake up early.

But before you attempt to reprogram your sleepy brain, consider this: While, yes, early birds do get some worms, naturally late risers get some perks, too.

One Spanish study suggested that night owls who sleep in may be more intelligent than their day-bound peers, and Italian researchers found evidence that "evening types" might be also be more creative.

It may not be compatible with a standard office job, but as these 17 people prove, waking up late can definitely be compatible with success.

Buzzfeed CEO Jonah Peretti 'sleeps in' to 8:30am

In the grand scheme of things, 8:30am barely qualifies as "sleeping in," but in the context of business, it's virtually afternoon.

In The Wire, Peretti — who also cofounded The Huffington Post — breaks down his incredibly civilized morning routine. "I usually sleep in to about 8:30," he explains. Then he separates out the business or sports section of The New York Times ("the only two sections my wife lets me take"), grabs New York magazine, and heads for the subway.

New Yorker writer and TED speaker Kathryn Schulz does her best work in the middle of the night

Schulz is hardly the first writer to find that she's at her most alert when everyone else is at their most asleep. Not that she's necessarily happy about it. "I sometimes think I would give anything to be a morning person," she writes in New York magazine.

Instead, her writing brain kicks in at about 10 p.m., she explains. Just after 3am, she's faced with a choice. "If I put my work away and go to bed, I will fall asleep almost instantly, and can be up and functional again by nine." Or she can stay up for the rest of the night, napping for a few hours "from six to eight, or eight to ten."

New York City mayor Bill de Blasio is 'not a morning person'

The mayor, who is known for his occasional tardiness, has been upfront about his ideal schedule. "I am not a morning person," he once confessed on the campaign trail. "I think we should reorient our society [to] staying up late, but I don't think that's happening right now."

While de Blasio's schedule — including his oft-discussed 9am. gym sessions — is hardly unheard of, it's a far cry from the larkish routines of recent predecessors. Bloomberg was known to jog at 5am, and Giuliani was in meetings with senior staff by 8am.

Former English Prime Minister Winston Churchill preferred to manage the first part of his workday from bed

Sir Winston Churchill feature in the Vote Leave film

While Churchill was not a particularly late riser — he awoke around 7:30am. — he did not actually get out of bed until 11am, according to the blog Daily Routines.

Instead, he woke up, "remained in bed for a substantial breakfast and reading of mail and all the national newspapers." After that — still from bed — he'd begin his workday, dictating to his secretaries, before finally rising to bathe before noon.

Box CEO Aaron Levie clears out his inbox from bed

The CEO of the cloud file-syncing and file-sharing company Box wakes up at 10am. and, following in the footsteps of greats like Churchill, he begins his day from the comfort of his covers.

"I know this is not a best practice," Levie admits in Fast Company, "but I read email. I'm in bed for 30 minutes swiping, replying, and deleting. I try to make sure I have no unread messages by the time I get into the office."

Novelist Cynthia Ozick lets the day start when it starts

"I almost never get home at midnight," award-winning novelist Cynthia Ozick told The Paris Review in 1985. "I'm always the last to leave a party."

The very idea of "regular working hours" seemed to amuse her. "You're talking as if there's some sort of predictable schedule," she said. "I don't have working hours. I wake up late. I read the mail, which sometimes is a very complex procedure."

Gustave Flaubert rang for his servants at 10am

Flaubert, whose "Madame Bovary" helped define the modern novel, began his days at 10am, according to Mason Currey's book "Daily Rituals."

Upon waking, he'd ring for the servants to bring him his newspapers, his mail, a glass of cold water, and a filled pipe. Temporarily sated, he would then "signal for his mother to come in and sit on the bed for an intimate chat until he decided to get up."

Reddit cofounder Alexis Ohanian uses his cat as an alarm clock

"I'm usually up pretty late," Ohanian tells Fast Company — on average, he's not in bed until 2am — "so I try to be up by 10am"

Then, it's first things first. "The first thing I do is use the bathroom, then I make some coffee," he says, before correcting himself. "No, the absolute first thing I do is feed my cat because he usually wakes me up."

James Joyce lay 'smothered in his own thoughts' until 11am

A portrait of the artist: James Joyce, author of ‘Dubliners’, which took nine years and 18 attempts to get published

Like Flaubert and Box CEO Aaron Levie, the modernist legend woke "about 10 o'clock," according to Currey's "Daily Rituals."

Then, his biographer Richard Ellman reports, Joyce would consume "coffee and rolls in bed," and then lie there, "smothered in his own thoughts," until about 11am. Sometimes, these thoughts were interrupted by the arrival of his "Polish tailor," who would "sit discoursing on the edge of the bed while Joyce listened and nodded."

Cofounder and CEO of Genius Tom Lehman is 'generally a 3am to 10.30am kind of guy'

In an interview with Lifehacker, Lehman, CEO of the annotation site Genius (formerly Rap Genius), admits he's not much for the sunrise. "But if I do happen to wake up early — and especially if I go to the gym first thing — I make sure to tell everyone about it," he adds.

The second he wakes up, he's checking the internet — Hacker News and Twitter, to start — which he considers "a true guilty pleasure!"

French writer Simone de Beauvoir did not enjoy starting the day

French writer, philosopher, and author of "The Second Sex," Simone de Beauvoir, was known for her great self-discipline, but that didn't mean she was a morning person.

"I'm always in a hurry to get going, though in general I dislike starting the day," she told the Paris Review in 1965.

She would start her day with tea and then start writing at about 10am.

Musician, philanthropist, and entrepreneur Pharrell Williams rolls out of bed at 9am without an alarm clock

Pharrell Williams and Moby have said they want to attend the dancing man party in LA

Williams, who, in addition to being a Grammy-winning musician, is also a fashion designer, record producer, textile manufacturer (he's a partner in Bionic Yarn), philanthropist, and media mogul, starts his days at the very reasonable hour of 9am, according to Fast Company.

"The first thing I do is thank the master," he says. Then, he hops in the shower, "and that's where a lot of my concepts come from. I write songs in there sometimes." If he's late, he says, it's not traffic — it's the shower.

Gertrude Stein woke up at 10am and drank a coffee 'against her will'

According to a 1934 New Yorker profile, the writer and poet — a die-hard night owl — woke daily at 10am, and reluctantly drank a cup of coffee.

"She's always nervous about becoming nervous and she thought coffee would make her nervous," the profile explains, "but her doctor prescribed it." Once awake and caffeinated, Stein would bathe and begin the day's writing.

Fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld sleeps seven hours no matter what

Karl Lagerfeld took a Roman holiday this week to present Chanel's latest Metiers d'Art Collection

The "king of fashion" isn't necessarily a late-riser — he's just a person who rises only when he's had seven hours of solid sleep.

"If I go to bed at two, I wake up at nine," he explains in Harper's Bazaar. "If I go to bed at midnight, I wake up at seven. I don't wake up before — the house can fall apart, but I sleep for seven hours."

To get the most out of his seven hours, he wears a "long, full-length white shirt, in a material called poplin imperial," made especially for him.

"Sophie's Choice" author William Styron didn't get out of bed until around 1pm

According to the blog Daily Routines, the novelist would sleep until noon, read and think in bed for another hour or so, and eat lunch around 1:30 p.m.

After completing some administrative and leisurely tasks (including daydreaming and listening to music), he would begin writing around 4 p.m., have cocktails and dinner around 8 p.m., and stay up drinking, reading, smoking, and listing to music until 3 in the morning.

'Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas' author Hunter S. Thompson woke at 3pm to drink, do drugs, and write

Amidst his daily intake of drugs, burgers, and alcohol, Thomspon would settle in to write around midnight, according to the E. Jean Carroll biography, "Hunter: The strange and savage life of Hunter S. Thompson.

The writer didn't go to sleep until around 8am and would wake again around 3pm

'The Lord of the Rings' author J.R.R. Tolkien woke up late, just like a hobbit

In a letter to a fan from 1958, "The Hobbit" and "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy author J.R.R. Tolkien wrote, "I am in fact a Hobbit (in all but size)."

Apart from liking nature, pipe-smoking, and ornamental waistcoats, Tolkein also admitted that, whenever possible, he would go to bed late and wake up late.

Read more:

• This chart is easy to interpret: It says we're screwed
• How Uber became the world's most valuable startup
• These 4 things could trigger the next crisis in Europe

Read the original article on Business Insider UK. © 2016. Follow Business Insider UK on Twitter.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in