Are you a night owl or a morning lark?
Although we all have a 24 hour pattern individuals can vary A LOT on their timing of their peaks and troughs. This is genetic!
About 40% of us are ‘morning people’, tending to wake up pretty early, and hit the ground running. These morning types get sleepy relatively early at night. Their friends might refer to them as pumpkins as they glaze over as the evening wears on and literally shut down.
About 30% of are NOT morning people! These are the night owls who need to be crow-barred out of bed in the morning, and prefer to go to bed quite late. In fact they find it hard to fall asleep if they go to bed ‘early’, even if they’re tired.
The other 30% lie somewhere in between.
The night owl finds it really difficult or impossible to fall asleep early at night. Sometimes they don’t get properly off to sleep until the early hours, and subsequently their natural get up time is late in the morning.
Obviously most jobs (and schools) don’t take this into account. Nearly everyone is trying to conform to being a lark these days – whether they are one or not.
Night owls can’t function well in the morning and this is not their fault because it’s genetic. They may be ‘awake’ but their brain remains in a ‘sleep-like’ state until their natural rhythm kicks in and then they properly wake up and become a properly functioning person. But before that – forget it!
The night owl tends to come awake and have their most productive time in the evening.
Morning people often (unfairly) assume the night owl is lazy because they can’t get out of bed in the morning and get cracking straight away like they can.
Some morning people don’t need an alarm. They tend to get out of bed relatively early and function well in the morning. They’re most productive first thing with a fully awake brain. They tend to flag in the late afternoon, and especially in the evening as they hit their trough.
The night owl tends to be sleep deprived in modern society.
They have to wake up with larks but despite this they are unable to go to sleep early to compensate. They can end up burning the candle at both ends.
Larks are vulnerable to sleep deprivation too, but less so because modern society favours them. It depends on their evening choices. If they go to bed when their body is telling them to then they’ll get their healthy amount of sleep. But this is often ignored in favour of watching TV, surfing the net, or going out in the evening too late.
Larks can end up burning the candle at both ends too, but they do have more choice with the set-up of modern life and work (and school).
Long-term sleep deprivation whatever its cause has health consequences so this is a massive (and often ignored) health issue.
Are you a night owl or a lark? Pop a comment below.
Have a great week!
More about sleep – Tips To Improve Sleep