night owl

Night Owl Or Morning Lark?

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.

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Are you a night owl or morning lark?

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Night Owl

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 Person

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.

Sleep Deprivation

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!

Dr Julie

More about sleep – Tips To Improve Sleep

2 thoughts on “Night Owl Or Morning Lark?”

  1. Hi Julie, I get very little sleep, I almost begrudge sleeping and treat as an evil necessity, I feel i still have so much to achieve and dont want to waste my life asleep!!. Athough past retirement age, I work for myself, without help, in a quite phyisical job, ( general property maintenance, kitchens, bathrooms etc) I spend a lot of time in the evenings at computer doing quotes and invoices and prep for ongoing work. Its a problem in a way as I love the work I do, helping people sovlve their problems, much as you are doing. My typical bedtime 1 to 2am and usually up for 7-30am. Usually eat evening meal on lap tray in front of tv and have been known to cat knap for half hr couple of times a week. If i do I always “come to” feeling annoyed that i have “lost” some time. Bronwyn & I have taken to going out for walks several times a week doing about 5k each time. We had a rare couple of days away last week at the coast and one day did a 16k walk along the beach. I have also done a weekly yoga class for many years but do not do any practise in between any more. I am very interested in the way you think about nutrition and prescribed medicines, much in keeping with my own thoughts.

    1. Dr. Julie Coffey

      Hi Paul
      Thanks for comments. I think you may find future posts about sleep very interesting, and probably a bit scary with the way you view your own sleep!
      Sleep is the bedrock of long-term good health, be careful you’re not storing up future problems, stay tuned…

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