October 12, 2019 3 min read
The age old debate of night owl versus the early bird has been around for decades. Many an argument has been had as to which one is better. So what is a night owl and an early bird? Well, a night owl will stay up late and find it difficult to get up the morning. Indeed, you may even recognise the night owl in the office. They are usually the ones that are bleary eyed and reaching for the coffee first thing. Conversely early birds have probably been up for hours before they even enter the office. Indeed, it may even seem that early birds have more energy. However, night owls come to life later in the night. And yes they are probably the last ones to be leaving the party. Here, at Beds On Legs we will look at the differences.
Interestingly many scientists have argued that your sleep 'chronotype' is largely shaped by your genes and biological forces. So if your parents are both one type of sleeper then the chances are you will follow in their footsteps. Furthermore, it has been argued that it is very difficult to change your sleep type. If you're a night owl, you will probably be nodding your head in agreement with this statement. Indeed, society favours early birds. A 9-5 working day fits these types perfectly. Although many early birds would quite happily start an hour or so earlier. In fact, it could be argued that flexible work time would be preferable for both types. That way both early birds and owls can work when they are at their most productive.
Unfortunately popular myths favour the early birds. Hence the saying 'the early bird catches the worm'. However night owls also have their strengths. In fact, according to one study by Satoshi Kanazawa intelligent children are more likely to become night owls.
Furthermore, early birds seemingly make better lifestyle choices. For example they are less likely to indulge in alcohol and other substances. Conversely night owls are more likely to indulge in novelty seeking. Some studies even point to the fact that early beds live longer on average.
Whilst it is difficult to change your sleeping style, with the right tools it is possible. Generally speaking most people will want to change from night owl to early bird so we'll focus on that. The first thing you will need to do is change your morning pattern.You can start by setting your alarm earlier. Whilst the first few days will be difficult, your body will adjust. Also try to avoid taking naps so that when it comes to night time you begin to feel sleepy. Indeed, using light is a great way to facilitate this change. In the summer you can just open your curtains first thing. In winter you could invest in SAD light that simulates natural daylight, You can even get alarms that wake you with light.
If you do a lot of activities on an evening you should also try to fit these in earlier. If your schedule doesn't allow for this the you could try spreading them out over the week. Or if you're feeling really brave you could try going to the gym in the morning as opposed to the evening. Above all else it is important to be kind to yourself. If you've been a night owl for years then don't expect these changes to happen over night.