GOOD NEWS FOR EARLY BIRDS
* You’re a winner. Some of the world’s most successful people are famous for being early risers. If you’re up and at it at 5.30am, you’re in the company of US founding father Benjamin Franklin, Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour, actress Gwyneth Paltrow, architect Frank Lloyd Wright, French emperor Napoleon Bonaparte and Virgin founder Richard Branson.
* You’re happier and healthier. The sleeping patterns of early birds, who scientists call morning sleep chronotypes, are in line with the rise and fall of the sun, which generally leads to better health outcomes, according to American Psychological Association journal Emotion. Meanwhile, night owls, who are known as evening sleep chronotypes, are more prone to depression, drug use and insomnia.
BAD NEWS FOR EARLY BIRDS
* You’re useless in the arvo. Early birds are up and at ’em before anyone, and are very productive in the morning, but they tend to flame out by the afternoon. Night owls stay alert longer than early risers before losing their mental stamina. So, don’t ask an early bird to do anything that requires sustained attention more than 10 hours after they wake up.
* You’re probably poorer. Although their lifestyle has plenty of drawbacks, night owls tend to be better off financially than their early-rising counterparts. Evening types show more of the kind of intelligence that is linked to prestigious jobs and more pay. Other research has shown that night owls display greater reasoning and analytical abilities.
* You’re more stressed. Researchers from the University of Westminster found in Protected content getting up early was stressful to the body. It is more likely to lead to muscle aches, cold symptoms, headaches and bad moods. Analysis of the saliva of 42 volunteers found that the early risers had higher levels of the body’s main stress hormone, cortisol, than those who slept in.
GOOD NEWS FOR NIGHT OWLS
* You’re smarter. A study from Protected content the London School of Economics and Political Science found people who were night owls were smarter. The thinking is that nocturnal activities were rare among our ancestors, so it took an intelligent person to break the genetic predisposition to go to bed with the sun. Because this is innovative for humans, the researchers concluded that it was the novel thinkers and the inquisitive who tended to do it.
* You’re great once you’ve warmed up. Early rises are alert first thing, but eventually late risers catch up. Early birds tend to flame out in the afternoon, but night owls get a late boost of energy and alertness later in the day.
* You’re in great company. Night owls keep some decidedly cool company. Take self-confessed night owl Barack Obama, scientist Charles Darwin, and rockers Keith Richards and Elvis Presley.
BAD NEWS FOR NIGHT OWLS
* You’re kind of evil. Staying up late has been linked to something called the Dark Triad of human traits — narcissism, psychopathy and Machiavellianism. The Dark Triad relates to a two-faced way of dealing with people, associated with cynicism and a pragmatic morality. (Oh, and did I mention that Adolph Hitler loved to stay up late?)
* You’re messing with your genes. Night owls have circadian rhythms that are not aligned with rise and fall of the sun — and this can disrupt the function of more than Protected content . Scientists have found jet lag or working an unusual night shift caused “profound disruption” to the usual rhythms of gene activity.
* You’re probably fatter. A report from last year found evening sleep chronotypes had a larger body-mass index.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Although there are pluses and minuses to each sleep pattern, researches agree that getting plenty of sleep is the key. Get between seven and nine hours’ sleep per night and keep consistent sleep and wake schedules — including on the weekends — and you’ll be at your best.
*This article was published in Protected content