Many people can easily be separated into one of two categories: they’re either an early bird or a night owl. One prefers waking up early while the other enjoys staying awake well into the night. Both of these lifestyles have their pros and cons, but is one better for you than the other?
Why do people have different sleeping habits?
Have you ever sat down and wondered why you wake up and go to bed when you do? As it turns out, there may be something in your genetics determining this. That’s according to a 2020 study anyway, which looked into several explanations as to why people have different sleeping patterns. Other things they explored included smartphone usage and gender differences. However, while they certainly found some interesting results, such as that women typically wake up earlier than men, nothing conclusively explained why people are early birds and night owls.
What distinguishes an early bird?
If you’re unsure which category you fall into, it’s worth familiarizing yourself with what makes an early bird or a night owl. With the former, the focus is typically around doing things earlier in the day. You wake up and go to bed early, with your most productive hours being in the morning and early afternoon. By late afternoon, you tend to run low on energy until you’re eventually unable to stay awake past a certain time.
What distinguishes a night owl?
Once you know the meaning of an early bird, it might be easy to imagine what makes a night owl. Anyone who identifies this way tends to go to bed in the early hours of the morning, meaning they sleep in incredibly late. It can take them until late afternoon to start feeling properly energized, with their focus and productivity at its best when night falls.
Which is better?
You have to consider certain factors before deciding whether being an early bird or a night owl is better. For instance, do you work a standard 9-5 job? If so, you stand a better chance of success if you identify as the former. After all, early birds tend to be more energized throughout the workday, meaning they get more done. However, if you’re a creative type, being a night owl may actually be more beneficial. A lot of writers, for example, focus better outside of daylight hours, so it all just depends on what you do and when you work.
Are there any health benefits?
According to research from 2012, early birds typically report more positive emotions than night owls. Moreover, a 2019 study suggested that the latter were more inclined to face mental health issues and metabolic problems. Elements like lack of sunlight can certainly impact a person’s health if they sleep through much of the day. However, a night owl can probably avoid these problems, provided they take measures to counteract them.
At the end of the day, the most important thing is to get plenty of sleep. As long as you do that, it doesn’t greatly matter whether you’re an early riser or late sleeper.