Early Bird VS. Night Owl


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      They say early bird catches the worm, but what about those night owls out there?  Everyone has their preferred hours of the day, whether it be early in the morning or late at night.  For me, I always feel most alive in the morning hours, but for many other people in my life, they strongly feel the opposite.  What is it specifically that causes certain people to function theUnknown.jpeg best at different hours of the day you may ask?
      The answer lies in each persons circadian rhythm, or their internal clock.  The average human clock is 24 hours, but everyone has a slight variation of this, meaning some can be longer or shorter than others.  If your clock is slightly longer, then you will most likely be a night owl, and if it's shorter, you are most likely an early bird.  Just like your body, your circadian rhythm can actually change over time, thus changing your sleeping pattern several times throughout your life.  Those in their teenage years tend to have a longer clock, therefore they tend to be night owls, while elders are usually the opposite.  Regardless of what hours you prefer to be awake during, there are both advantages and disadvantages to both.  Professor Colleen Oakley states that night owls have a higher frequency of depression, as well as a higher dependence on caffeine and alcohol.  Contrary to this, a recent study in Belgium states that night owls are able to concentrate more and focus on a single task.  Despite the pros of being a night owl, there are several positive aspects to being an early riser.  A recent study from the University of Toronto states they have better sleeping patterns, deeper sleeps, and tend to be overall happier and healthier.  
      Although Oakley feels that a person can be defined as either a night owl or morning person, Charles Fergus of Penn State states that no one is specifically a morning or night person.  Fergus states, "even though someone will swear he is a morning person or night owl, that is often a false perception.  Approximately 15 to 30 percent of people do not run on the 24 hour cycle, therefor their sleeping patterns would be adjusted to morning or night.  Regardless, the human body is wired on a schedule, and people function better based on different times 
throughout the day, not necessarily just morning or night. 
      Although sleep patterns sound very complicated, we in fact have the power to slightly alter what type of sleeper we are.  Sleeping patterns are based off of our genetically determined rhythm, so if we are used to pulling all-nighters in college, then we may be prone to staying up late.  For elders who are used to going to bed early, their sleep schedule adjusts to that as well. Having said this, the majority of our circadian rhythm is biological, and therefore out of our hands, but we do have the ability to adapt our body to our daily habits, so put the computer down and get to bed. 


6 Comments

I enjoyed reading this blog. It is funny how different people are more productive at night while others have a certain time that they need to be in bed by and are productive in the morning. My two best friends love mornings. They go to the gym early and do school work in the morning, but when the clock turns to 10:30 pm they are out cold sleeping. I am the opposite, I enjoy sleeping in the mornings and am not such a nice morning person. It take me a long time to wake up. At night though, I could easily stay up till three or four in the morning every day. I get all my work done at night. I found an article which talks about differences of an evening person and morning person. Morning people wake up feeling good because they sleep through their peak of tiredness while night people usually wake up in their period of tiredness so they are grumpy in the morning. Body temperatures are also different for the two groups. Morning people are hottest around 3:30 in the afternoon while night people are hottest around 8 at night. Below is the article, feel free to check it out.
http://www.divinecaroline.com/self/self-discovery/truth-behind-night-owls-and-morning-people

While reading your post I began to look up more information and research that has been done on circadian rhythms. I found this interesting article done by NASA on circadian rhythm and space flight. Here is a snippet from the article. “Maintaining synchronized circadian rhythms is important to health and well-being. We hypothesize that long-term spaceflights significantly affect the synchronization of the circadian rhythm in humans due to changes in body composition, reduced physical activity and/or changes of heat transfer, thermoregulation, and non-24-hour light-dark cycle in space. Therefore, we aim to investigate the changes of core temperature profiles in humans during long-term spaceflight” If you keep reading the rest of the article you can learn a lot, I have never even gave much thought to this notion! How do you think space traveling will affect the circadian rhythm?

http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/892.html

While reading your post I began to look up more information and research that has been done on circadian rhythms. I found this interesting article done by NASA on circadian rhythm and space flight. Here is a snippet from the article. “Maintaining synchronized circadian rhythms is important to health and well-being. We hypothesize that long-term spaceflights significantly affect the synchronization of the circadian rhythm in humans due to changes in body composition, reduced physical activity and/or changes of heat transfer, thermoregulation, and non-24-hour light-dark cycle in space. Therefore, we aim to investigate the changes of core temperature profiles in humans during long-term spaceflight” If you keep reading the rest of the article you can learn a lot, I have never even gave much thought to this notion! How do you think space traveling will affect the circadian rhythm?

http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/892.html

Everyone has different sleeping decisions based on what works best for them. I am definitely not a morning person but if I have to wake up early I definitely feel more productive throughout my day. Although, I don't stay up that late unless I absolutely need to get something done. Everyone has different times of the day when they are most productive. In the article from lifehacker.com, When Are You Most Productive During the Day, it says "It's true that some people's productivity peaks place them perfectly into night owl or morning person slots, but we suspect it's more complicated than that. No matter when your productivity spikes, there are ways to improve it throughout the day." I can be very last minute which isn't always the best thing. I practically have to beg myself to do homework sometimes. The article explains that to keep yourself productive throughout the day you can try things like exercising in the middle of the day for afternoon energy. This is a great way to keep yourself productive while also staying in shape!

Like most college students, I am definitely a night owl. However, I genuinely don't mind staying up into the wee hours of the morning to get work done. It's really interesting to read that we are actually built differently. I never thought about the biological mechanisms like "internal clock." I suppose once I enter the real world and can no longer make my own schedule all of my night owl habits will have to go out the window. Nice article, overall!
After reading your article, I looked up "night owl traits" on Google and found this. Apparently, people who love the night tend to have 'psychopathic' traits. Kinda crazy to think about, but it has some intriguing information.

I found this blog post interesting. While I was in high school, I would say I leaned towards the early bird side, having to wake up so early. Being in college, I find that being a night owl is your only option. You could put effort into attempting to go to bed early, but many things stand in the way. For example, noisy roommates, late work shifts, cramming for exams, unexpected phone calls, extra forgotten work; these all get in the way of an early bedtime. I find it much easier to take frequent naps to balance out my health. Everybody is different, and I am still amazed when I see people alive and walking to 8am classes, while I am dragging my feet on the ground. There are some tricks and tips I've learned to help the early mornings seem not so early. One example would be keeping your blinds open, so natural light flows into your room at sunrise and wakes you up naturally. This gives your body a response that's something like making it easy for you to get up. Here's a few more useful tips to help you feel better in the A.M.: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/02/25/tricks-waking-up-sleep_n_2718257.html

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