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The Early Bird vs. The Night Owl: What it Means for Your Sleep

The Early Bird vs. The Night Owl: What it Means for Your Sleep

The age old adage that is the Early Bird versus the Night Owl. Chances are you are one while you know the other, and in true humanistic form, we immediately put the two personalities against each other.

But who comes out on top?

Thankfully I’ve done my research and I am ready to settle the dinner time debate to the best of my ability. So, prepare yourselves for some home truths as we delve into who exactly has the healthy bedtime routine and who needs to rethink their habits.

 

The Early Bird

Often referred to as ‘morning people’ the Early Birds among us love nothing more than getting out of their beautiful bed at the crack of dawn (or scientifically speaking, before 8am) and making the most of their mornings before work.

Naturally upbeat during the early hours, Early Birds commonly have a set routine that welcomes them into the world and sets them on a path for the day.

But what exactly sets them apart?

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According to the University of Barcelona, early risers are more persistent of their goals and also less likely to suffer from the frustrations of fatigue in comparison to their late night counterparts.

Alongside this, those who set an early alarm exhibit lower levels of anxiety and depression as they are not being forced to conform to a timetable that doesn’t suit their body clock.

 

But Are Early Starters Superior?

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“Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise”
While Founding Father Benjamin Franklin may have been an early morning advocate, his philosophical views on the argument may not have been entirely accurate.

In 1998, a few Southampton University scientists decided to put Franklin’s fundamentals to the test and analysed a national sample of both men and women in order to get to the truth. After investigating 356 Early Birds (bed before 11pm, awake before 8am), and 318 Night Owls (bed after 11pm, and awake after 8am), they came to a few interesting conclusions in regards to the Early Birds assumed superiority.

While generally speaking, Early Birds were indeed more proactive, agreeable and conscientious this made little difference to their overall health, socioeconomic standing nor gave them any cognitive advantages.

So, maybe they shouldn’t be so cocky after all eh?

 

The Night Owl

Many would be quick to judge the Night Owls due to their struggle to conform to society’s timetable, however, they do possess more than the odd redeeming quality.

Often gaining energy toward the latter end of the day, their focus improves significantly as the day goes on, often hitting their peak performance as the Early Birds begin to slump.

Alongside this, a study conducted by The University of Barcelona found that Night Owls are much more likely to be extravagant, impulsive and novelty seeking in their endeavours.

However, this often traitorous trait does also have its pitfalls.

Due to the tendency for mainstream jobs to work on a 9-5 basis, Night Owls are continually having to conform to unnatural timetables, and it can cause problems.

The study by the University of Barcelona found that those who are comfortable going to bed after 11pm, but having to rise before 8am are increasingly cranky, irritated and struggle to perform to the best of their ability before midday.

Late nights are also synonymous with social gatherings, and Night Owls are often found to be more social than their Early Bird counterparts, and while this does wonders for their confidence, it can lead to a lifetime of bad habits.

Due to the increased likelihood of attending these social gatherings, Night Owls are more susceptible to developing alcohol, nicotine and caffeine addictions which they often find particularly difficult to kick.

Alongside this, dieticians have found that those who are trapped in the cycle of late nights and early mornings are more likely to suffer from obesity due to their habit of skipping breakfast and indulging in frequent, but larger portions as the evening continues.

 

So, Who Has the Healthy Bedtime Routine?

Well as much as I would love to give you a definitive answer, this old argument really just comes down to personal preference.

If you are a Night Owl and often find yourself wondering how many hours we should sleep, maybe it’s time to conform to the ways of the Early Birds.

However, if you are an Early Bird, and hate setting a bedtime for adults, maybe try out a few late nights once in a while?

The important thing is that you do what works for you, and as long as you can switch up a gear when the time comes, then what’s the harm?

Perhaps, if the Early Birds had the perfect mattress they would be less inclined to jump out so eagerly, or maybe if the Night Owl's had their divan beds taken off them they would be forced to conform.

Or maybe, they need a combination of both? Sound like you? If only you could tailor it to your own needs.

Thankfully, you can.

Comfy and customisable