Are You a Morning Lark or Night Owl?
By Kendra Cherry, About.com GuideApril 8, 2013
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While I am definitely more of a night owl, I've always aspired to become a morning person. I just seem to get more done in a day if I get up early, yet my love for sleeping in has always prevented it.
Since my daughter was born a couple months ago, I've been forced to become an early riser and it turns out that might be a good thing for a number of reasons. Research has shown that morning people are not only happier than their late-sleeping peers, they're also healthier .
One recent study found that people who prefer to stay up later tend to have worse cardiac functioning including heart rate and blood pressure. Not only that, they also suffered from poorer sleep and were less likely to be physically active.
The research also found that both morning and evening types are better capable of handling stress in the early hours if the day. So the next time you're facing an anxiety provoking work or school project, try working in it early in the morning rather than in the afternoon. By putting things off until later in the day, you're actually creating more stress for yourself which may ultimately affect the quality of your sleep.
While individual differences in your biological clock may influence whether you are a morning lark or a night owl, there are a few things you can do to shift your internal clock and start greeting the day a bit earlier.
A few things you can try:
Manage your time wisely during the day. Get stuff done earlier and avoid procrastination in order to prevent having to stay up late to finish projects.
Avoid loud noises and boisterous social situations in the late evening hours. Going to a late-night party or hanging out with roommates who are playing video games or watching movies can leave you feeling keyed-up and unable to sleep. Focus on giving yourself some time in the evening to unwind from the stresses of the day.
Follow a consistent sleep schedule. Start going to bed at the same time each night in order to wake up earlier without feeling sleep deprived.
According to sleep experts, it may take up to a month to establish a new waking/sleeping routine. Stick to it, however, and you may soon reap the benefits of being a morning person.
Whitbourne, S. K. (2012). Morning Person or Evening Person? How your Body's Clock Affects Your Life, Psychology Today. Retrieved from http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/fulfillment-any-age/201209/morning-person-or-evening-person-how-your-body-s-clock-affects-your-
Thun, E., Bjorvatn, B., Osland, T., Steen, V., Sivertsen, B., Johansen, T., & ... Pallesen, S. (2012). An actigraphic validation study of seven morningness-eveningness inventories. European Psychologist, 17(3), 222-230. doi:10.1027/1016-9040/a000097