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Thursday, May 11, 2017

Morning vs. Night People

     A morning person is someone who generally feels at their best during the hours before noon. Night owls are characterized by their unconventional and up-all-night lifestyle. Their sleeping schedules are not in sync with morning people as they reach their peak performance while most are asleep. 
     Many morning people feel energized when the day is just beginning and often find the early hours are ideal for taking care of routine matters. The night owl typically feels best later in the day or during the night. 
     Some scientists suggest a morning person's preference for the early morning hours is partially based on genetics, particularly on a gene that affects a person's circadian rhythm and response to sunlight. This type of person has a natural sleep cycle that depends on a bright light source arriving at the proper time. If they do not experience this light cue during the early morning hours they may feel just as groggy as a night owl forced to wake up too soon. 
     Conversely, a night owl can sometimes learn to become a morning person by deliberately turning on a bright light source upon waking in the morning. Moving the alarm clock away from the bed can also prevent a night owl from hitting the snooze button too often. But, converting will not happen overnight, no pun intended.  Sleep experts suggest that individuals go to bed no later than 10 o'clock at night, avoiding eating or watching television just before bedtime and maintaining an early wake-up schedule every day of the week, including weekends. Eventually, the body will adapt to the change in light cues.  
     There are three groups of people, those who stay up late, wake up early and fall somewhere in between, make up what are called chronotypes, or time types. We all have a genetically-determined clock. For most, those internal clocks, called circadian rhythm, are naturally set on a cycle that’s just slightly longer than 24 hours. About a quarter of the population has a circadian rhythm that runs slightly longer than 24 hours, which causes those people to want to stay up late. Another quarter of the population has a circadian rhythm that runs slightly shorter than 24 hours, which causes those people to wake up earlier in the morning. With age chronotypes do shift, at least slightly. Adolescents are more likely to be evening-types. And as total sleep time shortens as we age, older folks gravitate toward the morning-type end of the spectrum.

# Morning people are happier and likely to have a sunnier disposition than a night owl, experience positive emotions and feel healthier. 
# In a 2008 study of college students at a Texas University, the students who identified as morning-type people had GPAs that were a full point higher than those of their evening-type peers. A likely explanation is that they go to sleep earlier, skip potentially-distracting nighttime activities and they’re also driven to wake up earlier. 
# A morning person usually awakens very quickly with very little fogginess and is ready for a high level of activity very quickly. 
# They’re more productive, especially when it comes to anything that’s cognitively challenging. 
# They’re more conscientious and conscientious people are also more efficient, organized and goal-oriented, and they also typically pay more attention to details, plan ahead and act more proactively when faced with a problem. 
# They’re at lower risk for depression. Some studies have linked the desire to stay up late with higher rates of depression. In a small 2013 study, morning people were less likely than night owls to possess personality characteristics like narcissism, Machiavellianism (a person may be manipulative) and psychopathy. 
# They may be nicer. 

Night owls traits: 
# Night owls are more creative than morning people. A 2006 study published in the journal Personality and Individual Differences found when it came to completing an activity based on originality, elaboration, fluidity, and flexibility factors, evening types tested based on this criteria. This suggests nocturnal types are more likely to be creative because of their non-conventional spirit enabled them to find alternative and original solutions. 
# Night owls score higher on general intelligence tests. A 2013 study published in the journal Personality and Individual Differences found night owls tend to score higher on inductive reasons tests, which is related to general intelligence. These traits tend to be associated with greater occupational success and higher incomes. Ben Franklin advocated a famous saying: “early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.” He was wrong. There is no scientific evidence that following his advice about going to bed and getting up early is associated with any health, socioeconomic, or cognitive advantage. If anything, night owls were wealthier than morning people and there was no difference in their health or wisdom.
# Night owls have different brains. Natural tendencies toward sleeping and waking are different when it comes to their brain. Researchers in Germany hooked up early birds and night owls to a diffusion MRI machine to see what was happening inside their heads. The findings revealed night owls' white matter was in worse condition than their early bird counterparts, especially in areas associated with sadness and depression. 
# Night owls have higher brain activity. Compared to night owls, early birds have lower activity in brain regions linked to attention and the circadian master clock, according to a 2009 study published in the journal Science. 
# Night owls have greater physical strength in the evening. Physiologically speaking, early birds’ strength tends to remain constant throughout the day, but night owls have peak performance in the evening. 
# Night owls are more likely to have bad habits. One analysis of 676 adults from Finland found that evening types were much more likely to be current or lifelong smokers, much less likely to stop smoking, and at much higher risk for nicotine dependence compared with morning people. Another study of 537 individuals found that night owls consume more alcohol. 
# Night owls tend to be men. Men tend to consider themselves night owls more so than women because they tend to sleep less overall. A 2014 study published in the journal Evolutionary Psychology found although preferences for being a night owl or an early morning person are due to biology and genetic inheritance, they can also be influenced by environmental factors such as shift work or child-rearing. Moreover, gender differences in sleep patterns tend to be prevalent after puberty, but then dissipate after women reach menopause. 
     One interesting study of 16 Major League Baseball players was based on 7,500 innings during the 2009 and 2010 seasons found that baseball players performed better when game times matched their chronotype. Even then, night owls had better averages than morning people. When morning players played in early games (start times before 2 pm.), their batting average was .267, but when night owls played in night games (after 8 pm), their average was .306. When game times conflicted with their chronotype, morning players hit eight points lower in night games, but evening players hit 54 points lower in day games. So far as I have been able to determine, no baseball team has tried altering their lineup based on this data though.

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