Are you a night owl or an early bird? There is a very real difference between the two, they are not just cute avian metaphors but describe two particular types of people that have a marked physiological difference.
Most of us know already
While many people will know already whether they are a night owl or an early bird, some people may not be totally aware. While some of us have relatively free reign over our exact bed time and wake time others have spent many years of their lives having these dictated to them and they may not know whether they are a night person or a morning person. Others may not have given it much thought. Either way you can find out which one you are. There is a test!
The night owl test
Right, so what is the test? Well it is pretty simple really, it is one that people who know whether they are a night owl or an early bird will have already taken, perhaps many times before. Ask yourself, if you were given the choice, would you rather be working on a project at 6am or 10pm. If you answered 6am then you are an early bird, if you answered 10pm then chances are that you are a night owl.
Need more help working it out?
Well, if you are able fall asleep pretty easily at night, you’re less likely to be a night owl. Night owls have difficulty sleeping at night, even when they are trying to go to sleep at the right times.”
What are the right times?
While there is a huge amount of variation across the population the best hours of of sleep are during night hours and are between 7-7.5 hours, say from 10.30 p.m. to 6 a.m., or 11.30 p.m. to 7 a.m.
The poor night owl
While these two may sound like two equal if opposite alternatives, the reality is that research has shown that night owls get the worse end of the bargain. The reason for this is that the night owl will generally not get as much sleep as the early bird as their sleep patterns are out of sync with the regular hours the rest of the world keeps.
The SLEEP study
A new study conducted by SLEEP, which is the official journal of the American Sleep Disorders Association, looked at over 1,700 men across a 10- to 14-year period. The study found that the men who slept less than six hours a day had a far higher mortality risk. In other words, the night owls were more likely to die.
What can the night owl do?
Obviously the night owl doesn’t want to keep being a night owl so what can they do? While there are no easy answers, they can try to train themselves to sleep earlier by rigorously sticking to a sleep schedule and by eating and drinking the right foods to help them get to sleep.
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