I spent the holidays at my mom’s house and it’s quite an experience. You see…my mom is an early riser. She gets up at the crack of dawn before the sun is even up, makes coffee, and waters the plants. She then proceeds to tinker around the house until one by one all its inhabitants are up. The last one up would be me.
I am not a morning person. Never was and probably never will be. I am more of a “sun is up” person. I love to snuggle deep into the covers until the sun is already up and brightly shining. While some people rise with the sun, I find that waking up at dawn when it’s still dark out makes me gloomy.
Now, before you judge me as being lazy (and you all know that I’m not), I’d like to tell you all about the study of Chronotypes. “Chronotype refers to the behavioural manifestation of underlying circadian rhythms of myriad physical processes. A person’s chronotype is the propensity for the individual to sleep at a particular time during a 24-hour period. ‘Eveningness’ (delayed sleep period) and ‘morningness’ (advanced sleep period) are the two extremes with most individuals having some flexibility in the timing of their sleep period .
There really are underlying biological reasons as to why some of us are “morning” people or Larks and some are “night” people or Owls.
Some core biological differences are:
Body temperature: There is a difference between the occurrence of the lowest body temperature in morning and night people. Night people experience their lowest temperature drop two hours later than morning people. So if both types of people go to bed at the same time, let’s say 10 pm, the morning person’s core body temperature would have already dropped to prepare for rest while the night person’s core body temperature might still be higher and they will be less sleepy.
Melatonin: Melatonin is sometimes called the “sleep hormone”. Its production in morning people happens earlier, thus causing them to feel sleepy earlier.
Cortisol: Cortisol is sometimes called the “stress hormone”. That is an oversimplification though, as cortisol is also responsible for making energy available to our cells. Morning Larks have higher cortisol levels in the first hour of waking up compared to Night Owls.
Aside from these biological factors, the reason you are a morning lark or a night owl may be written in your DNA. Yup, it doesn’t get much deeper than that. In a study of approximately 90,000 subjects, 15 versions of genes have been identified as being linked to whether you are a Morning Lark or a Night Owl .
So, the next time someone judges you for keeping a late schedule or for going to bed early, tell them this “it’s my chronotype!”
Are you a Morning Lark or a Night Owl? What schedule works best for you? Let us know in the comments. Stay humble and hustle hard!
Written by Jaie O. The Help