We all know that sleep is important and we all agree that nothing can really beat a good nights rest. However, some of us jump out of bed like a spring chicken at the crack of dawn and some are much happier sleeping in until midmorning.
Most of us have a preference for late nights or early mornings and where as this used to be seen as personal preference, it’s now believed that actually, science plays a huge part in deciding whether we’re an early bird or a night owl.
Everyone knows that we need to get a good seven or eight hours sleep a night, but in reality that isn’t always possible. However, if we manage to get at least 7 hours – whether that means sleeping in later than usual or not – will we be more productive the next day? According to new research, that isn’t always the case.
Scientists have found that the earlier we wake in the morning, the healthier our brain is. Recent studies have found that the tendencies of night owls and early risers are in fact driven, by some significant degree by genetic and biological forces. Differences in lifestyle, cognitive function and health problems also play a part in determining our sleep patterns.
So, who is more productive throughout the day – the night owl or the early bird?
What scientists have found is that the sleep patterns of the night owl can damage an area of the brain known as the white matter, which is commonly associated with depression. This means that the people who stay up late are more likely to experience fatigue and ultimately make poorer decisions throughout the day. Often, these people will find themselves feeling unsynchronised when they are around other people due to what is described as imposed “social jet lag”, which on a physical level, the brain doesn’t respond well to.
On the other hand, several studies have suggested that early risers are more productive throughout the day; as the saying goes, “the early bird catches the worm”. Those who wake up early are said to possess healthy characteristics including optimism, satisfaction and conscientiousness. What’s more, early birds have more time to exercise, which is proven to provide energy while increasing mood and of course, fitness levels.
So if you want a boost in productivity and well-being, try waking up a little bit earlier and see if it gives you the extra bit of edge you need for a successful day.