Highlights

  • Being an early riser is regarded as the healthier alternative
  • Scientists say most people are a mix of a night owl and early bird chronotype
  • Most studies have observed a link between being a morning person and better happiness

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Early riser or late sleeper: the grass is greener on which side?

There are plenty of sayings and slogans to claim that those who hit the sack are early are better off in life. Let's unravel the real truth. 

Do you bounce out of bed at the crack of dawn or are you one of those people who’s just about to get into bed at the time? 

There are plenty of sayings and slogans to claim that those who hit the sack early are better off in life. But is that really true? Let’s take a look at the science of sleep.

SEE MORE Do you listen to music to fall asleep? Here's why it may work against you

First of all, the notion that you’re either an early bird or a night owl may not be true. In fact, most of us (that is 60 per cent) are an intermediate mix of the two, found a study published in The Journal of Biological and Medical Rhythm Research. 

Who is more productive?  

When it comes to productivity, it was found that night owls are better at getting their work done in the later hours of the day while early birds function their best in the morning. This doesn’t speak to better productivity but simply carries an obvious advantage for career paths with flexible or shift work.

Age also affects your alarm clock preferences. Unsurprisingly, adolescence is more skewed towards the owl chronotype. As you get older, it is more common to shift preferences to the more wee hours of the morning.

Who is happier? 

Most studies have observed a link between being a morning person and better happiness. A recent study of Turkish students published in the same journal found that those who self-professed as being morning persons also reported higher scores in measures of happiness.

Another study from the University of Leipzig in Germany discovered that early birds also exhibit greater satisfaction with life and are typically less vulnerable to mental health problems.

Why are morning people so much better off? 

While the science is unclear, ‘social jet lag’ may be one way to explain it. People who naturally like late nights are out of sync with society’s expectations of when to sleep and when to start work. This means nights owls may be more likely to have sleep problems which could, in turn, open the door to other mental issues.

SEE MORE Proven! It only takes one night of sleeplessness to affect your well being 

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