Are you an early bird or a night owl? Well, although people will tell you seizing the day is the best option, studies have revealed it's not as clear-cut as that.
They say that the early bird gets the worm, but people don’t fly or live in nests. Typically, it is a good idea to listen to science.
However, in this case, studies send mixed messages about whether it’s better to get up early or stay up late.
Being an Early Bird
There are a lot of benefits to waking up early to seize the day. Imagine getting up at the crack of dawn and having the entire day ahead of you. It seems like this is the better way to go about life, although it is easier to be said than done.
If we think about humans in our natural habitat, aka prehistoric cave dwellers, it makes sense that we would get up early.
Humans had to get everything done while the sun was out and go to bed in the safety of their shelters when it got dark to avoid predators.
Was this out of necessity or because it’s better for us as a species?
Pros of Being an Early Bird
People who wake up early get a head-start on things. There are fewer interruptions, fewer spam-like emails, and no calls or texts from friends or family.
Mornings are just a peaceful time where you can get things done without feeling like you are in a hurry.
Without any interruptions, it is easier to be productive. Early birds will often have the upper hand.
They have more time to wake up, get ready, get a workout in, prepare for a meeting, etc. It can also make it easier to handle pressure when it comes to later in the day.
When people wake up early, they have the chance to see the day come to life. This may sound overly romanticised, but there’s something to it.
It can be a great time to stop and think about what you have and become more grateful overall. The thing about gratefulness is that it is a crucial component to being successful.
Finally, getting up early gives you the time to think about your day, week, or month. It is an excellent opportunity to set goals, which is the key to staying motivated and having a direction in life.
Don’t forget that people who start early will also finish early. An early bird can power through the day and have a free evening to spend spontaneously with family and friends.
A significant benefit is that there is plenty of time to spend without technology before you go to bed, which can help you sleep better.
Bring a Night Owl
It turns out that a majority of humans are night owls rather than early birds. Despite the push for people to get up earlier, a Harvard study proved that being a night owl is just fine.
The study tracked students’ sleep habits and found that when they woke up did not affect their grades.
The study did see a correlation between having a regular sleep routine and better grades.
So it turns out that it doesn’t matter when we go to sleep, but we do it regularly. The key is to have a healthy routine and stick with it!
Pros of Being a Night Owl
Although early birds may be more productive and have a better position for success, studies show that night owls may have higher IQs. They might also benefit from something known as ‘night strength’.
University of Alberta researchers tested the leg strength of a handful of morning people and a handful of night owls, and the results were unexpected.
It turns out that morning people have a consistent amount of strength while night owls peak around 9pm. This extra boost could give night owls an advantage.
Not only do night owls generally do better on intelligence tests, but they also may be more creative.
A study on 120 men in Milan showed that staying up late “may encourage the development of a non-conventional spirit and of the ability to find alternative and original solutions”.
One of the most famous night owls happens to be Barack Obama. He told Newsweek that he likes to stay up past midnight to read or hang out even if he doesn’t have to because of work.
The great news is that there are pros and cons to being a night owl and an early bird. There are successful individuals on either side of the spectrum.
What is known, however, is that consistency is critical. Having a structured routine that gets you at least seven hours of sleep is the way to go.
I am an early bird; however, I have many friends and family who are most active and thriving during my snoozing hours.
Whether you’re an early bird or a night owl, a good sleep routine is key. Here’s five apps to get you nodding off.
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