09 Nov The Early Bird Catches the Worm
But is that actually true? Whilst researching this piece, Dormeo UK came across one study that suggested that ‘night‘owls’ tend to be more creative than the larks, bringing the old adage of the title into some dispute. Then again, another study concluded that larks tended to be more optimistic personalities and (possibly as a result) suffered less from depression than owls. Perhaps it all depends on your own personal definition of the ‘worm’ then!
So would you describe yourself as a ‘morning person,’or a ‘night owl?’ Despite both phrases being quite common, research suggests that whilst more women present as larks and more men as owls, only about three out of ten of us can be described as ‘extreme owls’ or ‘extreme larks’. The rest of us are likely to show tendencies towards one camp or the other but are more easily able to adapt. So the question is why. Why are some people raring to go at 6am and others still full of energy at 1am the following morning?
As with most things sleep-related, it probably comes down to your own personal circadian rhythm. Humans (and many other organisms) are programmed to have a 24 hour circadian rhythm to tie in with the Earth’s 24 hour cycle, but it seems that some people have a slightly longer rhythm (night owls) and some, a slightly shorter one (larks). Although each individual’s rhythm can change over time (i.e. it’s rare to find a teenaged lark and most people tend to become more larkish once they have children – even if they do complain about it), research suggests that the tendency towards early rising or partying late into the night may well be as genetic as your hair or eye colour.
It’s worth pointing out that some experts consider the term ‘night owl’ to be misleading, preferring to use ‘evening people’. They point out that as a species, without exception, humans are programmed to function best during the daytime and no matter what, darkness tells our brains that it’s time to sleep.
There is no doubt however, that ‘lark’ or ‘owl’ traits have consequences on many aspects of our lives. You just may not realise it. They will actually determine everything from when we want to eat our meals, to when we are most alert and produce our best work, to when we get the best quality sleep. It’s unlikely that a lark would choose to work in a nightclub for example, and an owl isn’t going to make the best milkman or postman.
Indeed, research suggests that we may well function better overall if we were able to get our daily lives more in synch with our own personal rhythm and concludes that night owls may well be at risk of serious sleep deprivation when forced into a standard 9-5pm work pattern. The increased availability of flexible hours may well help with that, but the good news is that unless you are an ‘extreme’ lark or owl, there are some simple things you can do to help you fit more in the lark or owl camp.
Owl to Lark
1) Start sleeping with the curtains open. The light will help to wake you naturally. But do still set an alarm to be on the safe side!
2) Owls tend to leave things until the last minute so get everything that you need for the day ahead ready the night before. Get that lunch made and packed, decide in advance what you’re going to eat for breakfast and sort out and iron your clothes.
Lark to Owl
1) Spending some time outside in the evening should help you stay up later at night and sleep later in the morning.
2) Make your bedroom as dark as possible when you do go to bed to avoid being woken by the natural light of the early morning.
So what happens when a night owl and a morning lark are in a relationship? Sparks can fly! It’s worth the lark remembering that bombarding the owl with information first thing in the morning is unlikely to be met positively. Similarly, bombarding a lark with conversation at 10pm is, at best likely to be met with indifference and at worst, cause an argument. If they’ve got the energy for one.
Of course, good quality sleep is vital whether you are a lark, an owl or somewhere in-between. Dormeo has been bringing the highest quality Italian-made memory foam mattresses direct to people’s homes for the last 10 years and we believe that everybody should sleep on the very best mattress they can afford. Whether that is from our luxury Octaspring range or from our best-selling Dormeo Memory range, Dormeo mattresses are made for every body, every bedroom, and every budget.
How about you? Are you a lark or an owl and how does it affect you? Comment below. We’d love to hear your stories.