There are three types of people in this world. Those that get up at the crack of dawn, giant smile on their face, eating their oats and proclaiming ‘seize the day’, and those that prefer to let their creative juices flow into the late hours of the night, pushing the envelope and denying bed.
It turns out, according to research done at the University of WA in Perth, that ‘night owls’ and ‘morning larks’ have their own benefits and disadvantages and the former may be grumpier and more forgetful than their early rising counterparts.
Testing at UWA involved studying the sleeping patterns of 179 older Australians and revealed a number of interesting findings:
- Your preference to sleep and rise was generic.
- Early risers had enhanced memory and a happier countenance
- Late to bed types scored a lower memory and decreased mood
Researchers have proposed that the findings were due to a phenomenal called ‘social jet lag’. Modern society sets most people up to wake up and arrive at work at such a time that many night owls suffer from a lack of sleep, meaning they are permanently experiencing a sleep deficit and by the time they reach their mature years have built up a significant sleep ‘debt’.
Basically, morning larks are getting MORE sleep in general, which contributes to their increased recall power and their happier mood.
The issue is, we are genetically disposed to our sleeping preference, with some preferring to be productive into the night. The solution, flexible working hours to ensure employers can arrive later to work having managed to fit in a full night’s sleep, therefore helping the night owls mood and memory.
The key take message however from this study was to ensure you are maximising your sleep! Tactics to help you achieve a better sleep? Clean or declutter your room, make sure your bed time is regular, no screens in your bed and, of course, eat, drink and exercise regularly during the day so you are satisfied and tired enough to nod off.
Sean gave this topic a crack in the Esperance Breaky Show, and you can hear it here!