early bird or night owl – which are you?

I am definitely a night owl, no question about it. I have tried my best for many years to “fit into the land of morning people” but never with any luck. I can adapt for a day or two or perhaps a week, but I will never be as alert or as productive as I am in the evening.

There are four of us at my school who are all definite night owls. We dream of a school that would start at 9:30 or 10am. We would even be happy with a 9am start. Every day, we drag our bodies into work, always arriving last, right before the bell rings. We stumble down to our classrooms, trying our best to put on a cheery smile when one of our morning friends says hello in that “bright and cheery morning voice”, while inside that cheeriness feels similar to fingernails scratching a blackboard. We are exhausted all week, never catching up on the sleep we need. It doesn’t matter if we go to bed at 8 or 11 pm, we are still in a fog until at least 9 am the following morning. During school vacations, we start staying up later and later. We do our most productive work late at night. We could easily call each other at 1 am during our breaks and we would all still be wide awake. When school starts again, it is like dealing with jet lag, trying to adjust back to that early morning wake up call. The longer the vacation, the more difficult it is to adjust, but we never really fully adjust.

There is a lot of guilt put on night owls. We are told that we are are lazy and unfocused. If we just went to bed earlier we would be cheery morning people who would arrive early and get so much more accomplished. Believe me, if it was that easy, why would we torture ourselves year after year.

I was thrilled when I stumbled on the article: Why some of us are early risers a few years ago. Finding that article was like finding gold. Finally I had the evidence I needed to tell those cheery morning people who have been up since 4 or 5am that going to bed earlier will not make us cheery morning people.

Here is an excerpt from the article:
“Whatever the answer, scientists believe they may now know why some of us are early risers while others prefer to burn the midnight oil. The answer appears to lie in our genes. Researchers at the University of Surrey say they have found a link between people’s preference for mornings or evenings and a gene called Period 3. This gene is one of those involved in regulating the body’s internal clock. It comes in two forms – a shorter and longer one.”

Steve Sailer’s iSteve Blog cites an interesting study conducted by the Spanish researcher, Juan Francisco Díaz-Morales. The study discusses how being a morning person or a night owl doesn’t just determine when you start or end your workday. It talks about how your internal clock may help define your psychology as well.

Here is an excerpt of the excerpt:
“results offer new evidence that morning and evening types think differently. Early risers prefer to gather knowledge from concrete information. They reach conclusions through logic and analysis. Night owls are more imaginative and open to unconventional ideas, preferring the unknown and favoring intuitive leaps on their way to reaching conclusions. Social behavior diverges as well: Morning people are more likely to be self-controlled and exhibit “upstanding” conduct; they respect authority, are more formal, and take greater pains to make a good impression. (Earlier research also suggests that they are less likely to hold radical political opinions.) Evening people, by contrast, are “independent” and “nonconforming,” and more reluctant to listen to authority”

In case you are not sure if you tend more toward morning or night here is a quick Morning or night person quiz. Even though I know I am a definite night owl, I took the quiz just for fun. My answers are under each question in blue.

1. When the alarm goes off, you:
a) Roll over, moan and then hit the snooze button.
b) Walk over to shut if off. You’ve been in the kitchen for 15 minutes already making breakfast and reading the morning paper.
a. I am the snooze alarm queen. I have 2 alarms set and hit the snooze at least 5 times each morning before finally dragging myself out of bed.

2. Your morning ritual consists of:
a) Dress, eat some toast and get out the door in 15 minutes.
b) A morning workout, a breakfast of freshly squeezed juice, fresh fruit and crepes and watering the plants.
Definitely not b. so I would have to say a. with a slight modification – I have a bowl of cereal and a quick espresso with about 15-30 minutes total time to get ready for work by the time I finally wake up. I am always running late in the morning.

3. You are asked to attend 8:00 am meeting at work or school tomorrow. You:
a) Wonder if the alarm can be set that early and purchase lots of coffee.
b) Ask if you should come 30 minutes beforehand to prepare.
a. If I must make a morning meeting, 8:30 is the earliest meeting time for me, and even then, I am in a fog for at least another hour. I try to set all my meetings after school. Never in my life have I volunteered to come early in the morning. I do however often volunteer to stay late.

4. One of your favorite films starts at 11:00 pm on a work or school night, you:
a) Watch the movie and wonder how late can you show up tomorrow without anyone noticing.
b) Set the video recorder before going to bed and look forward to watching it tomorrow.
a. I start to watch the movie, even though I know that I don’t have the choice of showing up late the following morning. I do however also set the timer to record the movie, trying to get to sleep at least half way through the movie, knowing that I should not be staying up until the movie ends.

5. You call a friend at 9 pm and they are not home. You:
a) Leave a message to call you anytime tonight, you’ll be up.
b) Don’t leave a message—what if they call back at 9:30!!!
a. I will always be more alert late at night than before 9 in the morning.

Results of the quiz:
If you answered mostly A, you are a night person.
If you answered mostly B, you are a morning person
So which are you…early bird OR night owl?

10 thoughts on “early bird or night owl – which are you?

  1. I’m a late morning person…there’s a very short window right before lunch time when I’m awake and productive. :-)
    Actually, I’m a night owl living a morning person’s life. I get to work at 7am. It used to be 6am. This is so I can work 10 hour days and have Mondays off. I go to bed early during the week, but I stay up late on the weekends to read. So my body is all confused!


  2. Morning. Definitely morning – but a strange morning person. I rise with the sun. So in the summer, I can be out of bed and ready to go by 6:00am but in the winter, when the alarm goes off at 6:00am, I snooze it because it’s dark out and I want to stay in bed. So basically, when the sun is up, so am I.
    I come from a long line of sun worshippers.


  3. I got up at 5am again this Saturday morning for a digital scrapbook chat with the Russian designer, Irene. It’s 6.40am now, and I am drinking my cappuccino. Nothing like having the Sugar Plum Fairy go off from your phone alarm, right next to your head.
    I usually get up at 6. I’m at work by 8.15, early for the 8.30 meetings. By 4pm I want to be back at home, resting. I chuck a major hissy fit when they ask me to work at night. We have one coming up… I’m not a happy Vegemite!
    I like mornings. they are quiet and serene.


  4. Interesting topic! I am definitely a night owl….left to my own devices, I’ll sleep til about 9 a.m. and go to bed around 1 a.m. But the cruel constraints of our harsh society force me to rise at 7 a.m. weekdays just so I can be in my office by 9 (I need to read the newspaper and drink a lot of coffee and floss for two minutes before I can leave the house. Not that I’m anal or anything.)


  5. I am a morning person. I drive Paul crazy. I am awake for about three hours before he stirs on the weekend and he is awake for about three hours after I’ve crashed at night. It is our quality time I guess. LOL


  6. I vary and I think it’s seasonal. Or maybe it’s connected to the sun, like Kim said. I had three A’s and two B’s in the quiz (but the answer to number one varies).
    Right now I’m having a hard time getting up in the morning and I’m pushing that snooze alarm over and over. But I’m not staying up late or anything. But when the days are longer, I sometimes get up way early, exercise, drink coffee and hang out for a couple of hours before I go to work. I’m ready for longer days for sure!
    I’m lucky because I don’t have to be at work at a set time. I can go in anytime between 7 and 9. I prefer to go in earlier and leave earlier but I haven’t been doing that lately.


  7. Excellent post! I am totally a night person…except that I love the sunrise and the morning light. And of course that pesky work thing forces me out of bed far too early for my liking.
    I got A’s except for #5, for which I answered B, but only because I am not a phone person, not because of the time.
    This quote is 100% bang on as far as my sister (early bird) and I go:
    “Early risers prefer to gather knowledge from concrete information. They reach conclusions through logic and analysis. Night owls are more imaginative and open to unconventional ideas, preferring the unknown and favoring intuitive leaps on their way to reaching conclusions.”
    She is a fact and logic fanatic, whereas I am more driven by emotion and gut feeling.


  8. Very interesting post! I guess I am a morning person, although I don’t mind staying up late and sleeping in on weekends. I never snooze, I always wake up right away but sometimes it goes too far – I often wake up before I need to and I don’t like that because then I feel soo tired! I wish I could sleep more easily – light wakes me up so fast and I also can never sleep on planes or buses. In my experience, night owls never have trouble sleeping – they just like doing it a little later!


  9. This post is very interesting… I am fortunate to have a night job. I go to bed at 12 afternoon and up at 8pm ready to go. I”ll wake up when it’s dark outside-even before the alarm goes off. Before this night job, I was struggling to get up and go to work by 7am. This test hit it right on the dot. I always listen to my gut feeling.


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