Early riser vs. nighthawk: Who’s better off?
Are you the early bird who gets the worm, or a night owl burning the midnight oil? The answer may have an impact on your health—and even your career.
One study cited in U.S. News & World Report found that teens who are early to bed and early to rise tend to be in better health than their peers who stay up late and sleep in, even if they get the same amount of sleep. And other studies suggest that morning people do better at resisting fatigue, anxiety, and depression, while nighthawks appear to suffer higher rates of insomnia and ADHD. The stay-up-late crowd may also have a higher propensity for substance abuse, addictive behaviors, and mental health problems.
But being a night owl has its advantages, too. Research also indicates that they can have higher IQs, more stamina during the day, better reasoning and analytical skills, and greater creativity and productivity. These traits, along with an inclination toward more risk-taking, seem to contribute to night owls having a higher average level of financial and career success.
The Mayo Clinic website notes that our sleeping habits are governed by the body’s natural 24-hour cycle, known as the circadian rhythm. Some people have a slightly longer light-to-dark ratio, making them night owls; others with a short cycle tend to be early risers. However, the cycle can shift over a person’s lifetime: Young children are usually early birds, then become nighthawks as teenagers, then gradually transition back to being morning people as adults.