15 Sep Night owl or early bird? Optimise your day!
Having a hard time to keep your eyes open during your lectures at 9 AM? Starting to feel alive when your working day is already over? Then you are definitely an evening person. Unfortunately, our society is based on the biological rhythm of morning people. So how to keep up?!
Most jobs and study schedules have 9 to 5 working hours, but your biological clock possibly has its own preference for your sleep-wake rhythm. As an evening person I’ve noticed that it can be hard to adjust to this regular work schedule. I found some tips for early birds and night owls to improve your productivity during the day. Let’s have a look if these can help you!
Night owls versus early birds
Research* tells us that there are some overall differences between people with morning and evening preferences. Some researchers claim that morning people are happier than people that like to stay up late. The morning types would be more satisfied with their lives and feel healthier. This overall happier feeling could be explained by the fact that early birds have to make fewer adjustments. Their natural habits are in line with the productivity expectations from the environment. Night owls have to put more effort into shifting their activities to the morning. This can lead to physical and mental impairments like depression and sleeping disorders.
However, your preference to be active in the morning or in the evening can change during your life. Yes, the orientation towards a morning or evening lifestyle is genetically influenced, but there is more. Older adults are mostly morning types, whereas younger ones are mostly evening types. Environmental influences can also affect your biological rhythm. For example, the lifestyle of other people that you are living with could affect your own preferences for rising early or staying up late.
Tips for improved productivity
If you want to make the best of your day, there are a couple of things you can do:
- For the early birds: the regular working schedule probably fits you well. You are not only productive in the morning, your activity level is pretty stable during the day. You like to sleep and wake up relatively early, which is how you perform best.
- For the night owls: your activity level is lower in the morning and the early afternoon. Your productivity peaks in the late afternoon or evening – try to use these hours optimally! If possible, shift your studying to later hours. This can make your attempts more efficient.
Are you an evening type and do you have to be more productive in the early hours? Try to change your sleep rhythm:
- Be consistent in the time you go to bed and the time you wake up. If you make sure that you get enough sleep, you feel healthier and more active. According to UvA researchers, a good night’s rest is half the work.
- For those who have trouble falling asleep earlier in the evening, you can use several tricks. Some additional intake of the natural sleeping hormone melatonin, for instance, can help. In the morning, you could use light in your room to wake up more easily.
Which type are you?
You probably already have a feeling whether you are an early bird or a night owl. Perhaps you are more in between. If you want to find out which type you are, take a look at this quiz! Do you have another tip to optimise your activity and productivity level? Let me know in the comments, and tell me when you perform best!
*Source: Díaz-Morales, J.F. (2007). Morning and evening-types: Exploring their personality styles. Personality and Individual Differences, 43, 769-778.