Are you a night owl or an early bird?

Are you a night owl or an early bird?

There are two types of people in the world: the early birds who thrive during those pre-dawn hours and the night owls who don’t hit their peak until later in the day. But is there an advantage to waking up early or staying up late?

First, it’s important to note there are many factors that determine when we’re naturally at our best during certain times of day. For example, a recent study found that genetics can play a role as well as our circadian rhythms.

Early birds tend to have an easier time with our society’s standard daytime schedule. However, early risers might struggle staying awake during gatherings in the evenings.

Night owls with a flexible work schedule might find they’re more productive in the evening without the distractions of work meetings or email notifications. As for a downside, a study found night owls could face an increased risk of chronic health issues including mental health conditions.

Not sure which you are? Dr. Jennette Berry, a family medicine physician at Advocate South Suburban Hospital in Hazel Crest, Ill., suggests turning off the alarm and seeing what time you naturally fall asleep and wake up. If you naturally wake up early, you’re probably a morning person whereas if you’re not sleepy until midnight then you’re probably a night person.

“Regardless of when you wake up or fall sleep, the important thing is that you’re getting quality sleep,” says Dr. Berry.

Whether you want to maintain or change your sleep schedule, Dr. Berry suggests the following tips to help you get a good night’s sleep:

  • Wake up and go to bed at the same time every day, even on your days off.
  • Avoid napping during the day.
  • Turn off electronics an hour before going to bed.
  • Make your bedroom a comfortable space that’s dark, quiet and at an optimal temperature for sleeping.
  • Adjust your schedule gradually if you need to wake up earlier or stay up later. For example, if you’re a night owl who has an early morning meeting for work, go to bed a little earlier each night leading up to the meeting.

Now is the perfect time to make an appointment with a primary care physician. Whether you live in Illinois or Wisconsin, it’s easy to find a doctor near you. 

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About the Author

Vicki Martinka Petersen
Vicki Martinka Petersen

Vicki Martinka Petersen, health enews contributor, is a digital copywriter on the content team at Advocate Health Care and Aurora Health Care. A former newspaper reporter, she’s worked in health care communications for the last decade. In her spare time, Vicki enjoys tackling her to be read pile, trying new recipes, meditating, and planning fun activities to do in the Chicago area with her husband and son.