Night Owl or Early Bird?

Jeffrey Ellenbogen, a neurologist and researcher at the Johns Hopkins Sleep Disorder Center, recently spoke on a morning radio show about the benefits and drawbacks of being an early riser or a night owl.

Everyone works to develop a biorhythm to support overall health and wellbeing, which causes people to wake up early or go to bed late. Developing this biorhythm includes finding the right balance between sleep and the circadian rhythm, our internal clock. People have a predisposition to being a late night or an early morning person, or somewhere in between.

Some studies have shown that there are health benefits to being an early person and drawbacks to being a night owl. Ellenbogen says that to some degree, night owls are at a slight disadvantage because there is a mismatch between their biology and their desire to stay up late. A night owl can get things done in the evening but the alarm will still go off early in the morning, right in the middle of their biological sleep time.

Being a late night or an early morning person is not a disease. It is only a problem when social pressures make it challenging to work around one's predisposition to a particular sleep pattern.

So, do you consider yourself to be an early bird or a night owl? Cast your vote below.

Are you a night owl or early bird?

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5 Comments

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Bonnie C May 21, 2015 at 9:50 am

I find that during the work week I have problems going to sleep, and then also have problems getting up in the morning to go to work. Some of my most productive time happens between 10 p.m. & midnight when I have difficulty getting to sleep. However, when I'm on vacation, and am more relaxed, it's easier to go to sleep and easier to get up in the morning. I've seen several beautiful sunrises this way, but have also had to get to bed earlier than I would have liked (missing some of the vacation fun), because I need to get my rest. I guess when I retire I'll be able to adjust my schedule to MY needs, and not an artificially imposed work and/or play schedule.

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Trudy May 18, 2015 at 2:37 pm

Without conflicting commitments, I'm a night owl. If I have to be an early riser, I am. I tend to try both and am worn out by the end of the week!

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Robert O'Connell May 18, 2015 at 1:53 pm

You're a night owl if you routinely stay up to watch Letterman.

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Cy Governs May 18, 2015 at 3:04 pm

Only for three more nights. 🙁

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Joy Walton May 18, 2015 at 11:35 am

To some degree, the terms, early bird and night owl, are relative. What's the time range for each category? In choosing my response, the definitions had to be subjective. Instead of being an early bird, I may be somewhere in between.

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