Early Birds vs Night Owls

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Some facts, tips and common misconceptions…

I find this really interesting and I think you will too. A few years ago, I claimed that I was 100% sure that I was a night owl. I believed it with every cell of my body and so labelled myself as such.

My title of “night owl” was my label, my badge of honour, and my absolute truth since I believed in it.

But then as I embarked on my research into sleep and what makes other people tick, I realised that it is not quite as simple as claiming the title.

Not all of us who get up early “catch that worm”, as the saying goes! Some of us wake up early with a heavy feeling, blindly feeling for the coffee pot.

The facts are that different people have different preferences as to what time they go to bed or get up each day. It doesn’t necessarily mean that the early birds are more beautiful, clever, productive, slim, happy, fit or wealthy. It has more to do with our wellness, our natural circadian rhythms, and our lifestyle choices.

YES, I said choices. What a surprise!

What I realised especially through working with one-to-one clients is that we all have our preferences. It is rather like when you buy a brand new phone and change that annoying ring tone, or switch off notifications from social media (these are a couple of my personal preferences).

The time that we start preparing ourselves for sleep of an evening, and the time that we decide to wake up in the morning, luckily for us, are our choices to make.

So how do your personal preferences affect your sleep?

You can choose to be a night owl because you enjoy staying up late. Maybe it is the social hours that you love; meeting with friends after work, or maybe the quietness of the evening hours allows you to be more creative. So this is a lifestyle choice, and it’s yours to make.

You can choose to be an early bird because it feels like you can do so much more with the hours during the day. You get a head start and you feel like your brain works so much better because you are still ‘fresh’.

Whatever your reasons are for choosing to claim a title, it doesn’t mean that nothing else is ever possible. Just like when we travel to a different time zone and need to ‘reset’ our body clock to local hours, we can have a reset in our lives at home too.

Choices empower us, so I hope this comes as good news to you.

Often a part of my work is to re-educate my clients about their range of options. Humans are creatures of habit; and without an intervention we can just carry on as we are for years, even if how we are is harming our wellbeing.

Helping my clients to realise this and really think about what they might choose for themselves allows them to sleep really well at night, waking up truly recharged. And this goes back to their preferences – how they really and honestly want to live their life.

Improving your sleep is often about finding what makes you tick, rather then following the crowd or your old habits.

So here is my question to you: What would you choose for yourself today?

There is nothing wrong with choosing to be a night owl or an early bird. No one option is better than the other. It’s about what works for you. But I would just urge you to consider your options. You don’t have to do what you have always done. If you feel a change would benefit your health and your lifestyle, then you can do it. I choose to move on from my night owl title, and now I’m happier, healthier and have more energy. But only because this was the right choice for me at the time.

My top tip here is to look at your life as a whole, the big picture, and decide on a sleep pattern that fits your needs.

Please leave me a comment below. I would love to hear what you have to say about this topic, especially what you believe to be true about night owls vs. early birds, or if you have changed your sleep habits over the years.

Wishing you sweet dreams and good health!

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Comments 6

  1. Interesting post Beatrix. It got me thinking. Research has shown that consistent night working is not good for health long term. So it really depends on what’s meant by a ‘night owl.’ Do you mean those who bed late and rise late? And would you include night workers in that category? Because if you do, there’s the caveat of the effect on health.

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      Thank you for your comment.

      My definition of a night owl can cover those who stay up late and then have to get up early or wake up late.

      Night workers can also belong to this group of people. Some night workers actually really enjoy their work and thrive so it can be a good choice for those individuals. There is a lot of research on this but people still make their choices for various reasons. I know quite a few nurses who choose the night shifts because it works for them.

      But often it’s more a label than a lifestyle that actually works for the person.

      Let me know if this hasn’t clarified my article for you.
      Have a lovely Sunday

  2. I used to think that I was a night owl but a few years ago realised that I am actually probably more of an early bird, liking the stillness of the morning before anyone else is up. That is also when I’m most creative. I just need to get to bed a bit earlier though :-). An interesting post!

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  3. Very interesting post Beatrix! I see myself as an early bird, always have been. I love the morning and feel more ‘awake’ and my energy level is higher and I concentrate better.

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