Are you a night owl or a morning person? If you experience a burst of energy while the stars are dotting the sky, you are likely a night owl. Research claims that early-morning risers may have a better chance of living longer compared to late-evening dwellers, but there are ways for night owls to adjust their sleep schedule to help them ease into becoming more of a morning person.
The study, conducted at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and the University of Surrey, analysed 433,368 people, they then asked each participant if they defined themselves as more of a night or morning person. Over the course of six and a half years, the researchers kept track of the deaths among the participants.
The results revealed that people who are active at night and have difficulty crawling out of bed in the morning are 10 % more likely to pass away earlier than morning people.
The researchers hope that society will come to understand how important it is for people to get a solid night’s rest and adjust work hours for those who struggle to wake up early because they claim that night owls inability to fall asleep at a reasonable hour is not a “character flaw” but could be related to genetics.
Kristen Knutson, the co-author for the study, says, "They [night owls] shouldn't be forced to get up for an 8 a.m. shift. Make work shifts match peoples' chronotypes. Some people may be better suited to night shifts."
However, Knutson declares that there are ways for night owls to help alter their internal biological clock, such as experiencing light exposure early in the morning, which will help to adjust their clock - it is essential to look at a minimum amount of screens before bed as that can perpetuate later bedtimes.
It is also necessary to set a regular bedtime and a relaxing pre-sleep routine, such as taking a bath a couple of hours before shutting down, journaling, or reading.
Exercise, an essential aspect of prolonging your life, will also help you sleep better! However, some researchers claim that exercising late at night may make it harder to fall asleep.
Some night owls may have more difficulty falling asleep earlier due to genetics, but Knutson states, "You're not doomed." She continues, "Part of it you don't have any control over and part of it you might."
However, it is vital to do whatever you can to engage in better periods of sleep and let’s hope that researchers continue to uncover more information on the importance of sleep, ultimately influencing employers to take the time to learn which start time would be best for each employee.