Our overall health may boil down to whether we’re an “early bird” or a “night owl." Here’s the latest science:
First: Our sleep habits are determined by a gene known as “period-3," and we’re born with two of them, one from each of our parents. And those period-3 genes control how tired we feel at night. But we typically have one night owl gene and one early bird gene. So most people fall somewhere in the middle, which explains why most of us can switch back and forth between being “early birds” or “night owls.” But some people have a pair of night owl genes or a pair of early bird genes. If you’re one of those people, you probably know it because you either spring out of bed at the crack of dawn with a smile on your face or you don’t feel really alive until after midnight and wake up grumpy.
Another sleep fact: Night owls tend to WEIGH MORE than early birds. And it’s simply because longer you’re awake, the more opportunities you’ll have to eat. In fact, a study found that after 8pm, night owls consume more than twice as many calories as early birds. Also night owls tend to be less active. Think about it: if you’re up at 5am, you probably have plenty of time to go for a run or hit the gym. Early birds get more daylight, which is when people are most active. But night owls, even though they’re awake, don’t go for a run at 11pm.
Night owls are also more FORGETFUL. As we sleep, our brain goes through a phase where it processes everything from the day and files it away in our memory banks. But because night owls go to sleep later, they tend to wake up before their brain ever reaches that deep sleep phase, so their memory suffers.
So is there any good news for night owls? Yes. Night owls tend to be risk-taking, creative and more outgoing. Early birds, on the other hand, are better at controlling their impulses; they’re also more likely to be logical and conscientious.