Everybody knows the saying ‘’ the early bird gets the worm’’, but is this really true?
How can a night owl become a morning person?
Research shows that early risers have their peaks in the mornings. Early birds have more successful careers in business since they function better during office hours and not at night. Night owls, on the other hand, are alive in the evening.
A research conducted by biologist Christoph Randler showed that people who are early birds performed better at school. For this reason, they get into better universities. Higher ranked schools eventually give them the opportunity to have better jobs.
Another study declared that night owls have other advantages compared to early birds. For instance, these people apt to be more creative and smarter than old birds. Also, evening people tend to be more outgoing and have a better sense of humour. Your Circadian rhythm determines whether you are an early bird or a night owl.
The circadian rhythm
The Circadian rhythm is your internal clock, your sleep and wake cycle. This internal clock is there to control when you wake up and when you go to sleep within a 24-hour period. It is like a natural clock and alarm within the brain that reacts to the light. This is the reason that people are so sharp and active during the day when the sun is up. Also, less active at night and need to sleep to recharge.
The circadian rhythm is the reason you feel more awake and energetic at some point and feels tired at another during the day. Although we all have this cycle, it can differ per person. One cycle is not necessarily better than the other. You just have to recognize which one you have and use its advantages. Some jobs require more effort and commitment in the morning.
If you find it rather difficult to do so, you can always try to change/adjust your personal circadian rhythm.
What is an early bird?
Early birds become sleepy early in the evening and are alert and ready to start their day early in the morning. A morning person works preferably in the morning rather than in the evening. Early risers are also a bit healthier than night owls.
A downside of being an early bird is that you start off your day with an enormous amount of energy that gradually declines during the day, so in the evening, there is not much energy left. Even though the quality of sleep is much better than what the night owl’s get, early birds can not perform without the right amount of sleep. They are much dependent on it, and their work can suffer when their sleep was not enough.
What is a night owl?
Night owls are completely the opposite of early birds. These type of people stay up late and have a hard time waking up in the morning. Compared to an early bird, a night owl is more creative and productive in the evening. According to Satoshi Kanazawa, a psychologist at The London School of Economics and Political Science, it requires intelligence to revoke the instinct that we must go to bed early.
‘’Satoshi Kanazawa, a psychologist at The London School of Economics and Political Science, has data showing that people with higher IQs are more likely to have values and preferences that just didn't make sense for our ancestors to embrace. One of those is staying up late.’’
According to Dr. Nan Hee Kim, from The Endocrine Society, conducted a research in Japan, the Downside of being a night owl is that these people have a higher chance of developing health problems. Night owls are more likely to develop diabetes and sarcopenia (reduction of muscle mass). Especially women developed more fat around the belly and the risk of getting metabolic syndrome increased.
Tips to become a morning person
Here are some tips on how to become a morning person when you are a night owl.
1. More daylight
To make it easier for yourself, try to alter your daily cycle. You need to change when you wake up and go to bed to get more out of your day. So if you want to wake up early in the morning, you need to go to sleep early in the evening. By going out earlier, with more daylight, can help you to make the switch faster towards becoming a morning person.
2. Sleep schedule
Try to be consistent. Waking up at the same time every day will help you to adjust and maintain your sleeping cycle. No cheating on weekends, since this can throw you off balance and you have to start all over again. It differs per person how much time they need to get ready. Some people need extra time to wake up before getting ready, and others are finished within 30 minutes. Take this into consideration when setting the alarm clock, how much time do you need to get ready.
3. Shift gradually
It won’t help if you make sudden changes. You have to develop these new habits gradually. Taking small steps at a time, so your body can adjust to the new sleep schedule. You can start by setting your alarm clock 5 minutes earlier than usual; you also have to go to bed earlier. You can continue doing this until you reach the new wake up time. So every week you change the alarm clock to 5 minutes earlier and go to bed 5 minutes earlier than usual.
4. Morning exercise
Going for a morning walk just before you start your day can help, by giving you an energy boost. Particularly in the sunlight, which will signal your brain that your day has begun.
5. Avoid Caffeine
Try to avoid any drinks that contain caffeine for 4 hours before going to bed. Caffeine drank at 08:00 in the morning is still in your system at 12:00 o’clock. Similar substance and effect can be found in certain types of non-herbal teas, chocolate, soft drinks and coffee. Also, try to stay away from alcohol 1-2 hours before going to bed. Alcohol keeps you from quality sleep, meaning you won’t be able to sleep deep and reach the REM stage.
6.Less artificial lights
Reduce the use of technology in the evening especially when you are about to sleep or already in your bed. The unnatural blue light that laptops tablets and mobile phones give off are appalling for your sleep. They trigger your brain, which makes you less sleepy. The artificial light tricks your brain into thinking it is daytime. Which can have harmful effects on your internal clock cycle? Besides, using these devices in your bed will have an adverse impact on the quality of your sleep.
7. Relaxing environment
Create a relaxing environment for yourself to calm down just before going to bed. For instance, read a book, take a shower or bath, drink herbal tea or meditate.
Meditation can help you to remove your brain and emit all the thoughts that stress you out. Not only will it help you to calm down and relax, but meditation also improves your health.
‘’Camomile, passionflower and valerian tea have a mildly sedative effect. Studies have shown that the root of the valerian plant speeds the process to fall asleep and improve the quality.''
Do not expect to become an early bird overnight. This will take time and patience. Do not quit when you change your routine, but you have the feeling that you made no progress. Instead, keep going. After a period, you will notice that all the activities are becoming easier to follow. It takes 21 days to make and break a habit.
9. Reason to wake up
The tips mentioned above will help you to become a morning person. Having a good reason to wake up in the morning will make all the effort worth it. When you are not excited to wake up in the morning, you are doomed to fail. You will not be able to keep it up for an extended period and eventually give up. There is always something that can increase your interest for waking up early, a new exercise, your cool job, your hobby or a goal you are working on, it can be anything. Having a real motivation to wake up in the morning will give you that extra push to come out of your bed and start your day.