Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
5 Nov

Chronotypes: Are You an Early Bird or a Night Owl?

Night OwlAre you a morning person or a night owl?

Longtime readers of this blog would likely say that the answer to that question depends on several factors: how much light exposure you get during the day, how much light exposure you get at night, how your cortisol fluctuates throughout the day, how much coffee you drink and when you drink it, or what time you go to sleep. The best part is that they’re all modifiable. By changing them, we can change how we feel in the morning, how productive we are at certain hours, and whether we need that extra cup of coffee in the afternoon. We are not at the mercy of powers unbeknownst to us. We hold the power.

But is that the whole story?

Probably not. A growing body of research has identified something called a chronotype: a sleep phenotype, determined by slight alterations to the “Period 1” gene, that influences your sleep and wake time. Genetic early birds have an AA nucleotide base and will be naturally inclined to go to bed and wake up earlier. They make up roughly a third of the population. 16% of people are genetic night owls with a GG nucleotide base; they tend to have later bedtimes and wake times (about an hour after the early birds). And the middle ground – which is almost 50% of people – have an AG base and a tendency to wake up “between” the two extremes. You can affect your sleep habits by changing things like light exposure at day/night, electronic media consumption, caffeine intake, and so on, but the genetic chronotype will always underline your response. It’s the baseline, and recent evidence in live humans confirms this.

You know how when we mention epigenetics, we usually refer to modifiable environmental factors affecting gene expression? The food we eat, the exercise we get, the thoughts we think, the stressors we encounter – these can all modify the function of our genes and we in turn can modify our exposure to them. But here, it’s the actual genetic chronotype that’s affecting how our genes express. It appears that the genes regulating sleep cycles are being modified by the chronotype itself, a kind of internal, self-contained epigenetic input that we cannot directly or consciously alter. Some might see that as a loss of power in determining our fate, but I think it’s a really interesting concept, an additional wrinkle to the broadening story of gene expression.

What does this mean for your health?

Well, mornings tend to be tough for folks with the night owl chronotype. That’s to be expected, since going to bed later than society expects while having to wake up earlier than your biology “wants” means inadequate, lower quality sleep. We all know how a night of poor sleep feels. Imagine a lifetime!

But that’s not all. A quick trip through the literature reveals numerous connections between the night owl chronotype and poor health outcomes. It all seems quite dire:

Why would a chronotype that confers a higher risk of just about every negative health malady be selected for by evolution? How did the GG nucleotide even survive?

Because it’s only in a society with a standard universal workday that begins at around 8 AM that the night owl is an unhealthy, lazy malcontent worthy of our disdain. For every one of the “negative health effects of being a night owl chronotype,” I can link it directly to a lack of sleep:

Poor glucose tolerance? A lack of sleep will lead to it.

Fibromyalgia? Strongly linked to a lack of sleep.

Unhealthy eating? A bad night’s sleep makes junk food more enticing.

Prone to depression? Bad sleep could be causing it.

Thousand of years ago, the night owl would have been the lookout man, the nighttime raider, the drummer around the fire, the shaman who stayed up all night accepting patients. He would have been privy to the same ancestral environmental cues as everyone else – daylight, absence of light at nighttime, whole real foods, plenty of vitamin D – but his chronotype would have pushed his bedtime back a bit and he wouldn’t have been any worse for wear. He didn’t have to get up to beat rush hour or satisfy society’s arbitrary notion of a workday schedule. He could sleep in; he wasn’t getting fired or evicted or forced to get inadequate sleep just to satisfy society’s expectations.

The early bird had a role, too, of course. He’d get up at dawn, or just before it, to get a jump on the game. To stake out a good spot at the watering hole or the feeding grounds.

They are genetic outliers, but we need outliers. The tribe with a blend of early birds, night owls, and in-betweeners would have a better shot at surviving and thriving than the tribe with a perpetual case of the Mondays or the tribe who just can’t stop yawning after dark with the lookouts who fall asleep at their posts.

Nowadays, late chronotypes often suffer from social jetlag: an often permanent misalignment between the demands of their biological clock and the expectations of society. This misalignment even shows up in MRI scans, with night owls having malfunctioning white matter in the “sadness” and “depression” areas of the brain. “The world” assumes an early chronotype. Early risers get the accolades, the job offers. Work schedules revolve around early risers.

It’s no wonder that late chronotypes have all sorts of negative health effects normally associated with poor sleep – they live in a society that forces them to go to bed earlier than they want and wake up earlier than they’re meant to! Social expectations conspire against them.

How can you tell what chronotype you have?

To determine a person’s chronotype, researchers use a standardized questionnaire that you can access online for free. It’s widely considered to be just as accurate as the genetic tests, so anyone who’s wondering about their own genetic chronotype should go on and take it.

There’s also a cheek swab that will determine your genetic chronotype, but it’s not widely available to the public so I wouldn’t count on it.

What should you do if you’re a late chronotype?

Avoid substance abuse. One study found increased psychological distress (depression, sadness, etc.) only among late chronotypes who smoked and drank to excess. While this doesn’t necessarily suggest a causal relationship – it could very well be that only those under psychological distress seek solace in substance abuse – avoiding excessive tobacco and alcohol is a good policy regardless.

Send your boss a link to this post. Make it known that it’s in your employer’s best interest that you’re able to adhere to your biological clock. You’ll be healthier, more productive, and more alert. Everyone wins. It’s not even that you need to sleep in until noon. Just an extra hour in the morning will make a huge difference. Of course, if this works, make sure you get to bed at a reasonable – for you – time. Don’t use this as an excuse to stay up even later.

Become your own boss. This won’t work for everyone, but I know a sizable portion of my readers have wanted to do their own thing for a long time. I’d even say it’s a common, population-wide desire that most people simply don’t act on. Well, let this be the start of something beautiful. Your health and happiness (and productivity) may depend on it. Perhaps that’s one reason entrepreneurs are happiest, regardless of socioeconomic status – they set their own schedules. A night owl entrepreneur can operate according to his or her biological, genetically-determined clock.

Follow best sleep practices – limit extraneous artificial light and electronic media after dark, get plenty of natural light during the day. You may have a different baseline, but blue light will still push your sleep cycle back, a lack of natural light during the day will still disrupt your sleep, and your social jetlag will get even worse.

Take heart, night owls. It’s not so bad. Your genes are the stuff of fierce warriors in the night, of stalwart sentries keeping watch over their people, keeping them safe, of wild-eyed shamans bridging the gap between this world and the next. You are dreamers and artists and comedians and inventors and entrepreneurs. If you’re a night owl who’s suffering for it, I suggest you embrace your heritage and find a way off your current trajectory that simply isn’t working for you.

It sounds daunting, doesn’t it? But it’s probably really important.

Good luck!

What about you, folks? What kind of a chronotype do you have? Did you take the quiz? Do so and report back; let us know if the results jibe with your experiences!

Thanks for reading. Take care.

You want comments? We got comments:

Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. Great post, and a very interesting concept.

    I just wonder how big of an influence the genetic factor really is, with so many modifiable epigenetic factors in the world.

    Many years ago, I was a total night owl, but I slowly weaned myself away from that and into a solid morning person.

    Maybe it’s just one of those traits that are quite flexible based on lifestyle.

    Adam wrote on November 5th, 2013
  2. Reading these comments have been a real eye-opener for me, especially the early-risers!

    I struggle to get out of bed by 8am in the weekdays (I really need to be out of bed by 7:30). I’d really like to take on a more authorative/leadership role at my job (Web Developer) and it’s been suggested I get into work earlier to be more of a “good example” for the less experienced developers. However, I am dead to the world until about 10:30. This sucks, because every week there is a WIP meeting at 9am on Monday, plus another with a client every week on Tuesday. I am my most unproductive during these meetings.

    However you can bet that at about 5:30pm, just before going home, I have a huge brainwave and sometimes end up working until 8pm.

    But still – I am just a “slightly late” sleeper, along with plenty of other people!

    Danae wrote on November 5th, 2013
  3. I like to consider myself pretty versatile when it comes to night owl vs. morning person. I’ve noticed in the last couple of days since the time changed that I’ve been waking up earlier with the extra sun that is coming in.

    Rick Washburn wrote on November 5th, 2013
  4. This runs in my family – we all hate the mornings. I have been a morning grouch ever since I can remember – awake until wee hours with insomnia. School was hell for me because of the early mornings. Not only have I never been a morning person, but I need 8-9 hours of sleep to feel alright.

    Later as an adult, a 9:00 AM job was doable, but I switched to an 8:00 AM start and was back in hell. Now I am semi-retired and work in the afternoon only. I find that I naturally wake to go to the bathroom around 6 or 7:00, snooze until 9:00, then stay in bed doing email and reading until about 9:30-10:00. Then I get out of bed and leisurely start the day.

    I try not to make any appointments in the morning and still feel like crap if I have to have one at 8-9:00.

    I cannot eat anything until after 11:00 AM, just drink water or tea.

    So nice to be semi-retired and give in to my natural leanings. I feel so much better now. A couple of my friends are well-known “vampires” as well!

    Pure Hapa wrote on November 5th, 2013
    • This describes me also. I am usless until after 10am, and have no appetite til around noon. I’ve had both early and late start times on jobs, and 3 to midnight was my favorite. If I try to go to bed before 1 am, my body thinks we are just taking a nap, then I’m up all night. My absolute best sleep is between 5 and 9 am. In my family everyone is a total night owl except for my mother who was up at the crack of dawn (and thought everyone else should be, too.) All I know is that I’m done trying to change! I’m fortunate that I work from home now and can set my own hours. Interestingly, I’m an artist and most of my artist friends are still up working, too, most saying that late night is their most creative time.

      Rene Rushing wrote on November 6th, 2013
    • This is me to a T! :) My parents never understood and still don’t because they are both early risers, but one of my sisters and myself are more pleasurable to be around after 10am.. the other sister is just like my parents. My husband is an early bird, but we make it work. He works all day so we’re not missing out on time together there and we always plan a date night a couple times a week. The weekends he knows he won’t see me up and about until after 10am. :)

      And eating, I can’t eat anything either until I’ve been awake a good hour, most times I just wait til lunch and then have a small salad and protein later in the day.

      I worked for many years 11am-11pm and it was the perfect job, later after we moved I found a great job but the hours were 7am-6pm.. gah that was a miserable 3yrs!

      Sharon T wrote on November 7th, 2013
  5. I am wondering if how much sleep a person requires plays a factor in their chronotype? I am a 9 hour person. Therefore I go to bed early and I love sleeping in. There are others in my family who can be fully functional on 5 hours of sleep. They are also the early risers, but is it that they don’t need much sleep or are they “early birds”? I find this time of year, when it’s dark at my wake time, I am dead to the world until about 10. But in the summer I can be awake and alert at 8 when it’s light out! Interesting stuff.

    Vettech wrote on November 5th, 2013
    • Have you checked the caffeine intake of the people you are comparing? I changed from 5 hours to 8 hours sleep requirement after I ditched caffeine. While this sounds bad at the surface, I have become healthier and look much younger since sleeping more. So my working theory at the moment is, that I really have always required 8 hours, but was suppressing the need with caffeine.

      Stef wrote on November 7th, 2013
    • It depends, for me. I can get up at noon, after 5 hours of sleep, and feel like a million bucks. But if I get up at 7 or 8, even after 8 or 9 hours of sleep, I still feel like I was hit by a bus.

      Steve wrote on November 19th, 2013
  6. Great write up Mark! This is great info and can’t wait to see my results from the survey.

    Erik wrote on November 5th, 2013
  7. Took the survey…Extreme early… but I knew that already. Instant awake. My stepfather, unfortunately, was extreme late but had to leave early for work. He didn’t really wake up until noon.

    Deane wrote on November 5th, 2013
  8. Moderate early for me but I’ve always suspected I’m solar powered. I live in the country so no curtains over the bedroom window – instead I prefer to sleep by starlight or moonlight and wake with the dawn which I find easy. All through the night I’m fully aware of weather patterns, changing skies etc as I wake between sleep cycles. My sleep habits are therefore hugely affected by the seasons which is something I didn’t see mentioned in the study. Early rising at the moment (southern hemisphere spring/early summer) is no problem but there is no way I could do those times in winter (fortunately my job reflects the seasons so I start later in winter). If I have to sleep in a room with the curtains closed I don’t wake at the same times as above – I need an alarm to know what time it is and then I find it really hard to feel alert when I wake. I’ve always found your comment about sleeping in a dark room to be slightly at odds with the whole primal concept. After all, our ancestors could not create dark spaces for sleeping but their bodies and sleep cycles were subject to moon and starlight and the very early breaking of dawn that most of us are now oblivious to but when we are attuned to it the light eases us very gently into a new day without the sudden jolt of an a alarm and immediate exposure to bright light.

    Julia wrote on November 5th, 2013
  9. Interesting I seem to be in the minority here as an extreme late type. I work 5 days a week from 1430 to 2300 and sleep from about 0030 to 1100 on work and free days. It seems to work with me although I feel if I got more sunlight I would be come an “earlier” type.

    Ashley wrote on November 5th, 2013
    • I’m also an extreme late type!! I work 10am to 6pm though (i’d love to work later, but the clinic I work at closes at 6pm, therefore stealing away my most productive hours).

      I sleep 4am – 9am usually though, or if i’m starting later in the day at work which happens sometimes, I sleep until I have to go in. According to my mum, even as a toddler I was awake all night.

      Its 5:25am right now and i’m not even tired! What does life feel like without sleep debt?

      clarissa wrote on November 5th, 2013
  10. Okay, that was strange. I was expecting to be classified as a night owl, but instead got “Extremely early”. According to the write-up I’m completely discombobulated on my sleep – which I could well believe. Six days of seven right now, I have no control over either my waking or my bedtime. I can’t go to bed until kid #2 falls asleep, because otherwise he gets right back up again and has been known to stay up through the night. And then I have to get up to get kid #1 off to school, usually about four hours later.

    Which leads me to a question – how much does it matter if your sleep is broken into two parts, and does it matter which parts they are? I can think of two possible solutions to the severely inadequate sleep. I can go to bed early, and then get up to ensure that kid #2 goes to sleep, which would mean a 2-3 hour block of sleep, an hour up, and a 4-5 hour block. Or I could do my usual night’s sleep, get the kids off to school, and then go back to bed, which would be starting with the 4-5 hour block, and then an hour up, and then a shorter block of sleep to finish up. That central block is from 1-2am to 6:30am. Anybody know of any studies on that sort of bisected sleep?

    Tapetum wrote on November 5th, 2013
  11. I don’t need a quiz – I’m a night owl! Night owls rejoice! :-)

    Jen wrote on November 5th, 2013
  12. Thank you for this article. I have always been a night owl, ever since I was a baby. It drove my mom nuts because my brother was an early bird. The test confirmed I am a moderate. I think growing up I was probably an extreme night owl, and most of the time only got 4 hours a night of sleep. I really suffered in High School, usually sleeping through my first 3 classes. I was happiest when I had a 2nd or 3rd shift job, but those don’t usually pay so well.

    When I started a career in the business world, I had to be at work by 8am. I would stay up until 2am and wake around 7am. Then I would sleep 12 hours on the weekends. I was working in doors, not getting much sun exposure, drinking and smoking and struggling with depression.

    I finally broke the cycle when I moved to Hawaii and started my own business. My business involves working outside. This alone allowed me to fall asleep earlier and wake up earlier then any other time in my life. I then built up my business so that I could hire some morning people. Now I can usually sleep in until 8 or 9am.

    My wife still calls me a zombie in the morning, but at least I feel better.

    I don’t think my kids have the gene though because they are up at 6:30 or 7 ready to go.

    Elton wrote on November 5th, 2013
  13. Did they find a gene for people who can’t sleep at night but wishing for sleep all through the day???

    Seriously I go to bed early because I’m bloody tired and than I wake up many times at night and sleep stops around 4am…. It doesn’t matter how tired I am or how I have eaten…

    marielleGO wrote on November 5th, 2013
  14. Extreme Late chronotype right now. My best is Moderate Late, but I’m at the extreme end now, going to sleep at 6:30 a.m.

    I’ve been like this since I was 17. In my early twenties, after doing the sleeping pills, light boxes, sleep phase therapy, staying up all night and day only to fall asleep at the same time each night,

    I used to fight my night owlishness and was sick a lot with bronchitis. I gave up fighting my body and became self-employed. I’ve been doing this for 35 years; I’m 56 now. It works.

    My self-employment and entrepreneurship had paid off very well and if I weren’t a night owl, I may not have had the success that I have had being a cubicle drone.

    My wife and family deal with my schedule. My daughter has the same chronotype as me.

    I got my DNA tested and I have the Delayed Sleep Phase genes: hPer3 (human period 3) and Clock polymorphism, I participated in a genetic study at the University of Utah eleven years ago and found out that my melatonin spike is offset from the average person’s cycle by 4-6 hours later, meaning that I do not sleep until 4-6 hours later than people knocking off at 11 or 12.

    I am not depressed or unhealthy. Blood panels are great, other than too high of iron, which I get blood drawn every two to three months.

    Tin wrote on November 5th, 2013
    • Let me add on to my post above.

      Even though I go to sleep on average at 6:30 a.m., I sleep incredibly well. I get lots of deep and REM sleep.

      When I wake up, I go outside or in the winter I use a Sperti Vitamin D lamp (I don’t tolerate Vitamin D supplements at all. They raise my blood pressure and make me feel weird). I can tolerate lots of sun and love it.

      Tin wrote on November 5th, 2013
  15. i am a 6:00 to 22:00 as regular as it gets. but also a lunatic. interesting study on lunar influence on sleep from the same researchers that created the test

    paleozeta wrote on November 5th, 2013
  16. Extreme Late Type

    I’d be interested to see if chronotypes have an effect on night vision, as well as hearing and smell. I know I have the best sight in near total darkness of anyone I know, and my hearing and smell are very much above average.

    I’d love to see how people whose little red arrow actually points to a spot outside the curve stack up when it comes to their senses.

    Morghan wrote on November 6th, 2013
    • Interesting comment, Morghan! I’m also Extreme Late, and like you I have excellent sight in near total darkness (I also find it easier and more comfortable on my eyes to read in dimmer light and have perfect eyesight, which annoys everyone I know since I keep the lights low when everyone else wants to read as well), and I have an extremely acute sense of taste and smell, very prone to smell sensitivity, and my friends call me a bat because I hear things happening across the building at work and know when my patients have come into the clinic right across the clinic and down a story below me before the receptionist calls up to let me know.

      I too wonder if there is any correlation for Night Owls!

      clarissa wrote on November 7th, 2013
    • Now THAT is an interesting connection I’ve never made before. I’m a late nighter, and I have better night vision than anyone I know. People get annoyed with me out camping because I’m always getting after them to turn their damn flashlights off, but even after an hour of stargazing for their eyes to adjust, they’re still stumbling in every hole, and hitting every tree once we start moving again. My hearing sucks. Tinnitus form my dad’s side, and hearing that gets worse with age on my mom’s. I can hear subtle or distant sounds pretty good, but find I have to ask people to repeat themselves more than others (I’m 33, so it’s not too bad yet). Since things usually get quieter at night, I’m guessing above-average hearing isn’t as important for late-night Grok. Smell-wise, it’s hard to compare to others, but I do find myself often sniffing the air when I detect subtle changes in the air around me, which people have pointed out as strange.

      Steve wrote on November 19th, 2013
  17. Just had to comment… I loved this article SO much! It makes me feel so much less dysfunctional. I wasn’t able to take the quiz (their link to the shift worker site is still under construction). I have actually made my career work with me by going to a late swing shift. tough to align with my “tribe”, but much easier on my working life. Can’t wait to take the quiz. I just HAVE to be a GG (I say as I post this happily at 2AM! lol)

    Jolyn wrote on November 6th, 2013
  18. So, according to the survey, I’m early moderate. Like many of you, it didn’t come as a big surprise to me and it seems to be working fine when I’m at home. Troubles occur when I travel to the western states. Now instead of waking up at 5:00, I’m up at 3:00, and, now what. There’s no god food to be had(I’m starving), no gym access(I’m ready to hit it), but there’s nothing to do… Do any of you have similar experiences, and, if so, what do you do to combat it?

    dtaylorusa wrote on November 6th, 2013
  19. I’m skeptical of this questionnaire. I scored dead center but I almost guarantee that I am a full-on ‘GG’. All the time-related questions are regarding how late you DO stay up and how early you DO get up. None of the questions were like, “How late WOULD you stay up (and get up), if you had no obligations?” To which I would answer, “Way later than I do now.”

    Adam wrote on November 6th, 2013
  20. I took the quiz. It was interesting. I always knew I was a night owl and know I have proof. I got the “moderate owl” rating. That also explains my need to ‘protect the tribe’. I’ve always felt very protective of those weaker than I; such as, elderly people and animals.

    Susyn K wrote on November 6th, 2013
  21. thanks for this. I knew that I got up way early. The chronotype survery rated me as an extreme early type. that means that when I do stay up late, I still get up early. The recommendation is to get afternoon sunlight, which I do in the summer. Unfortunately, it’s almost dark out by the time I get off work this time of year. Will need to beef up the lighting. thanks

    bamboo wrote on November 6th, 2013
  22. I go to bed very late and get up around 6am…This is great information. I simply do not like to sleep however, I do know that it can be detrimental to health.

    C wrote on November 6th, 2013
  23. Great info. Thanks for sharing. This is especially helpful to know there is still hope for the night owl.

    Misty Dangel wrote on November 6th, 2013
  24. Does anybody know if LEDs are considered blue light? I know CFLs are. thx.

    OD wrote on November 6th, 2013
  25. I don’t need to *imagine* a lifetime of poor sleep. I’m there after 51 years of poor sleep. It is truly horrible.

    Linda G. wrote on November 6th, 2013
  26. No Fair. I’m a shift worker. How do I work out what type of person I am? I get to have a crappy sleep pattern, AND a horrific eating pattern (Have you tried finding something decent to eat in the UK at 3am? !!) Your book is in the post……

    Jeff Moye wrote on November 6th, 2013
  27. “You are an extreme late type”

    I am happy that I can now live the way which suits me best. The unfortunate is that it is possible because I was 40 yrs when I had to retire for (mental.. =severe depression) health reasons.

    I love my night life!! Quiet one though, I go for a run at 9 pm, “dinner” at 10/11 pm and then some tv/reading/web-time and to bed earliest at 3 am… and I get up at 11 am. As I don’t have to be any where before noon*, this suits me well.

    *) usually my first task is at 4:30 pm, once a week!

    Kaisa H wrote on November 6th, 2013
  28. The survey told me they were unable to calculate my chronotype since my survey data indicated that I may be suffering from a sleep disorder and that I should consult a health practitioner. I know I don’t get enough sleep, mostly because I refuse to go to bed when I should – plus I have a new puppy and an infant baby that are always up at the crack of dawn. As a result, I am almost always tired and it takes 0 minutes to fall asleep when I finally do go to bed… but that doesn’t mean I have a sleep disorder. I thought it just meant I wasn’t very bright! LOL

    Matthew Christians wrote on November 6th, 2013
  29. You’ve mentioned the roles of male early and late risers in prehistoric times. What would you see as women’s early and late rising roles (since presumably their genes would have accounted for half of the genetic variability)?

    Jennifer wrote on November 6th, 2013
  30. “Why would a chronotype that confers a higher risk of just about every negative health malady be selected for by evolution? How did the GG nucleotide even survive?

    Because it’s only in a society with a standard universal workday that begins at around 8 AM that the night owl is an unhealthy, lazy malcontent worthy of our disdain. For every one of the ‘negative health effects of being a night owl chronotype,’ I can link it directly to a lack of sleep:”

    This should be easy to test–presumably we should then see differences in the instances of these sleep-related maladies across cultures with differing standard work hours.

    Early–USA 8am start
    Moderate (!)–Australia–9am start
    Late–UK 10am start (or at least it used to be. Not sure if that’s still the case)

    There might also be differences in cultures where is is common/expected to rise early(ish) and go to bed late, with an afternoon siesta.

    Would love to see the results of this type of cross-cultural research.

    Jennifer wrote on November 6th, 2013
    • As a UK Night Owl, I wish our standard day began at 10!! MY usual day begins around 10am, sometimes a bit earlier, because i’m self employed, but the average day here begins at 9am or earlier. Most people I know are expected to be in and working between 8am to 8:30am latest, despite it being called a ‘9-5’.

      clarissa wrote on November 7th, 2013
  31. I think these results are skewed (sp?) because the researchers are German. When I did the survey it said that “The average chronotype (classified as “normal”) sleeps from 0:15-8:15.” (12;15 to 8:15AM.) Who in the US that has a “normal” job can sleep until 8:15AM when you have to be at work at 9AM? I always thought I was a real night owl, but I’m not by German standards.

    This also does not take into account that many “night people” start to feel tired at around 9 or 10PM, but often fight it and then get a cortisol surge or second wind that keeps them up to midnight or later.

    Joyce wrote on November 6th, 2013
  32. It says I’m a slightly late type and that I don’t get enough sleep during the work week (already knew that) and that I could benefit from an afternoon nap (as if). Very cool post though. The comments before this have been enjoyable to read however my sleep deprived brain is, regrettably, unable to contribute to the plethora of enlightened remarks. I…am going to bed. Ciao!

    Melinda wrote on November 6th, 2013
  33. I took the quiz and it said that I’m normal. Most people that know me probably wouldn’t describe in that way. Lol.

    Marc wrote on November 7th, 2013
  34. Great post Mark, I did the survey but wasn’t surprised by the result; I am an extreme early type. For as long as I can remember I have woken before dawn and prefer to sleep early. If I try staying up late it makes very little difference; I only sleep for an hour or so past my natural wake-up time.
    I naturally wake between 2:30 – 3:30 am fully alert and that’s when I am most inspired. I love being outdoors before the sun rises and usually that’s my workout/run time.
    No substances apart from one coffee per day when I get up and no sugars, high gl or processed food in my diet. I wake up with some appetite but prefer to just have a cup of beef bone broth and eat after I have worked out.
    I would be interested in experimenting with lighting to see if it changed my sleeping pattern, but I am happy with doing what comes naturally for me.

    Jane wrote on November 7th, 2013
  35. Mark, fantastic article! Very articulate manifesto against the discrimination of Night Owls.

    However, don’t forget to mention the caffeine. I find that after ditching caffeine, I have totally changed from a severe Night Owl who couldn’t go to bed before 3AM to an intermediate type who starts yawning at 9:30PM. Now I get 2-3 hours more sleep on average and after about half a year of this new regimen I look literally 10 years younger. This did not work while I was only “cutting back” on caffeine, it’s only started working when I went zero tolerance on caffeine (which was really, really hard, far harder than giving up sugar, actually). It’s important to cut out even the smallest amounts – I do not even drink or white green tea or eat chocolate nibs anymore.


    Stef wrote on November 7th, 2013
  36. I disagree with my timing, it told me I’m a moderate early type, but this is only because I have to get at least 6 hours of sleep, and to do that I need to go to bed around 11 to get up at 6 to make it to work by 7:30. On weekends I have to get up and take the dogs out around that same time. If it were TRULY up to me, I’d be going to be around 12 and getting up around 8 or 9. I’ve always done my best work at night.

    I feel like if the chronotyping factored in people having to work instead of just asking when a person when to bed and woke up, their data would tell a different story!

    Kelsey wrote on November 8th, 2013

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