Early Birds vs Night Owls: What’s Better for Health and Productivity?

Did you know that Michelle Obama and Mark Zuckerberg are polar opposites in one very important area of their lives?

We’re not talking about political affiliations, but rather… their sleep patterns!

One’s a night owl, while the other is an early bird. (Can you guess who?)

You’re probably aware of some differences between these two groups of people – but does one side have the advantage over the other? (And should you shift your sleeping habits to align with the “winning” side?)

Let’s compare the two.

The Early Bird


Most of us have heard stories on how “the early bird gets the worm” and have read about how highly respected people like Tim Cook, Oprah Winfrey and Michelle Obama wake up before 6am every day. (In fact, it’s been said that Tim Cook starts his mornings at 3.45am!)

Is the “early bird lifestyle” for you? Let’s take a look at some of its pros and cons.

ProsCons
Goals and fulfillment: According to a study by biologist Christoph Randler, early birds are more proactive when it comes to taking control of their lives. They are more likely to identify long-term goals and take steps to realise these aspirations.Possible sleep deprivation: To be an effective early bird, you must develop a habit of sleeping early to avoid sleep deprivation. Scott Adams, creator of the comic strip “Dilbert”, starts his days between 4am and 6am, but warns others that tiredness can “take a predictable chunk off your IQ”.
  
Health and happiness: In another study, researchers determined that early birds are more likely to exercise. (In fact, exercising before work is one of the reasons why some people become early birds.) In addition to improving their physical health, exercise seems improve their mental health as well, as early birds were found to be generally happier than their late-night counterparts. A gradually depleting energy reserve: Early birds begin their days full of energy and enthusiasm – but this optimism gradually fades away throughout the day as “sleep pressure” begins to mount. This reduces the early bird’s ability to perform later in the day, so in the office, you may have to wait till the next working day to get an incredible idea or winning sales pitch from a colleague who is an early bird.

The Night Owl

Before the early birds take all the credit for being outstanding and disciplined, night owls have an impressive list of entrepreneurs on their side too. This includes the founders of Facebook, Reddit and Buzzfeed – Mark Zuckerberg, Alexis Ohanian and Jonah Peretti, respectively.

What do night owls have going for (and against) them? Let’s explore.

ProsCons
Higher intelligence: In a fascinating study, psychologists conducted intelligence tests on 420 participants and measured their results in maths, comprehension, memory and thinking speed. The results showed that night owls consistently outscored early birds in these intelligence tests!Depression: “Social jetlag” and depression are more commonly seen in night owls than early risers, as evidenced in some studies. This is largely attributed to the fact that night owls are asleep when everyone else is out and about – leaving them with a limited social circle and fewer options for unwinding.
  
Boosted productivity: Night owls are known to be more productive than early birds, and there’s a simple reason why. While early birds start their days on fire, they run out of juice quickly. Night owls, on the other hand, get more energised as the day progresses – and are able to work late into the night when needed (without a decline in cognitive function or creativity).Snooze button abusers: Night owls tend to hit the snooze button multiple times before they get up. This unhealthy habit starts them on a cycle that further drains their energy, often leading to unproductive starts to each day – and only getting fired up as the sun goes down.

Conclusion: And the Winner is…….

So, should you make the shift towards becoming an early bird or night owl?

According to science, there’s no reason to force yourself one way or the other. It’s totally alright leaving choice to nature and your Circadian rhythm – which is your internal clock (i.e. your natural sleep and wake cycle).

While it’s certainly possible to shift yourself towards one side – as evidenced by fact that night owls are more likely to be young and early birds are often older adults – it’s perfectly fine to sleep and wake up according to your body’s internal clock.

What’s more important is getting quality sleep of between 7 to 8 hours every night – uninterrupted sleep that allows your body and mind to rest, rejuvenate and recharge. And the best way to do so, is with a latex mattress that provides you with an exquisite amount of comfort and support that’s the perfect degree of firmness.

Can’t decide on the ideal mattress for yourself? Take a look at our collection of Sofzsleep latex mattresses online, or visit our showroom to experience the Sofzsleep difference, first-hand.

Now that you know the pros and cons of your body’s internal clock, play to your strengths and use your advantages to achieve your aspirations in life!

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