Being raised on a dairy farm where everyone had to pitch in, it was my birthright to be an early bird. This trait has stuck with me so far in life. If you ask me to stay up late, I’d have to struggle to make it happen— but I rarely miss those early morning events.
Just like you, I’ve crossed paths with night owls and struck up conversations with my fellow early birds, and I always find it curious how some of us wish we were more like the other. This got me thinking: are there any notable advantages to rising early or staying up late? Should we strive to be night owls or early birds?
According to Forbes, early birds can make a few claims to fame. The GPAs of early risers tend to be a full point higher than that of their late-sleeping peers. Early birds anticipate and minimize problems more efficiently. They routinely plan for the day, the week, and beyond. Also, they tend to exercise before the rest of the day gets in the way, which means they’re more likely to do it regularly.
Interesting, right? Here’s the thing, though. Some of my favorite people are night owls, and they’re perfectly lovely people. Surely there’s some good to be had from staying up late?
I learned that there are indeed a few upsides to night owlery from New York Magazine. Late-night folks tend to be creative types and have higher IQs. Their cortisol levels are lower throughout the day, which would indicate lower stress levels. Night owls also seem to maintain a steady source of alertness as the day moves along. Hmmm, that sounds like some good stuff.
Of course, if your night owl-ness is more related to insomnia than the natural rhythms of your body, it’s an entirely different issue. If that sounds like you, I recommend Maria Atwood’s blog post “Insomnia Relief! Help from a Former Insomniac” for ideas on turning your insomnia around. Maria recommends developing your relaxation habits, employing some Standard Process supplements, and drinking Potassium Broth (she even includes the recipe in her post). Notice one suggestion she doesn’t include: adding sleeping pills to your shopping list. Never a good idea.
Whether you’re a night owl or an early bird, the most important thing to consider is the quality of your sleep. When you finally lay your head down for some shut-eye, make sure you get the rejuvenating kind of sleep your body needs. It makes every aspect of your day better—no matter when your day begins or ends.
What’s the moral of the story? When you pit the early birds against the night owls, we both have a few things to offer. I love a happy ending, don’t you?
Image from iStock/PetarPaunchev.