I started to ponder why anyone would purposefully get up so early. Besides finding early risers particularly annoying in their chiper-ness, I wondered if there was any biological science to the whole night owl/early bird equation. It turns out, if you have a hard time crawling out of bed in the morning, it could be that your body is biologically programmed to start the day later.
Experts say a spectrum of natural sleeping and waking rhythms exists, ranging from extreme morning people to extreme night owls.
In fact, the latest study tested strength and brain excitability of both night owls and early birds. It was found that night owls have both maximum strength and high brain activation at around 9pm, which makes it hard to sleep. Early risers, on the other hand have consistent strength throughout the day, and have maximum brain activation at around 9am.
American society favors morning people because the standard work day starts around 7-8am. Dr. Nancy Collop, who works at the John Hopkins Sleep Disorders Centre says she sees many more night owls enter the clinic than early risers. In fact many are mis-labeled as insomniacs when they are in fact just night owls.
But I want to know, can we change from one to the other? When I started my full time job, my friends told me “you’ll get used to the early mornings.” A good few months in, I can confidently report that I still despise early mornings just as much.
“It's very difficult for a night owl to become a morning person” Collop says "Their body’s clock is separate from what their work clock is supposed to be," Collop said.
Although a night owl can train themselves, to a certain extent to tackle mornings, the evidence suggests that biological rhythms are largely dictated by genes, and that the converted morning bird will always feel more comfortable hanging out with the owls.