Early Bird? Night Owl? What If You’re Neither?

September 10, 2010 | By | Comments (0)

We haven't even had to change the clocks yet—Daylight Savings Time ends on November 7th, boo hoo!—and already I'm finding my own biorhythms are more marked than ever.

And what I am noticing is something I can't believe it took me this long to face: I'm neither a night owl NOR am I an early bird. Almost as abruptly as a hapless bird flying into a pane of streak-free glass, I simply run out of steam after about 9:30pm. I struggle to keep my eyelids open after that time, and feel like there's a magnetic attraction between myself and my bed. I cannot resist it's call!

But on the flip side, it's not like I'm bounding out of bed at first light!! Nope, I'm just as attached to my bed in the morning as I am at night. I don't wake up easily, and I'll do anything to squeeze in a few more minutes of sleep. (Even if that means letting the baby 'play' in her crib for a minute or two longer than I think she'd like to.)

The trouble is, that doesn't leave all that much time where I'm primed and ready to rock-and-roll. It makes movie-watching hard. It means it's taking me way too long to finish books, since I only get a few pages in before I fall asleep. When my husband works late, it makes coherent conversations a joke. (He's learned to accept that any talk we have once I've dozed off will be forgotten entirely, even if I insist that I'm awake and ready to chat. By morning I've usually forgotten most of what we said.)

I feel almost like I have less time in the day than I should. Certainly when I compare myself to someone who is a "morning person"—who is able to pounce on the day bright and early, perhaps even getting up before the alarm, or before the children awaken, so they can deal with all the tasks that can pile up. Perhaps I simply need more sleep than some other people; perhaps it's because the hours that I am on top of my game are so jam-packed and and fully-charged that I simply fizzle out at either end…Maybe I'm a flame that burns hot and fast, but not for all that long? Hmm. I think I'd like a bit more of a slow-burn, to be honest.

Whatever the reason, there's evidence that one's preferences for this sort of thing are pretty hard-wired. According to new research from Yamguchi University in Japan, your hair can reveal whether you flourish in the a.m. or p.m. (Well, it's simply the RNA easily found in strands of your hair.) And things like blood pressure, diabetes and even cancer have been implicated in disorders of the body clock.

Are you a morning person or a night owl? When do you feel the most energized? Have you ever been able to change your habits?