There are two kinds of people in this world: the early birds, who praise the lord for the beautiful sunrise, and the night owls, who find solace in the dark night. Your New Year’s resolution may have always been “get up early, do exercise, eat healthy” but now science has tackled the part “get up early” and they have pretty good explanation about it.
If you think your morning alarm is to blame, you can now turn the cursive words towards science, or to be more specific, evolution. Isn’t it great? It is better than the hard hitting truths that keep you up at 3 a.m… binge watching the latest shows or scrolling through Facebook!
CDC recommends that 7+ hours of sleep per night makes you wake up fresh and on time. Some people however are nocturnal and apart from unhealthy habits, and have a legit reason: a recent study published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences journal in July, correlates sleeping patterns to evolution.
The study analyzed the link between our ancestors’ sleep patterns and modern-day schedules.
Huffington Post reports that researchers observed 33 adults living in a rural hunter-gatherer tribe in Northern Tanzania over a three-week time period. They found that 99.8 percent of the time, at least one adult in the tribe was awake, and everyone spent six hours sleeping on an average, but all at varying times during a 12-hour span.
The time we spend sleeping is entirely based on our social lives, work and obviously preferences. According to this study, circumstance is definitely a factor, alongside our ancestral background plays a vital role. Co-author David Samson, an assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Toronto, Mississauga stated that this research proves that “human sleep is both flexible and variable.”
In other words, morning person or not, you were born this way.
Studies show that morning-loathers are the products of their DNA, it has little to do with how much coffee they drink or what their diet is. Vox reported in March 2017 that a college student was diagnosed with delayed sleep phase, a rare disorder where a person’s circadian rhythm is delayed from the typical day or night cycle. People with delayed sleep phase have an impulse to go to bed later and wake up later than what is typically considered normal. The then 21-year-old attending Northern Arizona University apparently cannot fall asleep until 3 a.m., and finds it difficult to start her day before 11 a.m.
Chronotype or a sleep pattern that we are born with, is influenced by genetics. You may wish to change your lifestyle but science says your circadian rhythm is unique, and it is not that easy to change it. There is a difference between not being awake and not being able to function properly.
Philip Gehrman, a sleep researcher and clinician at the University of Pennsylvania told Vox, “Sometimes one of the helpful things I do for people is give them permission to follow a late schedule. Because there’s an attitude in our culture that there is something wrong with that.”
Still, just because you’re not a morning person doesn’t mean waking up early has to be painful.
Try to get in your bed by 10 p.m instead of midnight, drinking a ton of water a few days leading up to that 7 a.m. alarm to keep hydration and oxygen levels up, use an alarm tone that is soothing and gives you good vibes. “Early to bed, early to rise,” may not be your thing and it is okay to snooze!