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"The early bird gets the worm." But do morning people really have an advantage over night owls?

Key Points:

  • Sleep preference is almost entirely genetically predetermined.
  • Because the world operates on a nine-to-five schedule, natural night owls can experience “social jet lag” as they forego their normal sleep patterns to follow the flow of society.
  • Night owls have less white matter in their brains than early birds, and this means there are fewer pathways for “feel-good” hormones like dopamine or serotonin to travel through.
  • Night owls tend to be more creative, risk-takers, and have higher cognitive abilities. They tend to have higher cortisol levels, which means they weather the storms of stress more easily and are willing to take risks to succeed.
  • Over time, studies show that night owls have more energy than early birds. It takes longer for night owls to get going, but it also takes them longer to slow down. Early birds, by contrast, can hit the ground running, but they are out of steam more quickly.

Quote This:

The morning was a wretched time of day for him. He feared it and it never brought him any good. On no morning of his life had he ever been in good spirits nor done any good before midday, nor ever had a happy idea, nor devised any pleasure for himself or others. By degrees during the afternoon he warmed and became alive, and only towards evening, on his good days, was he productive active and sometimes, aglow with joy. –Herman Hesse, Steppenwolf

See Also: Health, Success

Talk About It
  1. What is your initial reaction to this topic? What jumped out at you?
  2. Would you say you are more of an early bird or a night owl? How did you figure this out?
  3. What would you say are advantages to getting the day started earlier? What are advantages to staying up late?
  4. Have you experienced “social jet lag” or symptoms similar to it? Explain.
  5. Whether you are an early bird or a night owl, what steps can you take to live a healthier life and leverage your natural rhythm toward success?
  6. Write a personal action step based on this conversation.

This topic is adapted from the AsapSCIENCE YouTube channel.