Rise and shine or rise and whine? Whether you enthusiastically jump out of bed shortly after the sun comes up or prefer to stay up late and sleep in largely depends on your circadian rhythm—though it averages about 24 hours, many people have either a slightly longer or slightly shorter cycle, making them more likely to be night owls or early risers, respectively. But whichever one you are, there are benefits to both.
Early risers are more likely to be go-getters…
The early bird gets the worm, and the early riser may be more likely to get the promotion, according to a study of undergraduate students. Harvard biologist Christoph Randler found that morning people were more likely to agree with statements that indicate proactivity—like “I spend time identifying long-range goals for myself” and “I feel in charge of making things happen.”
But night owls are more creative thinkers.
Not to worry, night owls—your creativity can help you get a leg up on morning people in the office. Research from the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart in Milan found that nocturnal types scored better on tests measuring originality, elaboration, fluidity, and flexibility.
Early risers may be happier…
You’re not imagining it—if you’re a night owl, your early riser friends and coworkers really are annoyingly chipper first thing in the morning. A University of Toronto study of more than 700 adults found that those who naturally wake up around 7am showed a 19-25 percent boost in feelings of happiness, liveliness, cheerfulness and alertness.
But night owls are less stressed.
According to research, early risers who wake up before 7:21am tend to have higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol than night owls do. Plus, their cortisol levels stayed high as the day went on.
Early risers are more alert for that morning meeting…
Ever notice that morning people look almost enthused at an early morning meeting? Turns out, according to scientists at the University of Alberta, the early riser’s brain is more excitable (and alert) at 9am than the brain of a night owl.
But night owls stay more alert later in the day.
By late afternoon and evening, it’s night owls who have the advantage. A study at the University of Liege in Belgium found that 10.5 hours after waking up, night owls were more mentally alert, while early birds had lower activity in brain regions associated with attention.