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Want to get ahead? Sleep in

From Friday's Globe and Mail

Late risers have more mental stamina and can outperform early birds, study finds ...Read the full article

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  1. C D from Canada writes: How many of these early risers get enough sleep?
  2. Rick Jones from The Rock, Canada writes: ...Or 30 percent of participants felt fatigue after being bombarded by magnetic resonance waves...?

    LOL

    Socrates said of sleep: '7 hours for a man, 8 for a woman, 9 for a fool.'
  3. Olivia Beck from Canada writes: Late risers don't sleep more, we just go to bed LATER.

    Doesn't matter WHAT time I go to sleep, all that matters is that I soak in 7 hours of zzzZZzzzzs before I have to wake next.

    Early risers go to bed earlier so they can wake earlier. I have a friend who passes out by 10pm, and wakes up at 6am, like clockwork.
  4. Smart Aleck from Edmonton, Canada writes: I wonder as well if the time of measurement may indicate the difference. For example, do early risers like to get their work done early in their day, while late risers like to get their work done later in the day. Day-long productivity may be a better measure than just measuring 10 hours after waking. Does the productivity of an early riser 3 hours after waking up outstrip that of a late riser after 3 hours? Further direction for research, I guess. Why answer all the questions at once, when you can just answer one or two then go back for more funding. (I hated writing research grant proposals.)
  5. Hee Hoo Sai from Canada writes: Once again a slow news day brings out the desperation in media attempts to make the news.
  6. J. Michael from Canada writes: Not if you want to catch a worm!
  7. Rene Roy from Fort Erie, Canada writes: Hee Hoo Sai... maybe you'd better go to bed. You sound cranky. Not a night owl.
  8. y meier from Canada writes: The first sentence says it all:

    'Smug early birds take note...'

    The author obviously knows a thing or two about 'early birds' and their annoying ways.

    We night owlers must regularly put up with early morning meetings, seminars, classes, exams etc ... and for what? To cater to the schedule of the 'early birds', who as it now turns out, are less productive than we are.

    It's time to say enough is enough. Let us come to work at noon in peace, and leave us alone.
  9. Richard Roskell from Naramata, Canada writes:
    I just got up. What's all the fuss?
  10. Polar Bear from Somewhere Cool, AB, Canada writes:
    J. Michael from Canada writes: Not if you want to catch a worm!

    =====

    I'll sleep happier in the morning knowing that you are out there taking care of the worms. :-)

    Regards; Polar
  11. Alana Poirier from Canada writes: I guess it's natural to shape your day around the sun. If it weren't for technology, we probably wouldn't stay up very late because we wouldn't be able to SEE much. Us night-owls just have to adapt.
  12. John Doe from Canada writes: Alana Poirier from Canada writes: I guess it's natural to shape your day around the sun. If it weren't for technology, we probably wouldn't stay up very late because we wouldn't be able to SEE much. Us night-owls just have to adapt.
    -----

    It's probably pretty true about technology. When there was no electricity people had to be up and doing their work in the daylight hours. Even with electricity it wouldn't matter for a pursuit like farming, where you are out side working.

    In my opinion, both of these factors (especially farming considering its importance in societies like early America) are a major reason why our culture follows the "early bird gets the worm" theory of organizing our days.
  13. cathy p from Canada writes: I hate trying to explain to morning people that getting up early makes me ill and tired until about 11 am. The smug ones just tell me to go to bed earlier, completely ignoring the fact that I'm usually the most alert when I'm "supposed" to be going to bed.

    Best (read: normal) sleep cycles I ever had were the two vacations I had in Japan. I now tell people that I was just born on the wrong side of the world. :)
  14. Johnny FromCanada from Vancouver, Canada writes: This all depends on whether you have been successfully indoctrinated by the Grid.
  15. Mark McKay from United States writes: Couldn't agree more. I'm very much the night owl and do my best work between 11:00pm and 1:00am. It's much easier to concentrate after the sun goes down. Unfortunately, the business world refuses to accept this, so I'm bleary-eyed and head-achy when my alarm goes off at 8:00am. (luckily, my job has flex hours so I can come in at 10:00am)

    Mozart wrote most of his music at night. We creative types need to find a way to overcome this tyranny!
  16. R L from Canada writes: Mark, its nice to know that in two hours you get your best work done... I wish i was that productive,
    but i am a night owl I just need more time.

    Ah this science study stuff.. wonderful and today I just learned that if I chew gum I will do better in school.
    So getting up late and chewing gum all day... I can be much smarter all around.

    But got to go now, some dummy scheduled a meeting at 9am two hours from here, so now i haf to get up at 6... tooo early.
  17. Rainbow Warrior Aka Aka Crayola King from Canada writes: ha ha, I knew it! (pats himself on the back)

    But really, most early birds I know of go to bed early too. So at least they get enough sleep.
  18. Southside Guy from Edmonton, Canada writes: The advantage for us late risers is we have a less stressful day. The less stressed we are, the more productive.

    Anyone who gets up at 5am or 6am has to navigate through the morning and evening rush hours. Lunch break is another big stampede. Doing this routine five times a week becomes draining. You may not feel the effects but that stress level is maintained in the back of your mind.

    A late riser goes to work in the afternoon and comes home in the late evening. No rat race to get stressed about.

    There may also be some biological factor too. Typically when one gets up in the early morning it is the coldest time of the day. The body is cold and it heats up as the day progresses. By mid-afternoon that person has already been awake for 9 hours and it is the hottest time of the day. This is why people feel sluggish (ie. the Regina radio host in the article) in the afternoon.

    In comparison, the late riser gets up at noon. The first part of his day is also the hottest time of the day, all systems go. At the 9 hour awake mark the sun is going down and the temperature is cooling. In other words, a late riser has an easier time to get his second wind.
  19. Josh Taylor from Dublin, Canada writes: What about the alertness in the first 5 hours? You can't judge based on a single point in time 10 hours after you wake.

    People who sleep in late are notoriously groggy and take hours to get going...
  20. Sue W from Canada writes: I doubt farmers would agree. I would imagine it would be a little difficult harvesting those crops after the sun goes down.
  21. canuck moose from Canada writes: The problem is not what time one is abed, but the attempt to stay alert for 10 or 15 consecutive hours.

    Enter - THE NAP! Eh-voila.

    From: an early riser who naps (and has several decades of globe-trotting experience)
  22. Sens Fan from Mississauga, Canada writes: Sorry, I missed the start of the conversation because I was sleeping already. As an early riser, I like having the entire office to myself for an hour every day before the rest of my co-workers get in. I get more done in that first hour than the next few, when my phone starts to ring and the emails flow. Didn't the US Army have a commercial about "we get more done by 9:00am than most people do in a day?".

    Anyway, I don't think it matters if you are an early or late riser - just marry someone who is the same, or be prepared for a lifetime of driving each other nuts!

    Cheers and Happy Friday...
  23. Valkyrie 23 from Guelph, Canada writes: Ugh, I'm a night hawk who is forced to be an early riser, and I have to say that though I have less energy (6am traffic such as Southside Guy mentioned is also a factor) by the end of the day, I always FEEL more productive if I get up early. Even on the weekends "sleeping in" is only until 8 or 9 unless we were out really late the night before. I used to be the stay up until 2 and sleep until 10 kind of person, but when you work 7-3, you really can't do that anymore... especially when you have an hour commute each way... YAWN!!!! ;)
  24. Ophelia Amleth from Canada writes: My own natural rhythm has me to bed at 2-3 a.m. and awake by 11 a.m. or noon, waking refreshed and ready t ogo--in other words, without being obliged to roll in to the office at 8, this is where my sleep patterns will fall. I don't start feeling energetic and productive in any case until around 2 pm and my best work starts at around 5 pm. Which is frustrating because the type of work that I love to doesn't lend itself to night shift jobs. Another problem for me, needing to get up at 6 to get to work by 8, is that I just don't feel tired at 10 pm. Or 11 pm. Or even 12 pm. Which means I'm constantly sleep-deprived at work--unless I get myself hooked on sleeping pills, which I'd really rather not do.
  25. Stude Ham from Canada writes:
    something is fishy in this study... there is no mention of the time delay between the wakeup and the testing. it seems that the early risers had far more hours of activity by the time of the tests than did the late risers.

    so this may not be a validly based test after all.

    now where's my coffee mug???
  26. Elika Ortega from Canada writes: Oh yeah!
    Sleep in!
  27. Shawn Mckone from Calgary, Canada writes: This has correlation issues and is statistically irrelevant. What a waste of time.
  28. Kari (at www.TheFifthAnimal.com) from Canada writes: To J. Michael from Canada writes: Not if you want to catch a worm!

    On the other hand:
    "The early bird gets the worm, BUT the second mouse gets the cheese". I personally prefer cheese :)

    I can work 14 hours a day and be extremely productive, but only if I get up not earlier than 8.30. - which usually gives about 7-8 hours of sleep.
  29. Hernando Villanueva from Andalucia, Canada writes: Shawn Mckone from Calgary, Canada writes: This has correlation issues and is statistically irrelevant. What a waste of time.

    Methinks the observation is based in sophistry, as there were no facts in the article by which a conclusion of this sort could be logically and factually drawn. Only access to the study, its parammeters and results could allow you that conclusion.

    Perhaps you should have slept longer...
  30. E F from Gatineau, Canada writes: Sure, it would be nice to sleep in, but what about when you have no choice but to get up early? Parents with young children will know what I'm talking about. I recently returned to work after maternity leave, so I have to get up early and take my daughter to daycare. But on the weekends when we could sleep in, my daughter decides when to get up, not us. While the premise of sleeping in to improve mental function is nice, it's just not doable in real life sometimes.
  31. Addie Bundren from Canada writes: A big and reputable study a few years ago found that those who slept seven hours a night lived longer than those who got the traditional eight or more. So, if you do get up at eleven, better have gone to bed really late if you want to be sharp and long-lived (assuming you can watch out for that bus for eighty or ninety years).
  32. Carl Woehncke from Canada writes: John Doe from Canada writes: 'It's probably pretty true about technology. When there was no electricity people had to be up and doing their work in the daylight hours. Even with electricity it wouldn't matter for a pursuit like farming, where you are out side working.'

    But people also used to get up in the middle of the night and do stuff, to break the night into two parts. We've obviously gotten out of that habit.
  33. Linda F from Toronto, Canada writes: I've just sent this article to all the people who give me grief about my "cadence", which is to get up at 8ish and work from 10ish to 8ish... my best hours are between 4pm and 8pm... now that there's proof, will you please all cut the "lazy" talk!
  34. Olivia Beck from Canada writes: For those who think the dawn to dusk work day is our "natural" schedule, this simply isn't true.

    Sleep and sleep patterns are affected by factors relating to cultural/social norms and expectations.

    There's an interesting book called (I think) "The Wheel of Consciousness" and it has some great chapters on sleep, and describes how North American cultures differ in their sleep patterns compared to other cultures. It's a good read about an interesting topic in science, and it is in plain language (not the dry, technical jargon of science).
  35. Systemic Risk from Canada writes: Olivia Beck - It's called "The Head Trip" by Jeff Warren and it is a great book. Studies have shown that the brains of early risers and night owls actually are wired differently. I personally tend to find night owls more creative and intelligent but maybe that's my subjectivity - how interesting can any adult who goes to bed at 9 pm be? It's also important to note that in agrarian societies of yore, where people rose before dawn to get out in the fields, they also usually slept for several hours mid-day - something that few 5am risers could do today. For myself, I have stopped apologizing. I live very close to work and come in a 9(ish) which means I can usually sleep until 8. I find that that the late evening (9pm to midnight) is when my mind is most active.
  36. Western Girl from Canada writes:
    Hee Hoo - What exactly are you expecting from the Health section of the paper...?
  37. Rick W from Canada writes: In Saskatchewan, the heart of farming in Canada, the sun stays up until 10 pm in the summer, which gives lots of time for night owl farmers to get on the field after sleeping in.

    Although, throughout the summer, most framers have nothing to do except watch the crops grow, so why they get out of bed at all baffles me.

    Oh yes, it's to go have coffee in town...
  38. SEEYA LATER from Canada writes: Oh my God!!!!.....Who funded that useless study.......It's got more holes than a wiffle ball......
  39. Nolan Cody from Calgary, Canada writes: Some of the holes you're talking about are addressed here:

    http://www.livescience.com/health/090423-earlybird-nightowl.html
  40. Rob Tremblay from ottawa, Canada writes: anyone here want to have a siesta , i say noon-2pm we all just drop everything and do whatever the hell we want. take a nap, read a book, sip tea, whatever strikes your chord. that way us night owls that do have to conform to early bird schedules can be nice and refreshed.

    i think its funny how apparently only 30% of us are moderate to extreme night owls or early birds and the rest are neutral, yet everyone on this post is in that 30%. i think id prefer a study on why we are proud of our personal sleeping habits. its like us night owls are part of a battered community that needs to band together to defeat all odds against us.
  41. Nolan Cody from Calgary, Canada writes: Now I understand why Alberta consistently provides transfer payments to the provinces to the east; we get up a few hours later, thus we're more productive.

    (Don't get too riled up.. I'm just kidding)
  42. B H from Toronto, Canada writes: quote:"What about the alertness in the first 5 hours? You can't judge based on a single point in time 10 hours after you wake." I had the same question. Aren't they basically just testing how well different people work late in the day? It does kind of stand to reason that an evening person works better in the evening -- just as a morning person works better in the morning... Test people after 1 or 2 hours awake and I suspect you'd see the exact opposite trend.
  43. Life Insurance Bribe from Canada writes: SEEYA LATER from Canada writes: Oh my God!!!!.....Who funded that useless study.......It's got more holes than a wiffle ball......

    Ah yes, another person who hasn't read the actual study & related scientific studies but instead jumps to conclusions from browsing through the newspaper.
  44. B H from Toronto, Canada writes: Probably better to ask 'Who funded that useless newspaper article.......It's got more holes than a wiffle ball......' If you see a science article that makes little sense, 90% of the time the seeming stupidity is fixed by looking up the study itself. Journalists more often than not don't have the competence to write scientifically sound science articles (if they did I suppose they would have gone into scientific research?).
  45. Stephanie Robinson from Ottawa, Canada writes: Josh Taylor from Dublin, Canada writes: What about the alertness in the first 5 hours? You can't judge based on a single point in time 10 hours after you wake.
    People who sleep in late are notoriously groggy and take hours to get going...

    Sorry Josh, but you're wrong. I - like Ophelia Amleth - have a natural rhythm of going to sleep at 2 or so and waking at 10 or so. But when I do wake up, I am up and doing work at home within half an hour. I can't keep my natural hours with my job, so I am wide awake too late at night and have trouble being punctual in the morning. It's definitely hard-wired in the brain! Yes, I am the creative type, and I have found that I write best after 5 p.m. and edit (an analytical function) best in the morning. Tough to find a manager who will put up with people like us, though!
  46. N J from Canada writes: Just to offer my own experience:

    For several years I adhered to the early bird schedule for work hours, rising at 6am, usually asleep by 11pm. I always felt groggy, tired, and had difficulty concentrating at times- in short I never felt I was at my best.

    Cut to one year when I had the option of taking evening shifts. Within two days of shifting to sleeping later (between 3am and 10am-same total hours of sleep), I felt AWAKE for the first time in years. All of my cognitive functions dramatically improved and I just felt great.

    I've been a night owl my entire life- literally since I was four or five years old, as I recall (& my family backs this up). People who label us lazy or talk about how we're 'always groggy' etc don't get it- living in the wrong sleep schedule is like living in permanent jet lag. Adjust to your proper sleep cycle, and you'll come out shining. Whether this study is ultimately dismissed or supported, it still validates what us night owls have been arguing our whole lives: we're not lazy! We're wired differently than you!
  47. Jacek Scibek from Vancouver, Canada writes: Regarding B H from Toronto question: "Aren't they basically just testing how well different people work late in the day? It does kind of stand to reason that an evening person works better in the evening -- just as a morning person works better in the morning... Test people after 1 or 2 hours awake and I suspect you'd see the exact opposite trend."

    --------------------------

    The participants went to a sleep clinic, where they followed their normal sleep schedule. At 1.5 hours after waking up and again at 10.5 hours, they had to perform a task that required sustained attention. The researchers found no difference in the attention levels of the two groups at 1.5 hours after waking, but the night owls were more focused than the early birds after 10.5 hours spent awake.

    :) I'm one of the night owls also and find this study interesting

    suggestions for everyone:
    (learned hard way during my science degrees)

    1. If a newspaper article brings to attention something scientific and you have questions, find its source (use google, for example). Takes 1 minute.

    2. Read other news articles, perhaps better written, on the same subject.

    3. Download (or go to any university library) the original science article and read it. Ask librarian or do research if science journal is peer-reviewed and whether its one of the major scientific journals (most serious articles are written in those).

    source of article was:
    Science 24 April 2009: Vol. 324. no. 5926, pp. 516 - 519
  48. Valerie Rodger from The Tower that Ate People, Canada writes: Sue W from Canada writes: I doubt farmers would agree. I would imagine it would be a little difficult harvesting those crops after the sun goes down.

    Actually, they have these neat things on their tractors called lights. It lets them keep working after the sun goes down.

    :-)
  49. Ann Ig Norant from I want global warming, Canada writes: I'd love to sleep in, but the government forces me to get up an hour earlier, thanks to daylight saving time.
  50. Hap Stokes from Canada writes: All of you parents that raised fairly large families (5-8 kids) into adulthood might quarrel with these 'Scientific' findings. When kids are little they ALL are impossible to 'Drag' out of bed in the mornings. But for the girls not even that droolie boy in her Grade XI class or a burning house will get a teenie-booper awake for breakfast.

    It seems the boys go through a sleep change as soon as the first fuzz appears on their upper lips. They start getting up at 5/6 AM and are wrestling in the L/Room long before 7. Just full of Pi$$ n Vinegar and never sleep more than 6 hours, while the girls can sleep longer than their mother (wishes she could) which is 9.5 hrs every night.

    So I think it's as 'Simple' as a Boy/Girl thing. Sweet little girls need more sleep than their hell-raising brothers after the boys start into their manhood journey.

    Don't you scientist agree?--Or don't you have kids?
  51. sherry johnstone from Canada writes: Has anyone heard of 'sleep inertia' that first few minutes of groggyness upon awakening. I think mine lasts for 2 or 3 hours, so I'm obviously not going to perform well in the a.m. Starting work at noon is optimum for me, and bedtime is never before midnight. Who wants to go to bed before midnight anyway? Seems like such a waste of time.
  52. stan bink from Canada writes: Wow! I feel like I've just found a like minded club, that I'm actually a member of. I'm a dyed in the wool night owl and have suffered the slings and arrows of self righteous early risers my entire life. I am NOT lazy, I'll work harder than than anyone on my schedule... finally some ammo!
  53. Will Mackinnon from Jasper, Canada writes: Night Owls? Throughout the ages many cultures have attributed Wisdom to these wonderful creatures. Owls have been depicted in legend and myth, in poetry, literature, painting, sculpture and song.
    How about some new sayings for this now scientifically confirmed ability;

    "The Midnight Hour awakens Mental Power!"
    or
    "How many and oft' great work's begun
    upon the setting of the Sun?"

    As for "the early birds..." catching their breakfast; are not worms also early risers? Much good it did them! (or perhaps the worms stayed up too late!).
  54. ron blanchard from Canada writes: Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz...................
  55. Cynthia Sta. Maria Baron from Dundas, Canada writes: All my children and I heartily agree. Their dad is an early bird. For the last 30 years it still drives him nuts that his entire family has the exact opposite waking and sleeping patterns from his! Our 16 year old even should him a study that night owls are more creative =) CSMBaron
  56. D Kanaschwiiz from Switzerland writes: The early worm gets eaten.
  57. Rita Jacobsen from Aarhus, Denmark writes: A lot of people are very focused on the dependence of the sun, especially of farmers, but 1) Our brains developed long before the human race began living as farmers. 2) Even a farmer needs to disregard the sun - my farmer grandparents got up every "morning" at 4 a.m. to milk the cows. At least at our latitude that means before the sun was up most of the year. 3) We all seem to assume that "work" means a demand for great mental capabilities, but work hasn't always been what we know it to be today. Who says that you need to be especially focused to do manual work? I for one, when getting up early, use my first hours for laundry, cleaning and the like, if I can get away with it, since I can more or less do that in my sleep. None of us really know what shaped our sleeping patterns - we are all just guessing. So here's another qualified guess: Maybe we developed our mental capabilities not to do manual sunlight-dependent work, but to plan and discuss the future at night inside the farmhouse - or by the cave-fire. Maybe the day was filled up with manual tasks, so the best time for reflection, planning and more socially determined interaction was after nightfall when everyone gathered to eat, tell stories and repair the tools for the next day, be it a family, a tribe or something else. I wont judge if night owls (like myself) are more creative or intelligent, but maybe awareness about difference in sleeping patterns has been raised as a result of more jobs depending solely on our brains. Instead of judging each other, why not just believe that we are all best at judging what sleeping pattern works best for ourselves, and then recognize that the demands on our brains have changed in modern times, so maybe the demands of adherence to a specific schedule should change with it.
  58. Lorna Trimnell from Nottingham, United Kingdom writes: I am a true night owl and struggle to fit into the time frame that our society dictates. As a student i have just spent the last week not sleeping as i can only write essays after 11pm otherwise they make no sense! However i still had lectures and my job to go to during the day meaning that i was having 22 hour days regularly in order to do my work effectively and still do my job and lectures in the hours society dictates. My problem is made worse by the heaviness of my sleep. At regular intervals my body clock will rebel against the pattern i force it in to and this will result in me sleeping until about 12 - 1 midday and nothing will wake me ... i have been known to sleep through fire alarms, heavy knocking, mini earthquakes and regularly through about 100 phone calls with my phone on loud. Should i be forced to go through life like this?? I don't think so. I think its about time that people accept that not everyone can live on a 9 - 5 clock and its not through laziness ... indeed i would love to be able to wake up at 7am bright and breezy, but for me its never going to be a fact of life. Early risers - do not put us down for this or call us lazy ... its just not fair!

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