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Early to Bed, Early to Rise...

Carolyn Rasak

Posted on April 15, 2019 14:24

3 users

...isn't always so wise.

I am not a morning person.

How many times have you heard that? Picture it: Monday morning at work, 8am, bleary-eyed, coffee in hand, talking to a coworker. "I am not a morning person," you say, as you take a swig of still-too-hot coffee, waiting for the caffeine to kick in.

I know, you were waiting for an obscure story from Sicily, but joking aside, the scenario above is pretty common. I definitely don't do mornings. Until last November, I worked the overnight shift. Aside from the additional income--shift differential, baby!--it worked very well with my schedule because I naturally stay up late. As a teenager, I would frequently be awake, wide awake, until past midnight. This made the 6:30am wake up for high school a struggle. As I got older, I thought it would subside as it does for many people, but I've reached the conclusion that my internal clock is just wired differently.

I'm not alone. There are a few circadian rhythm disorders, one being Delayed Sleep-Wake Phase, and it describes me quite well. A brief description says, "This delay occurs when one’s internal sleep clock (circadian rhythm) is shifted later at night and later in the morning. Once sleep occurs, the sleep is generally normal. But the delay leads to a pattern of sleep that is later than what is desired or what is considered socially acceptable." This describes me to a tee, and I was fortunate to find work in my field that allowed me to work with my internal clock. If I stay up too late, no matter how tired I am, I start to "wake up" again.

The collective wisdom seems to say that responsible adults wake up early in the morning to accomplish things and sleep at night. I've read countless posts stating that responsible people don't stay up all night, nothing good happens at night, stay off the road after a certain hour (it is true that you should be cautious and aware of potential drunk drivers, though I've seen some interesting things going to 24 hour places for a 3am lunch) and of course, the phrase I referenced in the title, "early to bed, early to rise, makes a man happy, wealthy, and wise." But going against your internal clock can actually hurt you, and in fact, night owls tend to perform better in terms of processing speed and cognitive ability along with being a little bit wealthier.

So while society is set up a certain way, and I don't see that changing anytime soon, it would be nice to acknowledge that many of us are simply night owls, rather than lazy, when we struggle with getting going in the morning. There are many ways to live a successful life that go outside the traditional norms.

Carolyn Rasak

Posted on April 15, 2019 14:24

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Source: NYT

A subject in a sleep-disorder clinic in France. Recent research found that staying awake all night can increase a person's...

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