When it comes to the workplace there are typically two types of people: The early birds and the slow-starters. The early birds are those who are full of energy, alert and ready to go. On the other hand, there are those who need a high intake of caffeine to function and moan about not being a “morning person”.
After conducting a study into the matter, researchers now believe they have uncovered why there is this long existing dichotomy.
Researchers from Aachen University in Germany have discovered that 10% of people are ‘morning people’ and a staggering 20% are ‘night owls’.
When are we at our most functional?
Their research has shown that body clocks are determined by chronotypes – an attribute determining when people are at their most functional. People who sleep later are likely to display tiredness during the day and have what is called ‘chronic jet lag’.
The new research was built around this conclusion, as well as other studies which have found that night owls tend to have a higher intake of alcohol and tobacco.
Jessica Rosenburg, one of the people heading the research, carried out tests on 20 intermediate chronotypes, including 16 early birds and 23 night owls. Results revealed a decrease in the moral wholeness of the night owl’s white matter part of the brain, which is associated with depression.
The team of researchers believe gene variants could be responsible for driving a person towards nocturnal living and may impact the physical structure of the brain.
At this stage they’re not sure if this behaviour can have a negative impact on a person’s health. The study has revealed there are differences in people but are yet unclear as to what is causing them.
It would be nice if night owls had the power to change their work patterns to complement their sleeping habits. However, night owls can reduce their exposure to artificial light and spend more time in the sunlight to force their body clock into a more normal rhythm.