Early birds may be more active, but night owls can catch up – . Health Blog

Being an early riser has long been associated with staying power. Early risers, or those who tend to wake up early and go to bed early, are people who naturally feel sleepy earlier in the evening and naturally wake up early in the morning. For an early riser, bedtime of 9 p.m. can be the norm, and getting up at 5 a.m. without an alarm clock feels relatively effortless.

Our internal clock controls more than just sleep patterns

Being an early bird or the other night owl is usually not considered to be very much under our control. Some people seem hard-wired to sleep early, while others get a second wind and tend to sleep late. This internal clock is called our circadian rhythm, each person's unique internal timekeeper and the body's master controller for many functions. Most obvious are our sleep patterns; However, our internal clock also plays a role in our hunger and eating behavior, our hormone levels and perhaps even our mood.

Does being an early bird or a night owl affect our health?

A growing body of research shows that we want to pay more attention to the circadian rhythm, also known as the chronotype. Determining whether we are more of an early bird or a night owl will help you predict the risk of potential health problems.

A recent study by the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports examined whether the body clock was related to the level of physical activity. A wrist-based device that measures movement recorded the activity levels of over 5,000 participants for two weeks. Using a well-studied questionnaire, the researchers also identified whether each person was more likely to be an early bird or a night owl. After considering a few factors that might explain the differences, such as: B. Education or health background, they found that a night owl was associated with less physical activity. Night owls had up to 60 to 90 minutes fewer minutes per day of activity compared to morning types.

Why might your body's clock and your activity level be linked?

In short, more research is needed in this area to know for sure. Most of the studies on this subject deal with patterns; Trends seem to be emerging that certain body clock patterns and health conditions converge. What we don't know, however, is whether it is the cause of being a night owl or an early riser. However, a number of potential factors play a role in trying to understand why.

For those more of a night owl or “evening” type, incorporating activities into their day can be more of a challenge. For many night owls, jobs or other time demands can mean having a morning alarm go off long before their natural wake-up time. As a result, a night owl type can start the day relatively “jet lagged” – he feels out of sync with his body because he is awake when the body would rather sleep. They can also be deprived of sleep if they had to get up much earlier than desired. These can regularly contribute to less activity.

On days off, catching up on sleep can become a priority due to lack of sleep during the week. Sleep patterns, such as How much or when people sleep may be key here, but this information was not recorded in this study. Other health conditions or behaviors that affect sleep, such as: B. Mood disorders, can occur more often in night owls.

What can I do if I am a night owl?

It should be stressed that this study does not tell us that a night owl is the cause of decreased physical activity. (This applies to many examinations relating to our body clock, as already mentioned.) It only shows a connection between an early bird or a night owl and certain conditions. In addition, the factors at play – sleep patterns and activity – are factors over which we have some control. Although we're hardwired to be a night owl or a morning bird, most people fall somewhere in the middle. Sleep patterns and activities can be changed, and even small changes can have big effects over days, weeks, months, and years.

Thinking about your sleep patterns is one way to use the best times of the day to be more active. Are you someone who feels ready and alert first thing in the morning? Perhaps now is the best time to take these steps. More energy in the evening? Then it is best to plan the walk after dinner. Using your body clock to your advantage can optimize the best time to be active.

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