What makes you a morning lark or night owl?

16 January 2018

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Question

Why are some people morning larks and others night owls? I don't appear to be either: can you change or is it the same for life?

Answer

Chris Smith put this to sleep expert Nick Oscroft...

Nick - There are genetic studies looking at families that show there are some genes that predispose you to being a lark or an owl, but it’s not cast in stone. As a parent, and as I’m sure other parents experience is that as you journey through life your tendency does alter. Most teenagers do tend to go towards the night owl stage of things, as I know, as I drag my 13 year old daughter out of bed this morning at about 11. Then, as one ages, one tends to go to the more morning phase and need less sleep, so it does tend to change as you go through your life. But some people do have a stronger predisposition to be one or the other, and some people are neither. It also depends on external factors: whether you’re a shiftworker, whether you have to get there early for your job, and the external factors are probably more important because, unfortunately, most employers won’t let you stroll up late for work just because you happen to be a night owl.

Chris - Well they will let you for as long as they’ll employ you. Which means not very long.

Nick - Which may be a short period of time.

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