Naked Science Forum

Life Sciences => Physiology & Medicine => Topic started by: Steven Wasmer on 03/11/2011 00:30:03

Title: Is being a "night owl" advantageous?
Post by: Steven Wasmer on 03/11/2011 00:30:03
Steven Wasmer  asked the Naked Scientists:
Good morning Scientists!

Love the podcast! (  If any of you ever decide to run for office you have my vote! 

While listening to one of your podcasts ( I got to thinking about sleep cycles.  We all know that some of us are night owls while others work best in the morning.  From an evolutionary standpoint how would being a night owl be an advantage?  Before we learned to control fire night owls would be of little use wouldn' t they?  Or has the variation in sleep/wake cycles developed only recently? 

Thanks for the excellent work. (

Steven Wasmer

Philadelphia USA

What do you think?
Title: Is being a
Post by: cheryl j on 07/11/2011 07:28:23
I've read it changes with age. Peak night-owlishness happens in late adolescence and early twenties, and its not just because thats when the bars are open. Older adults revert back to waking and going to bed early. Maybe it has something to do with eyesight.
Title: Is being a \
Post by: Airthumbs on 07/11/2011 23:38:03
Sleeping patterns, in my case there are no patterns at all.

This is a small record of my patterns as I am a little concerned.

Monday: Woke 07.00  Didnt goto sleep
Tuesday: Slept at 22.30 (that's 39.5hrs awake)
Wednesday: Woke at 10.30 (12 hrs kip) Slept at 04.00 Thursday
Thursday: Woke at 16.30 (12 hrs kip again) Slept at 01.00 Friday
Friday: Woke at 09.00 Slept at 15.00 Woke at 23.00 Slept at 06.00 Saturday
Saturday: Woke at 13.00 Slept at 04.30 Sunday
Sunday: Woke at 11.30 Slept at 06.00 Monday
Monday: Woke at 17.00 slept at 04.00

This is just a small sample and my sleep patterns seem to vary considerably from what would be defined as normal because it would involve going to bed before midnight and getting up at the crack of dawn.  These normal sleeping patterns are maintained by myself for about 2-3 days and then its all over the place again.  I sleep when I am tired and get up when I am not, is that not the best way to live?

I have high blood pressure and have to take my tablets each day, it has become a little tough to decide when a new day begins and the old one ends so I just take them once every 24hrs.  I now take one of my two tablets every twelve hours, started yesterday  [;D]

I don't think I could describe myself as a night owl and a professional sports coach has told me he thinks that it is not good for me to have such unstable sleeping patterns although I feel fine. 

Does anyone know if there might be adverse health effects to my current sleeping patterns which have been that way for over a year now?