Night Owl or Lark?


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A great deal is being learned from the study of sleep. The mysteries of why we sleep are being unraveled.

One of those unraveled mysteries has to do with why some are early risers while others are not.

The circadian rhythm is the internal clock that determines when we fall asleep and when we wake. According to experts in neuroscience, such as Dr.Matthew Walker, this clock is approximately 24 hours and fifteen minutes, or approximately, one day.

The suprachiasmatic nucleus, sitting in the middle of our brain, just above the intersection where the optic nerves switch sides, is the internal biological clock that governs our sleep-wake cycle.

As Dr. Walker discovered in his twenty years of studying sleep, not everyone’s circadian rhythm is the same.

About 40% of the human population are morning types. These individuals wake early and go to bed early.

Another 30% are evening types. These individuals wake late and go to bed late.

The remaining 30% are somewhere in the middle.

One’s affinity for being an early bird or night owl, therefore, may not entirely be determined by your sleep habits. It might have everything to do with your genetics. You may not therefore be, by choice, a night owl. Your DNA could be making that decision for you.

And here’s the big takeaway. Because some people are genetically predetermined to be night owls, they are on an uneven playing field. Society’s nine to five work schedule puts night owls at a decided disadvantage, since such a work schedule clearly favors the 70% who are not night owls.

Job performance of night owls is not optimal in the early morning hours. Even worse, due to this rigid nine to five work schedule, night owls are in perpetual sleep depravation mode, which impairs their long-term health, acuity and emotional stability. If you are a night owl, working in our nine to five world, you are susceptible to poor health, foggy brain and unbalanced emotions.

So, which are you – an early bird or night owl?

If you are struggling on the job, it might not be that you are in the wrong career. It might be that you are working the wrong hours in your career. Nine to five is holding your back from peak performance.

If you are stuck in a nine to five job and are one of the 70% who are not genetically predisposed to be a night owl, you can habitualize waking up early, thus maximizing your peak performance to match your genetically predetermined circadian rhythm.

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Thomas C. Corley About Thomas C. Corley

Tom Corley is a bestselling author, speaker, and media contributor for Business Insider, CNBC and a few other national media outlets.

His Rich Habits research has been read, viewed or heard by over 50 million people in 25 countries around the world.

Besides being an author, Tom is also a CPA, CFP, holds a master’s degree in taxation and is President of Cerefice and Company, a CPA firm in New Jersey.
Phone Number: 732-382-3800 Ext. 103.
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