Every morning, do you wake up energized and eager to take on the day? Or do you feel unmotivated and keep snoozing your alarm, dragging your body out of bed?
If you’re an early bird, this is because your circadian rhythm, also known as your sleep cycle, is synchronised with the capitalist nine to five job framework, or the traditional school timeframe. It may be obvious that the work environment caters to those who prefer to start their day early. Studies have shown that early birds may be at a lower risk of depression.
Now, you might assume that early birds do better because they have superior lifestyle habits, like eating a balanced diet or exercising more frequently. These habits have a negative correlation with depression rates due to their benefits to the immune system. A new study by JAMA Psychiatry provided credible evidence that going to bed early and waking up early may in fact lessen the risk of depression, regardless of those other factors.
Do you remember the last time you stayed up late at night? Maybe you stayed up binge-watching your favourite TV show or studying for your midterm the next morning. How did you feel the next day? Pretty sluggish and tired. What about the effects it had on your appearance? Lack of sleep can cause eye bags or dark circles. Do you remember a time where you pulled an all-nighter, and even though you didn’t socialize with anyone, you still received a poor grade? Sleeping late disrupts the body’s natural circadian rhythm, and this misalignment with your body clock leads to lower well-being and poor performance overall.
Being an early riser also means you have better time management skills and are less stressed while getting tasks completed because you are more productive and alert. However, being more productive isn’t the only advantage of waking up early; you’ll also be happier. Morning folks, according to University of Toronto research, reported higher levels of happiness.
This keeps night owls at a disadvantage, as they’re more likely to face challenges in adapting and changing their sleeping habits, especially when they enter the workforce.
To avoid staying up late, create a structured daily routine and stick to it. Write down your goals every morning, start sleeping early, and prioritize your tasks.
For night owls, this may be a dreadful thing, and it is a lot easier said than done. However, considering the work and school structure we are all forced into, we have no choice but to find ways to survive. A few tips to sleep better are to avoid napping throughout the day, not consume caffeine late in the day, and not use any electronics for at least two hours before going to bed.
But what if I’m more productive at night?
Unfortunately, it’s not about whether someone is productive during the day or night; it’s about whether someone is productive in the work structure today. Regardless of whether you’re an early riser or a night owl, getting enough quality sleep is essential.