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Not a Night Owl or a Morning Lark? Study Suggests There are Two Other Types

 Not a Night Owl or a Morning Lark? Study Suggests There are Two Other Types

We’ve all heard the term ‘night owl;’ in fact, many of us would probably describe ourselves as such: people who prefer to sleep in and are more alert and active in the evenings. Well, scientifically speaking, “owls” are a recognized chronotype, a term that refers to a human trait, specifically in reference to what time of the day their physical functions – eating and sleeping, hormone level, body temperature, cognitive abilities – are active, change or reach a certain level.

Furthermore, just as there “owls,” there is another basic preferred sleep schedule: that of the “larks,” those who are generally referred to as “morning people” (or “crazy people”).

However, Russian scientists are now proposing that there are actually four chronotypes, rather than the two basic, common ones we know. In addition to early- and late-risers, there’s a group who feel energetic in both the mornings and evenings, as well as a group who feel sluggish all day long.

Not a Night Owl or a Morning Lark? Study Suggests There are Two Other Types

In a forthcoming study for the journal, Personality and Individual Differences, biologist Arcady Putilov and his colleagues at the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences asked 130 participants to remain awake for 24 hours. The participants then filled out questionnaires rating how awake they felt, describing their overall sleep patterns, as well as rating how well they had functioned during the previous week.

The study results revealed that there were 29 larks, who showed higher energy levels at 9 a.m. than at 9 p.m., and 44 owls, whose energy levels were flip-flopped. On average, the owls also went to bed about two hours later than the larks. That leaves about half of the remaining participants without a group with which they identified; they were neither owls nor larks.

As BPS Research Digest puts it:

There was a “high energetic” group of 25 people who reported feeling relatively sprightly in both the morning and evening; and a “lethargic” group of 32 others, who described feeling relatively dozy in both the morning and evening.

In both of these other groups, energetic and lethargic participants went to bed and woke up somewhere between the hours kept by the owl and lark groups. Despite what you might think, the energetic group got about 30 minutes less sleep overall than the other three groups, with an average of 7.5 hours of sleep each night.

Scientists believe that the many aspects of personality and intellectual domains, such as creative thinking, have much to do with chronotypes.

Chronotypes may not be etched in stone, though. There’s a lot to consider when it comes to ascribing yourself to one of these four recognized groups. For one, there is the quality of sleep that you are receiving. Some people experience sleep disorders, such as apnea, that can interrupt their sleep patterns and therefore leave them feeling sluggish throughout their waking hours.

Another aspect to consider is that biologic processes, such as circadian rhythm, have everything to do with sleep. Science has already found that going to bed at a certain time, say when you are actually feeling sleepy, and waking at the end of a circadian period (each lasting about 90 minutes), you are more likely to feel well-rested; by the same token, someone who wakes in the middle of a circadian period will feel as if they hardly slept, even if they got several hours of sleep that night.

Insomnia is a medical condition, but it is often something experienced by people who have become physically dependent on alcohol and other drugs. If you are struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-777-9588 to speak directly with an Addiction Specialist who can answer your questions day or night.

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