Morning Lark or Night Owl? Why It’s Important to Know
Some of us are morning larks and some are night owls. I am most definitely a morning person. If I had a lot of studying to do in college, I went to bed at my usual time and woke up a few hours early (in college!) to study. My brain shuts down at 8 PM; I can’t do any mental work after 8. Sad, but true.
All our bodies follow a natural rhythm tied to the amount of sunlight we see. But there are differences in each person’s rhythm; some wake earlier and others go to bed later.
You often see articles about how to become a morning person. Yech – I’m not here to say you need to change. In fact, I’m arguing for the opposite. You need to know your type and own it! Let’s talk about the multiple types of people and how you can use knowledge to your advantage!
Morning Lark or Night Owl? Why You Need to Know
Which are You?
There are fifteen billion quizzes out there that can help you with this. But you can probably do this yourself right now. When does your brain seem to function the best? When do you prefer to get the hard, mental work done? Which of these descriptions fits you best?
No surprise, morning larks tend to work best in the morning. They can get up easily and are usually in a good mood in the morning. Morning larks often work out in the morning, before school or work.
This is a group that has recently been identified, so there is no cute name yet. Sigh. They wake up like night owls, but reach peak alertness in the afternoon.
Owls love the night time. They tend to work later in the evening, eat later, and stay up later. No surprise – coffee is key for you.
Why It’s Important
You need to know this information in order to schedule your time. Too often, my students don’t know when they work best. So, they schedule studying for times of day that just don’t work for their brains and bodies. And then they wonder why they don’t get much accomplished.
Since I am a morning lark, I like to schedule all the big thoughts for the morning or early afternoon. I avoid the evening at all possible costs.
If you’re a night owl, though, you want to work on the hard stuff later at night when your brain is firing. Meanwhile, mornings are left for exercise or cleaning – stuff that doesn’t require a lot of brainpower.
Often, though, you don’t control your time. You’re a morning lark who must take night classes – my personal nemesis. Or your a night owl who has an early bedtime. Then you do the best you can with what you have. Remember, you control some of your time, especially on the weekends or days off.
When I was taking night classes, I did all my reading and class prep in the mornings, when my brain was humming along. If you’re a night owl, but have early classes, leave your blinds or curtains open, so the morning sun wakes you up.
After reflecting a bit on your own, start scheduling hard mental work for the best times for you!