Owls and Larks.
We all know the world is roughly divided into two types of people. There are the chipper, 6am ‘morning people’ (larks) and their resolutely unchipper counterparts (owls), who often fantasize about killing them. Chronotypes – the time of day individuals like to wake; sleep and be active, has been a favourite area of study for scientists for decades. Recently, several white coated boffins have been studying cute little critters called degu’s (a small Chilean rodent) to further their knowledge about the human chronotype. What they discovered confirmed the notion of this owl/lark divide. They found 15% of the little furries liked an early morning gym session with a hamster wheel workout, whilst another 15% favoured their run around and dust bath in the evening, after their Netflix binge.
What about your average Joe Degu?
The other 70% of degu’s were in neither camp, managing to remain operational through the day without falling comatose in their food bowls.
More recent studies of this middle ground have subdivided this population into two smaller groups, those who maintain a high level of energy throughout their waking hours (swifts) and those that function throughout the day on a slightly more lethargic level. (Kiwi, Ibis, Pelican … insert lazy bird of choice).
You could also now decide to buy into a slightly more interesting Americanised selection of chronotypes, lions, wolves, dolphins and bears, oh my!( I wont put the link here, I guarantee someone will try and sell you a book if I do)
Will I ever be a morning person and does it matter?
The practical takeaway is, whilst studies of slightly less adorable and certainly less fluffy fruit flies shows that there seems to be a genetic predisposition for whether you’re an early riser or a dirty stop out, no one type seems to have the creative edge and individuals can learn to adapt to different working patterns throughout their life, which is great news for everyone. A recent study even proposed that the time you were born also influences your circadian rhythm, so nothing is set in stone.
When is the best time to get creative?
Chronotype aside, our brain cortisol levels are boosted immediately after we have woken up, which is good news for those brilliant ideas we have in the shower, but if you don’t wake up till 11.00am don’t worry those flashes of genius will still be there. Even more interesting is that our creative insight is often higher than our analytical skills at those times, directly opposite our own chronotype. Universally, people are more creative generally, at any time, if they have a good sleep routine established and spend some part of their day outside in “the nature,” regardless of chronotype.
Traits of different chronotypes
Research seems to suggest that owls are slightly smarter, sexier and more prone to thrill seeking and alcohol than their conscientious, agreeable, proactive, goody two shoes, lark counter parts. Oh and that dress the internet lost its mind over? It turns out Larks are more likely to think its white and gold. I feel pretty sure that future research may also identify that swifts typically achieve level 875 on candy crush and have blood-coffee readings of above 4.6. Personally, I am holding out for the day in the GP surgery where I can substitute the words “I’m always tired” for “I’m just a pelican.” So, What chronotype do you think you are?