Did you know that sleeping late or early is directly linked to your personality?
It is not only about the habit or personal preferences. According to a study, it also has something to do with genetics.
Phenotypes refer to an acquired set of characteristics that a person developed from the interaction of the genotype to its environment. Simply put, it is how gene information is translated to reality. Phenotypes are the color of your eyes or hair, height, size of your feet, and other physical attributes.
So, do you have any idea what Sleep Phenotype means?
The Definition Of Sleep Phenotype
Sleep phenotype or chronotype pertains to a specific set of patterns and behaviors that influence your tendency to sleep earlier or a little later than usual.
There is no need in taking genetic testing to know your sleep phenotype. All you need to do is observe your sleep habits and regular schedule. Observe your sleep behavior when you have nothing to do the following day with no alarm clock to disrupt your sleep. Notice if you managed to wake up early or you chose to sleep in.
There are many studies that link sleep habits to personal traits and health status. This is actually good news. At least, knowing about your sleep phenotype can help you understand yourself better.
All About Sleep Phenotypes
Through thorough research, helpful information was gathered to explain the two types on the sleep phenotype list: The Larks and the Owls
The Larks Also Known As The Early Birds
The early bird catches the worm. Is this true? Read on to find out.
Larks typically go to bed pretty early, usually between 9 to 10 at night. Of course, this means that people of this sleep phenotype wake up early as well, between 4 to 6 in the morning.
How Will You Know If You Are An Early Bird?
- You have higher levels of energy and productivity in the morning up to the latter part of the morning.
- It is a lot more difficult for you to achieve tasks during night time. Evening shifts seem loads harder to pull off.
- According to a study conducted by the University of Madrid, early birds tend to be analytical and logical wth their decision making. They make use of concrete facts and information to solidify their choices.
- In a German Study, early birds are proactive. In school, this can translate to active participation during discussions and other methods that can enable them to get better grades. As adults, early birds are believed to get more promising work opportunities.
How Does Being An Early Bird Affect One’s Health?
According to a study conducted by the University of Toronto, people who like to wake up before the sun rises have a lot more positive outlook in life. They are also a happy bunch who feel lighter and healthier than most people. Most people become early birds as time passes by. Age plays a huge role in this fact. Due to some changes in health and biological concerns, older people prefer to hit the sack earlier than they were used to.
Early birds also love morning exercises!
Popular Early Birds: Beethoven, Tim Cook (Apple CEO), Andrea Jung (AVON CEO), Howard Schultz (Starbucks CEO), Presidents George HW. Bush and George W. Bush, Napoleon, John Grisham (Author), and Ernest Hemingway (Author)
The Night Owls
Late sleepers or night owls is the sleep phenotype profile of those who sleep late in between 12 AM to 4 AM. Naturally, they tend to wake up from late morning until afternoon.
What Makes You A Night Owl?
- You have increased levels of energy and productivity in the afternoon until early evening.
- It can be a struggle to wake up early in the morning, be it for school, a job, or a workout.
- Creativity and imagination are the two strongest suits of night owls, according to a University of Madrid Study. In a similar study, night owls fare a lot better in these areas compared to early or intermediate types.
- Night owls are believed to have a higher IQ than most people. However, since the majority of classes and job opportunities are scheduled early in the morning, these people find it difficult to excel.
- In an Australian study, night owls are considered likely to manifest the traits of the Dark Triad: Narcissism, Psychopathy, and Machiavellianism. The psychologist who conducted the study also believes that night owls have more tendency to exhibit darker behaviors such as cheating and dishonesty. They are also known risk takers but are possibly inflicted with bouts of depression. Consistency is also an issue because they are known to have boom and bust mood cycle patterns.
- Most teenagers are night owls. Eventually, their sleep schedules might shift.
How Does Being A Night Owl Affect One’s Health?
Emotional distress is brought upon by lack of sleep. Most night owls fall asleep late at night, but due to pending responsibilities, their periods of sleep need to be cut short. Students who sleep later than 11:30 at night, need to wake up early for school the following day. Eventually, the late night sleeping habit can affect their academic performance. This is supported by a study done by University of California Berkeley researchers. Of course, even night owl adults who need to report for work early in the morning encounter issues with their work performance due to insufficient sleep.
Emotionally, night owls are depressive possibly because of their sleeping difficulties. This is more prominent in women and older people.
Weight gain is a problem most late risers experience. Most of the night owls are overweight. Chronic pain sufferers are common with night owls.
Evening exercises are more favorable for this sleep phenotype.
Popular Night Owls: Joseph Stalin, Winston Churchill, Bill Clinton, Barrack Obama, Elvis Presley, Thomas Edison, JRR Tolkien, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, and Sir Charles Darwin
After reading this and neither of the sleep phenotypes describe your sleep pattern, then you are included in the intermediate category. This is the most common type and makeup majority of the population. Combined, larks and owls are only 20% to 40% of the people. So, it is only natural to fall somewhere in the middle. If you slightly prefer early or late schedules, you are still under the intermediate category. Larks and owls are kinds of the extremes in the scale.
Changing Your Sleep Cycle, Is It Possible?
Most owls tend to envy the larks because they already have so many things accomplished just a little after lunch. Meanwhile, their day is only about to begin (productivity-wise). So, is it a good idea to change your sleep cycle?
A recent study sheds light on why this is not a great idea. If night owls will try to disrupt their routine in order to wake up a little earlier, they will suffer the consequences of sleep deprivation.
Here are some points that are reiterated in the article:
- Both larks and owls need at least seven hours of sleep every night.
- Lack of sleep can happen to both larks and owls. Both can suffer from problems in coordination, concentration, and cognition.
- Messing up your sleep cycle can mess up your mood. So, if you are doing the change to improve your productivity, it might not be as helpful and effective as you hope it to be.
If you are a night owl, bear in mind that early risers are not the only successful people in the world. There are many world leaders and creative souls that favor sleeping late at night. Your internal clock may have something to do with your sleep phenotype.
What Can You Do To Improve Your Sleep Schedule
Of course, if you have no choice but to adjust your schedule because of your social and career obligations, there are some things you can do to make your sleep hygiene adaptable to your schedule, such as:
- For night owls who need to be up early, removing all the distractions inside your room can help a lot. Sometimes, the reason why these people maintain their energy level on high is that there are just so many things that can stimulate their minds. They end up attending to them, every single time. If you limit the distractions and get rid of the temptations, you might bore yourself to sleep. Keep away from electronics and lights at night. Maintain your new sleep schedule even on weekends. Additionally, eliminate of the habitual coffee runs past 3 PM.
- If you are an early bird doing night shifts, gradually shifting your sleep schedule a little forward every night can help make things easier. Block out the sunlight in your room for a more restful sleep. Take quick power naps, if you must, to keep yourself energized throughout the night.
A study from the Salk Institute found the master gene that influences one’s sleep and wake cycle. The Lhx1 gene can pave the way in solving sleep issues and help in adjusting circadian rhythms.
Your sleep phenotype says a lot about your character and preferences. Both have advantages and disadvantages. However, larks seem to have more edge that their owl counterparts because of the opportunity to excel during the daytime.
But, keep in mind that success lies in what you do during the day no matter what time you wake up.
Understanding your sleep phenotype can help you. At least, you will know what needs to be worked on and how you can fully adapt your lifestyle to your obligations.