Night Owls For Life

If you’re just not a morning person, science says you may never be, over at Vox. This is from a few years ago, but I only came across it relatively recently: there’s increasing evidence that whether you’re a night person or a morning person has a genetic component, and fighting it can have significant impacts on your health. A salient bit:

Even people who are slightly more oriented to the evening — people who would like to sleep between 1 am and 9 am, say — may be faced with a difficult choice: Listen to your body, or force it to match the sleep habits of most everyone else?

Research has been gaining insight on that question. It turns out our internal clocks are influenced by genes and are incredibly difficult to change. If you’re just not a morning person, it’s likely you’ll never be, at least until the effects of aging kick in.

And what’s more, if we try to live out of sync with these clocks, our health likely suffers. The mismatch between internal time and real-world time has been linked to heart disease, obesity, and depression.

Brian Resnick, Vox

For the record, I’ve always been a night owl. When left to my own devices (extended periods where I was setting my own schedule), I tend to go to bed around 2am and then get up around 10am. That’s still just 8 hours, but because it’s offset from the schedule most of society runs at, it still comes across as oversleeping. (These days, a mixture of work and the dog keep me getting up earlier… but I also find myself feeling like I need a nap more often, as well.)

It reminds me of something from The Devil’s Dictionary:

DAWN, n. The time when men of reason go to bed. Certain old men prefer to rise at about that time, taking a cold bath and a long walk with an empty stomach, and otherwise mortifying the flesh. They then point with pride to these practices as the cause of their sturdy health and ripe years; the truth being that they are hearty and old, not because of their habits, but in spite of them. The reason we find only robust persons doing this thing is that it has killed all the others who have tried it.

Ambrose Bierce, The Devil’s Dictionary

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