Researchers have concluded that early risers are generally healthier and more satisfied with their lives compared to “night owls” because they find it easier to adapt to life’s “schedule”.
A study undertaken on two groups of adults at the University of Toronto — one aged between 17 and 38, the other between 59 and 79 — found that, in both sets, people who got up earlier showed greater general happiness.
“Society’s expectations are far more organized around a morning-type person’s schedule,” Renee Biss, who led the research, told The Daily Telegraph. ”An evening person who prefers to wake up at 11:00am will have a much more difficult time following the typical 9-to-5 schedule compared to a morning person who naturally likes to wake up around 7:00 a.m. This evening person may go through their week feeling tired and unhappy as a result.”
The study also found that older adults reported greater positive emotion than younger adults, and older adults were more likely to be morning-type people than younger adults.
There are several reported explanations for this — the most likely one being “social jet lag”: the idea that younger people, or people who enjoy socialising late into the night, develop a sleep cycle which is incompatible with the natural pattern of day and night.
This combines with the fact that many such people also have to attend work or school beginning at early hours — forcing them to get up early, and cut their sleep short, in order to go somewhere they don’t want to.
Researchers found that by age 60, most people were morning types with less than one in 10 young adults considered “morning larks”.