Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Night Owl or Morning Lark?

"Blessed are the owls, for they shall inherit the mystery and magic of the night" - Hilary Rubinstein
Photo credit - Link
I identify myself as a night owl. You know, those people that are highly efficient and buzzing late at night. Unfortunately when forced into the structure of the working week, night owls are often hurrying to get ready in the mornings and skipping breakfast in favour of an extra five minutes of sleep.

Morning larks are those (slightly annoying) chirpy people that leap out of bed in the morning with the vigour of having an ice bucket thrown over them. They are the ones that go on early morning walks and do yoga before breakfast. It looks great in theory and designer sports wear, but convincing my semi-conscious brain to rise earlier to meditate in front of the sunrise just isn't going to happen. However, larks can also be the people that turn into slouchy pumpkins and toddle off to bed at about 9 pm every night.

Photo credit - Link
Night owls are often confused as being lazy as they snore away the morning hours while Miss Chirpy goes to the gym, reads the paper and vacuums the floors, all before work in the morning. But research has shown that there are distinct differences in the natural circadian rhythms (body clocks) of night owls and morning larks. Some research even suggests that genetics may play a role to pre-determine our owlish or larkish tendencies. 

I always thought that senior school and university had turned me into a night owl. Staying up late to finish assignments and almost dying trying to get up the next morning to hand them in. But this pattern has extended into my working adult life. They say that our owl/lark preferences do influence our work choices. Interestingly, I work in a job that can have quite varied work hours and even late night field work. People will say "Oh, I can't understand how you can traipse around in the bush at night", and my reply is usually "No, it's great! It's quiet and cool and you don't have to worry about sunburn" (a lack of large predators in Australia makes it a bit safer too).

So, whichever you are, chances are you were naturally built for either the morning or the evening. Which one are you?


  1. I'm a night owl for sure. I detest waking up in the morning to take my kids to school. In fact, I kind of resent the school for starting at 8 a.m. when it really wouldn't hurt anything for them to start at 9 instead. And let's face it, everyone would be much happier with a slightly later start to the day.

  2. It is very clear that the working world was structured by morning larks. There's a group in Denmark called the B-Society that are stiving for sleep rhythm equality. Flexible work hours for night owls and morning larks. I can't help but giggle at the thought of this. They probably have a tough job trying to be taken seriously. But I'd be behind it for sure.