Some of us leap out of bed in the morning with all the gusto of a Duracell bunny, while others don’t fire up their energy until later in the day. Aside from feeling a little groggy in the mornings, up until now there hasn’t been anything wrong with being a night owl. What morning birds achieve before work, they fulfill in the evening.
However, new research suggests published in Advances In Nutrition suggests that those with the evening chronotype (natural preference to evenings) are more likely to battle with health concerns, including heart disease and type 2 diabetes, compared to those with the morning chronotype. Night owls are more prone to bad eating habits and fuel their mornings with caffeine and sugar.
Night owls also tend to build up ‘sleep debt’ and use the weekends to recharge lost hours, which disrupts their sleeping pattern for the week ahead.
So, what makes you a morning or evening person?
Some people would argue that they’re just not a morning person and they were born that way. And science doesn’t disagree. ‘We have found that your genes, ethnicity and gender determine the likelihood of you being a morning or evening type,’ says Dr Almoosawi, a Research Fellow in Northumbria’s Brain, Performance and Nutrition Research Centre. Night owls are more susceptible to Type 2 diabetes and are more likely to have an unhealthy diet.
Your body clock also changes with age. Around 90% of 2 year olds have the morning chronotype, but this drops to around 53% by the time they’re 6 years old. Unsurprisingly teenagers tend to have the evening chronotype, while those over 50 years tend to divert back to the morning chronotype.
Can you become a morning person?
Changing your sleeping habits can definitely make mornings more tolerable. Bringing your bedtime forward by just 15 minutes per night for a week is a straightforward way to ease your body clock into going to sleep earlier. The simple tricks that we’ve all heard of, such as taking a warm bath or shower before bed and ensuring your bedroom is cool and dark, also help.
For those that want to up their evening bedtime routine, we highly recommend incorporating magnesium into the mix. Whether you bathe in the salts with Ilapothecary’s dreamy Magnesium and Amethyst Deep Relax Bath Soak or massage it into your feet with the help of Magnesium Oil GoodNight Spray by Better You, magnesium can help to gently soothe and relax you mentally and physically.
One study found that every additional hour spent outdoors was associated with 30 minutes of ‘advance sleep’, so using that extra time in the morning to take a run around the park or utilising your lunch break, could help you sleep better.
If the stress of balancing a huge workload with festive parties and preparations for Christmas is keeping you awake at night, investing in KSM-66 Ashwagandha Plus by Wild Nutrition could help get your through. Ashwagandha is an Indian herb that helps your body deal with both psychological and physiological stress. KSM-66 Ashwagandha which is grown in Western India, has been clinically proven to reduce stress. Taking two capsules a day when you get home from work should help ease any evening stress.
There are plenty of apps to help you manage your stress and drift off to sleep, such as the renowned meditation app, Headspace. There are also books on the subject that can offer simple tips to becoming a morning person, including the international bestseller Morning Miracle: The 6 Habits That Will Transform Your Life Before 8am by Hal Elrod.
What about boosting your energy in the morning?
As we mentioned, research suggests that night owls tend to reach for caffeine and sugar fixes in a bid to fire up their energy reserves in the morning. This can increase the health risks associated with the evening chronotype. While going to bed earlier and sticking to a bedtime routine will help, you might still need an energy boost during daylight hours. Look to moringa, a superfood and adaptogen that is packed full of nutrients and helps improve your energy levels and focus.