This world is made for ear­ly ris­ers. For those who wake up at dawn, full of ener­gy and enthu­si­asm, and at night­fall go to a warm bed, and let the whole world calm down until morn­ing. But what about those whose bio­rhythms work in a dif­fer­ent mode? How to live “owls” in the world of “larks”? You have to change your lifestyle and habits. But is it pos­si­ble? Med­AboutMe is look­ing for answers and advice.

“Owls” vs “larks”: genetics or bad habits

The terms “owls”, “larks” and “doves” appeared in every­day life quite recent­ly, a lit­tle less than 50 years ago, along with the con­cept of “per­son­al­i­ty chrono­type”.

“Larks” were called those who wake up at 5–7 am, show max­i­mum activ­i­ty in the first half of the day, and by 9–10 pm already feel an irre­sistible desire to go to bed.

“Owls”, on the con­trary, only wake up by noon. Their peak activ­i­ty is in the evening and at night. They go to bed long after mid­night, and even in the morn­ing. But at 10 pm, when the “larks” who have flut­tered dur­ing the day see their tenth dream, the aver­age “owl” is full of such ener­gy that it is able to orga­nize the trans­fer of the Cheops pyra­mid from Cairo to Red Square and install it next to the Mau­soleum. And he does not do this only out of del­i­ca­cy, so as not to make noise and not acci­den­tal­ly wake any­one up.

Lat­er, anoth­er chrono­type was iden­ti­fied: “pigeons”, not par­tic­u­lar­ly attached to either ear­ly ris­ing or night­time activ­i­ty. “Doves” pre­fer to get up at 8–10 am, work until the evening, and go to bed at 22–23 pm.

Regard­ing the divi­sion of mankind into chrono­types, there have been heat­ed debates for a long time: is there real­ly such a fea­ture of the body as attach­ment to a cer­tain lifestyle, or is it all about the inabil­i­ty to prop­er­ly orga­nize your dai­ly rou­tine. But at the begin­ning of the 21st cen­tu­ry in Japan, a gene was iso­lat­ed that deter­mines the char­ac­ter­is­tics of falling asleep and sleep­ing “owls”. So, it’s still not lazi­ness, but hered­i­ty?

But this is not entire­ly true either. In any case, with age, even the most invet­er­ate “owls” become clos­er, if not to “larks”, then to “pigeons”. They begin to get up ear­li­er and fall asleep ear­li­er, and the dura­tion of sleep decreas­es.

Dictatorship of “larks”

Dictatorship of

If you look at how the civ­i­lized world lives, how the inhab­i­tants of devel­oped coun­tries work and relax, you might think that the major­i­ty of human­i­ty is made up of the so-called “larks”. Because every­thing is arranged exact­ly as it is con­ve­nient for them.

The work­ing day begins ear­ly in the morn­ing, and in the evening every­thing clos­es and stops, except for night­clubs and con­tin­u­ous­ly oper­at­ing indus­tries. All this is very con­ve­nient for “larks”, accept­able for “pigeons”. Per­haps there are sim­ply few­er “owls”, and there­fore they have to put up with soft dis­crim­i­na­tion?

And here it is not.

Accord­ing to sta­tis­tics, it is pre­cise­ly “owls” in soci­ety that are most of all: about 40% of all peo­ple deter­mine the cor­re­spond­ing tests as “owls”. Slight­ly few­er peo­ple belong to the gray-winged “pigeon” flock: 35%. And “larks” are a minor­i­ty: only about 25%.

How did they man­age to sub­or­di­nate every­one else to their way of life?

The fact is that “larks” tend not only to wake up ear­ly. They are also more assertive and ener­getic. In the body of the clas­sic “lark”, more cor­ti­sol, the stress hor­mone, is pro­duced. Because of him, they are more rest­less, fussy and, to be hon­est, shame­less. Some­one else’s dream, some­one else’s right to rest for the “lark” means absolute­ly noth­ing: every­one who sleeps when his lark majesty has already wok­en up is per­ceived as a per­son­al insult. And he needs to be awak­ened imme­di­ate­ly. Because it is promis­cu­ity, lazi­ness, shame­ful dis­or­ga­ni­za­tion, and in gen­er­al, there is noth­ing here.

“Owls” have a soft­er char­ac­ter. They val­ue some­one else’s sleep and will nev­er wake any­one up just like that, unnec­es­sar­i­ly. They are more flex­i­ble and more tact­ful. Their bod­ies pro­duce more mela­tonin and less cor­ti­sol.

If the “lark” has to change to a noc­tur­nal lifestyle for some rea­son, it is very dif­fi­cult for him. The “lark” can even get sick. But the “owl” is more plas­tic, and more eas­i­ly adapts to the cir­cum­stances and the new dai­ly rou­tine.

As a result, it turns out that while the “owls” sleep peace­ful­ly, the “larks” who wake up at dawn arrange the world to their lik­ing. And for every­one, with­out ask­ing per­mis­sion. And in the remain­ing time they come up with say­ings and proverbs — “Who gets up ear­ly, God gives him.” Yes of course. Only “owls” know that every­thing is not at all like this: “He who gets up ear­ly, that radish and pre­vents every­one from sleep­ing.”

Reasons for lifestyle and sleep changes

Reasons for lifestyle and sleep changes

And yet, the inten­tion of the “larks” to make the whole world wake up at dawn is quite rea­son­able.

Man, what­ev­er you say, is a day crea­ture. If you look, for exam­ple, into the poor coun­tries of Africa, where there is no elec­tric­i­ty and night­clubs, tele­vi­sion and the Inter­net, then there are no “owls” there. Every­one goes to bed at night­fall and wakes up at dawn.

Stay­ing awake at night and sleep­ing dur­ing the day is not at all use­ful, no mat­ter what con­vinced “owls” may say. From this, var­i­ous dis­eases devel­op, excess weight is formed, labor pro­duc­tiv­i­ty decreas­es, and on a human scale it is more ratio­nal to use sun­light rather than arti­fi­cial light­ing.

The Ear­ly Birds claim that among the most suc­cess­ful peo­ple, the rich and famous, they are the major­i­ty, the ear­ly ris­ers. “Owls” answer them by say­ing that this is how it is, but how many of those bil­lion­aires and celebri­ties — units, tens? But among a much larg­er class, sim­ply wealthy and pros­per­ous peo­ple, the major­i­ty are just “owls”. Yes, and in the cre­ative envi­ron­ment there are more “owls”, while “larks” with their inde­fati­ga­ble ener­gy are more inclined to admin­is­tra­tive work. Stud­ies con­duct­ed in the UK and cov­er­ing more than 3,000 peo­ple over 50 years of age have shown that, in terms of the sum of many indi­ca­tors, the health of the “owls” is bet­ter. More excitable and less able to adapt, “larks” are more like­ly to suf­fer from car­dio­vas­cu­lar dis­eases, which, as you know, are one of the most com­mon rea­sons for untime­ly depar­ture to anoth­er world.

How­ev­er, it is very dif­fi­cult to make a suc­cess­ful career as an “owl” in a world arranged to the taste of “larks”. That is why you can often hear from the “owl” that it would be nice to retrain as a “lark”, but it still doesn’t work out.

Maybe it’s real­ly impos­si­ble?

From owls to doves to larks without stress

From owls to doves to larks without stress

First of all, every­thing should be care­ful­ly weighed in order to under­stand exact­ly whether this restruc­tur­ing is real­ly nec­es­sary. Some­times the noc­tur­nal lifestyle is real­ly only a habit and poor orga­ni­za­tion of one’s own life. Because true “owls”, as well as real “larks”, are actu­al­ly much less than it seems: only a few per­cent. The rest may well adjust their lifestyle in the right direc­tion.

Take some time to eval­u­ate every day all the results of night­ly activ­i­ties. It is pos­si­ble that time is real­ly being wast­ed, and the usu­al talk about “work­ing bet­ter at night because no one both­ers” is just an excuse. In fact, “no one both­ers” not to work, but to play the fool and play for time, play com­put­er games or get involved in dis­cus­sions on social net­works. If you hon­est­ly write down for two weeks every­thing that was done at night and dur­ing the day, you may be sur­prised by the result, because the day’s work may be more pro­duc­tive. This will be the first step towards restruc­tur­ing.

The sec­ond step is even more impor­tant. You need to choose the most appro­pri­ate method for chang­ing your lifestyle.

Some advise to sim­ply shift the time of going to bed and the time of get­ting up grad­u­al­ly. Oth­ers sug­gest going to bed strict­ly 8 hours before the alarm goes off. Still oth­ers invent infer­nal alarm clocks that can wake up even a Cana­di­an griz­zly in the mid­dle of win­ter and a mam­moth in per­mafrost.

But each of the meth­ods has its own draw­backs asso­ci­at­ed with one sim­ple fact: all “owls” are dif­fer­ent, and there are no uni­ver­sal meth­ods.

The most flex­i­ble tech­nique sug­gests com­bin­ing sev­er­al approach­es. The author, Steve Pavli­na, test­ed it for him­self. Steve’s method is to go to bed only when you real­ly want to sleep, but you should always get up at the same time. And on week­ends too.

Yes, sleep may not be enough at first, but this means that in the evening a sleepy “owl” will want to go under the cov­ers ear­li­er, which means that she will sleep bet­ter the next night. And with joy­ful sur­prise he will dis­cov­er that get­ting up ear­ly real­ly allows you to work more effi­cient­ly, that the mood ris­es along with the sun climb­ing into the red­den­ing sky, and in gen­er­al it’s great to get up with the “larks”, to final­ly see how they con­quer the world while oth­er “owls” sleep. And take an active part in it.

7 tips for easy waking up

7 tips for easy waking up

  • Don’t overeat before bed.
  • Do not abuse caf­feine in the after­noon.
  • Sleep in com­plete dark­ness, and before going to bed, avoid TV, com­put­er, smart­phone.
  • Keep your bed­room cool and fresh, and your bed warm and com­fort­able.
  • Do not give your­self indul­gence after the alarm: get up imme­di­ate­ly.
  • After wak­ing up, open the cur­tains, turn on the bright lights, take a con­trast show­er.
  • Pre­pare your­self a deli­cious break­fast, and a cup of aro­mat­ic cof­fee will be quite appro­pri­ate.

All. You can con­quer the world.

Expert com­ment

John Zer­atsky, design­er at GV agency (San Fran­cis­co, USA), for­mer night owl

I have always sin­cere­ly con­sid­ered myself a real “owl”. It was very dif­fi­cult for me to wake up in the morn­ing, until the mid­dle of the day I felt like a zom­bie. One day, a few years ago, I decid­ed to change my life.

Odd­ly enough, it did­n’t take me long to read­just. Now I get up every morn­ing at 5:45 and go to bed at 22:00.

My morn­ing begins with sim­ple and rou­tine activ­i­ties that allow me to wake up. I turn on bright lights every­where, make myself cof­fee accord­ing to all the rules, iron a fresh shirt, have break­fast. Dur­ing this time, I have time to think over the upcom­ing day, tune in to work or house­hold chores.

I found that the qual­i­ty of sleep is very bad­ly affect­ed by alco­hol drunk the night before. Eat­en in the evening dark choco­late can also inter­fere with sound sleep.

I get ready for bed grad­u­al­ly: I turn off the light, leav­ing only a floor lamp and a lamp in the bed­room. I try not to turn on the com­put­er in the evening, because it steals time and makes it dif­fi­cult to tune in to rest. News and let­ters I look through dur­ing the day when I take a break for tea.

I have learned to enjoy the morn­ing time. It turned out that wak­ing up ear­ly real­ly allows you to work more effi­cient­ly and not waste time. I began to com­mu­ni­cate more often with my wife and chil­dren, because I fin­ish my busi­ness ear­li­er.

I like being a “lark”.

От Yraa

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