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? Healthyinfo 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”
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
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
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
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.
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”.