How does being a morning person affect MVHS students?
By Ellie Chen
7:00 a.m.: Beep! Beep! Beep! Your alarm is going off.
7:45 a.m.: Grab breakfast to eat on the way to school.
7:55 a.m.: Run to your first period class.
This may a typical schedule for an MVHS student on a weekday, but on the weekends, everyone has different morning schedules. Some naturally wake up early, while others can sleep past noon when allowed.
Not getting enough sleep obviously results in negative physical and mental consequences. But could shifting sleep cycles lessen the impact of these repercussions?
Some benefits of waking up early are obvious, like how school requires students to wake up early. According to Sleep Advisor, waking up early means that there is more time for breakfast. Late risers often eat more unhealthy breakfasts because they are more convenient or even skip breakfast to avoid being late.
Someone who can relate to this is senior Sangita Kunapuli, who identifies as a night owl.
“When I wake up late, I usually don’t have time to eat breakfast,” Kunapuli said.
As the saying goes, breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and starting off the day without a nutritious breakfast can lead to more unhealthy eating habits throughout the day. In a study performed by biologist Christoph Randler, university students who woke up early tended to be more proactive, leading to better grades, job performance and high wages.
“The research shows correlations over a large sample,” Randler told Harvard Business Review.
Change Your Chronotypes
Sleep chronotypes refer to what times of day a person is most energetic alert, which is seen in people who identify as “morning people” or “night owls.” Morning people naturally wake up early and go to sleep early, while night owls tend to stay up late and wake up late when allowed.
According to Randler, although sleep chronotypes are genetic and cannot be completely changed, it is somewhat within the person’s control, as half of his study subjects were able to shift their sleep schedules to be one hour earlier. Subtle shifts (for example, by one to two hours) can be made, but large changes cannot.
The Effect on Productivity
Another benefit of waking up early is that it results in better productivity, according to Sleep Advisor. It allows people to concentrate when others are not awake, so there are less distractions. Studies have also shown that the brain is more alert in the morning, leading to better work quality.
Senior Alice Cheng, who is a morning person, agrees with this.
“I try to do [academic] work in the morning because I feel like I’m most attentive in the morning,” Cheng said. “I try to get as much work done in the morning.”
What This Means for Night Owls
It seems that people who wake up early have some benefits, such as sustaining a more healthy lifestyle and being more productive. But as studies have indicated, a person’s sleeping chronotype can only be shifted by one to two hours and cannot completely change. One simple option is to go to bed earlier, but another one is to have sunlight exposure outside in the morning, which shifts your chronotype towards the morning.
While there is no one simple solution to waking up earlier, night owls can benefit from waking up a little bit earlier to become more productive and healthy.