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Are You an Early Bird or a Night Owl?

Waking UpAre you an early bird or a night owl? Do you bound out of bed ready to take on the day even before your alarm clock sounds, or do you only come alive after sunset?

The early bird vs. night owl question isn’t just a matter of personal preference. Science has found significant biological differences between brain and body types. And knowing the kind of person you are is important if you plan to successfully engage in “off-hours” activities, such as studying for a degree online.

First, here’s what we know so far about early birds and night owls:

• The 24-hour sleep/wake cycle is called circadian rhythm. Circadian rhythm is determined by genetics and cannot be altered by behavior. About a quarter of people have circadian rhythms that make them peak in the mornings (“early birds” or “larks”). Another quarter can’t even imagine going to bed until well after midnight (“night owls”). The remaining 50 percent fall someplace in between, often favoring one lifestyle or the other, but never to an extreme.

• According to a 2009 study at the University of Alberta, early birds’ brains are most excitable around 9 a.m. Conversely, people who called themselves “night owls” have brains that become most excitable around 9 p.m.

• Other studies have shown significant hormonal and temperature differences between the two types. Early birds have higher levels of cortisol in the morning and body temperatures that start low, peak in the mid-afternoon, and then drop off toward nighttime. Night owls don’t get their initial cortisol kick until early afternoon. Their body temperatures don’t peak until around 8 p.m.

• A 2010 study suggested that night owls tended to have higher IQs than early birds. However, a 2008 study by psychologist Marina Giamnietro concluded that night owls were also more emotionally unstable, were more likely to have problems with eating disorders and addictions, and had lower GPAs than their more disciplined and dependable early bird counterparts.

• A 2009 study by researchers at the University of Alberta found that the body strength of early birds remains consistent throughout the day, whereas night owls gain body strength in the later hours.

Going to College Online

If you are attending an online college or university, knowing whether you’re an early bird or a night owl can make a big difference in how well you perform. As an online student, you need to create and manage your own schedule, often around work or other obligations. Finding the best study time for your personal circadian rhythm can have a huge impact on your chances for success.

If you’re an early bird, you will probably do best getting up early and getting in as much study time as possible before you have to leave for work or get your kids off to school or daycare. Weekend mornings can be a great time to get in extra study time, write papers and take examinations.

If you’re a night owl, you want to wait until the workday is over before getting down to your school work. You may even prefer to do your most difficult work after others in your family have gone to bed. Certainly, weekend afternoons and evenings should be reserved for hard-core study time.

Whichever type you are, be sure to leave enough time in your schedule for sleep. Both early birds and night owls need six-and-a-half to eight hours of sleep daily to maintain optimum physical and mental health.

Earn Your Degree from Everest University Online

You can prepare yourself for the demands of tomorrow’s workplace by earning your degree from Everest University Online, a division of Everest University. Working from home on your own schedule, you can earn an associate degree, bachelor’s degree or even a master’s degree in such fields as:

  • Accounting
  • Business
  • Computer Information Science
  • Criminal Justice
  • Criminal Investigations
  • Homeland Security
  • Paralegal

For more information on programs, schedules, accreditation and costs, contact Everest University Online today! Financial aid is available for those who qualify.

For more information about our graduation rates, the median debt of students who completed the program and other important information, please visit our website at

Tagged with: Articles, Everest University Online

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