As if morning people weren’t already the bane – no, the unscratchable irritant – for the rest of the world, and, in particular, night people, new research published in the May issue of the journal, Emotion, suggests that morning people actually are happier than night owls. That should serve to further inflame that itch!
As an extreme morning person, I can attest to the irritant factor. Fortunately, my wife, too, is a morning person.
Not long ago, the two of us were sharing a volcanic flu experience at 4 a.m., when, at our lowest points between rushes to the washroom, I moaned to her, “I think you should take me to the hospital.” With a look of panic, she asked what was wrong.
“I think I’m going to take a turn for the nurse.”
Extremely bad humour, that would upset the stomachs of most people. The two of us burst into laughter, before continuing our revolving parade to the toilet bowl.
Unfortunately for those members of our family who are not morning people. We also enjoy our evenings, so there is no reprieve from us.
The deck is stacked against night owls, though. We are expected to be at full output to start our work day. It seems that our social biological clock is set for the wrong hours for night owls to enjoy the day. One method to alleviate this problem is to use light therapy early in the morning, or trick ourselves, by going to bed earlier, to reset the clock.
Teenagers are most likely to be night owls, and less likely to be morning people. As we age, that tendency smoothens itself out, but, by then, parents and children have butted heads for years over the matter of early rising with a smile on one’s face.
The researchers found that early birds reported feeling healthier than non-early birds, and enjoyed healthier emotional reactions. This correlates to decreased stress, more enjoyment of life, in general.
This news is not intended to exasperate night owls. Rather, it provides them with a message: take the time to develop, not morning sickness, but morning health. Replacing old habits with new ones slowly will allow you to evolve into a morning person. The second message is that being happy and positive to start the day can translate into a feeling of wellbeing throughout, and, indeed, congtribute to improved health.
The best message, though, for those people with a sadistic inclination is that the old cliché about the best revenge is a life well lived. Undoubtedly, being happy to start your day will frustrate many of those around you, and, maybe even provide the added benefit of having them suspicious of “what got into you.”