- Traditionally, people label themselves as either night owls or morning larks.
- But according to research, there are probably many more chronotypes than that.
- For instance, “afternooners” are sleepy both in the morning and in the evening, and “nappers” are alert in the morning and the evening but sleepy in the afternoon.
- There’s also some evidence that “swifts” are alert from the moment they wake up until the moment they fall asleep, while “woodcocks” are sleepy all the time.
- Here’s how to work out which one you are.
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Most people have a fair idea of whether they’re a morning or evening person, judging by if they prefer to get up early or sleep in and stay up later.
“But what if I’m tired all the time?” I hear you ask. Well, new research from Russia and Belgium could have the answer.
According to the work of Arcady Putilov, a specialist in biomedical systems and sleep medicine, people tend to have one of four preferred 24-hour patterns of sleeping and wakefulness, also called a chronotype. They are night owl, morning lark, afternoon person, and napper.
There is also some evidence there are two more types called woodcocks and swifts, so there’s probably a lot more variation in our sleeping and wakefulness patterns than we think.
In the new study, published in the journal Personality and Individual Differences, Putilov and his team surveyed 1,305 people to assess their morningness or eveningness, and found that the scale of larks to owls didn’t account for the people they would come to call “afternooners,” who are sleepy both in the morning and in the evening, and “nappers,” who are alert in the morning and the evening but sleepy in the afternoon.
“Moreover, such tools for unidimensional assessment of morning-evening preference do not account for those who are sleepy all day round and who are alert all day round (‘woodcocks’ and ‘swifts’),” Putilov said.
Here’s how to work out which chronotype you are.
Morning lark: You are most alert from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. You gradually get sleepy throughout the day, and are more tired than all other chronotypes by the evening.
Afternooner: You are sleepy both in the morning and in the evening, but are alert between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m.
Napper: You begin the day alert, and stay that way until about 11 a.m. You get sleepy in the early afternoon until about 3 p.m., then have a second burst of energy in the afternoon until about 10 p.m.
Night owl: You’re always tired at the start of the day, and you don’t really wake up until about 10 a.m. But you stay pretty alert throughout the day and you may even find you get more done as the day goes on. You don’t get sleepy until quite late.
Swifts: You’re alert from the moment you wake up until the moment you fall asleep.
Woodcocks: You are sleepy all the time.