Friday, November 23, 2007

How You Sleep Is Who You Are

'Being a morning person or a night owl doesn’t just determine when you start or end your workday; your internal clock may help define your psychology as well. A Spanish researcher found that our preference for engaging in activities earlier or later in the day shapes both our perceptions and our interactions. The author gave personality tests to 360 university students, whom he describes as a “proper sample,” noting that the circadian rhythms of students “are not much under the influence of time schedules and social patterns.” (Despite the occasional all-nighter, students presumably can follow their preferred sleep schedules more easily than working adults can.) His results offer new evidence that morning and evening types think differently. Early risers prefer to gather knowledge from concrete information. They reach conclusions through logic and analysis. Night owls are more imaginative and open to unconventional ideas, preferring the unknown and favoring intuitive leaps on their way to reaching conclusions. Social behavior diverges as well: Morning people are more likely to be self-controlled and exhibit “upstanding” conduct; they respect authority, are more formal, and take greater pains to make a good impression. (Earlier research also suggests that they are less likely to hold radical political opinions.) Evening people, by contrast, are “independent” and “nonconforming,” and more reluctant to listen to authority—which suggests that teachers may have several reasons to prefer those students who wake up in time for class.'
—from a study entitled “Morning and Evening Types: Exploring Their Personality Styles,” performed by a Spanish psychologist, and referenced in The Atlantic Monthly.

12 Comments:

At 3:55 PM, Blogger Michelle O'Neil said...

Interesting. I am a morning person who fits the the evening type profile.

Now I'm confused.

 
At 4:09 PM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

That is interesting. I thought this rang true with most of the folks I know, but obviously it isn't universally applicable. And welcome as a first-time commenter, Michelle. I've read and enjoyed your blog, and I think my friend Mary Brown even once mentioned that she served as the realtor in your last house purchase.

 
At 4:40 PM, Anonymous Mr. Bluster said...

My schedule is forced by my job, but left to my own devices, I'm a nightowl.

There is something relaxing about the idea that everyone else is asleep (even thought it isn't really the case anymore). You don't feel nudged toward any particular mode of thinking by the need to respond to everyday concerns.

 
At 4:46 PM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

I think most creative, inquisitive, searching, intellectual types are by temperment night owls, but it's also true that as most people age, they just naturally tend to get up ever earlier. So they're faced with the prospect, if they continue in their owlish ways, of burning the candle at both ends. Which as a habit over the long term, isn't good for the health, especially post-40. And most writers know that the mind just naturally tends to percolate better (at least for most of us) in the morning, and thus by far the more productive time actually composing (as opposed to sketching, reading, mulling, etc.) is morning, and sometimes quite early in the morning.

 
At 7:27 AM, Anonymous Lou said...

And to think that I slept in until 5am today.

 
At 11:21 AM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

Lou, parents of young children are a whole classification unto themselves when it comes to sleeping patterns.

 
At 12:00 PM, Anonymous Lou said...

She's at the grandparents for two nights. Unfortunately, that little break does not change sleep patterns. She's missing a great day of leaf raking.

 
At 5:01 PM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

I'm sure that bums her out greatly.

 
At 11:23 PM, Blogger Cleveland Carole Cohen 3C said...

I am finding it increasingly difficult to get out of my nightowl ways; and yes I'm way over 40; as a realtor I can set my own hours - but on the days when I have to be somewhere at 9:00 am it kills me. I wish I could find a happy medium; for years I arose early for job related reasons and hated it. Now though, it's really hard to be creative and inquisitive with no sleep the night before! lol I will admit though that most of creative ideas come at 2am.

 
At 1:07 PM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

Thanks for commenting, Carole. I'm so glad to see you visiting and commenting here for the first time. I really like your blog--it's a smart, savvy window into the world of real estate and Cleveland. If I were looking for a realtor, it would instantly convince me to choose you. Yes, finding a happy medium is what life is all about, especially at a certain age. Anyway, keep up the great work, Carole. And thanks again for stopping by.

 
At 12:46 PM, Anonymous Peter said...

I'd say I am similar Mr. Bluster and others posted here -- a nightowl who became a morning person out of schedule, necessity and (eventually) habit. There really IS something freeing about being albe to work and function outside of normal business hours. I get some of my best ideas at 2AM.

 
At 12:59 PM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

Peter,
Glad you've added your two cents. We are indeed lucky in our work, insofar as it's inherently as time flexible as just about any kind of work there is (except, of course, when it comes to hitting a deadline, but then some of us are more anal about that than others, and it depends on whether you have your writer or your editor cap on at any one moment).

As you know better than most, having young kids in the house often forces you to work at peak capacity at times that are decidedly off peak for much of the rest of the adult world (and it's interesting that no fewer than three folks with young children have chosen to comment on this subject--it's not really surprising that this subject might resonate with them). And yes, ideas do tend to occur when it's quietest and we're alone in our reading/thinking/marinating. Anyway, thanks again for stopping by and adding your thoughts.

 

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