Certain people are already productive early in the morning, whereas others only get a surge of energy in the evening. Our genes are decisive where this is concerned.
There are twenty genes now known to control our body clock (i.e. our biorhythm). The biorhythm influences our metabolism, organ activities and ability to concentrate. This in turn determines our personal performance phases. The body clock cannot simply be adjusted. However, it can change slightly during our lifetimes. Children and the elderly tend to be early birds, whereas young people are usually morning grouches.
The two most well-known types of sleepers are named after their role models from the bird world: the owl and the lark. However, many people are a mixture of the two
Larks are early risers. Their molecular biological body clock runs faster than the actual time of day. Larks already have their most productive phase before midday. Instead, they already get tired early in the evening. Nevertheless, even a lark stays up late to cheer in the New Year.
Owls always lag behind the larks. This phenomenon is called social jetlag. As a typical morning grouch, you prefer to get up late and perform best in the evening. However, even an owl turns into an early bird to catch a plane to go on holiday.
In Central Europe, there are more owls than there are larks. However, most people are a mixture of the two or normal types of sleepers who cannot clearly identify as being an owl or lark. It is still not clear to this day why owls are in the majority. It might be due to our genes. However, it is also possible that artificial light influences our behaviour and tends to keep us awake in the evening.
The American sleep scientist, Michael Breus, revised the owls and larks model and identified a total of four types of sleepers. Whoever knows what type of sleeper they are can optimise their daily routine accordingly, thus improving their performance.
Lions are early risers. In the morning, they are attentive and productive. They plan their day after getting up. They already get tired early in the afternoon and fall asleep quickly in the evening. Lions are ambitious and conscientious. They think analytically and are optimists.
Wolves are morning grouches. They prefer to only get up after 11 am. They get a surge in energy at about 7 pm. They rarely go to bed before midnight. Wolves have creative minds and like taking risks. They tend to be moody and impulsive.
Although bears sleep a lot and deeply, they always have the feeling that they don’t get enough sleep. In the morning, they often press the snooze button. They are most productive at midday. Bears are extroverted and cheerful. Loyalty is very important to them. They steer clear of conflicts.
Dolphins wake up frequently during the night and therefore feel tired. They get a surge of energy at about 7 pm. They go to bed shortly before midnight. Dolphins are intelligent and tend to be perfectionists. They are rather anxious and introverted.
Thanks to the hormone melatonin, we can sleep blissfully. But what exactly does the sleep hormone do to us? And how can we influence our sleep pattern ourselves?
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