SURVEY SAYS: Night Owl or Morning Lark?

August 12, 2013 – Last week, I asked NewsDash readers whether they are ‘night owls’ or ‘morning larks,’ and how much sleep they need to feel rested.

Nearly half (49.1%) of responding readers identified themselves as night owls, while 23.7% said they are morning larks, 15.8% reported they are neither and 11.4% do well morning or night. Most responding readers (53.9%) need five to seven hours of sleep to feel fully rested, while 45.2% need eight or more, and less than 1% can get by with less than five hours of sleep.

For added perspective, I asked respondents in what age range they belong, and the breakdown was as follows:

  • 18 – 29: 1.7%;
  • 30-39: 10.4%;
  • 40 – 49: 23.5%;
  • 50 – 59: 39.1%;
  • 60 – 69: 23.5%; and
  • 70 or older: 1.7%.


Fifty-seven percent of respondents indicated that when they go to bed, they spend time doing other activities (reading, watching TV, working, etc.) before falling asleep.  The others do not.

In verbatim comments many readers expressed either agreement or disagreement with the survey we covered that suggested night owls had darker personality traits. Many related what it is like living with a certain type in their households. Some shared experiences that made them either a night owl or morning lark. Editor’s Choice goes to the reader who said: “Most of us night owls force ourselves to become morning people just so we can get along in the traditional work world.”


Sometimes the morning people "look down their noses" at those of us who come in to work later. They don't understand that I am at work still, hours after they have left, and I get so much more done after everyone else leaves me with some concentrated quiet time.


Mornings are horrible for basically all types of pursuits. Everyone in my family is a night owl, so even if I wanted to be a chipper morning person, I would be thwarted by the other denizens of the dark.


I was once told that the time of day that you were born, determines whether you are a night owl or morning person. I was born at 5:45 am and am very much a morning person. I wake up automatically every morning between 5 and 5:30 am. My daughter was born at 4:20 pm and she stays up late and gets up early. She functions well either time.


My wife is a morning lark and I'm a night owl. While I find it easier to stay up, she finds it easier to get up. Also, I like it hotter and she likes it colder, I am detail-oriented and she is a global thinker. I think this is what they mean when they say "opposites attract".


Morning Larks are annoying! If I don't get enough sleep, I'm cranky in the morning, so a cheery person is just annoying to me. Heck a cheery person is annoying any time of day. Ha, ha.


While it may take 8 or more hours to feel fully rested, the reality is I generally get in the 5 to 7 range Monday through Friday (sigh).


I think humans are born one or the other just like other species -- and we are forced to live in a business world controlled by early birds instead of being flexible and responsive to our own internal clocks and respective productivity levels.


I suspect that when my spouse and I no longer have to rise extremely early for work, we may both switch to night owls.


When I was young I was more likely to stay up late and rise late - more of a night owl. After 32 years of working I can no longer stay up late, but I look forward to retirement to see if I revert to my "young" sleeping habits.


I'm a night owl, but I don't feel I have darker personality traits...I'm a pretty cheery and outgoing person. 


Verbatim (cont.)

I don't really know what to call myself! I'm a morning person in that early morning is my favorite time of day, I like to get up earlier than the rest of the household and enjoy the quiet. However, I think I'm most productive at work late in the day.


I think the study was flawed, beginning with sample size, but the most notable being that it was conducted with students as the test subjects. Aren't college students by nature night owls? I know I was; now - at 9pm it's all I can do to keep my eyes open to watch a favorite tv program!


Stay out of my way for the first hour or so in the a.m. or this night owl will eat any morning lark that dares try to engage me in conversation.


The older I get, the less sleep I need (or get) and the earlier I wake up.


I would love to become a night owl, but my work schedule doesn't allow it.


As you get older proper rest is very important to function on all cylinders the next day. You can't go to bed at 1AM and then expect to go to work seven hours later and be fully functional.


It's amazing to me the effect a night owl who visibly drags his or herself into work has on the rest of the staff. I see this one person arrive lethargically and lack luster and I just groan inside. If I am looking for someone to cultivate and promote it isn't going to be the person who can't seem to get it going. Today's business world requires high energy and a can do attitude even when you don't feel that way. I need to have my staff arrive awake and ready to go Remember the old saying "Fake it 'til you make it"? Good place to start.


Ideally, I would work second shift and be up more into the night, but most of the world doesn't work on that timeframe, so I push myself into the early riser category so that I can participate in life with everyone else, including my family.


I'm definitely a morning lark who is also a night owl (when I sing with my part-time band. The bars are open until 4am in my county). Napping is the best pick-me-up!


My roommate is a night owl. When I shared the survey comments with her, she was NOT pleased - perhaps because I agree with the results...little tense in the household right now....

Verbatim (cont.)

I've always been a morning person. Though I have often wished I could stay up late like my friends, I love that I could rise early to meet the day with a cup of coffee and the paper.


Love being owl/lark - Best times of the day are after everyone goes to sleep and before everyone gets up - it's ME time!


Having to be to work early for so many years has made me a morning lark.


I haven't noticed any dark traits from the night owls I know. I find them quite upbeat and nice to have as friends


My next day activities determine how late I stay up. When I do stay up late (past mid-night) I generally feel okay the next morning but later in the afternoon it begins to tell.


In bed by 10 and up at 5:30-6


I get a second wind around 3:00 p.m. and love working in the office when the morning larks go home, they annoy me with their cheerfulness in the morning. I am also more productive than the morning owls and have always gotten more done in less time than most people. And beds are for sleeping not watching TV.


Early mornings are so nice and quiet in my office, it is the best time to get concentration work done. We have a large population of Night Owls and very few Morning Larks


used to be a night owl when I was young, but getting up early for work for years has changed my internal clock.


The study sounds interesting, but correlation certainly doesn't equal causation. I wonder if the connection between being a night owl and being antisocial stems from the fact that being a night owl is more unconventional. Most of us night owls force ourselves to become morning people just so we can get along in the traditional work world.

Verbatim (cont.)

I get to be both by taking a nap during the middle of the day!


As a kid, we all remember the days of reading a book with a flashlight. Now it is an E-Reader- no flashlight required!


I'm a hummingbird. I go so fast it looks like I'm standing still, but it seems to the young hawks they're watching a Dodo.


One of the things I learned early on in college was that I couldn't remember in the morning anything I tried to cram into my head after midnight. I have always been better off getting a good night's sleep and getting up early to study or work than staying up late to do the same thing. My question is: Why do so many morning larks end up married to night owls?


I go to bed by 10 PM. I'm up no later than 4:30 am, on my own no alarm, usually earlier. A few weeks ago on a Saturday I slept until 6:30 am and my wife kept checking if I was sitll breathing.


I am a natural night-owl. When I was in in college (and when I was out of work for 5 months), I gravitated toward a schedule of about 6 hours of sleep, from 3 AM to 9 AM. After many years of rising at 5 AM (my commute is an hour, and I'm not one to jump out of bed and get ready; I need some time), my habits are changing. Still, after a few days of vacation, I start to revert to my nocturnal ways.


My daughter is the definition of a night owl. Do not talk to her before 11 in the morning and until she has had at least two cups of coffee. She is at her best from 8pm-3am.


Mornings are a 'simple pleasure'......truly enjoy the peacefulness, the beautiful sunrise, serenity, and of course the fresh brewed coffee!


I'm only a 5:15am morning lark because of my job. Had I the choice, I'm sure a 9 or 10am wakeup would suit me much better!


Interesting article about night owls yesterday. May explain one of my co-worker's passive aggressive tendencies.

Verbatim (cont.)

I don't consider myself either, as I don't really get going until about 9or 10 am or whenever the caffeine from the coffee kicks in.


I have always been a morning lark. Interestingly, I was never a true night owl until well after college, started working a demanding job, married, and had a family. So now I am both a morning lark and night owl. With approximately 4 to 5 hours of sleep a night, I am exhausted and stressed all the time - that's the American way, isn't it? Yes, lack of sleep will eventually catch up on us and have ill effects on our health and our productivity at work and at home - so, you ask, fully rested? What's that??!!


An advantage of a morning lark: Missing most of the heavy, rush hour traffic.


You asked if we spend time doing other activities after we go to bed... I don't, but many's the night I was doing something else, and THEN fell asleep (though not in, or anywhere close to, bed). One more stray comment - I'm not sure how much relevance to "us" there is to a personality test conducted on 263 Australian college students. Thankfully, you included that little tidbit in your story. Sadly, I had to go to the second page to see it.


I consistently wake up at 5:00 AM without an alarm and have for years.


I've always been an "early to rise and work" kind of guy. My mind and the world are still fresh, unencumbered by the noise and clutter that comes with the rising of the rest of the world. To coin a phrase, I feel that I get more done by 9 am than most people do all day. Thank goodness people ARE different, because if everybody tried to keep my hours, it would defeat the purpose.



NOTE: Responses reflect the opinions of individual readers and not the stance of Asset International or its affiliates.


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