Are you a night owl or an early bird? When do you focus and work best? Or when are you the MOST creative?
It helps to know all of this as an entrepreneur so that you can plan out all of your work at the times when you are going to be most the productive and achieve flow quicker. Did you know that you are actually the most creative in ‘down time’ or when you are more likely to be mentally fatigued or sleepy!
Whether you are an evening type (night owl) or a morning type (early bird) is largely out of your control and is already genetically predetermined. It’s all to do with your chronotype! (which is your internal biological clock responsible for regulating hormones and energy levels etc). Humans are not naturally people of the night as we are designed to sleep when it is dark! But some of us naturally wake up earlier refreshed and wide awake whereas others struggle to get out of bed each morning. Researchers think that it has something to do with the need to have people ‘on watch’ at different hours (way back when we lived in caves). All of our differences have important benefits for adaption and survival (we are not all supposed to be the same!)
Our current traditional work and school systems very much cater to early birds and are set up for early birds to function best (of course that is all changing!). Teenagers also really struggle within this system as they are more likely to be up late working/studying/socialising and then they get into sleep debt which can also go on to affect their mental health.
If you are a night owl you can’t suddenly change yourself into an early bird! Everyone has different capacities for ‘morningness’ and ‘eveningness’. Some people will have an easier time switching between if they are only slightly more ‘evening’ or ‘morning’. The big problem is the sleep debt which is why night owls will often need to catch up on sleep each weekend if they are required to get up early during the week.
Many night owls are incredibly successful entrepreneurs (they are hustling while everyone else is asleep!). Of course, there are positive traits on both sides that are suited to entrepreneurship and many high-level CEO’s have very strict early morning routines to set themselves up for a super productive day.
Here are some interesting traits of night owls and early birds!
TRAITS OF BEING AN EARLY BIRD:
-Happier in the morning
-Healthier and less prone to obesity
-More stable mood states
-More agreeable and get on well with a range of different people
-Most creative in the evening (plan all of your brainstorming, idea generation, and long-term goal setting for evening time if you are an early bird)
-Perfectionist (although this could be seen as a positive it could also be a negative in entrepreneurship because really you just need to be constantly putting stuff out there and get feedback so that you can constantly work on it and improve it. Perfectionism can be a major stumbling block for many creatives!)
-Can tire easily or need short rest periods throughout the day to keep going
-More likely to be leaders or in positions of authority
-More interested in change for social good rather than at the individual level
TRAITS OF BEING A NIGHT OWL:
-Happier in the evening
-More prone to obesity due to skipping breakfast and then eating larger meals in the evening
-Can be a sign of high IQ (kids who need less sleep have more time to think and learn about their environment)
-Risk taker/impulsiveness (this is a strong trait in entrepreneurs)
-Openness (openness is also strongly linked with higher levels of creativity!)
-Prone to stress/burnout due to accumulated sleep debt
-Can be more grumpy and disagreeable
-Night owls can go and go for much longer periods without needing a rest
-More mentally alert in the evening compared to early birds
-More likely to indulge in addictive behaviours
-Often earn more due to being able to work for longer periods
-Extroverted, charming and also more individualistic
Want to find out if you are better suited to being an early bird or a night owl?
Dr Michael Breus wrote a well-known book called ‘The Power of When’ (I have not read it yet!) which outlines not two but FOUR distinct chronotypes. You can also take his quiz to find out whether you fall under the dolphin, lion, bear, or wolf chronotype category. Once you understand what your natural circadian rhythm falls under you can then try and optimise your sleep, health, and work!
I am a dolphin 🙂 Here is my little video it’s really interesting! (I think I have struggled with some of these things in the past but I obviously have been life hacking/sleep hacking for a while now so have less of the issues he mentioned!)
Which are you? Please leave a comment below! xx