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Night Owls and Health

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Are you a morning person or a night owl? Ben Franklin once famously said that people who are early to bed and early to rise, are healthy, wealthy, and wise. Now you can add “happy” to that list: Early risers are more likely to feel chipper and energetic than late sleepers, according to research from the University of Toronto.

Previous work has suggested the same thing. But most of these studies were conducted on young people who tend to sleep in late because of the biological changes. So the researchers set out to determine if wake time influences the mood of older adults.

They recruited 300 healthy adults aged 59 to 79 and 400 younger people. The analysis revealed that a majority of older adults are early birds: 57 per cent of them identified as a morning type, compared to only 7 per cent of the younger people, according to the findings published in the journal Emotion.

Regardless of whether a person was old or young, waking up early was associated with a rosier disposition.

The researchers aren’t sure why, but they suspect it might be related to the total amount of sunlight exposure. Early-morning risers get natural light exposure early in the day, and it could be making them feel better.

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