With social media pages dedicated to the 5 am club and many entrepreneurs, students, coaches and other professionals claiming to be awake by 4 am daily and have their day finished just as most people are getting started with theirs, there’s quite the hot debate going on around whether it’s better to be an early bird or a night owl.
As we’ve all heard things like “the early bird catches the worm” and similar phrases since we were young it can be easy to fall into the trap of believing that unless you’re up before sunrise, meditating and drinking a freshly prepared organic green smoothie each day then you’re not as dedicated to your success as someone who considers themselves to be a night owl.
So, which is better? Does getting up early mean you’re more geared for success or is this just another nonsense statement that people use to feel better about themselves and justify their decisions?
Although some people may not enjoy hearing it, the truth is, there is no right or wrong way – there’s simply what works for you.
You may find you’re most productive very early in the morning or are more creative when everyone else is trying to sleep.
For example, if you’re a student, you may have certain techniques that you find are better to implement at certain times in the day. One of these memory techniques to use when studying is to ensure you go to sleep within just a few hours of a study session, as studies show that you’re more likely to recall the material studied. If you find this is more effective, you may choose to stay up most of the night studying because your concentration levels are better and your memory actually improves.
Many studies have been conducted in this area to clearly show that there’s nothing wrong with being a night owl and there’s equally nothing wrong with being an early bird.
You can also switch from one to the other as you age – which is certainly the case for many of us who remember being proud night owls in our teens and early 20s and now can barely make it past 9pm if we’re lucky.
This argument has also been used and adopted by many forward-thinking companies who allow their employees to work remotely on a schedule that suits them, because they understand that everyone’s body clock is completely different and the level of output they deliver as well as the quality of work they create is more dependent on this than forcing them to sit behind a desk between the hours of 9am and 5pm each day.
So, if you’ve ever felt as a night owl that something is wrong with you, or as a morning person felt bad that you’re not up until the wee hours “hustling”, then it’s important to understand that there’s absolutely nothing wrong with you and also nothing to feel guilty about.
Part of maintaining a good level of physical and mental health is being able to understand what works best for you and how you work at your best and then setting clear boundaries around this.