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Goodbye Early Rise

Why it's not wise for most of us

80 percent of the population are woken up by an alarm clock to fit into the morning-oriented society. We interrupt our sleep to wake up our children and force them to go to school at 8am. We interrupt our sleep so we can create traffic jams with the other wannabe early risers. You can even join the extreme early riser club. In today’s society it is not enough to be an early riser. You have to show the world, that you are an extreme early riser! That you get up at 3am or 4am. That you get up and get something out of the day. “Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.”

I say: Goodbye early rise! It’s not wise (for most of us).

Listen to your inner clock

All human beings have an internal clock; a circadian rhythm. A circadian rhythm is all about when humans prefer to be awake and when they prefer to sleep. A circadian rhythm is not something you choose. It’s something you’re born with!

Chronobiology is the study of humans’ internal clock; circadian rhythms. Professor Till Roenneberg, a leading researcher in chronobiology at Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, has mapped the circadian rhythms of more than 250,000 people. The distribution of circadian rhythms (chronotypes) ranges from extremely early types (early chronotypes) to extremely late types (late chronotypes), just as human height varies between short and tall. An A-person may, for example, be awake from 6 am–10 pm and have most energy in the morning. B-persons, on the other hand, have most energy in the afternoon and evening, and may, for example, be awake from 9 am–1 am.

So if you are an A-person you prefer to go to bed early and get up early and if you are a B-person you prefer to go to bed later and get up later.

Work and school sceduling favour early risers

Our sleep is greatly influenced by school and work hours. It would be great for our heath, learning and productivity if more people get the opportunity to rise late. Too many people don’t sleep enough. Work and school sceduling favour early risers. According to sleep researcher Matthew Walker there is pretty much nothing that late risers (B-persons) can do to become early risers (A-persons).

How do you know if you get enough sleep? Do you need an alarm clock? Do you take a long time to get out of bed? Are you grumpy? Are you looking tired?

”When you are tired and you lack sleep, you have poor memory, you have poor creativity, you have increased impulsiveness, and you have poor judgement… If you have good sleep, it increases your concentration, attention, decision-making, creativity, social skills, health…” says Russell Foster in his TED talk ”Why do we sleep?”.

”Getting by on less than six hours of sleep is one of the biggest factors in job burnout” says Arianna Huffington in her book ”The Sleep Revolution”.

“No politician will smoke in front of a camera, but all politicians clearly declare – and show it in their faces – how little they have slept. We know how important sleep is, but they convey to the world that sleep deprivation is good”, says professor Till Roenneberg in the ”The Sleep revolution”.

Let A-persons (early risers) be A-persons and B-persons (late risers) be B-persons. Let us accept people’s differences in biological rhythms and design schools and workplaces that support our different biological rhythms.

Work design for B-persons (late risers)

Work design for A-persons (early risers)

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