Sleeping late hurts productivity, study finds

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Depending on whether you are a night owl or an early riser, the pace of life can have an effect on productivity. In fact, the way the body functions influences the activity of people during the day.

The importance of the chronotype

Humans all have their own internal clock, set to a specific rhythm. This is called the circadian rhythm, a biological rhythm lasting about 24 hours. Such biological rhythms exist in all living beings – bacteria included – and are manifested by cyclical variations of a large number of physiological parameters (metabolic activity, secretion of hormones). In humans, we also know that daily activities and sunlight participate in the registration of this circadian rhythm.

Based on this internal clock and genetics, individuals develop their own chronotype. This chronotype also determines their sleep rhythm. People with morning chronotypes go to bed and get up early. As soon as they wake up, their attention is there, as is their ability to be productive. In the case of daytime chronotypes, the individuals go to bed later and take longer to emerge upon awakening.

Nocturnal chronotypes refer to individuals who go to bed very late and enjoy a late morning. Upon awakening, these people remain in a fog until the evening when there is a boost of energy. These nocturnal chronotypes are more prone to heart disease, diabetes and others. The reason is partly due to a poorer lifestyle and less physical activity.

Nocturnal people less inclined to productivity

Conclusions regarding the influence of chronotypes are often approximate. Indeed, these are based on the statements of interviewees. However, a study published in the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports on June 19, 2020 provides a real scientific answer. Researchers from Oulu University (Finland) interviewed and followed 6,000 people over two weeks. The goal? Understand their way of life.

According to the results, “morning” people have more physical activity than others. This is the equivalent of 30 minutes more exercise per day (20 for women) compared to nocturnal individuals. In general, and this is ultimately no coincidence, nocturnal people are more tired than others and therefore, less productive.

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