Study shows that early birds tire out more quickly than night owls.
If you’ve ever stayed up late working on a project only to get a burst of energy in the 11th hour, you’re definitely a night owl. But did you know that you also may have an advantage over your early rising
counterparts, says a study out of Belgium that recently was published in the
. Researchers studied 16 early birds and 15 night owls as they slept and while they were awake, giving them cognitive tests twice a day while the subjects were in an MRI scanner.
At first, there was little difference between the early birds and night owls. An hour and a half after waking, members from both groups were equally alert and showed no difference in attention-related brain activity. But fast forward 10 and a half hours, and that was no longer the case.
The night owls were more alert, performed better on a reaction-time task requiring sustained attention and showed increased activity in brain areas linked to attention.
Unfortunately for the early birds, they didn’t get this late-day pick-me-up. Researchers concluded that faster activation of sleep pressure appears to prevent early risers from that natural energy jolt.