Early risers get more support and are happier than night owls, study says

Night-oriented people tend to be out of sync from others during the day, which could lead to negative perceptions about them

Kate Ng
Tuesday 07 December 2021 15:25 GMT

Morning people might have a track record for being annoying, but scientists have found that they are happier and get more social support compared to night owls.

People who are more awake and productive at night are often out of sync with the routines of regular work or school schedules, and are perceived as being lazy or rude, a new study has said.

As a result of their unusual schedules, night owls receive less social support compared to morning people, who are positively associated with better wellbeing.

The researchers, from the University of Warsaw, surveyed 1,067 adults between the ages of 18 to 55.

The participants were asked to complete a series of questionnaires to determine their preferred time of day, followed by their levels of satisfaction, how they have felt recently, and their wellbeing.

The study, published in the Journal of Sleep Research, found that morning-oriented people receive higher levels of social support and are therefore “more satisfied with their social relationships and consequently have better wellbeing”.

While there is a biological explanation for lower levels of happiness among night owls – which the researchers said is due to less natural light and insufficient sleep – they found that social support “is a strong predictor of health and wellbeing”.

People who receive higher levels of support may also attribute it to “better sleep quality and lower risk of sleep complaints”.

But because night-oriented individuals may find it difficult to function in the morning, they may be perceived in a negative light as being lazy or having “bad manners”, said the study.

“Consequently, lesser social support may be offered to them,” it concluded.

The research reflects earlier findings that early risers may be happier overall and at lower risk of developing depression.

A study of more than 450,000 people, conducted by the University of Exeter, found that morning-oriented people have a slightly different gene profile and were eight per cent less likely to suffer from depression and five per cent more likely to have high levels of wellbeing.

Jessica O’Loughlin, lead author of the study, told the Daily Mailat the time that the difference in wellbeing between early birds and night owls “could be explained by the fact that the demands of society mean night owls are more likely to defy their natural body clocks by having to wake up early for work”.

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