Early Bird or Night Owl - Which Chronotype is Healthier?
Which would you consider yourself: a morning lark or a night owl? A romantic bohemian or productive entrepreneur? Natural early riser, or are the sheets too heavy in the morning while nighttime breeds hyperactivity? Did you know that your sleeping habits impact your health? In fact, they have a lot to do with it! Your chances of living a long life depend on how long you sleep, and your quality of life depends on the quality of your sleep.
Everyone has a particular circadian pattern or rhythm. Some people don’t require an alarm clock to get out of bed very early in the morning for their exercise. They wake up and function smoothly right away.
Others prefer to wake up later in the morning and feel that their brain does not begin to function properly until around noon. These people are more productive at night, as is the case with many celebrities, Internet stars, or those considered creative types.
Apart from being a good topic of conversation, these characteristics also have a lot to do with our state of health. Several studies have shown that a preference for evening sleep over morning sleep is associated with increased mortality and lowering risk of health problems such as metabolic dysfunction and cardiovascular disease.
A United Kingdom study evaluated 433,268 adults between 38 and 73 years of age over the course of 6.5 years (1). The data showed that not only were night owls more likely to die of cardiovascular disease, but they also presented certain issues more frequently, such as:
Psychological problems like depression
Experts already knew about the link between sleep problems and higher incidence of stroke and heart attack. This is because the diseases that predispose these issues worsen when we have sleep disorders (2). In addition, sleeping later causes us to lose morning hours which consequently provides less exposure to sunlight, which could then cause other problems like vulnerable bones and a weaker immune system. (3)
How to change nighttime habits and become an early bird?
It’s not easy to adjust your biological inner clock and go from night owl to morning lark overnight. Achieving a healthy sleep pattern requires discipline, consistency, and organization. But it is a good path to reducing the risk of heart problems and stroke and improving overall health.
If you have been a night owl all your life and fear that your heart will suffer the consequences that go hand in hand with a sleep disorder, talk to your doctor about the possibility of adding supplements that can support your cardiovascular health such as Resveratrol, Omega 3, Red Yeast Rice, and Hibiscus Tea.
There are certain steps we can take to modify those old habits we may have from an early age:
Go to bed earlier and wake up earlier at the same time every day. This helps create a sleep routine and allows the body to gradually become accustomed to it. By getting up early, the body will require rest earlier. Start on the weekend to give yourself time to initiate and acclimate to the changes. You can also consider taking supplements that help with energy such as ginseng, maca and CoQ10.
Don’t drink alcohol before bedtime. Alcohol induces poor quality sleep. Choose better alternatives like fragrances that promote relaxation such as lavender, drinking tea (passionflower is a great option), and adding a supplement containing melatonin.
Set the alarm further away from the bed. This forces you to get out of bed to turn it off.
Allow any sunlight to naturally enter the room. This activates the body's cycle and signals that it is time to get up.
Do something you enjoy in the morning. Drink coffee, read, listen to a podcast, practice meditation, etc.
Leave your workout clothes laid out the night before. This will help mentally prepare and motivate you to get into physical activity/exercise mode first thing in the morning.
Exercise early to activate your body.
Have something light for breakfast, like yogurt or fruit, to get your metabolism going.
Check out this video, in which Dr. Juan Rivera shares the tips he uses to combat his late sleeping habits.
It's never too late for a change of wings. Go from night owl to morning lark by sleeping earlier and learning to enjoy the rays of the morning sun.
Let's be healthier together,
Your Santo Remedio Team
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