Help Me Make it Through the Night (Shift)

Laura A. Stokowski, RN, MS


January 24, 2012

In This Article

Chronotype: Which Bird Are You?

People often describe themselves as being either a "morning person" or a "night person." Some people feel better and are more alert and energetic at different times of the day, a characteristic known as "chronotype." Putting an avian twist on chronotype, people are often characterized as "larks" or "owls."

If you prefer to rise early, feel most alert and perform best in the morning, and go to bed early, you are an early chronotype, or lark. If you prefer to sleep late, work best later in the day, and stay up well past midnight, you are a late chronotype, or owl. Those who are somewhere in between (which is most of the population) are hummingbirds. Experts say about 1 in 10 people are larks, 2 in 10 are owls, and the rest are hummingbirds.

Of course, these labels are slightly misleading. Even "owls" don't stay up all night like some species of owls. It is simply not natural for humans to do so, and human "owls" have difficulty resetting their internal clocks if compelled to stay awake all night.


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