Not sure if it’s proven by some research, but just by empirical observation you can tell that in western pop-culture night-owls are preferred. I don’t know it might be that it feels more “beatnik” which is always an attractive way to dramatize anything, or maybe because movie makers love night and rain (not so prone to reveal mistakes as beautiful broad day light), or maybe it is that by some statistic I came across on the internet (no idea if true or not – couldn’t verify the source data) most people (78 %) prefer to be “late risers” which could indicate that they would be night owls as well. Either way there are certain stereotypes and labels associated with being a so-called night owl or early riser.
Thinking about being an owl or a riser – the way people commented on this issue, it seemed that it is not a decision but more likely something inevitable. You also get a gazillion medical theories on which is better and why, but honestly I am somewhat weary of these, it usually sounds more like diet theories. Just a short “diet” detour here: Remember when eggs were not good for your body or you remember the era when eggs were beneficial. Remember when eating many times a day in little portions or you remember the era of intermittent fasting? Remember when having breakfast was a corner stone of the day or the era that of small-meal breakfast? I think you get the drift… how about listening a little to your body – what feels right. I feel that the owl v. riser medical benefit explanations are somewhat like that.
Well trying to manage how much sleep your body needs is quite difficult and to a certain extend impossible (if you have sleeping disorder – than it is workable, but otherwise not really I guess). I always envied people that are OK with 4-5 hours of sleep a day, but my body simply does not work (in long-term) with just 4 hours a day. I also found out (contrary to the “street-wisdom” I have been taught) that I can make-up for sleeping too little or on the other hand get some sleep ahead if I know I will need a 24 hour run for example. Not important, just sharing experience.
So is it given to be either / or? As I mentioned most people – by their reactions – think it is inevitable. I don’t think so… I always considered myself as being a night owl. I love(d) going to sleep late-night / early-morning and getting up 9+ am. Well today on weekdays I typically get up before 5 am and usually go to sleep around 10 / 11 pm. I would say that I grew accustomed to this and one thing is for sure that I absolutely love the first early hours for working (and working out). I think it is actually quieter when the city is waking up than when it is going to sleep. Well truth is that at 5 am these two worlds often collide. That said in my life it was a conscious change that I decided to do. I am sure if I made it one way, with little effort I would be able to be an owl again, but honestly not sure I want to. Well maybe one day you will want to try to switch from one to another. And even if you are an early riser – you can become cool… that is if you really believe that night owls are cool…