For some of us, the alarm clock sounds like a lullaby and they jump out of bed ready to seize the day. For others…there is the snooze button.
I have always belonged to the first category. Mornings have always been my favorite part of the day, and not just because of breakfast. This is when I’m the most productive, when I feel the most creative, hopeful and optimistic. It is like a blank canvas, everything is fresh and everything can happen.
Party poopers like Shia Labeouf’s character in Wall Street 2 will say:
“I feel bad for anybody who feels that way, it means their day can’t get any better“.
Well I respectfully disagree. I personally never could understand how people don’t enjoy mornings and all of its promises.
Until I came across an article in the beautiful Dutch magazine Flow in which they interviewed Michael Breus, specialist in chronobiology. What the heck is that you may ask? It’s the study of periodic phenomena on living organisms and their adaptation to solar/lunar related rhythms. Basically, he is looking at our internal clock.
Researchers came up with four categories of people and Breus also associates them to animals:
- those who get up early (lions)
- those who go to bed late (wolves)
- the people who just don’t need that much sleep (dolphins)
- everyone in between (bears)
He explains that those characteristics are not just due to bad daily habits, will power or laziness. It actually goes way back, all the way to prehistory when each group of people had different roles and activities such as hunting, guarding camp at night, picking up fruits… it’s in our genes! With time, our way of life has changed dramatically, but our body has not evolved at the same pace. The invention of electricity for example has completely redefined our rhythms, but also faster transportation (hello jetlag!) or the weather strongly impacts our body.
According to Breus, people should not feel guilty for not being able to get up at 7 am every day to be at work at 8:30 then drag themselves around all morning drinking coffee like there is no tomorrow. And instead of pointing the fingers at the “lazy wolves”, society would actually be better off respecting everyone’s internal clock. At the end of the day what matters most is what we have accomplished, not when we’ve done it.
So, what are you? A lion or a dolphin? Whichever category you find yourself in, own it!
By: Mo Oléron, inspired by Flow magazine / Photo cred