“Early to bed, early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.” – Benjamin Franklin
“Six hours’ sleep for a man, seven for a woman, and eight for a fool.” – Napoleon Bonaparte
We’ve all heard the preceding words of wisdom and they closely mirror the common Western belief that being an early riser; not a night owl, is essential to being a productive person. And, further, most believe that night owls are essentially lazier people that enjoy revelry over productivity. Well, a new book by German Chronobiologist Till Roennberg, “Internal Time,” may cause people to re-think how they judge others’ sleeping habits.
In his book, Roennberg demonstrates through a wealth of research that our sleep patterns have everything to do with biology; not laziness. The book also points out that each person has a different “chronotype” or internal sleep timing. The book also explains that people with earlier chronotypes have traditionally been seen as hard working because they were more productive in agrarian societies. But, in today’s urban, connected society, the long-sleeper’s later-to-bed-later-to-rise schedule may present some unique advantages.
The book also shines a light on the new notion of “social jet lag.” Social jet lag is created by the disconnect between our internal, biological time and social time. In simpler terms, the difference in how your body would habitually like to function, sleep-wise; versus how it is compromised by social routines such as work or school schedules. The concept of social jet lag can explain why teenagers – who have later chronotypes than elementary school students – are much more likely to struggle with sleep deprivation. Research also shows that people who experience greater social jet lag are much more likely to be smokers than those that do not.
So whether you experience social jet lag or your sleep patterns are perfectly matched for your social schedule it may be you chronotype not yourself discipline that’s to blame.
For more information, check out this write-up at Brianpickings.com