— World Economic Forum (@wef) September 19, 2019
The study – Resetting the late timing of ‘night owls’ has a positive impact on mental health and performance – describes night owls as “people whose internal body clock dictates later-than-usual sleep and wake times”. The researchers were particularly interested in individuals with an average bedtime of 2:30am and an average wake-up time of 10:15am.
“Having a late sleep pattern puts you at odds with the standard societal days, which can lead to a range of adverse outcomes – from daytime sleepiness to poorer mental well-being,” says study co-author Dr Andrew Bagshaw of the University of Birmingham’s Centre for Human Brain Health.
The researchers wanted to test how feasible it would be to shift to more regular sleeping patterns without resorting to medication. Their findings boiled down to the following advice for night owls who may want to mend their ways:
- Wake up two or three hours before your regular wake-up time
- Get outside and soak up as much natural light as you can during the morning
- Go to bed two or three hours earlier than your usual bedtime
- Limit your exposure to light in the evening
- Keep sleep and wake times fixed on both work days and free days
- Eat breakfast as soon as possible after waking up
- Set yourself a lunchtime and stick to it every day
- Don’t eat late in the evening – and when possible don’t eat after 7:00pm