Night owls, we're jealous.
I wouldn't describe myself as a morning person. I can get up early enough but it takes me some time to adjust to being up. I'm not instantly energized, ready to greet the day. But I don't like to stay up too late, either.
I wasn't a morning person or a lark, nor was I an owl or someone who got up late and came alive in the evening. I had no sleep classification — and I've done four sleep studies.
A recent study found that there are actually four different sleep schedules. Lead researcher Arcady Putilov and his colleagues at the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences invited 130 healthy participants (54 men) to a sleep lab, and then kept them awake for over 24 hours. The no-sleep study subjects weren't allowed to have any coffee or alcohol while they were in the midst of the experiment.
Throughout the 24 hours, they filled out questionnaires about how awake or sleepy they felt. In addition, the participants were asked about their sleep patterns, how awake they felt, and how well they had functioned the previous week. By analyzing the study's subjects' energy levels through the 24-hour period and their reports about their functioning the week before, Putilov and his team were able to identify four sleep distinct groups.
1. Lark: You know them as morning people and they have higher energy levels at 9 AM than they do at 9 PM. Larks get up early and go to bed early. People over 60 tend to be larks and they can be extra chatty (read: annoyingly chatty) in the morning.
Night owls, or evening people, are most productive in the late morning and late evening, and are at their most alert around 6 PM. Owls like to get up late and don't really get going until it's dark out. College students tend to be owls and enjoy their caffeinated beverages by the gallon. Owls (on average) go to bed two hours later than Larks.
While there's no official bird name for this kind of sleeper, hummingbird might work, as they're energetic in both the morning and the evening and get by on 7.5 hours of sleep, 30 minutes less than everybody else. You might think that someone with energy this high is on speed, but it's just how they roll.
4. American Woodcock
This group also has no official bird name, but the slowest flying bird is the American Woodcock, so that could fit. The lethargic group is exactly what you'd expect: they feel sleepy in both the morning and the evening, and are generally thought of as having low energy. No matter how much coffee they ingest, they're never going to be able to go toe-to-toe with the high energetic types or the Larks when it comes to getting things done.
The high energetic group (Hummingbirds) and the lethargic group (Woodcocks) were unlike the Owls and Larks, as they didn't show any differences in terms of their bedtime and their time of waking. Their sleep habits tend to be between those of the Larks and the Owls.
No matter which type of sleeper you are, the important thing is to make your environment as conducive to good sleeping as you can. Make sure your room is the temperature you like it, your bed the degree of firmness, and try to get to a mental place where you've forgotten the stresses of the day and can truly relax.
No one has any energy if they don't get good sleep.