Humans are firmly divided into two camps: “Morning persons” and “Night Owls”. Till recently it was considered equally fine if you belonged to either camp. But now evidence is piling up that “early to bed, early to rise” may be good for you. Here are three things to know:
1. Being a night owl is a health risk: A recent study shows that night owl’s are significantly more likely to have diabetes and women night owls doubled their risks of having metabolic syndrome (High blood sugar, high cholesterol, excess fat around waist). This is because our hormonal system is geared to remain awake and alert during the day and rest at night. Eating at night throws things off balance and so does getting light stimuli.
2. You can change your type: The notion that these two categories are mutually exclusive is not true. You can switch from being a night owl to a morning person (and also go the other way).
3. Shift gradually: To switch you have to do it in a gradual manner. The key is to wake up early, get sun during the day, and eat a light dinner earlier than usual. Do this one-hour at a time and stick with it for a week or two and then do another hour, till the cycle shifts. So let us say you wake up at 10 am every day, then start your shift by waking up an hour early, at 9 am, and sleep an hour earlier than your usual time, shifting everything by an hour, while ensuring that you get a lot of sun during the day and tone down the lights and stimuli in the evening. Once this schedule stabilizes, you can shift another hour and wake up at 8 am, moving everything by an hour as you did before. You can continue this so that in a month or two your schedule has shifted to turn you into an early riser. The key is not to backslide on the weekends and keep the discipline.
If you are having metabolic syndrome or you are struggling with diabetes or excess weight you want to be sure that you take “early to bed, early to rise” at heart.