I’m a Lark

6 Mar

You guys,  I know I said I’d go to yoga last night. But I got home from work, and it was pouring down rain, and after I cooked dinner it was dark, and well….


I put on my rain boots, grabbed my umbrella and hoofed it to the gym! Hooray! Did I trick you? I did have the thoughts of skipping it because of the rain, but I knew, even if I did try to do a yoga DVD at home, I’d probably skip out on it early. So I sucked it up and went. I’m glad I did!

This is going to be a super quick post today — work is crazy busy, so I need to hop to it, but I wanted to share this article I read yesterday:

I read this article, The Science of Sleep by Elizabeth Kobert on The New Yorker site yesterday and found it very interesting. The beginning of the article goes over the discovery of REM sleep by Nathaniel Kleitman, and how his discovery has opened the door for intensive sleep research. As Kolbert mentions, a 2011 poll indicates that more than half of all Americans between the ages of 13 and 64 experience sleep problems every night! That’s crazy! She also mentions two other alarming statistics:

  • A CDC study revealed that almost 5% of adults acknowledge nodding off behind the wheel at least once during the past month
  • The U.S. Department of Transportation report says that DWD (Driving While Drowsy) causes forty-thousand injuries a year (and more than 1,500 deaths!)

…and that’s not even to mention the toll your body takes from repeated lack of sleep! It’s clear that adequate sleep is extremely important.

Here’s where the article got really interesting for me. Matthew J. Wolf-Meyer, author or a recent book “The Slumbering Masses” and an assistant professor of anthropology at the University of California Santa Cruz, suggests that going to bed at 11:00 PM and waking at 7:00 AM (sleeping “in a consolidated fashion”, is what he calls it, or the typical to bed and rise time for most Americans), probably isn’t the best schedule for everyone. In fact, he says, about 150 years ago, Americans slept in a much different fashion — going to bed shortly after the sun went down, then awoke for a while, and then went back to bed.

The most eye-opening part of the article, however, was the discussion about a book by Till Roenneberg, professor of medical psychology at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich entitled “Internal Time: Chronotypes, Social Jet Lag and Why You’re So Tired” — Roenneberg suggests that each person has an internal clock (chronotype) which dictates your inclination to sleep: You either are inclined to go to bed early and wake at dawn (larks) or you like to stay up late and get up later (owls).

This really struck a chord with me! Especially when they talk about the inclination of a lark to wake up early, no matter how late they’ve gone to bed, “… But, even when larks have partied until 3 AM, they can’t sleep in the following day — they’re larks.” That is so me! 

Then I got to this part and almost jumped out of my seat because of the simplicity of it all, “According to Roenneberg, age also has a big influence on chronotype. Toddlers tend to be larks, which is why they drive their parents crazy by getting up at sunrise. Teen-agers are owls, which is why high schools are filled with students who look (and act) like zombies” — does this mean I’ll be a great parent to a toddler, since I’m a lark!?

So after searching on the web some more about this, I came across this article on the New York Times blog. Tara Parker-Pope gives owls that hope to be larks a little help: She gives you a plan to “become a morning person”. The other great thing about this article is the quiz to determine if you’re a lark or an owl. I think it’s pretty easy to determine what you are without a quiz, but who doesn’t love a good quiz? To my complete and total lack of surprise, I got “Extreme Lark”:

my results

..and to further prove my point, here is a picture of me sleeping at a party. Lark, indeed:

...I don't even care. When it's time to sleep, it's time to sleep.

…I don’t even care. When it’s time to sleep, it’s time to sleep.

Question of the Day:
Are you a lark or an owl? 

12 Responses to “I’m a Lark”

  1. Molly at 10:52 am #

    The concept of going to bed early, waking up for a bit, and then going back to sleep actually seems like a solid idea! Granted, I’d be up by myself with no one to talk to, but I actually wake up sometimes in the middle of the night and feel more energized then if I go back to sleep and wake up at 7. And good for you for getting to the gym! If it was down pouring, that would have been a good enough excuse for me to stay at home 😛

  2. loseitbig at 12:28 pm #

    Full blown Lark here!

  3. happyappalachy at 1:00 pm #

    I’m totally a lark. It has driven my friends nuts for years.

    • Me too! I get so much ribbing for my tendency to leave everything early to go to bed. They don’t know how annoying it is to be up until 5 AM but still wake up at 7 and not be able to get back to sleep!

  4. sweetchicwrites at 1:29 pm #

    “Rise and shine. You tend to be a morning person and like to rise relatively early and not stay up too late. You don’t cope very well when your sleep pattern is disrupted.”

    I’m neither a lark nor an owl. But this was definitely an interesting test to take! I’m the type of person that can’t take naps and if I get woken up in the morning, I won’t fall back to sleep. And if it’s light outside? Forget it, my body just says NO.

  5. 100% lark!!! I’m up at 4am and ready to take on the day, go to the gym and I have tons of energy…until 6 or 7 at night. I’m in bed by 9 at the latest.

  6. I sleep pretty badly these days and I have no idea why. I fall asleep okay most nights, but I wake up over and over again throughout the night for no good reason and sometimes can’t get back to sleep for an hour afterward. Maybe it has something to do with my diet?

    • I’ve been enrolled in a sleep study that it is all online for the past year or so, and one thing they tell me is in order to train yourself to fall asleep and stay asleep, you have to train yourself that bed = sleep. So, in addition to “winding down” before bed (turning off all electronics 1 hour before, nightly rituals, etc.), if you wake up and can’t fall back asleep in 20 minutes, you get out of bed and do something else until you feel sleepy. Sometimes you’ll have to do this a hundred times, and sure, you’ll be tired, but eventually you will teach yourself that bed = sleep. My other trick is to close my eyes and count backwards from 1,000 as fast as I can (in my head, obviously). I try to race myself to get to zero before I fall asleep. I never have! I’ve never even gotten below 800!

  7. di @ life of di. at 3:13 pm #

    Without a doubt – a lark! I wish that I could go to sleep every night by 930/10 😦 Unfortunately this rarely happens!

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