Are you an early bird or a night owl? How knowing the answer could help you land the right job.

20 June, 2011

Each of us has a tendency to feel more awake at different times of day due to the individual natures of our body clocks.  We can loosely divide ourselves into early birds or night owls.

Have a look at the lists of attributes for each type below, and determine which best describes you.

Early birds (or larks):

  1. Sometimes known as type “A” people
  2. “Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.” Benjamin Franklin
  3. “The early bird catches the worm” – a well known English idiom
  4. Not best suited to jobs as bar tenders – work best on day shifts
  5. Most alert around noon
  6. Most productive in late morning
  7. Most active around 2.30pm
  8. Don’t tend to need an alarm clock
  9. Rarely nap
  10. Favorite exercise time in morning
  11. Favorite meal: breakfast
  12. Examples include David Cameron


Night owls:

  1. Sometimes known as type “B” people
  2. Tend to stay awake past midnight
  3. Tend to feel most energized just before they go to sleep
  4. Stays up late, awakes late
  5. As a result, can be regarded as lazy and undisciplined
  6. Most alert around 6pm
  7. Most productive late morning, late evening
  8. Most active around 5.30pm
  9. Tend to need multiple alarm clocks to wake up
  10. Examples include Keith Richards, James Joyce, Hunter S. Thompson, Winston Churchill, Elvis Presley


Your chronotype (the attribute which determines when you feel most active and alert), will shape whether you are an early bird or a night owl, and is a biological trait.

According to the BBC, researchers at the University of Surrey say they have found a link between people’s preference for mornings or evenings and a gene called Period 3 which comes in a long and a short form.

You can try to alter it, but chances are that it will revert to its natural state, given the chance.

So knowing your chronotype will help you figure out when is the best time of day for you to make presentations, play competitive sports, revise for exams or complete complex tasks.

That could be really important when choosing a career.  If you are a doctor or nurse working in the Accident and Emergency Unit, you are likely to be better suited to your job if you are a night owl, as much of the high pressure work is done during the night.

On the flip side of the coin, jobs where you need to be on form early in the morning, such as is the case for most teachers, will suit early birds.

Take time to study your sleeping habits and determine when your energy and concentration levels are at their highest.  It will help you to avoid making mistakes when it comes to your choice of carrer.

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