How to become one — the simple but not necessarily easy way. Also, 7 other things worth knowing today.
A new study out of the University of Ottawa's School of Psychology finds that so-called "morning people" who go to bed early and get up early have an advantage that hasn't been documented before over those who stay up late.
In short, "once you account for key factors including bedtime and age... morning types tend to have superior verbal ability," explains Dr. Stuart Fogel, a neuroscientist professor at the university. "This outcome was surprising to us and signals this is much more complicated than anyone thought before."
Now, is this really a big surprise? As much as night people (like me) like to think we gain some kinds of advantages by staying up late, the truth is that science usually goes the other way. For example:
A Northwestern University study found people who get up earlier—and thus have more exposure to morning light—"had a significantly lower body mass index (BMI) than those who had most of their light exposure later in the day."
A University of Toronto study of more than 800 people over a two-year period—both early risers and late-rising people—found that "those who prefer to wake earlier lead happier and healthier lives than their counterparts who choose to sleep and wake later."
And a study at the University of Birmingham found that "night owls" can have lower resting brain connectivity that leads to "slower reactions and increased sleepiness throughout the hours of a typical working day."
Fortunately, it turns out there are some very simple steps that late-risers can take to transform themselves into people who are more comfortable getting up early. (If they're so simple, you might wonder, why don't we all follow these steps? As we'll see, it's because we give up too early.)
Start with the time you want to wake up. "[I]t's easier to lock in a wake-up time than to force a sleep time.... Bedtime is what time you get into bed," he explains. "The sleep time is the totality of all time spent sleeping in that bed until you get out of it."
Work backward to give yourself between seven and nine hours of sleep. Then, don't let yourself get into bed until it's time to sleep.
Get up immediately when it's time to get up. This might be the hardest part, so Pelayo suggests two ideas: First, put your alarm clock (or phone) out of reach from your bed to avoid hitting "snooze," and create a routine where the first thing you do each day is enjoyable, so you'll be eager to get out of bed and do it.
I had to admit: I'm the shoemaker whose kids are barefoot when it comes to giving advice about becoming a morning person.
Heck, I'm writing this article late at night before going to bed. Although, as any parent with small kids will tell you, just because you go to bed late doesn’t mean you can get up late.
Anyway, here's the point where we reach the difference between things that are simple and things that are easy. Because according to Pelayo, anyway, the trick to training yourself to become a morning person is that you have to commit to your new schedule for at least six weeks.
"People do things for three to four days and they say, 'Oh, it didn't work,' " Pelayo told Stanford magazine. "But our brain isn't meant to have big shifts like that so quickly. You're manipulating a system for predicting the Earth's rotation."
7 other things worth knowing today
About 54.6 million people will travel 50 miles or more from home this Thanksgiving, up 1.5% over 2021 and 98% of pre-pandemic volumes. Most travelers will drive to their destinations; nearly 49 million people are expected to travel by car. (AAA)
SMART-TD, one of the largest railroad labor unions, voted down a tentative agreement with rail management, raising the likelihood of a strike in December. The BLET, the other largest union, voted to ratify the labor deal but said it will honor the picket line. (CNBC)
NASA’s Orion capsule reached the moon Monday, whipping around the far side and buzzing the lunar surface on its way to a record-breaking orbit with test dummies sitting in for astronauts. It’s the first time a capsule has visited the moon since NASA’s Apollo program 50 years ago, and represents a huge milestone in the $4.1 billion test flight that began last Wednesday. (AP)
Negotiators from nearly 200 countries agreed to establish a fund to help poor, vulnerable countries cope with climate disasters. The United States and other wealthy countries had long blocked the idea, for fear that they could be held legally liable for the greenhouse gas emissions that are driving climate change. (NYT)
I might be in the minority on this one, but I think it defies logic that airlines can charge parents extra to be guaranteed to sit next to their minor children. "If I were to leave my child with strangers for several hours in a public place," wrote a woman separated from her 3-year-old daughter, "I'd likely be reported to child services and the police. So why is that fair game on a plane?" (Insider)
A 10-year-old girl named Miracle helped her mom deliver a baby (her sister), after calling 911 and getting instructions and coaching. Baby Jayla had come three weeks early; mom, baby and Miracle are doing fine. Miracle was also awarded "a pink stork pin," which EMTs typically receive after delivering a baby in the field. (CBS News, Facebook)
I don’t have a cute animal video to share today, but this is pretty cool: A “sunlight artist” shows off how he creates his work. (Mashable/Twitter)