When you ask people: “How much sleep do you need?” the answers vary usually from 5 hours to 10 hours, with females usually reporting the need for more sleep than men and younger people needing more sleep than older ones.
Another difference between people is what hours are used for sleep. The “morning person” (yep, I am guilty of being one of those) may wake up 4 AM but in bed by 11 PM. The “night owl” may go to bed 1AM or later but not get out of bed until 9 or 10 in the morning.
Here are a few reasons why the “morning person” may have more success at long-term weight control than “night owls”:
- More time for exercise
For most people, exercise is easier to accomplish in the mornings before work as opposed to finding the energy/time after work.
- Less night time snacking
The night owl has much more opportunity to snack on derailing food sources when they are reading, watching shows and/or spending time on the computer.
- More daylight exposure increases ghrelin production
Ghrelins are body chemicals that are natural appetite suppressants. Studies have shown that people that have more early morning daylight exposure produce more ghrelins.
- Better chances of eating a healthier breakfast
The night owl may not eat his/her first meal until noon whereas the morning person has a much greater chance of getting an SP-compatible breakfast in before 8 or 9 AM.
The task of converting from a “night owl” to a morning person is not an easy one as years of being ensconced in a certain pattern of “sleep/wake” hours will make it very difficult to change. If you are a “night owl” and are battling weight control issues, look at some of the reasons outlined above and if they apply to you, develop solutions to offset these behaviors.
Morning people: If you are not taking advantage of some of the “benefits” outlined above, then get to it!