5 Ways to Tell If You’re an Early Bird or a Night Owl

Recently a new survey was conducted by OnePoll on behalf of sleep experts Sleepopolis that sampled the bedtime habits of 2,000 American adults. Half of the people involved in the survey were self-confessed early birds, while the other half were proud night owls.

While it revealed some interesting traits that may or may not be completely accurate, it naturally led readers to consider whether they are an early bird or a night owl themselves.

Not everyone can be a Mark Wahlberg or Dwayne Johnson getting out of bed at 2.30am and 4.30am respectively. Those who struggle with rising early tend to come into their own later in the day.

If you’re not sure whether you’re a day or night person, we’ve listed some of the key tell-tale signs below to help you decide if you’re an early bird or a night owl.


Grabbing five more minutes

Rather than springing your eyes open to face the day, if you prefer to give yourself ‘five more minutes’ of shut-eye, then it’s fair to say you are probably a night owl. Early birds will have no problem waking up naturally and getting themselves into the bathroom and beyond. There’s no lying around in bed, or closing their eyes just to ‘rest them’ for a few extra minutes. They are up and about without any problem. For night owls, on the other hand, it’s almost a battle of wills between the mind and body as to who will win in the morning.

Lying in bed for a little longer

In most cases night owls will take their time opening their eyes and putting a foot outside of the bed. They usually need anywhere between 15-20 minutes extra to adjust and to fully wake up to start thinking about what needs to be done for the day. Some night owls might just lie in bed for a while taking it easy, while others will pick up their phones and start looking at emails and social media – there’s no right or wrong here, it’s always a case of what works best for the individual.

Using multiple alarms

If the sound of one alarm isn’t enough to wake you from your slumber then you can consider yourself a nocturnal creature. Thankfully, smartphones make it easier to set a series of alarms that can go off exactly when you need – so you won’t be late for work or any other important places you have to be in the morning. The use of multiple alarms ties in directly with the idea of grabbing five more minutes of sleep – if you need a piece of technology to keep reminding you it’s time to wake up and get out of bed then you are definitely not a day person.

You come alive at night

It makes sense that early birds are more ready to attack the day by being active and productive from the off. On the other hand, it also means the opposite for night owls. Although it takes a little longer for them to get into gear, while morning people are taking it easy at home in the evening, night owls are in full flow. They are essentially reversing the schedule so it finishes later in the day – but remember, there are 24 hours for a reason so there is plenty of time to get things done successfully.

Breakfast is not a big deal

Most morning people tend to understand the importance of breakfast and build time into their day to ensure they eat properly to give them the fuel they need to power on. If you are not a morning person you are more likely to grab something quick without too much fuss, or maybe even skip it completely as it seems like too much effort. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with grabbing something quick to eat as time often appears to disappear quickly in the morning and you still have two meals in the day to enjoy to the fullest!


Waking up without a problem

An early bird will find it easy to open their eyes and focus on what needs to be done next in the morning. In fact, their body clocks are usually so regimented that they may not even need an alarm to remind them it’s time to get up at all. There’s no hitting snooze on your smartphone, or turning over only to snuggle deeper into the pillow. Energy levels are high right away for morning people and they tend not to want to waste it by having a lie in.

Early workout regimes

If you are the type of person who loves nothing more than hitting the gym before work, or pounding the streets for a brisk 5k run while the birds are just coming alive in the trees, then there is little doubt you are a morning person. Night owls will find the energy to get their exercising done later in the day, but if your energy levels are high in the morning it makes sense to burn off some calories to keep yourself in good shape. An early workout regime allows people to keep their momentum going and tackle the day ahead knowing their mind and body is in great working order.

Feeling more productive

In general terms, morning people are no more productive than those who get into gear later in the day. However, a morning person will feel ready to get more stuff done earlier on as they are motivated and eager to get to work on their to-do list. Most early birds feel the daytime is when you should complete your important tasks, rather than using hours later in the day when they prefer to be winding down – and usually getting ready to hit the sack early.

Going to bed early

A night owl couldn’t think of anything worse than climbing into bed before 10pm. But for an early bird it is essential to keeping up their early-to-rise routine. Morning people will find they have high energy levels earlier in the day, which will also naturally dip earlier. Getting enough sleep is hugely important to a morning person as they don’t want to feel groggy or slow the next day. They tend to feel by starting the day early you get more done, so if this sounds like you, it’s safe to say you are definitely not a night owl.

Cheerful and happy in the morning

If you go to bed early and wake up early chances are you are going to feel rested and on-top of the world. When you go into work you’re the one saying hello to everyone, ready to hold a full conversation and not trying your best to avoid human contact. This is especially noticeable during the winter, when the chirpy early bird isn’t affected by the cold air, overcast skies and rainy wet days like everyone else. Night owls tend to come alive later in the day, perhaps around the same time that early birds are starting to flag a little.


According to research carried out by the Sleep Council, anyone age 18-65 should aim to get an average of 7-9 hours of sleep each night. Of course, everyone is different and we each require different levels depending on our routines, but it easy to forget the difference between the amount of sleep we need to remain healthy and how much we can ‘get by’ on.

Whether you are an early bird or night owl the most important thing is that you get a good night’s sleep. How you prepare for bed plays a vitally important role in allowing you to get the most from your time under your duvet. Our list below offers some helpful suggestions:

  • Make sure the bedroom is quiet, cool and dark
    Keep out as much natural light as possible at nighttime. Also keep use of TVs, smartphones and electronic devices to a minimum. An eye mask might also prove to be useful. Keep noise to a minimum so you have as few disruptions as possible. Earplugs can be helpful to block out external sound. Keeping the room cool will also ensure your body temperature doesn’t get too high so you become restless. You will also need a good mattress, pillows and a well-made bedframe to support you so you can sleep for longer.
  • Establish a daily routine
    Creating a routine that you stick to each day teaches your body to prepare for bed. Going to bed and waking up at the same time will create a pattern your body is then ready to stick to.
  • No more late-night food or alcohol
    Eating heavy food or drinking alcohol shortly before bedtime can have a bad effect on your ability to sleep. At the very least, try to restrict these to at least a few hours before bed.
  • Bed preparation
    Doing the same things each night will also make a big difference. From going to the toilet before bed, brushing your teeth at the same time of night, or taking deep breaths to help your relax, preparation is everything when it comes to bedtime.
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