Night Owls vs. Early Birds: Who Can Work Longer?

I'm a night owl, and I couldn't tell you how many times I was told that I could be much more productive if only I switched my sleeping pattern to match that of early risers (I tried, by the way, and all I got was being tired all day long).

Thanks to science, night owls now have the perfect retort to the productivity myth: it turns out that they can actually work longer and focus more than early birds!

The researchers used functional magnetic resonance imaging to monitor the brain activity of early birds and night owls who spent two consecutive nights in a sleep laboratory and periodically performed a task that required sustained attention.

The results, reported in the journal Science, suggest that night owls generally outlast early birds in the length of time they can be awake before becoming mentally fatigued.

After 10 hours of being awake, the early birds showed reduced activity in brain areas linked to attention, compared to the night owls. They also felt sleepier and tended to perform more slowly on the task.


On a related note, I'm curious:


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Man... totally a night owl here.
I really wish more things were open at night... like banks, restaurants other than waffle house, etc... I'd get so much more done... I never feel like running errands or eating out until one or two in the morning...
Sometimes I get scheduled to work at 5 a.m. and it's easier for me to just stay up all night, rather than trying to go to sleep at 8 pm... which is a wholly unfathomable time to feel sleepy to me.
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Hi, i'm a bit like Miss Cellania, an early bird of the night owl family.
I usually get up at 7:15, work all day, then take care of the kids from 5 to 9 and after they go to bed work again till 1am.
I haven't found time yet to squeeze a small afternoon nap, but i'm sure it would help refocus concentration in early afternoon.
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