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What’s your chronotype? otherwise known as earlybirds v. night owls

12 November 2021

I was writing a newsletter about how jangled I feel after the time change this week, when I realized that half the battle for me is that I chose this week to “flip” my daily schedule. Just like me to forget all about the time change and make another big change at a time when I'm going to feel dazed and jet-lagged.

So I went down a bit of a rabbit hole, researching this idea that there are people who work best in the morning and people who work best in the evening. Our corporate 9-5 is more or less kinder to the morning people, I believe, although I think there must be a lot of early birds out there who absolutely loathe having to get any work done after lunch. I'm a writer, so I get to set my hours…kind of. I do have to live in the world, and it runs on 9-5 much of the time.

Here's a great article from The New York Times about the different chronotypes. I tried to make the link shareable, since I do have a paid subscription with the Times and am able to share ten articles per month. (At some point the link does expire, though.) It's focused on how people in the same workspace can get along better with others who have different chronotypes. I found the article useful because my husband is definitely a morning person, and he can barely keep his eyes open after 9:30 at night, when I'm feeling gregarious!

One thing that I found helpful is this questionnaire. I filled it out and was fascinated by the reply, which stated that my “natural” bedtime is probably 12:45 am. Fascinating! This is earlier than I would have thought, but then I have to admit that when I wait until I am sleepy, I often don't get enough sleep, because I consistently wake up at the same time the next day no matter what time I get to bed.

Here's my report:

Screen Shot 2021-11-11 at 7.40.18 PM.png

That little detail at the bottom about light therapy and Seasonal Affective Disorder was fascinating, too! I have always suspected that I suffer from SAD. I was born and raised in Honolulu, so it makes sense, right? But I really only have about one serious bout of the blues per year. It's usually some time in January and lasts only for a few days. It's never been enough for me to seek counseling or treatment, and I have some sunlamps that I try to turn on during the winter to try to ward off that one episode (not sure if it works–maybe I would have more episodes otherwise?).

If you are one of those people who suffers from SAD in the darker months of the year, you might try this questionnaire out to see if the feedback is useful for you. And even if not–no matter which chronotype you are, you probably know people who are your opposite. It helps to know that we're just born this way and that we can all make some simple adjustments so that we can live and work together better.

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