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July 9th, 2009
07:40 AM ET

Study: Night owls may benefit from evening strength

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/07/09/woman.sick.bed.art.jpg caption="Some people who appear to have insomnia are biologically night owls, one expert says."]

(CNN) - If you have a hard time crawling out of bed in the morning, it could be that your body is biologically programmed to start the day later.

Experts say a spectrum of natural sleeping and waking rhythms exists, ranging from extreme morning people to extreme "night owls."

A new study examines how morning people compare with night owls on a strength test and looks at what other physiological processes may contribute to their performance.

Researchers tested participants' leg muscle strength at various points in the day. They looked at nine "early birds" and nine "night owls," who were classified as such based on a questionnaire.

Surprisingly, morning people's strength tends to remain constant throughout the day, but night owls have peak performance in the evening, said researchers from the University of Alberta in Canada.

"We thought that morning people would be better at this in the morning, but they never changed," said study co-author Olle Lagerquist, a Ph.D. candidate in neurophysiology at the University of Alberta.

That may be because evening people show increased motor cortex and spinal cord excitability in the evening, about 9 p.m., meaning they had maximal central nervous system drive at that time, Lagerquist said.

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Filed under: Health
soundoff (4 Responses)
  1. Carol Ann Marx

    Thank you for sharing this interesting study. I am a morning person and I live with two teenage boys who definitely have "delayed sleep phase.". I am extremely interested in this. The result of this study proves that high schoolers should start school a bit later. I have much trouble waking them in the morning! I was very lucky because both my boys were good sleepers as infants. I am wondering whether
    they will be "night owls" as they get older. As a mother and a teacher, I am definitely glad that I am a morning person. In fact, I've been up since 6:00 and have already done a day's work!

    July 9, 2009 at 8:57 am |
  2. michael armstrong sr.

    these so called night owls are from the animal species all right but there known as party animals – Vamps – and night people roming the streets at night in the cover of darkness in order to hide from the dog patrol while seeking out drugs and sex and just before dawn they sneak back into mom and dads house and sleep all day crying about not feeling well .

    July 9, 2009 at 8:51 am |
  3. Tommy aka Shadow-Reaper

    I watched this in the morning right before i went to my regularly scheduled bedtime @ 7am. I have always been a night owl since 4th grade. I've pretty much tried everything to change it and could never get it. Ive lost jobs because of it. I eventually thought the army would help out with it and it did, but i still found myself going to sleep late and getting foced up early. I deployed and eventually found myself pulling alot more midnight guard duty then daytime towers. Midnight chow deployed was always like dinner for me. I got a job working night service doing plumbing in chicago and like my lifestyle. I go to sleep at 7am, sleep til 1pm. Go to work @ 3pm and stay up till 7am. My wife doesnt mind. She wakes up and goes to work while i am still awake. Get home from work to tuck her in bed from falling asleep at the couch watching a movie.

    July 9, 2009 at 8:01 am |
  4. Christina

    TOLD YOU!

    July 9, 2009 at 7:52 am |