Some people seem better off going to bed late and getting up late, while others go to bed early and hop out of bed ready to go at the break of day. Scientists in Germany say they’ve found out why that difference exists, and believe these differences can unlock why some night owls are more prone to depression and can suffer from a form of chronic jet lag.
Researchers from Aachen University in Germany believe approximately 10-percent of people can be categorized as ‘morning people,’ while around 20-percent are true night owls and find themselves staying up late without any effort. The remaining 70-percent are intermediate sleepers with relatively normal body clocks.
Researchers at the university scanned the brains of 20 intermediate sleepers as well as 16 early birds and 23 night owls. They found a reduction in the integrity of the night owl’s white matter in areas of the human brain associated with depression.
The scientists believe it could be possible that the gene differences responsible for pushing body clocks towards nocturnal living could affect the physical structure of the brain – although they are not sure if any changes impact on a person’s health.
If you’re a night owl who finds him or herself needing to switch to a more “early bird” schedule, check out this SleepBetter article, which describes a technique that can successfully help you make the switch: Camping: A Cure for the Night Owl.