So, you have just learned that you are an evening person? Yes, "eveningness": that is what we call night owls, those who say they are "evening people". The world's population is estimated to be 25% late-nighters like you and 25% early-nighters. The other half? The lucky ones who can adapt to all bedtimes, more or less...
So, what exactly does it mean to be an evening person? Why do we need to study our chronotype to find out?
What is a chronotype?
Early risers, late-nighters... We all have our own sleep habits and preferences. All this is set to music by our biological clock based on a circadian rhythm, i.e., a cyclical rhythm of about 24 hours. This is called the chronotype: the way in which our energy peaks are regulated according to the time of day.
- Some have a morningness chronotype: more comfortable waking up early and more productive at the beginning of the day, they have difficulty staying up late in the evening.
- Others (like you) have an eveningness chronotype: they are used to getting up late and going to bed late, are often tired when they wake up and have their peak energy at the end of the day.
- And others have an intermediate (or "neutral") chronotype: these people are just as comfortable waking up early as late and do not suffer from changes in habit.
There are many factors influencing your circadian rhythm and therefore determine your chronotype.
How to be an evening person
Knowing your chronotype allows you to better understand your internal clock! Have you always had trouble waking up for school or work? Is it impossible for you to concentrate before the end of the morning? Do you like to do sport after work? Now you know why: your "eveningness" chronotype has shaped your habits over time.
What are the advantages of being a night owl?
Researchers say you have a higher IQ.
The Savanna Principle, a theory of evolutionary psychology by author Satoshi Kanazawa, tells us that "the human brain has difficulty comprehending and dealing with entities and situations that did not exist in the ancestral environment. Individuals who are more adaptable to evolutionary changes in their environment would therefore, according to this principle, be more intelligent. Now, nocturnal activities have of course developed with the arrival of candles and then electric lights. That is why researchers think that people who are active and productive in the evening are more intelligent! So, you can show off during a party... This is developed in this study.
You are more creative.
A study by Italian Marina Giampietro at the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart in Milan shows that living "outside" the conventional norms boosts the brain and promotes creativity. This is what happens with people who go to bed beyond conventional hours. "Being in a situation diverging from convention, as nocturnal people often do, encourages the development of an unconventional mind and the ability to find original alternatives and solutions", says the researcher, published in the scientific journal Personality and Individual Differences.
You stay focused longer.
This time, it was the University of Liege in Belgium that highlighted this other advantage of being an evening person. After equipping early risers and late-nighters with sensors, the researchers measured the brain activity of the two teams 10.5 hours after their respective awakenings. They found that, unlike evening people, morning people had a decrease in brain activity in the regions related to attention.
Your energy peaks come at appropriate moments.
The biological clock of evening people is programmed to deliver a peak of energy at the end of the day. We see two major advantages in this! In the situation where you work in an office with several colleagues, most of them will have left the office at around 5pm... Just when you feel most productive! It is well known that the evening or even the night is often a much more peaceful time to work, away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Second advantage: unlike morning people who often burn off most of their energy before noon, you will never drop dead, exhausted before the evening.
Whether you are a morning or evening person, the most important thing is that you feel perfectly rested when you come out of sleep and that you listen to your chronotype. Because the real key to success is not having more IQ or creativity than your neighbour, it is being aware of your biological clock and what your body requires to perform.
You have not yet taken our test to find out what your chronotype is? That's riiiiiight here!
 The epidemiology of morningness/eveningness: influence of age, gender, ethnicity, and socioeconomic factors in adults (30-49 years), Sarah-Jane Paine, Philippa H Gander, Noemie Travier
 Study conducted at the University of Liege by Christina Schmidt and Philippe Peigneux