The lark – a small diurnal songbird – rises early and is active during the day, whereas the owl – a large nocturnal bird – is active at night.
Psychology Today has documented a recent study on chronotypes – whether a person is a morning person (up with the lark) or a late night person (to bed with the owl) and who they attract as partners.
Many studies have been previously conducted on personality traits, but there has been limited studies on chronotypes. Chronotypical behaviour is a preference for rising early or going to bed late. Morning people are called larks (and they reach peak performance early in the day) and late night people are called owls (who perform well in the afternoon or evening).
However, there is a continuum, with most people clustering around the middle – a neutral chronotype.
Sometimes work dictates whether people are early risers or late sleepers, according to shift-work or profession.
Polish psychologist Paulina Jocz and her colleagues at the University of Warsaw conducted the study on chronotypes and who they attract. They recruited 91 couples (182 people) who had been together for at least 6 months.
The study showed that there is a biological component to chronotypes, but chronotypes change with age – young children tend to be larks, and shift to become owls as adults, and back to larks in later adulthood.
The study also showed a gender difference, with more females tending to be larks and more males tending to be owls.
Overall, the study found that health outcomes were better for larks than for owls. Larks had fewer health issues, less incidences of depression, and reported higher levels of subjective well-being.
Larks, morning people, tended to marry larks, whereas owls, night people, tended to marry owls.
There were no differences in the number of happy versus unhappy couples between the participants, even if larks married owls – a happy couple is a happy couple whether their chronotypes are the same or different.
Photographer: Martina Nicolls
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