Only the invention of the EEG in 1924 by the German psychiatrist Hans Berger paved the way for scientific research on sleep, its essence and what we actually need. Thanks to the recording of brain waves during physiological sleep, the existence of periodic occurrence of individual sleep phases has been confirmed.
Despite this, even in the 70s of the last century, researchers could not give a definite answer to the question of what sleep is. The sentence coined by Alan Richchaffen, the founder of modern sleep medicine, sounded like a motto for decades to come: If sleep does not perform a crucial function, then it is the biggest mistake evolution has ever made.
what is the dream?
Sleep is a time characterized by a reversible loss of consciousness usually in the hours associated with darkness, that is, at night.
There are several types of human sleep. The so-called non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep begins with light sleep, during which we fall asleep. The next stage is intermediate sleep, which over time turns into deep sleep, during which we slow down our activity by up to 80%. At the end of this sleep block, REM sleep appears, in which the brain works more intensely, and the symptoms of this are, among other things, dreams and the body flabby. In general, we need about two hours of deep sleep for the body to rejuvenate, but all types of sleep and the right amount of sleep are essential for health and well-being. The whole cycle, i.e. light sleep – deep sleep – REM sleep, lasts from 60 to 120 minutes. An adult should sleep three to five of these cycles per night, or six to eight hours.
It’s the ideal sleep paradigm, and in fact, many people have their own way of sleeping.
Positive and negative
This chart is not suitable for night owls or early birds. Many people extend their activity into the night hours, but wake up late. People who sleep late are called night owls or owls in the evening chronotype.
Some people, on the contrary, go to bed earlier and start the day before. An accelerated bedtime characterizes early risers, the morning chronotype, and despite the fact that it’s a very small percentage of our population, let’s be honest, this is the group the rest of the world would envy.
what’s the problem?
Our world is structured in such a way that it favors people who get up in the morning, and it is estimated that the extreme morning type is about 2% of the population. Shops, offices, banks and above all schools open at eight in the morning. We usually work from 8-16 or 10-18. Such a system imposes a compulsion to be early. Coaches convince us that the key to success is getting up early.
Waking up late can also translate, and not necessarily positively, to relationships with your partner and family.
Joanna is definitely a precocious precocious, her mother a keen night owl. When Joanna and her family visit her parents on the weekends, her mother appears to wake up around noon and is “recovered” by 2pm. At four o’clock there is a communal dinner prepared by Joanna, and for my mother it is the first meal of the day. The kids go to bed first, around 8 am, followed by the rest of the family two hours later. When everyone is asleep, the owl starts to work, finishing between three and four in the morning.
It is not easy to work opposite temporal patterns under one roof. Different activity times require a lot of tolerance.
The stress of getting up in the morning
Agata is a typical night owl. She feels discriminated against because of this, she constantly receives negative comments. – Even the therapist with whom I tried to talk about the fact that getting up early is associated with a lot of stress for me and causes digestive upsets, did not show sympathy, – says Agata. “She told me the only thing she wished she could do was get up early to get to work at eleven. I’ve changed my address, but recently an older neighbor was surprised to see me in the shop so early, and asked if I’d really found a job.
At night, Agata tries to finish her requests. It’s impossible to explain it to everyone, and negative comments hurt her. People with an evening time pattern have a reputation for being lazy, especially if it ruins their career.
What does the timeline say about us?
Early risers are clearly more active in the morning and before noon. They can wake up without an alarm.
In 2017, three American scientists—Michael Rosbash, Jeffrey C. Hall, and MW Young—received the Nobel Prize for their discovery of the molecular mechanisms that control the circadian rhythm. It has been known for centuries that all living things adapt their behavior to the rhythm of light and dark. – These three scientists, who studied the genotype of fruit flies in the 80s and 90s, discovered that certain genes are responsible for regulating the circadian rhythm of this fly – explains Aleksandra Werzbica, MD, PhD from the Institute of Psychiatry and Neuroscience in Warsaw. This discovery also allowed us to understand the mechanisms of the biological clock in humans.
Night owls admire people who go to work at seven in the morning. However, they are not the only bad ones. Early risers get up while the rest of the world sleeps peacefully. Yes, they are ready to work immediately after waking up, but they get tired faster and after ten hours of waking up they are already tired.
This way of working does not mean you are the morning time type. It may just be a love of regularity.
While the rest of the world sleeps
There are two types of nocturnal people. One of them is the classic night owl, which works best at night. Then you will be more productive than during the day. Owls strength is creativity and much more time when they can focus. They are the soul of the company. Often night owls are artists, musicians, and writers.
Another type of morning sleeper is someone who often naps during the day. He doesn’t get out of bed in the morning until he hits the snooze button a few times. This person delays falling asleep because he cannot be found in bed at the time he wants. He surfs social media, watches an episode of his favorite series or drifts deep into YouTube. The evening stretches out as long as possible.
It is not necessarily a night owl. – It can be said that such a person has an unregulated circadian rhythm or a wake-sleep rhythm, – explains Dr. Werzbecka. Obviously, this kind of disorganization is the result of bad habits and unhealthy lifestyles.
Both early risers and night owls live in harmony with their own circadian rhythm, known as the internal sleep-wake rhythm. However, the brand’s night stand looks much worse when he has to get up in the morning. In the mornings he gets tired, runs on the run, often skips breakfast, and is late for a meeting anyway.
– People who suffer from evening chronotype are more impulsive, hyperactive, have attention disorders, more aggressive behavior, and often suffer from depression and anxiety disorders – Dr.
On a personal level, evening types are more apt to procrastinate than morning types, i.e. putting off a major project until the last minute, even though there is plenty of time to complete it. The evening type actually prefers to perform their duties in the midday and evening hours, and they often inadvertently push their sleep times later or later, and this leads to a disorder called delayed sleep phase syndrome.
The biological clock versus the alarm clock
Our active time, and therefore our personality traits, are determined by our genes and there’s not much we can do about it.
Studies focusing on the circadian rhythm are still ongoing, and there is currently no clear answer as to whether you can change from a genetic lark to an owl and vice versa, although it is probably easier to go from an early bird to a night owl. – Of course, turning into a night owl is difficult or even impossible, – says Dr. Wierzbicka. – The morning chronotype is also conditioned by the subjective biological clock and attempts to deceive it are possible, but it will be associated with a bad mood.
In addition to genes, several other factors are responsible for sleep abnormalities. At the end of the nineteenth century, people fell asleep at about the same time (this sensation can be observed today in Ghana, whose inhabitants go to bed at ten in the evening). This is mainly due to the spread of artificial light, which in the 20th century caused social and cultural changes and disrupted our biological clocks. The blue light emitted from laptops, TVs, tablets and smartphones used in the evening inhibits melatonin secretion and thus shifts bedtime into later hours. A similar effect is caused by eating late, heavy meals, being physically active in the gym in the late evening hours, working shifts, or frequent changes in time zones.
Just being a night owl is not a cause for concern. It’s even worse when you have to go to work at eight in the morning. The choice to go to bed early and count sheep in the hope of falling asleep faster and waking up in the morning without the alarm clock ringing can lead to insomnia. Rather, it is worth considering such a job so that you can fall asleep on the night vigil in the morning.
Consulting: Aleksandra Wierzbicka, MD, PhD – Specialist in the field of neurology, certified as an expert in sleep medicine by the Polish Sleep Research Society. It deals with the diagnosis and treatment of sleep disorders, and conducts research on narcolepsy and the treatment of hypersomnia.
Echo Richards embodies a personality that is a delightful contradiction: a humble musicaholic who never brags about her expansive knowledge of both classic and contemporary tunes. Infuriatingly modest, one would never know from a mere conversation how deeply entrenched she is in the world of music. This passion seamlessly translates into her problem-solving skills, with Echo often drawing inspiration from melodies and rhythms. A voracious reader, she dives deep into literature, using stories to influence her own hardcore writing. Her spirited advocacy for alcohol isn’t about mere indulgence, but about celebrating life’s poignant moments.