Are You An Early Bird Or A Night Owl? Your Sleep-Wake Cycle Affects Your Career Path

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July 2, 2013 ‐ By Kimberly Gedeon

Whether you’re a songbird or a belligerent zombie in the morning, your affinity for waking up early predicts your career path. According to a study conducted by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, your sleep-wake cycle forecasts your life occupation and “long-term job performance”, reports Bellingham Herald.

Students considered to be night owls had high “eveningness” scores; they tend to choose majors that involve the performance arts, information systems, and media studies. Working in these fields requires waking up later in the day. On the flip side, Brown says that students with high “morningness” scores lean towards careers that require early-morning enthusiasm, such as the healthcare industry.

“If a night owl avoids early-morning classes, and all pre-med chemistry classes are taught at 8 a.m., it’s unlikely that student will choose to become a doctor,” adds Bellingham.

College students who dodge 8 a.m. classes tend to miss out on core prerequisites for advanced courses that are often scheduled in the morning. Additionally, early classes are usually smaller in size because it takes a great deal of motivation to drag one’s exhausted body out of bed and into the classroom. As a result, there is a greater teacher-student interaction for a better learning experience.

Most students do a great deal of research on the major they’re interested in. Not only are students figuring out what the career entails, but they also are very attentive about what time they would have to be up for work.

Leigh Branham, a consultant with Keeping People Inc., an organization that helps improve the workplace atmosphere, said that it’s not optimal for an employee’s well-being to choose a career that contradicts one’s sleep-wake cycle.

“It’s bad for your health and for employee engagement to have night or day shift work if you’re not set up for it,” Branham said, “It’s a vicious cycle when sleep problems and stress interfere with job performance.”

Studies suggest that night owls should readjust their cycles to become early birds. According to Forbes, morning people earned higher GPAs than those who are nocturnal, which leads them to better job opportunities.

“About half the population are daytime people, about one-quarter are moderate to extreme morning types, and about one-quarter are moderate to extreme evening types,” Frederick Brown, author of the study, told Bellingham.

Has your “morningness” or “eveningness” affected your career choice?

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