Your Internal Clock Is At War With Society

SleepingAn interesting read for night owls and early birds alike. As Robert T. Gonzalez writes on io9.com:

Just because you sleep later than your early rising friends doesn’t mean you sleep longer than they do; nor does it make you lazier. And yet, the association between the time of day that a person wakes up and how proactive or driven they are is just one example of the many preconceptions that society upholds regarding sleep and productivity.

But here’s the problem: these expectations might actually be working against us.

In his recently published book, Internal time: Chronotypes, Social Jet Lag and Why You’re So Tired, German chronobiologist Till Roenneberg provides numerous examples of how social expectations surrounding time may be having a detrimental effect on large sections of the human population. Over on Brain Pickings, Maria Popova walks us through one of Roenneberg’s examples, wherein he examines the clash between adolescents’ sleep cycles and the starting times of typical school days…

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  • Sheep Counter

    This is sooo me.  I get my best sleep between 5am and 12pm. Then I’m golden for the rest of the day and night. However, if I go to sleep at 10pm and wake up at 7am I feel exhausted the whole day. Even if I get half the number of hours of sleep in the 5am to 12pm time frame. I still feel far better than if I got twice as much sleep on a “normal” sleep schedule. It’s like a sweet spot for sleeping, everyone must have their own. I just wish mine didn’t conflict with what the rest of the world considers a normal sleep schedule.  

  • Tuna Ghost

    Love the picture.  I have also spent an inordinate amount of time passed out on a tokyo subway car.

  • Mr Willow

    Considering my internal clock has a broken spring (insomnia) I agree. 

    However, from a more broad perspective, I consider partial blame to be placed upon the fact that we have ‘societal expectations’ for such a thing to begin with. Rather than have individuals wake and work at times that are appropriate for them, they are required to conform to the schedules and plans given to them by others. 

    Those that love mornings will arise and toil in a labour beneficial to them, and while they awaken, I (and others) will drift to sleep (maybe), and wake much later, to work at night, in a task beneficial to me—meaning society would never really stop, since large portions of the population would always be awake. The only real difference there would be, in relation to education, would be a larger emphasis on night school.