There are two types of people in this world: those who love to be up at the crack of dawn and those who love to go sleep just before it. At least that’s the premise of a new study.
Christoph Randler, a biologist at the University of Heidelberg in Germany, recently surveyed 367 students and found that those who are identified as morning people are more likely to exhibit traits that typically lead to success, compared to night owls.
“When it comes to business success, morning people hold the important cards. My earlier research showed that they tend to get better grades in school, which get them into better colleges, which then lead to better job opportunities,” Randler explained this month in the Harvard Business Review.
Beyond this, morning people often “anticipate problems and try to minimize them,” which further improves their chances of overcoming obstacles and being successful. In a word, Randler describes morning people as being more “proactive” than their nocturnal counterparts.
So does this mean you should shift your sleeping schedule earlier if you want to be successful in life? The answer depends in part on what kind of success you want to have. Randler found that while morning people may be more accomplished in business, night owls may be more successful socially and in creative endeavors outside the “typical corporate schedule.”
Several studies have shown that whether you are a morning person or a night owl is largely determined by genetics, but as anyone who has ever worked a job with crazy hours knows, it is still possible to change your sleeping habits if necessary. As Randler notes, there’s no guarantee that doing so will change your personality to be more like a night owl or morning person, as this too may be determined by genetics or something deep inside us. However, if you do force yourself to wake up earlier, there is a good chance that you will end up being more productive during the course of a day, which may be just as a good.