Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Early Bird or Night Owl? WORK; for Some, Creative Juices Flow at the Crack of Dawn but for Others It's All about the Midnight Hour. So Which Time Tribe Are You, Asks Susannah Butter

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Early Bird or Night Owl? WORK; for Some, Creative Juices Flow at the Crack of Dawn but for Others It's All about the Midnight Hour. So Which Time Tribe Are You, Asks Susannah Butter

Article excerpt

Byline: Susannah Butter

ARE you a Michelle or a Barack? AWe're not talking toned upper arms here -- what divides them is when they work best. Michelle is a member of team early bird, up at 4.30am to work out, while the President is a night owl who often works well into the evening, sleeping for just four hours.

This paper's editor, Sarah Sands, once wrote: "If you boiled down all the selfhelp books in the world and added the wisdom of Solomon, you couldn't improve on these three words: get up early." But some seem to be doing well by ignoring the "you snooze, you lose" maxim -- it's tired anyway. Simon Cowell has admitted he doesn't get out of bed before 11am: "I think being creative in the morning is virtually impossible," he says. "I've never had a good idea in the morning."

Of course, we can't all pick our working hours. Professor of classics Mary Beard told the Standard: "I think it must be a luxury to decide whether you are going to get up and work early, or stay up and work late. There are a lot of us who have to do both; no choice." But she admits the appeal of being in team lark: "I do think there is a certain pleasure (smugness?) to cracking through things early. You've done the email backlog, marked three essays and finished writing your lecture and it's still only 8.15! That feels good."

A study by Milan University found night owls tend to be more creative and extroverted than their morning lark counterparts. But before workers make the case to bosses that they shouldn't have to be at their desks before 11am, studies at the University of Sydney suggest night owls tend to be more selfish, cunning and narcissistic.

It could be genetic, according to research. "Changing type can be tough," says Christoph Randler, a biology professor at the University of Education in Heidelberg, Germany. Half of your chronotype is determined by genetics. Just changing the hour you wake may not change your inherent "morning-ness" or "evening-ness".

Russell Norman, who coowns and operates five restaurants in central London, including Polpo, says he successfully readjusted. "I used to work late at night, but when I was writing the Polpo book, I was struggling to find time in the day to fit it in. …

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