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Night Owl Or Early Bird?

Night Owl Or Early Bird?

Night Owl Or Early Bird?


Ever wondered at what time of day you hit your stride? Or felt - that despite efforts to rise and shine - your best ideas come to you after sunset?

With our circadian rhythms adjusting to working from home, it might help to give some thought to your natural patterns of productivity. Daniel H. Pink, author of When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing, points to research in the field of chronobiology: “an attempt to understand biological rhythms of life and how they relate to psychology and economics.

“What these fields have together shown us is that our brain power doesn’t remain static over the course of the day. It changes in a significant way between daily peak brain function and lowest brain function.

Using this information, we can infer that the best time to do a certain activity depends on what that activity is—as well as your chronotype.”

Not everyone’s body clock is the same. Take this questionnaire by the Sleep Health Foundation to evaluate your best time to sleep, wake up, eat, exercise and learn:


A. Read each question carefully
B. Answer each question as honestly as possible. Do not go back and check your answers. Your first response is usually the most accurate.
C. Answer ALL questions.


1. What time would you get up if you were entirely free to plan your day?

 Time Score
5:00 6:29 am 5
6:30 7:44 am  4
7:45 9:44 am 3
9:45 10:59 am  2
11:00 11:59 am    1
Midday 5:00 am  0


2. What time would you go to bed if you were entirely free to plan your evening?

 Time Score
8:00 8:59 pm 5
9:00 – 10:14 pm 4
10:15 pm – 12:29 am 3
12:30 – 1:44 am 2
1:45 – 2:59 am    1
3:00 am – 8:00 pm  0


3. If there is a specific time at which you have to get up in the morning, to what extent do you depend on being woken up by an alarm clock?

Not at all dependent  4
Slightly dependent 3
Fairly dependent 2
Very dependent  1


4. How easy do you find it to get up in the morning (when you are not woken up unexpectedly)?

Not at all easy 4
Not very easy 3
Fairly easy 2
Very easy 1


5. How alert do you feel during the first half hour after you wake up in the morning?

Not at all alert 1
Slightly alert 2
Fairly alert 3
Very alert 4


6. How hungry do you feel during the first half-hour after you wake up in the morning? 

Not at all hungry 1
Slightly hungry 2
Fairly hungry 3
Very hungry 4


7. During the first half-hour after you wake up in the morning, how tired do you feel?

Very tired 1
Fairly tired 2
Fairly refreshed 3
Very refreshed 4


8. If you have no commitment the next day, what time would you go to bed compared to your usual bedtime?

Seldom or never later 4
Less than one hour later 3
1-2 hours later 2
More than two hours later 1

9. You have decided to engage in some physical exercise. A friend suggests that you do this for one hour twice a week and the best time for him/her is between 7:00 – 8:00 am. Bearing in mind nothing but your own internal “clock”, how do you think you would perform?

Would be in good form 4
Would be in reasonable form 3
Would find it difficult 2
Would find it very difficult 1

10. At what time of day do you feel you become tired as a result of need for sleep?

 Time Score
8:00 8:59 pm 5
9:00 10:14 pm 4
10:15 pm 12:44 am 3
12:45 1:59 am 2
2:00 3:00 am 1



Scores can range from 8 - 43. Scores of 21 and below indicate “evening types”. Scores of 33 and above indicate “morning types”. Scores between 22 and 32 indicate “intermediate types”.

 Definite - Evening Moderate Evening Intermediate Moderate Morning Moderate - Definite Morning
8 - 16 17 - 22 23 - 30 31 - 37 38 - 43

Prepared by Dr Sarah Biggs, The Ritchie Centre, Monash University 2015. Source: Horne JA and Östberg O. (1976). The above is an abridged adaptation of the complete self-assessment questionnaire to determine morningness-eveningness in human circadian rhythms. International Journal of Chronobiology. 4:97-100. © Sleep Health Foundation.