« early bird or night owl - which are you? | Main | my quest for the perfect camera »

or perhaps a hummingbird?

I did a little more searching on google and found an article which explains how some of us are neither early birds (larks) or night owls, but instead, hummingbirds. Here's an excerpt:

What makes some of us "night owls"--people who perk up in the evening and don't go to bed until 2 a.m. (or even later)--while others are "larks"--early birds who wake up bright-eyed and ready to go at the crack of dawn? The answer lies mostly in our internal body clock, which is largely determined by our genes. In addition to driving our 24-hour (or circadian) sleep-wake cycle, this clock regulates hormone levels, body temperature, blood pressure, alertness and performance ability.

The cycles themselves are controlled mainly by a region within the brain's hypothalamus known as the suprachiasmatic nucleus. This area responds to signals from the retina, specifically, the light that travels from our eyes to our brain, which is the most important factor in orienting our bodies to daytime alertness and night-time sleep.

But that's not the whole story. The "owl" and "lark" categories account for just about 30 percent of the population, explains Michael Smolensky, Ph.D., a professor of environmental physiology at the University of Texas School of Public Health in Houston and co-author of The Body Clock Guide to Better Health (Henry Holt & Co., 2001). Smolensky says the remaining 70 percent of us are "hummingbirds"--people who can usually adapt when they need to, though it's easier or harder to do so depending on where you fall along the body-clock continuum.

Comments (3)


Aha, lightbulb moment! I just had to drag myself out of bed at 6:30 - on a Saturday morning, what's up with that?? (Actually I had to drive Sara to work.) But it reminded me that I do love the quiet morning hours IF (the big if) I can get past the snooze button and hoist myself out of bed. But it's not a good time for me to do any kind of serious analysis at work...that's best saved for the afternoon. Early morning is for dawdling along over coffee, pondering the mysteries of the universe...you know, the abstract stuff! I must be a hummingbird - which is not a bad thing considering those are one of my favourite birds.

I definitely need the light to wake up - as I commented on Marta's blog re: daylight savings time - I would gladly give up an hour of evening light to have the sun in the morning. Rising in the dark is for the birds, man...

Glad the extra info on the hummingbirds helped. I find this whole topic quite interesting.


Yeah, that's it - I bet I'm more of a hummingbird too.

Post a comment

(If you haven't left a comment here before, you may need to be approved by the site owner before your comment will appear. Until then, it won't appear on the entry. Thanks for waiting.)

This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on February 29, 2008 9:10 PM.

The previous post in this blog was early bird or night owl - which are you?.

The next post in this blog is my quest for the perfect camera.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.