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Are Early Birds More Punctual?

Early Bird

I often wonder if being a morning person is something I’ve learned how to be, or is it inbuilt within me. As a child, I used to swim regularly, and so most mornings would involve a very early start to be in the pool by 6am to do 90 minutes of training before heading to school.  If we overslept and staggered onto poolside late and bleary eyed we’d usually get sent home by our coach. It helped to develop not only a liking for early mornings but an appreciation of being punctual.

See Also: 5 Best Jobs for Early Birds

Are the two things linked in some way? Are early birds more inclined towards punctuality than their night owl peers? That was the question posed by a recent study that looked into the relative punctuality of early birds and night owls. While it seems like a relatively obvious question to ponder, the researchers suggest that this is in fact the first time that it has been specifically studied.

Night owl versus early bird

So which came out on top?  Well, the researchers compiled a group of 300 participants and asked them to arrive for a 8.15am assignment. The researchers noted the arrival time of each person, after which they were given a survey to complete. The survey was designed to measure things such as their personality, their punctuality levels and their preference for early mornings or late nights.

As might be expected, it emerged that early birds tended to arrive at the assignment on time more often than night owls. As the assignment was in the morning however, you might imagine it to be rather unfair on the night owls, so the researchers compared the results with the self-analysis about general punctuality. Sadly, for the night owls at least, the results showed the same correlation.

As the study is the first of its kind to explore any link between our sleep preferences and punctuality, we should be careful about reading too much into the results. To come to a more definitive conclusion will require more extensive research into various other contexts.  It will also require greater analysis of punctuality throughout the day rather than simply in the morning.

Nevertheless, the results remain interesting, not least because previous studies have shown early birds to be more proactive individuals than their night owl peers. The studies also found that early birds were generally happier and more satisfied with their lives, whilst also often being healthier too, due to the better quality and quantity of sleep that early birds often get.

"In our study based on lectures and university courses, we expect a lower commitment to punctuality compared to other types of appointment [come on profs, I’m sure your lectures aren’t that bad]. Punctuality may be therefore dependent on the situation, but nevertheless, morning people are expected to be punctual across different situations and appointments," the researchers conclude.


Are you a morning person or do you prefer burning the candle late into the night?  I’d love to hear your own experiences and whether you agree with the findings or not.

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