Wednesday, February 11, 2009

More on Morning People

Since Blackbird has led off on a rant about Morning People, ( and Ray of Sunshine concurs, I feel it's incumbent to pile on...maybe together we can crush these "morning" tendencies once and for all. I'm a committed Night Person, too. Of course for me it all started out in my younger days hanging out with artists and musicians on the weekends, bull sessions that went on into the wee hours playing guitars and discussing life's ultimate meaning.

I came to love the backdrop of starry nights, the weirdos and drunks on Friday and Saturday nights in Denny's at 3 a.m., and the semis grinding through their gears as they started up from the truck stops. In the days before paid programming on antenna tv, the coolest shows were always on after midnight. And the coolest people never went to bed -- one night close to four a.m. my friends and I arrived home after a 150-mile drive to a rock concert to find that our neighbors had invaded the house and were playing pool on the pool table in the livingroom. (Yes, in those days it was quite normal to have a pool table in the living room.)

Needless to say, I loathe sunrises. The sight of that big old ugly red ball rising over the horizon makes me physically ill - I get nauseous just looking at it. On the days I'm forced to arise that early I always wear mirror sunglasses and chug Pepto-Bismol. These chirpy happy people that jump out of bed the first thing to greet the sun and the day should have their own continent. Leave us Night People alone!

...All joking and ribbing of Morning People aside, though, just recently there was an interesting article by Robert Boyd of McClatchy Newspapers you can read on Yahoo News at, about the internal clocks that control all biological organisms, including trees and plants and even down to the simplest entities like blue-green algae.

And, as it turns out, it appears that there is actually a physical cause for a person's tendency to be either a "night" or a "morning" person: Boyd informs us that "People's clock genes may set their sleep patterns. Last summer, Sarah Forbes-Robertson , a British researcher at the Swansea University School of Medicine , reported that she can tell whether a person is an early riser or a night owl by inspecting a gene called REV-ERB in his or her DNA, taken from a swab on the cheek. A low level of gene activity is associated with sleep, a high level with wakefulness, she said."

"If your peak is earlier than 4 p.m. it would indicate that you are a natural early bird,'' she said. "If you peak later than 5 p.m. , then you are more of a night owl.''

I've got a funny feeling that I might not have any activity in my REV-ERB genes at all.


Anonymous said...

That is some pretty good information, Dan! Well, I must fit somewhere in between because I don't even really know when my peak is since most of the day I'm tired anyway, lol. Thanks for sharing this, though and I will be visiting that website to learn more.

So you were a rockin' nightowl, huh, lol??? That's cool, I wish I would've known you then 'cause I love going to concerts. It's something about live shows that are sooooo much better than simply listening to prerecorded music on the radio. I can see that you really took it seriously when someone said 'party over here', lol. Boyyy, do I miss those days!!! Then family happened; ya know, kids, a partner, bills, work, all of those things that make up life. So, perhaps I just never got out of the habit of those partying days and I was never a hard partier, but staying up late was something that I often did with friends and whatnot. Oh well, sounds like we may forever be late-night owls, huh???


Andy Egizi, Program Coordinator said...

I think I have the heart of a night owl but I get sleepy so early anymore. It could be years of being forced to wake up early. At this point, something has to be pretty entertaining to get me past 11 pm. Maybe I need gene therapy?

Dan B said...

Hee. Gene therapy. Or maybe a week on the bus partying with Motley Crue, I think that would bring back anybody's sublimated Night Owl, if of course, you lived to tell about it.

Seems like I read that Sir Winston Churchill was a night person. He used to work standing up at his desk/pulpit into the wee hours, waiting for the results to come in on the RAF's night bombing runs over the continent. Of course, he was fueled by some quite powerful tonics like Dewar's.

Beth C. said...

Dan, Nice to know that my morning lethargy is shared by others like you. I too have hung around with musicians and friends, ending up at Denny's during the wee hours. Must be some form of rebellion. I don't know how long I need to rebel, but I guess I'm not done yet. Night people seem to like to zag when everyone else is zigging...(is that a word?) I have always felt a kinship with other non-conformist types, those with tattoos and weird hairstyles;don't have any tattoos myself...yet. We should all get together and stay up late just to show those morning people that we are serious. Then we can all commiserate the next morning with lots of caffiene and tylenol.