Q: Is there really such a thing as a morning person?
Answer: Yes, there is.
Some people wake up early consistently without an alarm. And, in fact, there can be a genetic predisposition to it where entire families all have that trait. In that case, it’s not so much a lifestyle as it is genetics.
Being a morning person is not as important as being well-rested.
If you’re refreshed, you have adequate energy. You can focus well and concentrate. You are able to enjoy yourself. You don’t find yourself being unexpectedly irritated.
When a person first wakes up, it may take a little bit of time to shake off the sleep – most people don’t feel energetic immediately, but they should feel alert and ready to go not too long after waking from a good night’s sleep.
The top 3 tips for a good night sleep:
- Be active and get exercise during the day
- Sleep in a quiet, dark, comfortable and secure environment
- Have adequate time set aside for sleep
The biggest sign that you aren’t getting enough sleep:
The first sign would be if you fall asleep immediately.
It really should be a transition that takes a few minutes, but if you can hit the pillow and automatically fall into a deep sleep, that’s a sign that your brain has been craving more sleep.
The other logical sign is if you are sleepy during the day.
So what is a good amount of sleep?
I would say eight hours.
Now, it depends a bit. If it’s a child, more sleep may be needed, but for an adult, eight hours is a good idea.
That’s also true for older adults – We used to wonder if maybe older adults didn’t need as much sleep. But now we believe they sometimes can’t get enough quality sleep because of medical issues so they still require approximately eight hours of sleep.
Lois Krahn, M.D., is a psychiatrist and sleep specialist at Mayo Clinic in Arizona.