Are Morning People Happier, Healthier Than Night Owls?

hate morning_orig

Morning people: They're so annoying. All perky and cheerful, bounding out of bed, talking too much, smiling, even -- heaven forbid -- humming.

And now these irritating early birds have something else to be smug about -- a happier, healthier life as they age.

Amazing as it may be to those of us who start the day grumpy and groping for coffee, a new study suggests that as we age, we become morning people.

Not only that, but older morning types report being happier with life and feeling healthier than night owls.

While previous studies on early birds versus night owls had found the morning people feeling happier, the research was only done on young adults, the aptly named researcher Renee Bliss of the University of Toronto told LiveScience.

She and her team of researchers studied two groups: 435 adults ages 17 to 38, and 297 older adults, ages 59 to 79. Both groups filled out questionnaires about their emotions, how healthy they felt, and their preferred "time of day."

By age 60, nearly all the participants described themselves as "morning types." Only 7 percent said they were night owls. Compare that to young people where the percentage was reversed -- only seven percent said they preferred the morning.

"We found that older adults reported greater positive emotion than younger adults, and older adults were more likely to be morning-type people than younger adults," Bliss said. "The 'morningness' was associated with greater happiness emotions in both age groups."

The morning people also tended to say they felt healthier than did night owls, Bliss reported.

This could be because they were getting better quality sleep -- in other words, their bodies were more in sync with the natural rhythm of the day, unlike the night owls who spent a lot of their daylight hours wishing they were asleep.

As Bliss noted, "Society's expectations are far more organized around a morning-type person's schedule."

Translation: There's a reason Starbucks opens at 6 a.m., and is closed at midnight.

The study was published in the May issue of the journal Emotion.

In other health news:

Man bitten by stray cat infected with plague.Health officials have confirmed that an Oregon man has the plague after he was bitten while trying to take a dead rodent from the mouth of a stray cat, the Associated Press reports. The man, who is in his 50s, was in critical condition on Friday. He is suffering from a blood-borne version of the disease that wiped out at least one-third of Europe in the 14th century.

Diabetes drugs carry vision risk. The New York Times reports on a new study showing that a popular class of drugs used to treat Type 2 diabetes may increase the risk of vision problems, underlining the importance of regular eye exams for anyone with diabetes. The study is one of the largest to investigate vision loss associated with thiazolidinediones, a group of drugs that includes the well-known medications Actos and Avandia.

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