Study: 1 in 300 succeeds on ‘early to bed, early to rise’ routine

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SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) – A new study conducted by UCSF researchers shows that 1 in 300 people thrive on very-early-to-bed, very-early-to-rise routines.

The study, published in the SLEEP journal, found that the “advanced sleep phase” may be more common than previously thought.

This phase means that the body’s clock – or circadian rhythm – operates on a schedule hours earlier than most people’s.

“While most people struggle with getting out of bed at 4 or 5 a.m., people with advanced sleep phase wake up naturally at this time, rested and ready to take on the day,” said the study’s senior author, Louis Ptacek, MD, professor of neurology at the UCSF School of Medicine. “These extreme early birds tend to function well in the daytime but may have trouble staying awake for social commitments in the evening.” 

The study also found that advanced sleepers wake up more easily than their counterparts, and are generally more satisfied with an average of an extra 5 to 10 minutes of sleep on non-work days, versus the 30 to 38 minutes’ more sleep of their non-advanced sleeper family members.

Now how do you know if you classify as part of the “advanced sleep phase?”

Researchers said night owls who have the ability to fall asleep before 8:30 p.m. and wake up before 5:30 a.m. regardless of any work or social obligations, as well as having only one sleep period per day – qualify as “advanced sleepers.”

Other criteria include the establishment of this sleep-wake pattern by the age of 30, no use of stimulants or sedatives, no medical conditions that may impact sleep, and no bright lights to aid early rising.

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