You are not sleepyhead, is your cronotipo

Here we have a subject that has tormented me good part of my life: my difficulties to rise early. When it went to the university the classes began 8 in the morning, which forced to raise me every day to me to 6,30, since it had 1 hour of way in meter and bus. Me effort cost superhuman and often, if the class were difficult to follow or extinguished the lights so that were better the slides, obstructs to me as much dream that was not able to follow the explanations.

Obvious, this made me feel as an authentic one wanders and the culpability were added to drowsiness, being a cocktail that did not facilitate anything my learning.


In my friendly group always there was 1 or 2 people who were conceited to be very early rising and to be fresh and productive from the 8 in the morning. They never arrived behind schedule and their notes were model. The frustration imagines you that felt when comparing to me with them. The popular culture did not help either much, mainly that proverb that says:

The early bird gets the worm

Why did the nature punish to me with as much dream by the mornings? What had made I to deserve that?

Or, because every year that happened the more was convinced that he was not right to feel proud for being able to rise early, just as to be high or to be blond they are not personal merits but the result of a genetic lottery. And it does few months, I read the book of an investigator of human chronobiology and animal that has come to give the reason me. Another reason to love science more.

This investigator is called Till Roenneberg and its book calls €œInternal Time€. These are some of their revelations:

  • The individuals own different hour customs, or cronotipos. In some languages as the English larks€ to most early rising denominate themselves €œand €œowls€ to the fly-by-nights. Cronotipo of each individual weathervane not only the dream, but dominates all the corporal functions, from the expression of diverse genes, changes in the corporal temperature, secretion of hormones, to the mental functions. And to the inverse one, cronotipo is in favor conditional of our genes and our physiology, by the activation and decontamination of multiple genes and fluctuations of the cocktail of hormones and transmitters that bathe all our weaves. That is to say, it is not a question of personal discipline.
  • Although the internal clock influences of very important form in the health and the physical and mental well-being, is ignored systematically. The prestige of the €œlarks€ comes from a mainly rural time at which really the early rising ones removed much benefit to rise early: they had advantage at the time of gathering fruits, mushrooms and other vegetables that grew freely; they undertook the agricultural works more duros in the hours of less heat; they took advantage of those hours to move to other towns to deal with its products, etc.
  • But at our urban time, in that we enjoyed electrical light, why we have to work all to the same hours? The early schedules in schools, universities and centers of work are a social imposition of old times. Still we continued thinking that the early rising ones are workers more. Nevertheless, the schedule of the dream and the duration of the same are independent qualities. This difference between the schedules socially considered and the delayed cronotipos well give rise to which Roenneberg calls jet lag social.
  • Which has been demonstrated that the schedule of the dream is delayed physiologically in adolescents, explains why to those ages it as much costs to rise early to adapt to the schedules good seen socially. This supposes a discrimination for the delayed cronotipos. A German study (where the schools open to 7 in the morning) demonstrated that the students with more delayed cronotipos had worse notes (1). Another study demonstrated that only delaying to 1 hour the entrance to the school which was obtained that the students slept more, benefitted its motivation, learning and even the habits of meals (2).

And this is only a appetizer than this great book it counts on a so important facet of us as it is the dream. But not even Till Roenneberg is prophet in its earth€¦ not yet has been able to convince to the authorities of its country of which they delay the entrance to the schools.

In this post we spoke of how making to favor our rest and to be more wide-awake and productive during the hours of class and study. Meanwhile, it leaves some commentary and discovers your own tricks to us.


1. Randler C and cabbage. Correlation and between morningness-eveningness final school leaving exams. Biol Rhythm Head of cattle 2006.

2. Danner F and cabbage. Adolescent sleep, school start you trick out of, and teen motor vehicle crashes. J Clin Sleep Med 2008.

Almudena Trinidad

I am otorrinolaring³loga doctor in a hospital of Madrid and Professor Asociada de Medicina in the UAM. I help Medicine students to develop more effective techniques of study to obtain better notes, to remember during more time and to feel like more happy insurances and with its studies.


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