Morning larks, night owls and mental health

Dr. Jeanette Mostert
About the Author

Dr. Jeanette Mostert specializes in Cognitive Neuroscience and Biological Psychiatry and is the Dissemination Manager for several Horizon2020 projects, including CoCA, PRIME and Eat2BeNice/New Brain Nutrition.

Are you a morning or an evening person? Your chronotype is linked to your preference of when you go to sleep and when you are most productive during the day. “Larks” are generally 2-3 hours ahead, they feel and function better during the first half of the day and go to bed rather early. “Owls” prefer to work in the evenings and tend to go to bed and wake up later. The third chronotype is the in-between, balanced version of these two.

Your chronotype is linked to your circadian rhythm which is your inner clock that regulates your sleep/wake cycle. In many mental health conditions, this rhythm is disturbed. Persons with ADHD for instance often have an evening chronotype. However, we don’t yet know what is cause and consequence. Does a disturbed circadian rhythm cause symptoms like inattentiveness and impulsivity? Or do the same mechanisms that cause ADHD also de-regulate the sleep/wake cycle?

Dina Sarsembayeva is investigating how chronotypes are linked to mental health problems. In this blog she explains more about chronotypes and her research. 

This blog was written together with Dina Sarsembayeva. Dina is a master student of clinical epidemiology at the University of Groningen, The Netherlands.