Scientists at the University of Alberta have found there are significant differences in the way our brains function depending on whether we're early risers or night owls. Neuroscientists in the Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation looked at two groups of people: "morning people," those who wake up early and feel most productive in the morning, and those who were identified as "evening people," who typically felt livelier at night.
Surprisingly, morning people's strength tends to remain constant throughout the day, but night owls have peak performance in the evening, said researchers from the University of Alberta in Canada.
"We thought that morning people would be better at this in the morning, but they never changed," said study co-author Olle Lagerquist, a Ph.D. candidate in neurophysiology at the University of Alberta.
That may be because evening people show increased motor cortex and spinal cord excitability in the evening, about 9 p.m., meaning they had maximal central nervous system drive at that time, Lagerquist said.
Morning people, on the other hand, never achieve this level of central nervous system drive because the excitability of the motor cortex does not coincide with the excitability of the spinal cord. In other words, these two measures never peak at the same time, he said. Early birds' brains were most excitable at 9 a.m. and slowly decreased throughout the day.
Researchers don't know whether this means evening people who are athletes are necessarily better off.