Night owl or early bird? How your ‘chronotype’ influences cognition

Timing is everything. For early risers and late-nighters alike, listening to your internal clock may be the key to success. From the classroom to the courtroom and beyond, people perform best on challenging tasks at a time of day that aligns with their circadian rhythm.

Circadian rhythms are powerful internal timekeepers that drive a person’s physiological and intellectual functioning throughout the day. Peaks in these circadian rhythms vary across individuals. Some people, known as larks or morning chronotypes, peak early and feel at their best in the morning. Others, known as owls or evening chronotypes, peak later in the day and perform best in the late afternoon or evening. And some people show neither morning nor evening preferences and are considered neutral chronotypes.

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