Staying Fit More Difficult for Night Owls

I’m a night owl, and if I wake up before 10 a.m. on a Saturday I’m thrilled. Morning people are the same as us night owls, just one step ahead. They’re in front of us in line at Starbucks, snagging the last scone. A post-workout treat for them is a would-be yummy breakfast for us.


The study

If you’re a night owl, it might be more difficult to maintain an exercise routine. It’s certainly more difficult to maintain compared to morning people. But we knew that. Morning people are just a different breed, if you ask me.


The director of the Behavioral Sleep Medicine Program at Northwestern’s School of Medicine, Kelly Glazer Baron, conducted a study on sleeping late and exercise. She took 123 healthy people who get at least 6.5 hours of sleep at night. Their exercise and sleep activities were monitored over a period of seven days.

If you aren’t already impressed, Baron is also a professor of neurology at Northwestern.  Not bad. Her findings from this study were published at Northwestern, and presented June 4th at the 2014 SLEEP convention.


The results

Baron found that people who stayed up later had a poorer attitude toward exercise. She also learned that exercise was far more difficult for participants who slept in.  The findings suggest that those of us who like to sleep in on the weekend are more likely to be sedentary and blow off our workout.

Baron concludes, “Sleep timing should be taken into account when discussing exercise participation.”  She acknowledges that it’s hard enough to get motivated to exercise as it is, and suggests, “We could expect that sleep timing would play even a larger role in a population that had more difficulty exercising.”


Something to consider, indeed.