A new study examined how your natural sleep preference may be related to your personality type.
The study from Spain involved 862 college students. They were between the ages of 18 and 30.
They completed a short version of the Morningness-Eveningness Questionnaire (MEQ). It measures your circadian “chronotype” – your preferred sleep schedule.
Some people have a circadian clock that makes them “evening types.” These “owls” have a natural tendency to stay up late at night and sleep late in the morning. In contrast “morning types” are “larks” who prefer to go to bed early and wake up early.
The students also completed a short version of the Temperament and Character Inventory (TCI). It measures seven dimensions of personality.
Results show that women had higher TCI scores for harm avoidance, reward dependence and cooperativeness. Men had higher scores for novelty seeking.
How did sleep preference and personality type interact? Evening types had higher scores for novelty seeking. People with this personality type tend to be curious, impulsive and easily bored.
Only men who were evening types had both a lower harm avoidance score and a higher novelty-seeking score. People who are low in harm avoidance tend to be carefree, energetic and outgoing.
Last year a study reported that people who are “evening types” have a higher risk of severe depressive symptoms. Another study suggested that morning types may never reach a level of maximum performance during the day.
Learn more about the lark and owl chronotypes.