The Matt Walker Podcast

#05: Chronotype: Part 2

September 27, 2021 Dr. Matt Walker
The Matt Walker Podcast
#05: Chronotype: Part 2
Show Notes

In the second episode of our three-part series on chronotypes,  Matt speaks about what happens when you do not sleep in harmony with your natural chronotype. Unlike morning larks, night owls simply cannot fall asleep easily early at night, which leads to the first and most obvious consequence of not sleeping in line with your chronotype—you don’t sleep as much.

Matt explains that morning types sleep over 7-hours per night on average, while evening types can only manage 6.6-hours of sleep per night. Matt also notes the upshot, which is a chronic “sleep debt”, one that accrues night after night, month after month. The ramifications are many, including increased caffeine intake for evening types, higher likelihood of developing hypertension and Type II Diabetes, and greater difficulty maintaining a healthy body weight. In addition to these consequences to the body, evening types are two to three times more likely to develop depression than their morning type counterparts, and twice as likely to be using antidepressants. 

Matt clarifies that his intent in sharing the concerning statistics is not to worry evening types, but rather, to help them realize their true biological nature, and as important, not feel guilty for it. Today’s episode aims to vindicate and empower evening types with the knowledge that they may be sleep deprived, and to help them find a schedule that falls in line with their natural chronotype.

Matt Finally speaks about current societal practices that push (actually, force) night owls into unhealthy sleep rhythms. He outlines his (lofty 😊) goal of restructuring the typical schedule of work in first-world nations, which is strongly biased toward early start times that incorrectly punish night owls and favor morning larks. Matt notes that this is markedly unfair, since it is not their choice as to which ‘type’ they are. Instead, it is their pre-ordained, genetic-based sleep chronotype, yet society wrongly assumes that evening types could get up earlier if only they weren’t so slovenly. Of course, the science and this episode tells us otherwise.

The episode is sponsored by the wonderful folks over at Athletic Greens, who are providing a discount and free product if you use the link above. Athletic Greens is a comprehensive daily nutritional beverage containing 75 vitamins, minerals, and whole food-sourced ingredients, including a multivitamin, multimineral, probiotic.

So, head on over to Athletic Greens and get a free year supply of Vitamin D and 5 free travel packs today. Finally, if you have thoughts or feedback you’d like to share, please reach out on Instagram @drmattwalker.

Basic Resources 

Discover your chronotype: AutoMEQ: Automated Morningness-Eveningness Questionnaire (AutoMEQ)

Scientific Review: Biological Rhythm and Chronotype

Scientific Review: Chronotype and Mental Health: Recent Advances