Night owls often wake up for work or school with a scowl on their faces and wishing for an IV drip of coffee, while morning people come skipping in 15 minutes early. However, morning people aren't chipper just as the sun is coming up; they are happier and more satisfied with life overall, a new study suggests.
Teenagers' night owl tendencies fade as they age, and the study says this switch to a morning-focused schedule could be why older adults are happier than younger ones.
"Past research has suggested that morning-type people report feeling happier than evening-type people, and this research was only on young adults," study researcher Renee Biss, a graduate student at the University of Toronto, told LiveScience.
The new study looked across the lifespan to see if the morning habits of older individuals contributed to their overall life outlook.
The researchers studied two populations: a group of 435 adults ages 17 to 38, and a group of 297 older adults, ages 59 to 79. Both groups filled out questionnaires about their emotional state, how healthy they feel and their preferred "time of day." [Life's Extremes: Early Birds vs. Night Owls]
By age 60, most people are morning types, the researchers found. Only about 7 percent of young adults are morning larks, but as the population ages, this switches — in the older years only about 7 percent of the population are still night owls.