Why do people have different inherent sleeping patterns that they gravitate to (e.g. some humans are morning people, whereas some are very nocturnal)?

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Why do people have different inherent sleeping patterns that they gravitate to (e.g. some humans are morning people, whereas some are very nocturnal)?

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6 Answers

Anonymous 0 Comments

*From a behavior psychology standpoint, it would relate the most to a history of reinforcement for whichever pattern you tend towards. There are probably related biological factors too, but I’ll discuss only the learned stuff.*

Put simply, when you do something (spontaneously at first), sometimes the result compels you to do the action again in the future. (You don’t have to “like” the result for this to happen, but that’s a whole other lesson).

And when you stay up at night or wake up early, there are lots of results that could cause you to do that action again. And if you DO do it again and get results again, it strengthens that choice. Over several decades, you will develop a big learning history. This determines which option you’ll choose.

For a beginners introduction to behavior psychology, I recommend the book The Science of Concequences.


Anonymous 0 Comments

A lot of it also probably has to do with humans and our instincts. Keep in mind, humanity spent a *considerably* larger amount of time as hunter-gatherers and nomadic warrior tribals than we have as civilized townspeople.

To put it simply — someone has to sit around the fire, keeping watch and telling folktales while the hunting party sleeps through the night.

However, sleep cycles play a huge part in this too. You can teach your body to get used to any sleeping pattern.

It also has something to do with the amount of oxytocin released in your brain for sleeping at certain times of day. Some people wake early because it’s *rewarding* to be up in time for breakfast, or because their favorite drink is half-off before 8am. Some people stay up late because their day isn’t the same if they don’t catch George Lopez at 3am for some reason.

Anonymous 0 Comments

It’s possible there’s an evolutionary benefit for this. If I’m an early-bird, and my brother is a late-riser, then there’ll be someone to keep watch (over our hunter-gatherer tribe) while the other one sleeps.

Anonymous 0 Comments

I don’t know why I know this and honestly I’m surprised I still do ;

When we were in tribes it made sense half the group stay awake and protect the tribe, and the other sleep. Then take it in turns.

If you think about hunters, they’d go early morning (e.g. sunrise) and evening (sunset) or use darkness, increasing chances of success (element of surprise)

Gatherers might go day time as there’s less predators, making it safer and visually easier to forage.

So we’ve probably evolved for different roles in society which we can still see today (day job vs shift work).

Anonymous 0 Comments

I’m all in favor of the hunting/night watch hypotheses but I’m curious if the two-sleep pattern we lost to the oil lamp and the light bulb are a factor

Anonymous 0 Comments

I’d say the natural variety in any characteristic is an evolutionary advantage for the whole species. That’s how it works. A group finds a niche and multiplies with different variations that the environment allows, then if, or rather when, the environment changes, the less fit variants are lost.

Life tries lots of different things when the environment is “friendly” and comfortable and when this inevitably changes, there (hopefully) is a solid chunk of population that can adapt to it or thrive in it even more. Life and evolution is all about survival, any way possible.

It happens with everything, every characteristic. There’s always variation, whether it makes sense or not, just in case, you could say