The benefits of being a morning person

Morning people are not only slimmer, but also happier and healthier. That is the finding of research presented today by Dr Joerg Huber and colleagues from Roehampton University at the Annual Conference of the Society’s Division of Health Psychology at the University of Southampton.

Dr Huber and his colleagues Drs Lewis Halsey and Sue Reeves carried out an internet survey of 1068 adults, using standardised scales to measure whether they were morning or evening people as well as their well-being, conscientiousness and eating behaviour.

The researchers found that morning people tend to eat breakfast, be happier, thinner and more conscientious.

Dr Huber says: “These findings bear out the consensus that there are morning people and evening people, and that morning people tend to be healthier and happier, as well as having lower body mass indices. These effects are small, and in some occupations and situations there are clearly advantages to being an evening person, but they are highly statistically significant.”

Curiously, those who watch more TV are more likely to skip breakfast, perhaps due to snacking while watching TV in the evening and as a result being less hungry in the in the morning.

The researchers are continuing to investigate why some people say they must eat breakfast to function well, while others literally can’t stomach a meal soon after waking, in light of fairly recent findings that people who eat breakfast are less likely to be overweight.

Dr Halsey says: “We are now looking at physiological correlates of morning food consumption to build up a more holistic picture about why for many people, breakfast is something you either love or hate.

Dr Huber says: “Morningness is partly a matter of the individual’s body clock and partly a question of preferences that have developed through life. It is a factor that should not be ignored if we are trying to encourage more people to eat breakfast.”