People who need lie-ins aren’t lazy and science backs them up

The world discriminates against people who need to sleep late


Life sucks if you’re not a morning person. Everything from the best paid jobs to most decent educational opportunities rely on being able to get up early, day in, day out. Language is biased: phrases like “the early bird catches the worm” ostracise the late sleeper.

The message is twofold: get up early if you want to achieve anything with your life. And more damningly, taking a lie-in is the choice of people who are lazy.

All she wanted was a lie-in

All she wanted was a lie-in

To add unfairness to stereotype, there is science to substantiates that in fact, “morning people” and “evening people” aren’t casual nicknames, but are real things. In the same way that people have different eye colours, people have different chronotypes (you can read about them here).

But society requires that those who tend towards a later sleeping pattern must match the sleeping patterns of others. They are forced to ignore their bodies. But research suggests that our internal clocks are influenced by genes – and therefore highly difficult to change. The likelihood is that if you’re not a “morning person” you never will be. Attempting to live out of sync with this clock, as every late sleeper who’s ever wearily faced a morning commute knows, is a bad idea.

Forcing your internal time to sync up with a real world time table that’s different has been linked to heart disease, depression and obesity.

This information ought to shift the perception that late risers are deadbeats, feckless partiers or lazy people who can’t stick to a basic schedule. If you want an idea of how damaging these perceptions are to people who struggle to wake up early, this subreddit for people with Delayed Sleep Phase Disorder gives a good idea:

Not exactly a barrel of laughs is it

Not exactly a barrel of laughs is it

I personally don’t feel fully alert and mentally active until late in the evening, around 9-10pm. Now I’m not sure this qualifies me for DSPD but it does mean I find working to a morning schedule difficult. Shouldn’t everybody get the opportunity to work when they feel most productive? The internet means that most of us can work whenever and wherever we like, making the need for rigid timetables increasingly obsolete, especially ones that really screw people whose bodies crave lie-ins.