Night Owl

l get occasional updates from Ancestry on various things related to my genetic history. For example, they have recategorized my genetic makeup to reflect that while many of my ancestors are from coastal Germany, a substantial amount of my DNA is from Sweden, Norway, and Denmark. They used to say I had all this DNA from the British Isles. I guess they decided that people from the British Isles have Swedish, Danish, and Norwegian DNA because the British Isles were invaded by the Scandinavians centuries ago. They also invaded and raided coastal Germany, hence my DNA similarities to the British.

Ancestry has started looking at genetic traits like risk taking and remembering dreams. I am supposedly average for those traits. Just this week, though, I got another update that says I am more likely than 80% of the population to be a night owl. I really believe it.

I have loved staying up late my whole life. I love sleeping in. I guess there are 24 genetic markers for sleep patterns like this. How on earth they can find out these things is beyond me, but it is nice to know I have an excuse for being so different from my early-bird husband and children.

Are you are early riser or a night owl? What personal traits would you like to blame on genetics?

50 thoughts on “Night Owl”

  1. The science behind DNA, genetic markers, and traits is all very fascinating. I’d love to know how the question of whether or not you remember your dreams ever came up, after all that’s not something that easily observable or quantifiable. I remember at some point during my college years reading that Margaret Mead could orchestrate her dreams. I have never had that ability, though often when I dream something, there’s no doubt that some event during my waking hours triggered it. As I recall, Steve claimed to have near perfect recall of his dreams. Mine tend to evaporate like so much morning fog within minutes of me awakening.

    I tend to be a night owl, but I also love early mornings. Even as a kid I hated to go to bed early, didn’t want to miss out on anything. A nap or siesta in the early part of the afternoon appeals to me, but I have no idea what part of my ancestry I can blame for that.

    Liked by 5 people

  2. Being a night owl married to a morning person works well when the children are babies, so the night owl can get up for late feedings, and the morning person can let the night owl sleep during breakfast feedings.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. “I tend to be a night owl, but I also love early mornings.”
    I was going to say something like that about myself but thought it would sound odd. Before my marriage I was very much a night owl, did my best studying at 4 a.m. But these days my brain puts me to sleep at 11 and wakes me up at 6.

    Liked by 5 people

  4. Rise and Shine Baboons,

    I am an Early Bird, or you could say I am a Morning Glory, as opposed to an Evening Primrose or a Night Owl. By 10pm most nightsI am tucked in bed ready to fall asleep. Then in the morning I awaken at 6:15am and lay there, trying to summon courage for the day.

    The trait I like to credit to genetics is my executive function: I can make a plan and get it to happen. That comes from both grandmothers, along with my Early Bird trait. I blame my dad for the allergies since he had them, too. I did not know about the remembering dreams trait.

    Renee, I experienced the same thing with the changing map from Ancestry. I don’t think anything changed that much, they are just defining origins differently from what I can see. Apparently I still share DNA with 14K people in Iowa.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I’m curious about the 14K people in Iowa. How is that calculated? I have about 700 4th cousins scattered around the world that have gotten a DNA analysis from Ancestry. Your 14K must be tabulated by some other means? It seems unlikely that so many thousands of Iowans, including the one not related to you could have ordered the test.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Instead of offering the analysis of dna-affected traits as a little bonus to subscribers to their already pricy monthly subscription, Ancestry sells it as an a la carte item. They already have taken many sources of information that used to be freely accessible and gated them, which I resent. I appreciate the features that the regular subscription offers but I refuse to give them any more money for something as inconsequential as “Traits”.

    I am an early riser. I can’t bring myself to lie around slugabed once I am awake and I never have. These days we tend to go to bed early—something we used to scoff at my mother about. She would be in bed about 9:30 but then awake and up by 5:30. Now that’s me.

    When our kids were young and our days were busy with work and childcare and domestic stuff, Robin and I would start in on whatever projects currently engaged us about 9:30 and work on those until about 1:00, so we were late owls. We still couldn’t sleep in, of course. We just got by on less sleep. Likewise when I was working freelance I often had to stay up into the night to meet a deadline on a project.

    I can’t say I remember my dreams with any specific clarity but I can say that they almost never have any relationship with the events of the day. They are in fact only occasionally peopled with persons from my waking life, living or dead. The other morning, it occurred to me that my dreams repeatedly take place in the same locales, ones that bear little reference to real life places but where I have a general sense of familiarity and orientation. I don’t quite know what to make of the realization that my subconscious has constructed this durable netherworld.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I was a night owl in my youth. Loved nothing more than to stay up past midnight on a Friday during school and sleep until noon. As the years passed, I was still a night owl, but bedtime has slowly crept backward. If I don’t doze off in my recliner before 9 pm, I can barely make it past 10 unless there’s a good game of some sort on TV.

    I could still sleep until 8 or 9 most mornings but have been forcing myself to get up at 6 for many years just so I can be more in sync with my wife’s waking hours. When she was working, she’d routinely be awake at 4:30, lay in bed and plan her day, then get up by 5:00, exercise, and be at work before 7:00. Curiously, in retirement, she’s been the one to sleep later than me for the past few years. I’m almost always up at 6, and sometime she won’t wake up until 7 or 7:30. Funny how we’re going in opposite directions. But she still conks out by 9 pm most nights. Never was a night owl.

    Personal traits? My non-confrontational demeanor maybe. My lack of quick-wittedness? (So many times I couldn’t think of the perfect retort or zinger until an hour later or the next day.) My difficulty expressing myself verbally? That’s probably why I’m a writer. I can compose and construct my thoughts most accurately if I take the time to write them down, organize them, and find the exact words I’m looking for.

    Otherwise, I’m perfect. 🙂 🙂

    Chris in Owatonna

    ***BSP*** TWIN CITIES BOOK FESTIVAL THIS SATURDAY, 10-5, PROGRESS CENTER ON THE STATE FAIRGROUNDS IN FALCON HEIGHTS. My first time there and I’m looking forward to it. More than 100 publishers, booksellers, and authors. Lots of giveaways, discussions, author interviews and readings, prizes, and food and drink. What else are you going to do on a chilly October day? ***END BSP***

    Liked by 2 people

  7. DNA: my corpulence, well, my whole appearance. I look like so many of my distaff relatives, even third cousins. But then don’t we all get appearance from DNA, or can we be mutant outliers? I suppose.
    I have doubts about personality traits. I think that is more nurture than nature. What about talents, such as being musical, athletic, artistic? My daughter and her children are musical when we are not at all nor are many of our cousins. Same with my sisiter. But we married into musical families. Athletics do not show up until a niece marries a good athelete.
    My bit of artistic talent is a rarity. I have a cousin who claims to be an artist but, whew, she is not. I have wondered if it comes from my father’s unknown father. Or is it an outlier? So now that we know who my father’s father was, maybe I should check with that family to see. Nah, not going to bother them. Does it have to be genetic?
    Nearly blind at close range today. Sorry for typing erroros tried to catch them

    Liked by 4 people

  8. For much of my career I worked the evening, or second, shift. I really liked working 3-11. I was the only one who really liked the shift so I was scheduled for that quite a bit. I guess I’m more of a night owl than an early bird. I don’t stay up quite as late anymore. I try to go to sleep by 11 and get up around 6 or 7. I don’t always sleep through the night but I think that’s getting a little better.

    I blame lots of things on genetics. I’m dreadfully nearsighted and now all kinds of other age-related problems have happened with my vision. Those vision problems come from my mom’s side. My grandma, my aunt, and my mom all had similar problems.

    My preference for quiet solitude and need for small groups at a time seems to come from my dad. He was a reader and wasn’t really a social person, although he did try. Sometimes people who aren’t comfortable socially try too hard. I think that was the case with my dad, and perhaps with me too. My brother K is like this too.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. All the fat on me is Dad’s fault.
    I’m sleeping a lot. Bed at 11; up at 8.
    I dream quite often and remember lots. They are frequently topical being triggered by daytime experience.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. OT – Since 8 A.M. this morning we’ve had a crew of roofers, not sure exactly how many there are – they don’t stand still long enough for me to get an accurate count – replacing our old roof, which was damaged by a spring hail storm. It’s really impressive to watch these guys in action, a well coordinated and efficient team of professionals. They tell us they’ll be done by the end of the day, with only minor cleanup left for tomorrow. What a crew!

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Update on the roofers. Well, as it turned out, they were overly optimistic about finishing the job today. They’ll be back, hammering away above my head for at least part of the day tomorrow. It’s looking good though.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Afternoon –

    I’ve always been a night owl too. But too often still need to get up early. What a pain.
    Daughter is in her ‘teenage’ years we guess. 27 going on 14. Hates going to bed, tells herself over and over ‘Stay awake, stay awake’. But once we coerce her into bed, she’s out. “Coerce” isn’t the right word; there’s no ‘forcing’ her… if it’s not by her own choice, she won’t do anything. 🙂 “Gentle Persuasion” perhaps? Anyway, once she’s horizontal she doesn’t last long. I can talk and talk and bore her to sleep in minutes. And when possible, she’ll sleep until noon.

    Genetics. She’s a lot like me. And her mother. I feel terrible if I sleep that long; I feel like I’ve wasted half the day! 8:00 is late enough.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Definitely Early Bird – and this despite working the 11P to 7:30A shift for over 20 years. For many years I either worked out at the gym or had early morning rehearsals (volunteer school choir accompanist) before going home to bed. I usually got to bed around 10A and slept until about 5P. But in college I scheduled early classes so I could be done by 1 or 2P, get my homework done at a reasonable hour, and to bed by 10 or 10:30. And since retirement in 2009, I am usually awake by 6 or 6:30 and usually hit the sack no later than 11 or 11:30. I get much more accomplished early in the morning than any other time of the day. In the summer I like to be out kayaking or walking by 7 or 7:30A – great way to start the day. For me, sleeping in means waking up later than 8A.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Do any of you ever have day dreams? Not ones you want, but like night dreams, that just come to you unbidden, or daymares?


    1. Unbidden, untethered lines of thought, yes. It’s difficult to know whether to describe them as dreaming, partly because they are more often fragmentary, interrupted by my surroundings. I don’t have daymares, but then I don’t have nightmares either. When I’m working by myself and it’s quiet, I sometimes think I hear snatches of conversation, not directed at me but overheard as one might on a bus or in a cafe. Oftentimes the drift of thought—the daydream—sends me to research via Google some person or connection of events that stumbled through my consciousness.

      It’s safe to say I reside in my head a lot.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. May, but is that the same as me.
        My mind was adrift this morning in the shower and a thought came into my head that turned into a scenarion that Sandy had been taken to the hospital. I knew she had not. I knew my brain had built it,


        1. Should say “My, but . . .”
          And hearing voices like that is normal. I have checked on it. Been going on my whole life.

          Liked by 1 person

    2. Day dreaming played a big part of my childhood and teenage years, that’s how I escaped the sometimes harsh reality of my real world. Unlike dreams during sleep, the day dreams I’m capable of orchestrating, at least to some degree. I think of it as an editorial override; if I don’t like where the dream is going, I can change it.

      Liked by 3 people

  14. OT: What inspires me? I couldn’t think of a single thing. Are you kidding? What’s inspiring?
    In retrospect, many things have inspired me. Starting work at South Molton Recycle, full of pioneering enthusiam. Excited even.
    Meeting Jane. Different from anything I’ve experienced before or since. Excited, but I didn’t realise it.
    But that was thirty years ago. And however good anything was, there was always that depression at the back of it. When I left Devon around 1998,it got worse. It just won’t go away. So I just suddenly thought, that’s what I’m going to say. Mild, medium, I don’t know. But life is boring. I live in a place that isn’t Devon. I have no proper fields with grass and trees and streams, no farms to work on. All I have is my workshop to play in, and when I get time to fix it so I can get in the door, I’m tired and unmotivated and it’s too hot or it’s raining. And then another urgent job crops up and I struggle to even get in to get the tools and materials I need. Why can’t the jobs all wait until I have room to work without stress?

    I just said that I’m depressed, that’s all. And a couple of jokes was the only answer I got.

    You ARE all so nice. Did you think, he needs to pull himself together? Or what?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Fenton, you have become a welcome and valuable voice in this little community and It’s safe to say that we are grateful for whatever you have to share with us. As I’m sure you’ve noticed by now, our responses to the subject at hand are frequently tangental and often have more to do with whatever happens to be on our mind at the time. In a way, the Trail is here to provide an outlet for those expressions.
      If we lived closer (and were perhaps about ten years younger) we might have been able to organize a work session to get your workshop in shape (stranger things have happened) but as it is about all we can do is be here to listen and hopefully respond.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Bill, I really appreciate what you’ve said. The work session – perhaps you could all take it in turns to do the houework(the little that gets done), make sure Jane has a stress-free life, to ward off her migraines, cajole Isaac into getting to school on time. Then I can go into my workshop /cut down pines to my heart’s content.


  15. I feel impelled to share this with my fellow Baboons with regard to sleep and dreams.
    All this is anecdotal.
    For many months I took a 10mg of melatonin at night. I slept well and the dreams were intense and wonderful. A few weeks ago, I noticed a feeling of claustrophobia while awake for my usual bladder relief. I had to mentally distract myself in those early morning hours by reading.
    I did some online research which is interesting. But my thoughts are to limit the use of melatonin as a sleep aide. It seems crazy but I could have written at least a short story for submission to Twight Zone from the dreams.

    Liked by 3 people

  16. I am neither a night owl nor an early bird. I’m usually up fairly early in the morning, maybe 6:30 or so, but I don’t really do anything except sit and drink my coffee for a long while.

    By early evening I feel like I’m all in for the day. Even if I haven’t accomplished all that much.

    I’m kind of an early night sloth.

    Liked by 2 people

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