12:16pm Saturday 22 February 2020

Researchers investigate why being a 'morning' person could be good for your health and happiness

These are the findings of recent research by Joerg Huber, Professor of Behavioural Health Sciences, Centre for Health and Wellbeing Research, The University of Northampton’s School of Health, and Drs’ Lewis Halsey and Sue Reeves at University of Roehampton who carried out a representative UK-wide survey of adults using standardised scales to measure whether they were ‘morning’ or ‘evening’ people, as well as their well-being, conscientiousness and eating behaviour.

Jorg Huber

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

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.

Professor Huber

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 added:

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 Halsey

Dr Huber concluded:

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.

Dr Huber

The research was presented at the recent Annual Conference of the British Psychological Society’s Division of Health Psychology and, in more detail, at the Federation of European Nutrition Societies FENS in Madrid, 25 – 29 October 2011.

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