Association of intrinsic circadian period with morningness-eveningness, usual wake time, and circadian phase

Behav Neurosci. 2001 Aug;115(4):895-9. doi: 10.1037//0735-7044.115.4.895.


The biological basis of preferences for morning or evening activity patterns ("early birds" and "night owls") has been hypothesized but has remained elusive. The authors reported that, compared with evening types, the circadian pacemaker of morning types was entrained to an earlier hour with respect to both clock time and wake time. The present study explores a chronobiological mechanism by which the biological clock of morning types may be set to an earlier hour. Intrinsic period, a fundamental property of the circadian system, was measured in a month-long inpatient study. A subset of participants also had their circadian phase assessed. Participants completed a morningness-eveningness questionnaire before study. Circadian period was correlated with morningness-eveningness, circadian phase, and wake time, demonstrating that a fundamental property of the circadian pacemaker is correlated with the behavioral trait of morningness-eveningness.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Biological Clocks* / physiology
  • Body Temperature
  • Body Temperature Regulation / physiology*
  • Circadian Rhythm / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Individuality
  • Male
  • Self-Assessment
  • Sleep / physiology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires