Apparently This Matters: The 'joyful' lives of morning people

Both Jarrett and his dog, Mikey, have issues with a trending report saying morning people are happier.

Story highlights

  • In "Apparently This Matters," CNN's Jarrett Bellini looks at trending topics online
  • This week, a story claiming "morning people" are happier
  • Jarrett, and his dog, beg to differ

It was Tuesday afternoon when I found a trending article through Digg that seemed to explain why I'm not reaching my full potential for joy. And mind you, it had nothing to do with Pippa Middleton not returning my calls. Because that would be a very strange article for somebody to write.

Dateline: Atlanta. Sad man waits by phone; needs shower.

The article that was actually trending came from LiveScience, and the premise was that morning people are generally happier than night people. Though, as a small victory for us night owls, I would argue that morning people still have to, you know, wake up earlier.

The article cites a study published in the June issue of the journal Emotion, which is not to be confused with the journal Emoticon that recently sent shock waves through the tech world when it revealed that chronic overuse of smiley faces may cause dysentery.

We're all going to die. (Apparently on the Oregon Trail.)

The research presented in Emotion reveals that only 7% of young adults describe themselves as being morning larks. Conversely, by age 60 most people have lost their affinity for staying up late. Basically, it's Leno and then to bed.

But the common thread among both the older and younger subjects was that, regardless of age, morning people responded as being happier. And night people responded as having seen every single episode ever of "Law and Order."

Advantage: Night people.

The most interesting finding, however, is that just being awake early and seeing the morning sun isn't what actually makes people happy. Even my dog knows that if you get out of bed before, say, noon you're going to have a bad time. And this is a dog who spends the bulk of his waking hours blissfully licking his crotch.

Study researcher Renee Biss, a graduate student at the University of Toronto, said one of the reasons morning people may be happier is because they tend not to suffer from social jet lag. Biss said, "Society's expectations are far more organized around a morning-type person's schedule."

Apparently society's expectations don't include midnight ping pong.

The article suggests hacking your sleep schedule, and Biss said, "One way to do it is to increase your natural light exposure early in the morning."

Sadly, the light from my iPhone doesn't count. At least not when I play Angry Birds in bed. I did, however, find an app called Pocket UV Light and tested it out on my co-worker.

"Do you feel happier?"


"What about now?"


"What about now?"

"Don't you ever do work?"

"No. What about now?"

So that was 99 cents I'll never see again. Still, I was determined to find something that could provide natural light without actually having to get up and face the outside world and/or put on pants.

As always, when times are tough, I turned to SkyMall.

And that's where I found the Optimal Light Therapy System. For $189.95 this device delivers "the optimal 10,000 lux of therapeutic light to counteract the effects of fatigue, jet lag, and Seasonal Affective Disorder."

I have no idea what a lux is, but I've always said 10,000 is the optimal number. So, this was promising. This was hope. Perhaps I had finally found my savior.

(Current savior: Klondike bars.)

Unfortunately, to reap the benefits of the Optimal Light Therapy System, you have to spend 30 minutes with your face in front of a blinding, bright light. That, they say, will "block the release of melatonin."

But besides just being kind of weird, it requires, even at a minimum, sitting upright in bed. And that requires not sleeping.

So, for now I guess I'm just going to stay a miserable night owl. At least until Pippa texts me back.

Hey, Pipps! How bout some ping pong? :-)

Uh oh. Here comes the dysentery.

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