We're Not All Morning People, That's Okay

Mar 10, 2016

When it comes to Daylight Saving Time in the spring, there are two camps of people - the ones who hate it and the ones who don't mind. Iowa Public Radio Morning Edition host Clay Masters says he doesn't necessarily hate the time change, but it isn't his favorite time of year. 

"When I started hosting Morning Edition, I knew the hours I was signing up for," he laughs. "It took some conditioning."

During this hour of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe talks with Masters about his sleep schedule and his routine, which starts every day at 4:00 a.m. Even though he hosts a show that is on the air from 5 a.m. to 9 a.m., he doesn't consider himself a morning person. 

"I get up right at 4 o'clock. I get ready in 15-20 minutes, and it only takes me about 10 minutes to get to work because there's nobody out," he explains. "A morning person is what I aspire to be." 

If you lose an hour in the morning, you'll be looking for it all day. - German Proverb

According to Dr. Melisa Coaker, he's not alone. There are lots of people who have to go against their natural circadian rhythms for work. Some people have the ability to adapt to a change in sleeping patterns very quickly and some don't. 

"In up to 30 percent of so-called 'shift workers'--that can be someone who works overnight shifts, or someone who works early morning shifts--you can develop a disorder called shift work disorder," she explains. "It involves insomnia and difficulty sleeping. It can also cause sleepiness. That is associated with a higher error rate when you’re working and decreased focus and attention. It can also cause more serious disease like heart disease and depression, even hormonal cancers like breast cancer."

During this hour of Talk of Iowa, Dr. Coaker, who works with CIC Associates P.C. and is Medical Director for the Mercy Sleep Center in Des Moines, the Grinnell Sleep Center and Iowa Specialty Hospitals, also joins the conversation. She says some people are naturally night owls, and some people are naturally morning larks. 

David Stoltze, who drives for Uber in Des Moines, and Greg Boal, who likes to get up early to go water skiing in the late spring and summer chime in too. Stoltze works overnights on the weekends.

"I will say this: caffeine is a god send."