NCBI ROFL: Early to bed and early to rise: Does it matter?

By ncbi rofl | July 15, 2011 7:00 pm

It’s CMAJ week on NCBI ROFL! All this week we’ll be featuring articles from the Canadian Medical Association Journal’s holiday issues. Enjoy!

Background: Controversy remains about whether early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise (the Ben Franklin hypothesis), or healthy, wealthy and dead (the James Thurber hypothesis).

Methods: As part of the Determinants of Myocardial Infarction Onset Study, we determined through personal interviews the bedtimes and wake times of 949 men admitted to hospital with acute myocardial infarction. Participants reported their educational attainment and zip code of residence, from which local median income was estimated. We followed participants for mortality for a mean of 3.7 years. We defined early-to-bed and early-to-rise respectively as a bedtime before 11 pm and wake time before 6:30 am.

Results: Hours in bed were inversely associated with number of cups of coffee consumed (age-adjusted Spearman correlation coefficient r –0.07, p = 0.03). The mortality of early-to-bed, early-to-risers did not differ significantly from other groups. There was also no relation between bed habits and local income, nor with educational attainment.

Interpretation: Our results refute both the Franklin and Thurber hypotheses. Early to bed and early to rise is not associated with health, wealth or wisdom.”

Photo: flickr/stuartpilbrow

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  • John

    I don’t see how their conclusion follows. Both the Franklin and the Thurber schools agree about ‘wealthy’ as a result of an early to bed and early to rise regimen. The authors do not seem to have measured any socioeconomic statuses as part of their study.

  • W R Lockhart

    There was no correlation between bed times and income. The study shows they are both wrong. The fact that both theories state that they make a person wealthy is contradicted by the study.

  • Georg

    Was Franklin an early bird personally?

  • Jockaira

    John said “The authors do not seem to have measured any socioeconomic statuses as part of their study.”

    From above “Participants reported their educational attainment and zip code of residence, from which local median income was estimated.”

    Both educational achievement and the rent one pays are reliable indicators of socioeconomic status, especially when taken from a statistical base.

    As for Franklin’s possible early birdism, judging from the number of his nightime escapades, he could have still been an early bird but only with long siestas.

  • Vogie

    Isn’t that quote from Outliers “No man who fails to wake before sunrise 360 days a year will fail to make his family rich?”

  • Deray

    I do see they measured income as wealth, fine. But, how did they measure wisdom? they are concluding that early-to-bed, early-to-rise is not correlated with it, so where is the data?

  • Bird

    Deray, “educational attainment” in the results.

  • Harry P. Vida

    Fine article and something I have to agree with. I’ve been going to bed and rising early for most of my life after a spate of health problems in my early 20s that included some weight gain. I got myself out of the rut I was in and started hitting the sack early to get more sleep cause I was tired all the time. It worked and I carried on, finding I was getting up earlier and feeling great!


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NCBI ROFL is the brainchild of two Molecular and Cell Biology graduate students at UC Berkeley and features real research articles from the PubMed database (which is housed by the National Center for Biotechnology information, aka NCBI) that they find amusing (ROFL is a commonly-used internet acronym for "rolling on the floor, laughing"). Follow us on twitter: @ncbirofl


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