Night Owls vs Early Birds: Which is Better for Weight Loss?

When it comes to weight loss, do night owls vs early birds have the advantage? Find out how these lifestyles affect weight loss and more.

fridge door open

I am so not a morning person. I never will be. If the rest of the world weren’t on a 9-to-5 schedule, I would probably stay up until the late hours of the night working—and then sleep in, of course!

But that’s not the way of the world, so I struggle a little bit to get out of bed early in the morning.

So yup, I’m a night owl, and I usually get a second wind late at night. I seriously envy morning people.

Does being a night owl vs an early bird make it harder to lose weight, affect your metabolic rate, or limit your hours of sleep per night? Find out the answers here!

Night owls vs early birds

When it comes to your weight, as well as diet and exercise, do night owls vs early birds have the advantage?

Well, a study shows your sleep schedule could impact your ability to maintain a healthy weight.

The study in Obesity looked at the eating habits of Finnish adults to identify them as early birds or  night owls—and how that may affect their weight in the future.

The study authors looked at more than 1,800 people, ages 25 to 74, assessing what they reported they ate for two days, as well as whether they were early birds or night owls. 

The findings are super interesting.

Night owls had a lower calorie intake in the morning than morning types—but one that was higher in sugar. And in the evening, the night owls ate more calories, sugar, fat, and saturated fats, versus early birds, although calorie intake over the course of the day was similar.

The differences between early birds and night owls were even more obvious during weekend eating, when night owls had more eating occasions and ate more calories, versus early birds.

Of the adults studied, only 12 percent were classified as night owls, while 49% were early birds and 39% landed in the middle (so you don’t have to be one or the other).

Interestingly, night owls were more likely to be younger women who were highly educated, physically inactive, and current smokers.

The study authors note that night owls may have a higher risk of obesity and metabolic disturbances—but more research is needed.

An owl looking at the camera

Weight-loss tips

Use these tips to make your early bird, night owl, or somewhere-in-between status work for you.

While night owls like me do tend to eat more calories, sugar, and fat in the evenings, late risers aren’t automatically destined for weight-loss failure.

You can make a few easy changes to make your night owl status work for you.

Monitor what you eat

Give strong attention to your eating habits, especially in the evening. Consider how you divide your calorie allotment over the course of the day.

Get moving

In the Obesity study, the night owls were less likely to be physically active. So while anyone can benefit from creating a workout schedule, a night owl may see extra advantage in scheduling in workout time.

Don’t get discouraged

If you’re a night owl, that doesn’t mean you’re automatically going to have a hard time keeping your weight in check. A

s you stay within your daily calorie budget, your night owl or early bird status doesn’t really matter. After all, BMI was similar between all of the groups in the Obesity study!

Bottom line

When it comes to night owls vs early birds, early bird risers tend to have the advantage. But that doesn’t mean night owls are destined to have a hard time losing weight.

Both night owls and early birds can follow healthy habits to achieve a healthy weight.


Is being an early bird or night owl better? Does either affect your sleep and weight loss? Find out if being a night owl vs. an early bird is best for your sleep-weight-loss outlook.

I’d love to hear from you! What are your thoughts on night owls vs early birds?

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