Differences in morningness-eveningness among humans are commonly ascribed to circadian parameters, such as circadian period and responsivity to environmental time cues, as well as homeostatic sleep drive. Light is the primary synchronizer of the human biological clock, and if circadian differences exist between morning and evening types, they should have different phase angles of entrainment to the light/dark cycle; that is, morning and evening types should have different patterns of light exposure relative to endogenous circadian phase (ECP). When phase angle of entrainment is strictly defined as the relationship between a marker of ECP and the timing of light exposure, such differences have been demonstrated in the laboratory under controlled light/dark cycles and have recently been shown under conditions of spring and summer light exposure outside the laboratory, taking into account the variable intensity of light. Here, we report similar results from a large (n=66), diverse cohort of morning and evening types across the age span studied at all different times of the year. Differences between morning and evening types in light exposure relative to ECP, indicative of a difference in the phase angle of entrainment to the external light/dark cycle, were found. Specifically, evening types, compared to morning types, had a higher ratio of phase advancing to phase delaying by light. We interpret this as indicating a longer circadian period () in evening types.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physiology (medical)