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If there’s anything to like about daylight saving time, it’s that one extra hour of sleep that comes with earlier nightfall. But whether or not that extra hour can be put to good use depends on whether you’re a morning lark, night owl or something in between – namely, your chronotype.

Each person has a particular time of day when their mental performance is at its peak. Psychologist Cindi May of the College of Charleston notes that making sure your cognitive abilities are at the best when they are put to the test can influence the outcomes of a wide range of important activities in daily life, from acing exams to making accurate diagnoses to avoiding marketing scams. “For early risers and late-nighters alike, listening to your internal clock may be the key to success,” she writes.

Hopefully, reading this story will make you feel a little better about finally being ready to tackle that to-do list when the sun sets – or, if you’re like me, conking out at 9 p.m.

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Vivian Lam

Associate Health and Biomedicine Editor

Owl chronotypes function better at night, while lark chronotypes are more energized in the morning. The Photo Matrix/Moment, nomis_g/iStock via Getty Images Plus

What’s your chronotype? Knowing whether you’re a night owl or an early bird could help you do better on tests and avoid scams

Cindi May, College of Charleston

Synchronizing your daily activities to your circadian rhythm could help you improve your performance on a variety of cognitive tasks − and even influence diagnosis of cognitive disorders.

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