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For the Owls and Larks

Researchers are working on developing a blood test to determine people's chronotypes, or whether they are natural early risers or late nighters, Scientific American reports.

The circadian clock, it notes, regulates much of the activity related to the sleep-wake cycle, with each cell having its own machinery that are all then overseen by the brain's suprachiasmatic nucleus. Currently, Scientific American says, the dim light melatonin onset test is the best way of teasing out someone's chronotype, but different groups of researchers hope to develop one that instead relies on detecting changes in the levels of certain microRNAs in the blood.

According to Scientific American, such a chronotype test could not only gauge how people's circadian rhythm is affected by jet lag or shift work but also help determine the best times of day for individuals to take medications to get their full effectiveness.

The New York Times also notes that some employers and schools are beginning to recognize that people have different chronotypes. A few companies like AbbVie and Southwest Airlines allow workers to choose the time of day when they work in a move to increase productivity, it adds.