Are Asians More Nocturnal than Others

Science never ends with an anecdote; otherwise, it would be sociology.  But sometimes science begins with an anecdote.

I first became interested in circadian rhythm when I lived in Christchurch, New Zealand, for one year.  I lived on Riccarton Road, one of the main drags in Christchurch.  Down Riccarton Road from where I lived, there was a supermarket called Countdown that was open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

I would often go to Countdown to shop at three o’clock in the morning.  Every time I did, I noticed that the place was crawling with Asian customers.  This was before the recent explosion of Asian immigration to New Zealand, so Asians were still a small minority in Christchurch back then.  I would not see many Asians anywhere in Christchurch most of the time, except at three o’clock in the morning in a 24-hour supermarket.

I began wondering then if this was because Asians were more nocturnal than other races.  I had not thought about possible race differences in circadian rhythms until I lived in New Zealand and repeatedly encountered a large number of Asians at three o’clock in the morning.  I had always shopped at three o’clock in the morning in 24-hour supermarkets all my adult life, but I did not remember seeing a disproportionate number of Asians before.

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Sleeping Well Manual

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