Speed Reading — Early Risers - Level 3 — 100 wpm

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Early risers are people who naturally wake up early in the morning. Their body clock causes them to get up while most of us are still in deep sleep. Researchers at the University of California said early risers could have some shared DNA from Neanderthals – our ancestors who lived over 40,000 years ago. Neanderthals lived in northern parts of Europe and Asia. They woke up earlier to hunt for or gather food as the sun rose. Researcher Dr Tony Capra said: "At higher latitudes it is beneficial to have a body clock that is better able to anticipate and change to match the changing seasonal light levels." He added: "Having a 'faster' body clock…makes individuals more likely to rise early."

Scientists have spent a long time looking at why some people are early birds, while others are night owls. They looked at a medical database with genetic information for hundreds of thousands of people. They compared the DNA of people who said they were early risers with the Neanderthal DNA. Their research found more examples of Neanderthal DNA existed in the early risers. However, it is likely that the Neanderthal gene is not so strong in many people. The effect of the Neanderthal DNA may be weakening as the centuries pass. Our modern lifestyles mean many of us prefer sleeping in to leaving the comfort of our bed. Nevertheless, it may still be true that the early bird catches the worm.

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