Night Owl Lifestyle

Are you a ‘night owl’? Do you find it hard to go to sleep early at night and when you get up early in the morning it’s like you’ve been hit by a train? Join the team! Night owls are a minority of the population, but a significant one.

It is commonly believed that the sleeping hours night owls have are the result of bad habits. They’ve gotten used to going to bed late and as a result they also get up late or if they get up early they’re tired. While this is sometimes the case and consciously changing sleeping habits can turn night owls into early birds, it is often not the case.

Some serious research now points out that a lot of the night owls’ sleeping patterns are hardwired. Night owls seem to have certain genetic differences which make their circadian rhythm different than the one most people have (it lasts 27 hours instead of 24). And this rhythm creates their distinct sleeping patterns.

From an evolutionary perspective, night owls are an important adaptation in the human race. Think of these people as the night guardians in the times we lived in tribes, who protected the rest of the tribe members from wild animals while they were asleep.

Consciously changing sleeping habits will often not do very much for a natural night owl. As a natural night owl, I can relate to this a lot. I remember how some years back, I had a 1 year period when I would go to bed early and wake up early almost every day. After 1 entire year of this, I was only marginally used to it and I was still drowsy every morning when I woke up.

The thing is, fighting our genetic hardwiring is best to be done if we have no better alternative. But in the case of our sleeping genes, I believe we do. Society usually tells us that ‘early to bed, early to rise’ is the way to go, without giving us convincing evidence.

So if you’re naturally a night owl, I say this: instead of fighting it, learn to use if in your favor. Create a night owl lifestyle for yourself which helps you makes the best of your genetics. Here are some actions you might wanna consider:

1. Party, party, party! What’s the one awake-activity people do more at night time than at day time? OK, now what’s the other one? It’s partying! If you’re a night owl and you like to have fun (who doesn’t?), use this to go out more, socialize more and party more.

I for example go out at least one or two nights every week salsa dancing. It’s addictively fun and it’s one of the best ways I spend my night time. You have your own tastes in partying. Maybe you like talking, not dancing, pubs instead of clubs. Whatever your formula, make some good use of it.

2. Manage your working hours. If you’re a hardcore night owl, a 9 to 5 job will simply not do it for you. You need to adapt you working hours to your sleeping patterns, at least to a certain degree, since the other way around can often be very hard. The point is to work as much as you need, but to be able to choose when you do it.

I think that for night owls it’s best to have jobs with a flexible program, which also involve activities you can do at any time of the day you find convenient. Like writing, creating or researching on the Internet. Night owls will often do much better as entrepreneurs or if they have a very open-minded employer.

3. Deal with prejudice. Night owls are commonly misunderstood; even by themselves. They will often be seen as lazy, lacking commitment or ambition. Sometimes they will even be seen as having less skills or being less intelligent, which I find amusing considering there is also some research which shows that night owls are on average, smarter than other people.

Anyway, if you wanna have a night owl lifestyle, it’s best that you take this social prejudice into account, and deal with it. Sometimes the best way is to just ignore the sarcastic comments about you coming to work later than everyone else; sometimes the best way is to address them head on. It’s your responsibility to find the best way in each situation.

As you learn to make the best out of your circadian rhythm instead of fighting it, you create for yourself a lifestyle which is allows you to have fun and be productive at the same time, without conforming to superficial social standards. This being said, I’m off to party….

Comments

  1. Hi Eduard,
    I’m not a night owl, but my husband is, and so much of what you’ve said makes complete sense to me! Personally, I love the fact that he’s the nightwatchman in our house (he’s often up if the kids wake in the night), and he’s grateful that I’m happy to get up early to get breakfast and school lunches organised. He’s also an entrepreneur who uses his night hours to do lots of business related research, and I benefit from that in my business! Probably the most important thing we’ve both learned is to accept his rhythm and to make the most of it. I wouldn’t have him any other way!
    Topi
    PS – hope you enjoyed the party!
    .-= Topi´s last blog ..5 lessons I’ve learned from my children =-.

    • Hey Topi,

      A night owl and an early bird can be a good combination when it comes to work division in the family. It can sometimes be a challenging combination when you wanna do stuff together, but I’m sure you can overcome it 😉

  2. Nice site design tweaks.
    .-= Jonny | thelifething.com´s last blog ..Why My First Business Sank Spectacularly And How To Keep Yours From Meeting The Same Watery Fate – Part 1 =-.

  3. As my natural way is not an early bird, I was always wandering if it works to push myself to change my habits. I am trying for a while to do the opposite, arrange my habits around my nature and see how it goes, thanks for the idea 🙂

    • Welcome aboard! I think there is a place for fighting our nature, in order to make something better out of our lives. But sleeping patterns is not it.

  4. I think it’s another example of drive from your life style — rather than fit yourself into a workplace, find a workplace that’s a good fit for you. Sleep is such a crucial daily thing that I think it’s worth factoring it in to your choice of employment.
    .-= J.D. Meier´s last blog ..Lessons Learned from John Maxwell =-.

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