Thursday, August 22, 2013

Night Owls Are Just Better – It’s Science! (A #ThemeThursday Post)


It’s #ThemeThursday again, and I’m feeling super proud of myself for doing this four Thursdays in a row now, even though the first Thursday was late. This week’s theme is, “Early Bird or Night Owl – Which One Are You?”

Everyone who knows me at all well knows that I’m a huge night owl. If I didn’t have sleeping pills, I’d be awake all night and sleep all day. For years that was just what I’d do, but it gets kind of shitty because you can never really go anywhere or do anything, because nothing is open at night (except for pubs) and everyone is asleep (except for drunks).

The worst thing about being a night owl is that everyone gives you shit over it. I’m an adult and I pay my bills, so you’d think it’d be no one’s business but my own if I want to keep odd hours, but you’d be wrong. If I had a dollar for every time someone called me lazy, I’d build a fucking children’s hospital so they’d never stop feeling like assholes. Name-calling can’t make me change my body clock, but it will make me change my phone number.

I reckon they’re just jealous, because, as I’ve said before, that’s what I always assume when people give me a hard time for no good reason. After all, some of the most brilliant minds in history were night owls, including Winston Churchill, Charles Darwin, James Joyce, Marcel Proust, Robert Louis Stevenson, Hunter S. Thompson, Thomas Edison, Charles Bukowski, and President Barack Obama.

A recent study by the University of Madrid found that night owls possess “the kind of intelligence associated with better jobs and higher salaries,” according to The Telegraph, because of their creativity, analytical thinking, and problem-solving skills. Another study by the London School of Economics and Political Science suggests that night owls are more likely to have higher IQs.

So suck it, morning people.

I’ve been this way since I was a kid, and after decades of struggling to live on a “normal” schedule, I broke down and saw a doctor. He tried to tell me that “Sleep problems are usually temporary.” I didn’t laugh in his face, because that’s rude.

The doctor also wanted to know why I couldn’t just sleep during the day and stay awake all night if that’s what my body clock wants. I’m a freelance writer, after all, so I have a greater degree of control over my schedule than most, so if I want to sleep late, I can pretty much arrange that – and believe me, I do, because not having to wake up at the taint of dawn is one of the few perks of a job where I get no sick days, no vacation pay, no health insurance, no pension plan, and no respect.


But I don’t want to sleep all day. Sure, I spend most of my waking hours at work just like everyone else, but you can’t work all the time. Sometimes you want to go somewhere (besides a pub) and if you live alone and works from home, sometimes you want to talk to other humans (besides drunks). So I’ve been trying, with the help of medication, to become a daywalker. There’s no fooling your circadian rhythms, though. Even if I get plenty of sleep, I’m still pretty much worthless before noon. 

4 comments:

  1. I've lived like this my entire life also and been called lazy even recently. I just cannot get switched around and at this point, I almost don't have any reason to. Sad thing is, my 9 year old daughter is able to stay up all night and still stay awake during the day. I figure she'll end up being a night owl as well.

    Btw, I'm always up if you get bored. But, after 1 am, I am also probably drunk.

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    1. I was able to do the all-night-all-day thing when I was young, too. And then, for several years, it was four hours of sleep every night. One of the things I read while researching this said that evidence shows sleep patterns run in families (my mother and grandmother are/were also night owls.) She just has a lot of energy because she's young. Someday she'll grow out of it.

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  2. This post has everything! Children's hospitals, geniuses, taints... It's like a Stefan skit! I'm with you. Do you also have that weird thing where if someone calls after 8 and wakes you, you absolutely will not admit that you were sleeping? Like it's somehow shameful to sleep during daylight hours?

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    1. I don't even answer the phone if I'm sleeping. If it's important, they'll call back.

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