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The Secret Advantages of Being a Night Owl

March 27, 2015 in Blogs

By Benjamin Sprall, Huffington Post

There's an undeserved stigma against those who go to bed late and sleep even later.

If you're a late riser, there's a good chance that you have, at one point, been made to feel inferior to your early riser friends and colleagues. 

Unlike early birds (people who have a genetic tendency to go to bed and wake up early), late risers, also known as night owls, have a natural tendency to go to bed late and sleep even later. And that's just fine. Although you may sleep though the early morning hours, which many early birds claim are their most productive of the day, for night owls these productive hours manifest themselves much later in the day.

Undeserved Stigma

In night owls, melatonin secretion begins very late, which makes it easy for them to stay awake (and productive) well into the night. Because of this, according to Sleep: A Very Short Introductionby Steven W. Lockley and Russell:

Evening types wake earlier in their circadian “day” and are therefore more sleepy and poorer performers in the morning but do not decline as much as morning types by the end of the day.

The undeserved “lazy” stigma given to night owls comes about due to the early birds of the world never seeing them at their most productive because, ironically, early birds are often fast asleep by the time night owls get going.

In his book Internal Time: Chronotypes, Social Jet Lag, and Why You're So Tired, Till Roenneberg comments:

The postman doesn't think for a second that the young man might have worked until the early morning hours because he is a night-shift worker or for other reasons. He labels healthy young people who sleep into the day as lazy—as long sleepers.

But as Christopher Drake, a senior scientist with the Henry Ford Sleep Disorders and Research Center in Detroit commented, “The human body needs approximately seven to eight hours of sleep a night to maintain optimal alert levels during the day.” Though scientists have recognized that there are indeed a sleepless elite who can run on …read more


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