Most people are either night owls or larks, happiest either staying up late or rising early. This is partly due to our genetic makeup. Animal studies suggest that being a morning or an evening person may be built into our genes, like having red hair or blue eyes. That’s why serial night owls will tell you that going to bed late is not simply a choice, it’s part of who they are. Recognize yourself as a creature of the night? Then you might identify with some of these “truths.”
1. You Understand the Joy of an Armchair and Lamp
While late-night TV-box-set binges have their appeal, many night owls also know the joy of reading, quietly, late into the night.
There’s a special hush that comes over the house when other family members have gone to bed and the outside world is less hectic that really lends itself to reading. You’re not alone, since other people are upstairs or in neighbouring bedrooms, but the house is deliciously peaceful and the light from a single reading lamp incredibly intimate.
2. You Need a Good Alarm Clock
Being a night owl does not, unfortunately, mean you can do without the recommended seven hours of sleep a night. In fact, night owls’ nocturnal ways may be written into their very genes, making jumping out of bed at 7 a.m. a challenge. So if you’re staying up late but have places to be in the morning, better invest in a good alarm clock. Or two.
3. Snacks Are Required
Staying up into the small hours? You will need snacks. By 2 a.m., your pasta dinner will feel like a really long time ago.
4. TV Becomes Unpredictable
Those who head off to bed early may worry that they’re missing out on all the best television. That’s true, but only up to a point. Any night owl will tell you that after about 11 p.m., things become a bit unpredictable on mainstream TV.
Yes, the odd gems crop up in the listings, from brilliant old films to quirky arts shows, but then again, there are the dull and downright dubious filler programs. Thank goodness for box sets and streaming services.
5. You Have Extra Time to Get Jobs Done — Maybe
Some night owls spend the late hours getting things done, whether it’s catching up on paperwork, organizing a photo album or planning a holiday.
That said, being a night owl does not always mean productivity. Night is still downtime as far as our internal body clock is concerned, so we’re programmed to at least rest, if not sleep, at night. This may mean that the only things night owls achieve at night is a lot of reading or TV viewing.
6. This Could Be Your Only Chance to Be Alone
If you enjoy your own company but find everyday life is always about being with people, staying up late may be your only opportunity to have some time alone.
7. Observing the Nighttime World Is a Treat
Perching in a window seat and gazing out at the nighttime world can be fascinating, as any night owl will tell you. From spotting a coyote trotting down the street to following the light on a plane as it blinks across the sky to watching the moon rise over the trees, viewing the late-night world is magical.
8. Breakfast Is Not Your Favourite Meal of the Day
Night owls may prefer an extra hour puttering around the night before to a leisurely breakfast in the morning. This means the first meal of the day can be a hurried affair — maybe a quick cup of coffee before racing for the door and nibbling something at work later.
9. Staying Up Is a Mini Act of Rebellion
As children, we’re told when to go to bed, and as adults we’re obliged to live according to established routines — the familiar 9 to 5. So every night owl, deep down, will admit that staying up late feels like a tiny act of rebellion. It’s about thumbing your nose at conventions over when to sleep and when to wake, and discovering a world of which few people take advantage.
10. Being a Night Owl Can Boost Creativity
There’s something about the quiet magic of nighttime that many night owls claim boosts creativity. And while early birds are productive — grabbing an extra hour or two for writing or thinking — there’s a limit to the time they have. The normal working day will swing around and demand their attention, preventing them from getting truly immersed in a project.
For night owls, there’s no such problem. Those who stay up can indulge in hours of work, thought or creativity, while those who rise early have the working day as an ever-looming deadline.