I’ve been a late sleeper practically from birth. I could sleep through the whole day, without problems, and be up and ready for the world by night. My Granny would always scold me and say, “Only lazy people are still in bed after the sun rises.” I’d just grunt and turn over, relishing those last few divine moments of slumber.
A recent headline on Inc.com called “Early Riser? What You Should Do When You Wake Up,” brought back memories of my Granny’s sentiments. Margaret Heffernan, an entrepreneur and author who I greatly admire and follow, ends the article with “If you’re sleeping late; what does that mean? Are you exhausted—or just disengaged?”
I’d have to say neither, and I’d also have to add that being more inclined to night hours—or sleeping late and staying up until the wee hours of the night— is not necessarily a bad thing.
I once had a job working the night shift on a newspaper copy desk, and I loved it. Those are the kinds of work schedules I prefer—vampire hours where I can think and do whatever I need in peace, while the rest of the world sleeps. There was nobody’s loud music or conversations to be heard, few people are shopping at the 24-hour grocery stores, few phones are ringing and I didn’t have to angrily push through rush hour for my commute. Those hours were a dream come true since I could be a late sleeper, not really inclined to get up early because, well, I’d just finished my shift just hours before the average person would be getting up to start their day.
True, many great leaders and thinkers are known to be early risers, but the same can be said about those who are night owls and wake (and work) in the latter moments of the day. It’s also true that there are evident benefits to waking up a bit earlier in the day. But research (as it usually does), also shows the other side of the coin: A recent study found that “people with higher IQs tend to be more active nocturnally, going to bed later, whereas those with lower IQs usually retire to bed sooner after nightfall,” restricting their activities “primarily to daytime.”
Think President Obama … Winston Churchill …
your favorite bartender.
Here are three smart reasons being more inclined to wake up later —and being in the night owl way—is perfectly OK:
1. During the day, I could choose to wake up later than the average 9-to-5er—a win for peace of mind. I can get my workout on, relax, blog, shop, make appointments and take care of errands most day workers are spending their lunch break rushing to get done—without anxiety of the one-hour limit.
2. I feel I do my best work at night and into the wee hours of the morning, and that I’m in a much better mood when I can sleep until the latter part of the day. True, office hours begin and end with the sunrise and sunset, but my point is, night owls can be just as productive as early birds. I’ve finished chapters of books, organized files, evaluated resumes and even corresponded with friends and family in other time zones all while the moon is still at its peak. I’d feel refreshed knowing all the things I’d been able to accomplish, while again, day workers were trying to squeeze in errands plus their daytime obligations.
3. If you’re an entrepreneur—or budding one—with a full-time gig, waking up a bit later might ease the strain of juggling two “jobs” so to speak. Now, wait, I’m not talking about showing up to your job 2 hours late. What I am saying is, if you can negotiate later hours or you can wake up even 15 minutes later (say, 6:15 a.m. vs 6:00 a.m.), and make up that time in the evening, it may be a better fit for you, especially if you’re not really a morning person, like me.
Moral of all this: Shout out to my night owls. For any professional, the choice is yours on what truly works for you—but it’s OK if you’d rather get your best work done well after the crack of dawn.
Are you a night owl or early riser? #Soundoff on what you prefer and follow me on Twitter @JPHazelwood.