Night owls are more productive than some may think


Chris Cox

Junior, Logan Flake

Logan Flake, Satire Editor

I get home from a long day of school, and the only thing that’s on my mind is taking a nap. I set my backpack down, take off my glasses and jump onto my nice, comfy bed. It’s 3 p.m., but it’s 10:30 p.m somewhere. Within minutes I’m off into dreamland. Next thing I know, I jerk awake and I see darkness outside my window. Momentarily confused, I look over at my clock and see that it’s now almost 9 p.m. Six hours of sleep isn’t too shabby, right? Well, not necessarily when they were logged during the afternoon. After about 10 minutes of denial, I groggily get up and zip open my bookbag, now wide-awake for a long night of pre-calc homework and The Things They Carried annotations.

You might be thinking that, with a sleeping schedule like that, I must’ve hit a low point in my life plagued with crippling depression and an extreme desire to do absolutely nothing productive with my life. You’d be absolutely right in thinking that. But, I’ve come to embrace the fact that I’ve turned myself into a night owl who hits peak performance at around 11:30 p.m. and only gets five hours of actual sleep during the school week. If you’re a fellow member of the night owl neighborhood, you should embrace your completely-backwards sleeping habits, too, because there’s nothing wrong with it.

I’m sure most teachers cringe at the idea of their students being up past 10 p.m., let alone past midnight. The phenomenon that eight hours of sleep is needed for a human to properly function is one that is still highly present in culture today, so I’m sure that if a night owl told his health teacher that he only gets around 5 hours of sleep during the week, heads (or I guess just one head) would roll.

Well, according to an article on WebMD entitled “7 Myths About Sleep” there’s nothing special about that eight-hour goal at all. In the article, this widely-accepted lie is debunked, instead saying that everyone has their own needs and that there’s no magic number that’s best for one’s performance upon waking up.

Also, according to a study performed by the University of California, San Diego, there might be a link between longer sleep length and cancer risk. Using sleep data from a Cancer Prevention Study from the American Cancer society, it was determined that those who get eight hours of sleep a night are actually more at risk for developing cancer than those who get less sleep.

So, it’s fine to not get much sleep during the school week (in typical night owl fashion) as long as you yourself can handle it and are used to it.

When it comes to sleep outside of school nights (where even night owls such as myself sleep in) it’s more beneficial to stay up late and sleep late as opposed to going to bed early and being an early riser. In a Huffington Post article entitled “7 reasons to be proud of being a night owl,” studies are cited which indicate that night owls might have both higher IQs and higher levels of creativity than their early-rising counterparts. A study cited in the article also states that night owls stay mentally alert longer into the night than early birds.

Being a night owl shouldn’t be looked at as a negative thing. Sure, there are cons to the night owl lifestyle, but an equal amount of cons exist for the lifestyle that typical people follow. Life’s too short to worry about trying to adjust to a sleeping schedule that simply doesn’t work for you. So, the next time that you find yourself up past 1 in the morning doing AP world vocabulary, don’t fret. You’re going to be okay.