For most of my life, I have done tireless battle with insomnia.
(Get it? Tireless? Insomnia?)
As such I’ve developed into what most in the world refer to as a “Night Owl.” By natural tendency, I’m unable to fall asleep until I reach maximum exhaustion, which for me is generally later than your average contributor to society awakens. And when I’m lucky, I sleep past what is deemed a “normal” waking hour. Lately, I’ve been able to embrace my Night Owl-ness full-on. I freelance write to pay some of my bills, and I’m a part-time student as well. All of my classes are from 4-10pm. Meaning I don’t have to be anywhere until then on a daily basis, and I can work on my freelance projects whenever I want. (This is not something I would recommend, but it is one way to live.)
For eons and eons, there has been a divide among the Night Owls and their arch-nemeses, the “Early Birds.” Whichever we are, we defend. There are merits to both, but I’m here today to stump on behalf of my darkness-loving bretheren.
Here are six perks to being a Night Owl:
- You’re in the minority. Most people adapt away from the Night Owl lifestyle since the norm is to wake up early, go to work around 9 or 10am, and then hit the sack so you can get seven or eight hours of Z’s before you have to wake up and do it all over again. (Also because this is when the sun is out, I guess.) As such, people are more interested in speaking with a Night Owl about his or her habits and lifestyle. This is because we’re foreign to many, and also because many know deep down that rising before the sun, getting a run in, and then crushing some oatmeal is just not something they’re going to enjoy talking about all that much. Throw in that you’re a sporadic insomniac and they get turbo-interested.
- You get to avoid the annoyances of daytime, like construction noise, the elderly, and basic human interaction that doesn’t serve much of a positive purpose. The quiet is one of the biggest benefits of Night Owl-ness. It’s not just the sound of relative silence (a sound I personally hate—I keep a fan on at all times and also have a noise machine in my bedroom), but the lack of disturbances to your thought process or your enjoyment of whatever it is you’re doing.
- You’re less likely to be bothered unless something very important is happening. I like spending half my day awake when others are awake, and the other half when they aren’t. That way all of the annoying shit people need to throw at me, they’ll throw at me, obviously, before they go to bed.
- You’re less likely to be hassled before noon unless something very important is happening. Once you establish yourself as a Night Owl in the eyes of pretty much everyone you know, they will refrain from calling you before they think you’ll have awoken. They begin to understand that you’re a sort of rebel who chooses not to subscribe to normal hours of operation, and that if they call you too early you’re not going to answer them anyway.
- You can beg out of early stuff by sticking to your guns and professing that you’re a Night Owl and there’s nothing that is going to change that. “Look, if you want to eat brunch food at 3:30am before I hit the sack then that’s fine, but that’s not going to be great for me because I’m not supposed to eat right before I go to bed,” I always say. “It fuels the night terrors that make it so I don’t want to fall asleep in the first place. And I sure as hell am not going to wake up after two hours’ sleep to eat eggs benedict when I can eat eggs benedict any damn time I want.”
- Most of us Night Owls spend the waning hours in solitude. This can get to a person, and most don’t feel that being alone is ideal. But think of it this way: when you’re the only one awake, you watch what you want on TV. You eat what you want. You listen to the music you want to listen to. You wear (or don’t wear) whatever your little heart desires. They say that character is who you are when no one is watching. So the late night hours are the best time to learn about and embrace your true self. (Unless you’re a serial killer. Then don’t embrace your true self. Turn yourself in, actually. Come on. You’re not well.)