10 Hidden Benefits of Being a Night Owl
Staying up past bedtime might be a lost childhood habit for some, while for others, it becomes a regular way of life. Here are ten ways that being a night owl can actually be a positive thing.
Night owls have more creativity and originality
Need a creative solution to a problem? Your answer just might be waiting in the mind of a night owl. A study conducted by the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart in Milan showed that those with a penchant for staying up late, also exhibited the most creativity. The study participants ranged in age, and were given an activity in which they were required to complete pictures composed with only straight and curved lines. Night owls passed the test with no problem, while those that considered themselves to be morning people struggled to achieve an average score. Professor Marina Giampietro, says of the creativity found in night owls, "Being in a situation which diverges from conventional habit [typical for nocturnal types], may encourage the development of a non-conventional spirit and of the ability to find alternative and original solutions."
Night owls can go the distance mentally
While those that claim to be morning people might hit the ground running early, they are also more likely to mentally tire sooner than those that head for bed late at night. A study conducted by The University of Leige in Belgium showed a striking difference in mental alertness between the two groups. A group of night owls and early birds were given a test that measured their reaction times, both in the morning and evening. The test was conducted 10.5 hours after waking for each group, depending on their normal sleep schedule. During the morning test, the groups scored similarly, but the evening test showed a great discrepancy between the two groups. Those that prided themselves in staying up late proved to have faster response times during the evening test than those that went to be earlier on a regular basis. The results showed that regardless of wake times, night owls are able to sustain a sense of mental alertness for longer than those that go to bed early. Here are 10 ways to naturally reset your sleep cycle.
Night owls might be smarter
Night owls might actually have the upper hand intellectually as well. A study by Satoshi Kanazawa of the London School of Economics and Political Science examined the sleep and wake times of students in 80 middle and high schools. The students were questioned about their sleep habits on days they had to attend school or work, contrasted with days they were able to sleep in. The study found that the brightest students had both later bedtimes and wake times, while those students with low to average intellectual ability went to bed earlier and awoke earlier as well. Morning person? Don't worry. Here are 8 health advantages of being an early riser.
Night owls of a feather flock together
Night can be a time of quiet solitude and refreshment for some night owls, while for others it is a chance to commune with those with the same circadian rhythm. Many night owls have a habit of communicating with others on the same schedule through internet forums, or other groups specifically meant for those that enjoy a later bedtime. Many "night owl communities" (even a dating site!) exist, serving those that work swing shift, or simply prefer a later sleep schedule.
Night owls have special strength
Are night owls superior in physical strength too? One study from the University of Alberta tested the leg strength of night owls and early birds at different times throughout the day. The study found that the strength of morning people remained stable throughout the day, while night owls showed a burst of strength in the evening, the result of increased motor cortex and spinal cord excitability working together in the evening hours. Morning people do not experience the combination of these two variables reaching their height at the same time. The brains of morning people showed a peak in the morning, which slowly faded as the day continued. Olle Lagerquist, a co-author of the study and a Ph.D candidate in neurophysiology at the University of Alberta, said, "We thought that morning people would be better at this in the morning, but they never changed." Here's more proof that being a night owl is in your genes.
Night owl parents are ready for around the clock duty
For those night owls that become parents, their circadian rhythm just might prove to be a strength they didn't anticipate. Most newborns do not sleep longer than two to four hours at a time, meaning that their first wakings after bedtime will occur when a night owl is sure to be up and ready to soothe them back to sleep. Night owl tendencies will also prove to be an asset later in parenthood, when illness strikes and demands a parent take care of an ailing child at all hours of the night. Don't let those early bird parents off the hook just yet though, they can take over again for the early morning shift!
Night owls have better reasoning skills
Are night owls predestined to have better reasoning and therefore greater intelligence? A study from the University of Madrid tested the various skills of 1,000 teenagers, and found that those considered to be night owls scored the highest on the inductive reasoning portions of the test. Inductive reasoning is a way of thinking that creates conclusions based upon a group of given true facts and is considered to be a sign of intelligence and a predictor of academic and career success. Here's another genetic reason you might not be a morning person.
There are more of them
If you're a night owl, you're in the majority. Scientists from Aachen University in Germany think that only 10 percent of people can be considered morning people, while 20 percent are night owls and the other 70 percent of the population are more moderate in their sleep styles, not fitting firmly into either category. If the rest of your family is asleep every night while you're getting a second wind, rest assured that throughout the world there are many others that join you in your late night party of one.
Night owls have time for hobbies
While everyone else slumbers, night owls find time to hone their skills. Whether it's playing guitar, writing poetry, or reading novels, night owls have the extra time to devote to activities that are enjoyable but may not pay the bills. Time that others spend sleeping is spent creating or practicing for many night owls, who are more likely to be creative.
Night owls have more time to destress
Although it might seem counter-intuitive, night owls have more time to devote to intentionally taking part in activities that lessen stress. Some might argue that sleep accomplishes this goal more effectively, but for a night owl, the need to unwind before bed can feel like a required part of a nightly routine. Whether this includes reading or late night yoga, night owls can spend every evening devoting time to what makes them feel balanced and whole, and anyone with any circadian rhythm can agree, that's a positive thing. If your night owl tendencies make it hard for you to wake up, be sure to check out these tips for waking up in the morning without a struggle.