13 Benefits of Being a Night Owl
Though our culture seems to esteem the morning person (“The early bird catches the worm” and "Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise"), there are distinct benefits to being a night person. Sure, we may not be able to participate regularly in a pre-dawn fitness boot camp or arrive first at the office every single day. But when 8 p.m. rolls around, we still have hours worth of energy and motivation.
If you are a night person like me, not only are you energized for more than the standard workday, you have career-related flexibility that lasts well past 5 p.m. Plus, because you probably recognize your inability to function coherently in the early hours of the morning, you are more likely to embrace the value of collaboration with morning people (as well as your nighttime cohorts). As a result, you have unique strengths and capabilities, 13 of them I’ve highlighted below. (See also: 5 Effective Sleep Tips You Haven't Tried Yet)
1. Workplace Flexibility
As a night person, you have probably learned to adapt to the typical “morning-person” schedule, arriving at work at 8 a.m. and leaving at 5 p.m. Not only can you thrive on a typical schedule, though, you can also adapt easily to a less-standard day or extended hours. This capability enables you to excel on late-night shifts as an employee and helps you to handle extended hours as a business owner.
2. Strength to Meet Deadlines
Just because you aren’t at work an hour earlier than everyone else doesn’t mean that you can’t get things done. Your productivity may soar in the evening and, when deadlines loom, you can easily put in extra hours then.
On workdays that last longer than usual, you still have time in the evening to relax. Then you can sleep on whatever work-related obstacles you may have encountered and enjoy problem-solving epiphanies the next day.
3. Extended Career-Related Availability
Being able to have a lucid conversation in the evening can be a significant benefit for those who must work late or have colleagues in different time zones.
If you are a night person on the east coast, for example, you are often ready to talk or exchange emails with your west coast colleagues in their late afternoons. Your freshness and availability can portray you as hard working, independent of whatever you have (or have not) accomplished earlier in the day.
4. Deep Engagement in the Community
If you have interest in advancing a cause and serving people in less fortunate circumstances while expanding your network, developing new skills (which can help boost your workplace credentials), and contributing to society, then being a night person can be advantage.
Many avenues of engagement with the community — such as leadership roles associated with non-profit organizations and volunteer opportunities with at-risk children — are available to those who have discretionary time and energy in the evening.
5. Energy to Tend to Young Children
While the morning person can handle childcare and school preparedness in the morning, the night owl is invaluable to watching over young children at nighttime. You have the energy to hang out with them, watch (or play) their games, read to them, and get them ready for bed.
6. Closeness With Teenage Kids
The circadian rhythm of adolescents is well-documented. What you might not know is that teens often wait until midnight to disclose important information. As a parent, you may not be able to change their sleep patterns. But as a night person, you can stay awake to have meaningful discussions with your teenagers when they are ready to talk.
7. A Rich Social Life
As a night person, you have the physical and emotional reserves to visit with friends in the evening. You may be more likely to enjoy dinner, drinks, and conversation after hours. As a result, you can expand your social circle and deepen bonds with friends.
8. Professional Connectedness
When you are traveling on business, you have the energy to interact with colleagues, customers, etc. during conferences, remote meetings, and site visits. When the mandatory tasks are done during the workday, you can get to know people and connect with them beyond the business niceties during evening sessions. Late-night chats, for example, can be rewarding on a personal level and lead to business opportunities that may not otherwise materialize.
9. Physical Fitness
The evening is a great time to work out, especially in the summertime. You can have a leisurely dinner and then go for a 5K run (or longer) at, say, 7:30 or 8 p.m. while there is plenty of light. You could also take a bike ride, walk, or visit the gym.
In the morning rush, you may not have time for a great workout. But the evening holds many more possibilities without distraction.
The nighttime is perfect for preparing yourself and your family for the following day. You can prep coffee for the morning, pack gear for an early start to an outdoor adventure, prepare meals or elements of an entrée or side dish for a potluck dinner, gather items for a crock pot meal at home, launder clothes for wear the next day, and more. Actually, I recommend that you go ahead and do these things at night because — if you are like me— you may not have the decision making skills and presence of mind to tackle them the morning.
11. Commitment to Self-Development
No matter how hard you try, if you are a true night person, you probably can’t get a good night’s sleep if you go to bed before 10 p.m. (or 11 p.m., if you are like me). That leaves an expanse of free time that you can either squander or use to enrich and develop yourself.
On those evenings when you are not working out, volunteering, prepping for the next day, listening to your kids, etc., you have time to read, study online, or take a course at the community college. You might partake of your book club’s monthly pick, brush up on the latest business or social trend, or get inspired to take action that will improve your life and that of your community.
12. Collaborative Spirit
My husband is a morning person, and I marvel at his ability to think clearly at 6 a.m. Though some marriages may suffer from morning-night conflicts, I have found that we are able to support each other more. While I may take care of the kids more in the evening, I can count on him to deal with morning crises and, on a more regular basis, make sure I get up on time for early appointments.
As a night person, I especially appreciate a morning person's strengths. So, I especially value collaboration for school, work, and community projects because of my experiences at home.
13. Strategic Thinking Capabilities
Leisure at night can give you the time and space to think deeply about whatever is happening in your life, specifically your personal dreams, career aspirations, and financial goals. Darkness can bring peacefulness, which can help you to contemplate your current situation. As a result, you may be able to think strategically, consider how to deal with underlying issues of existing problems, lay the foundation for future opportunities, and determine next steps that will help you realize your hopes for the future.
As a night person, I have often felt diminished because of my lack of perkiness in the morning. First, just to be clear, please know that I can get up early and get things done if required. For example, I can arrive on time for 7:30 a.m. dental appointments or 7:00 a.m. starts for a bike ride. My regular rhythm, though, favors mid-morning productivity and nighttime activity. Counting the advantages of being more alert at night has helped me to use my natural capabilities even more.
Are you a night person? How has that helped or hindered you in your career and personal life?