A person who likes to stay awake the whole night, till wee hours of morning, is called a night owl. He/she is also called an evening person or simply owl. The night owl tends to stay up until late at night. In several countries, especially in Scandinavia, early birds are called A-people and night owls are called B-people. Night owls who are involuntarily unable to fall asleep for several hours after a normal time may also have delayed sleep phase syndrome.
The scientific term for night owls is nocturnal which means a person who is active during the night. Charles Bukowski (a German-born American poet, novelist, and short story writer), Fidel Castro (Cuban Communist revolutionary and politician who governed the Republic of Cuba as Prime Minister from 1959 to 1976 and then as President from 1976 to 2008), Michael Chabon (American novelist and short story writer), Narendra Modi – Prime Minister of India, the late A.P.J.Abdul Kalam – former President of India, Winston Churchill (British politician, army officer, and writer, who was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1940 to 1945 and again from 1951 to 1955) Bob Dylan (American singer-songwriter, author, and visual artist who has been a major figure in popular culture for six decades) Mukesh Ambani – an Indian Industrialist, Shahrukh Khan – the famous Indian actor are some famous nocturnal. Even, Barack Obama – the former President of USA is a self-proclaimed “night owl” While in office, the later hours were his alone time, either for work or watching ESPN.
The same motivation can ring true even for those of us who don’t navigate that busy or high pressure of a lifestyle. Whether it’s a crowded household or a noisy city, just the bout of everyone else going about their day can be off-putting, and sometimes alone time doesn’t feel like alone time unless the whole neighborhood goes to sleep.
Within broad genetic constraints, humans can choose what time to go to bed and get up. People who sleep at night and are active during day time are called diurnal. They are also called Morning Larks. Humans can choose to be night owls or morning larks. There are some individual differences in the circadian rhythm. What is it? Circadian rhythm is basically a 24-hour internal clock that is running in the background of your brain and cycles between sleepiness and alertness at regular intervals. It’s also known as your sleep/wake cycle.
Like people, some cities dismiss the notion that nights are meant for sleeping. From fast lifestyle to high-end facilities, these cities that never sleep have everything to boast of for entertainment. These cities remain awake till the wee hours of the morning; and all this for ensuring amusement. New York City, Paris, Cairo, Hong Kong, Mumbi, Madrid, Buenos Aires are some of the cities in world which have great night life activities.
If you are a nocturnal and the next time someone criticizes you for waking up late, remind that person that you’re not lazy, you are evolutionarily progressive. Night-time is for those who are creative, innovative and think out of the box. It seems nocturnal people who sleep and wake up late tend to be smarter. People with high intelligence are likelier to be night owls. This applies across a wide span of demographic variables, such as ethnicity, education, and religion. Night owls are mentally alert for a longer part of the day than early birds. Some people work better at midnight, they are authors, musicians, actors, visual artist, poets, researchers etc.
Some movies and songs are shot at night for various reasons such as: availability of actors, night scenes in the movie, lighting, crowd management becomes easier and some other technical reasons. The cast and crew need to keep awake through the night; especially the actors need to be kept happy for delivering strong performances consistently take-after-take. Imagine doing it all night, on a broken sleep schedule, and potentially outdoors in the cold. There are actors like Shaharukh Khan who prefer night schedules for shooting.
You shouldn’t feel like you have to work or sleep according to a preconceived notion of working hours. If you freelance or work independently, this shouldn’t be too difficult to achieve. If you work in a full-time job, see if your boss is open to the idea of you working remotely from time to time.
Some people are engaged in night employment; they do jobs at night which initially creates a misalignment between their internal clock and the outside world. When this happens, the body sends signals that conflict with the activities. Similarly, when somebody is not a nocturnal, and flies on a long flight across time zones, his/her internal clock will initially be out of sync with the external environment, but when the person wakes up, eats, and most importantly, exposes to light on the schedule of his new time zone, his internal clock eventually adjusts.
Conclusion: Whether you are nocturnal or diurnal listen to the energy level of your body and mind, do not take your energy for granted.