Downside of being a night owl

By Hina Narjis
Fri, 08, 20

Listen, this world is designed for early risers, and our body is programmed to be a morning person. Going against it will surely take its toll....


How many alarms and yawns do you need to wake up in the morning? If it’s a single alarm and a couple of yawns, there’s nothing to worry about, but if the number is more than this, I guess you are a night owl. Listen, this world is designed for early risers, and our body is programmed to be a morning person. Going against it will surely take its toll.

People stay awake at night for different reasons. It may depend on ethnicity or society they belong to. It could be based on rural and urban divide or can simply be age-related. Some students are able to study with more concentration at night. Some people have to stay awake due to the nature of their job. Women, with younger kids, who work from home prefer to stay up at night.

Most night owls argue that their creative juices flow at maximum during night when it’s calm and serene all around. Everyone else in the house is asleep. No noise. No disturbance. They think they are more alert, agile and active in the dark hours. What they forget is when they interact with their fellow human beings at the workplace or at home they are the duller ones. Sleep deprivation is imprinted on their faces. Their eyelids are heavy. Voices are coarse. Responses are slow. At times, they don’t seem to understand at all. Man is a social animal, isn’t he? Your image among your peers is more important than the one you envision during your “me time”.

If compared, cons of being a night owl are way greater than the pros. You are trapped in a situation where you try to swim against the flow and deplete your energy bank sooner than others. Don’t think accumulating a sleep debt for weekends can compensate for your deprivation. No sane person can put his health at risk for whatever gains.

When you can’t compensate for your night sleep during the day, you become an irritable soul. No one likes cranky, moody and fussy people. In the long run, your memory as well as creativity gets affected badly. There’s a risk of suffering from tiredness, eyestrain, stress, irregular heart beats, diabetes and even cancer. You become a pessimistic person and may develop depression or some other psychiatric conditions.

Staying awake late at night or pulling an all-nighter can make you have erratic eating patterns. You are prone to consume more late-night snacks, caffeinated drinks and sugary stuff. This sleep pattern also influences the way glucose is metabolised in the body leading you to put on more pounds. Horrible, isn’t it?

When you turn your auto synchronise button off, you suffer from social jet lag meaning when you are preparing to sleep after a hectic night, the world is waking up to start its day. Most of the hustle and bustle of life happens from 9 am to 5 pm. You always have to apologise when you miss someone’s call. “Oh! I am afraid I was asleep at that time.”

When the delivery man comes, you don’t open the door because you are having your sweet sleep. On the other hand, when the world is sleeping you are sending them whatsApp messages and emails, or liking and commenting on their social media posts. You might disturb and, in some cases, annoy them. A time comes when people become used to seeing your messages and notifications when they wake up.

According to research, 20 percent of people are nocturnal. Teens are becoming night owls at a very fast pace because this is an ‘in’ thing. They want to appear trendy. Literature has romanticised this trend, too, but in reality it’s not that romantic. Try to change your routine to bring your internal biological clock called circadian rhythm back to normal.

In case, you are a night owl, find the reason(s) that keep you awake. If your reasons are genuine e.g. your job routine, taking care of some sick person, etc., it’s okay to be up. But don’t forget to have a regular sleep routine during the day. However, if it’s just waking up without any plan to follow or a task to achieve, it’s time to rethink. Scrolling down can be postponed for the day time.

Final word: if after knowing all the down sides of being a night owl, you still opt to be one, take care of these two things at least. One: eat a healthy diet so that it can repair the damage being made to your body. Two: take a little nap early at night before getting up to your work or idle hours.