I’m a night owl. Whether my nocturnal tendencies are hereditary, which, I’m sure they partly are, or due to my late-night lifestyle, I can’t really say. But what I can say about those who are similarly afflicted with this disposition is that it…er, really, really sucks to be this way in a world that equates nighttime with sleep and daytime with activity.
I tend to stray away from labelling myself as an insomniac simply because it would imply that I have trouble sleeping. In my case, it’s not that I cannot fall asleep, it’s that I tend to fall asleep during the most inconvenient time: typically, when the average person is awake.
To illuminate the woes of night owls for those who aren’t night owls, and as such, cannot directly sympathize with what I’m saying, think of the times you’ve made it through a day with a complete deprivation of sleep. Even if your body runs on the normal biological process of waking up in the morning and sleeping by nightfall, I’m sure all of us can recall the brutal instance known as the all-nighter. The day following your insufferable all-nighter is most likely to be a blur of events leading up to the anticipated period of binge sleeping once you get home. In sum, it’s not a pretty picture. Adjectives like detachment, grogginess or sluggishness are accurate descriptions of how you felt about your day. Sucks, I know.
Now, imagine spending each day like this. That is, when your “sleeping period” is aligned with the time of the day that you’re expected to be awake. If you can, then congratulations, you’ve successfully visualized the woes of the night owl!
I know what some of you are thinking: “Kass, why don’t you just go to sleep early and wake up early?” Apparently, this magical advice is supposed to “cure” my nocturnal habits. My response is that I wish it were truly that simple…and easy. Going to bed earlier doesn’t really help, and this is especially true in the case of the night owl who probably tosses and turns in bed for hours, only to find that drowsiness comes to them when the sun finally rises in the morning.
The world doesn’t run on the schedule of the nocturnal. I feel the most energetic when everyone is asleep, and vice versa. Early classes and morning tasks feel unbearably tedious when you’re running on no sleep at all. Plus, it’s hard to appreciate the friendly jokes thrown around with my peer group during a 9 a.m. class when I’m barely conscious enough to understand basic English. The list of lamentations go on, and on.
So, what can you do if you’re afflicted with this kind of disposition? Well, I’m not a medical expert, and through experimentation with lifestyle changes such as cutting out coffee from regular consumption, and speaking to other night owls, handling the situation has become more bearable.
On the topic of seeking advice, fortunately, I’m glad I’ve met others who seem to function in the same way as me, and it seems that we all handle our cases differently. I, for one, prefer not to drink a cup of coffee everyday, while I know others who can’t seem to function without it. Instead, I like to start off the day with a cup of green tea—it’s soothing, tasty, and a wonderful complement to a breakfast sandwich in the morning! Starting off the day right seems to stave off the creeping fatigue.
It may seem hard to function without sleep, but it does become bearable once you find some nifty tricks to keep you awake during the day!