Is it better to be a night owl or an early riser?

by Yin on November 19, 2009

in Being Organised

From as young as I can remember, I am naturally a night owl. When I was schooling, morning sessions were especially painful because I constantly have problem waking up early in the morning. During university days, my classes were constantly arranged early in the morning at 8am- so I have to get up earlier.  As I ventured into the working world, it was an effort to drag myself up from bed every morning- this is especially so after I’ve taken up an interest on websites and blogs, which I would do until early hours of the morning. Folks like me do well working in shifts instead of regular hours- but to be honest,  working in shifts disrupts your biological clock/sleeping pattern and tend to age you faster.  I have so much difficulty waking up in the morning when working for my previous company that I’ve actually applied to have my working hour changed so that I start work later (but of course, I need to login the same amount of working hours). 

So I understand completely how a night person, also known as the night owl feels. You feel that you tend to function better at night.

nightowlUnfortunately, no night owl can withstand the effect of aging. You may be young and full of energy- so you can sleep at 4am and wake up at noon- just in time for lunch. But once you grow older, you would find that your vitality is reduced as you stay up at night. And to compound the problem further, you wind up feeling like a zombie or in a daze-like state the entire day after you wake up despite fueling on the coffee. Many people sleep late but maintain the typical 9 to 5 working hours- so they end up spending a lot of money on espressos and lattes to keep their eyes open- especially the first two hours in the morning and the infamous 3pm energy slump.  Insufficient sleep lowers your stress threshold and undermines your productivity— in the end, it affects your appraisal and yearly performance bonus.

Signs that it’s time to make the change to an early riser

1. You wake up the next day feeling tired and suffer from the zombie effect almost the entire day. We all know that a person with more vitality gets things done faster than someone with low energy levels.

2. You don’t seem to be able to maintain that alertness even at night without a cup of coffee. There is no point then to always keep forcing your eyes to stay open.

3. Your family complains that you don’t spend enough time with them because you seemed to be so busy. You find that you do not seems to have enough hours in the day- there are new priorities coming into your life that require more juggling.  If you have been feeling guilty that you are not paying enough attention to your family because you are into something part time, you may want to consider waking up early before they are up and getting your tasks completed. Then you can spend more time with your family during their active hours- and probably have enough time left to cook them some breakfast :)

 4. Your sleeping hours interfere with your mood and productivity. It’s difficult to remain in good mood if you feel tired and drained all the time.

 

 The benefits of being an early riser- the change you would feel:

1. Your vitality gradually increases. You would no longer feel a sort of daze right after waking up or in late afternoons.  There is a difference between a person sleeping at 10pm-wake up 6am as opposed to sleeping at 3am-wake up 11am. If you don’t believe me, try sleeping before 11pm and wake up before the sun rises every morning- and tell me if you feel any difference after a week.

2. You would be able to accomplish more things/more productive once you become an early riser.  I noticed that if we sleep early, we tend to require less hours of sleep. For instance, if I discipline myself to consistently sleep before 11pm, I sometimes wake up about 5.30am and start going about my daily stuff. By 10am (the time I would normally wake up during Sundays), I would have accomplished a lot of things- example prepared a lot of blog articles and get a number of household chores done.

3. Once you established a consistent early-to-bed/early-rise system, your mental well-being and overall health will improve. You tend to feel less moody and tired throughout the day and have a greater stress threshold (ie can take stress better).

4. Also, you tend to spend less on coffee or caffeine boost that is detrimental for health in the long run

It is especially so that now I’ve considered myself to be a part-time blogger holding a full time job. There is only so many hours I have in a day- aside from taking care and updating my blogs, I have to work, do chores/errands and spend time with my family.  As such, I need the constant energy to be able to “be present” and perform everything that I’ve set up to do at my best.  Therefore, I find early-to-bed-and-early-rise to be the best approach.

If I, a lifelong night owl could do it and reap the benefits, I am sure you could too :)

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