Are you a morning person or a night owl? If you struggle to get to sleep, the option to “go to bed earlier” just might be worse for you. In an article from the Wall Street Journal, experts weigh in on if a night owl should try to get to bed earlier or not. Some say it will do more harm than good while others say, it’s better to try to retrain your brain to get more sleep. What I took from the article is that if you can’t adjust your work or school schedule so you can start later and get more sleep, then you should adjust the time you go to bed. For most people, going to work later isn’t an option.
The harsh reality is that modern society is hard on evening types. The 8 a.m. workday requires an early wake time, which, in turn, requires an early bedtime to allow for the seven or more hours of nightly sleep that is generally necessary for optimal health. Evening types don’t go to bed early; it isn’t in their nature. The end result is that evening types often end up chronically sleep-deprived, which is perilous to their health. (Wall Street Journal)
I have two children that are night owls. No matter what I do or how much I threaten them, they just can’t fall asleep before 10:30 pm. In fact, sometimes they stay up until mid-night. They’ve always been this way and it’s very hard to try change it. The best I can do is limit screen time, help them get more exercise, force them to take in more light (and vitamin D) and at times, use melatonin. My husband is also a night owl and complains all the time about his health problems which are linked to his lack of sleep. He goes to bed well after midnight most nights and on work days, wakes up at 6am. I don’t know how anyone can function on such little sleep.
There are nights I can stay up until midnight, but the older I get, that is less and less. I usually zonk out by 10:30pm. I love my sleep, so it’s not too hard for me to just fall asleep. Unfortunately, this isn’t true of a lot of people because genetically, they are simply unable to.
Education and Sleep
Thankfully, I homeschool my kids and we do have a later start time unless they go to their co-op classes which start a little earlier. My daughter has told me her brain doesn’t wake up until noon. She can get really moody if forced to wake up early too. Last year, we sent her off to school and she couldn’t do much learning at all from 9 (when it started) to noon. Her brain just didn’t work well at all. In homeschool, she won’t even start on her school until noon, but at least the quality of her work is much better because she’s had time to wake up her brain. It’s very interesting to have one child that can’t really work until noon and another child that does their best work in the morning. Half the day is gone before she gets started.
Sleep and Work
This got me thinking about careers and her future. She’s extremely artistic, but most jobs require 8-5 hours. Even if she could start a little later, such as 9:30 or 10, most places don’t offer these kinds of hours. Freelancing might be a good option for her, or finding a company that is willing to work with her schedule. I wonder if there is such a thing these days. Everyone seems against that kind of thing. Nothing is individualized, not even the education system anymore.
Thinking Outside the Box
When I visited Montreal, we visited a restaurant there. The owner came out and we started talking about where we were from. My husband mentioned working in IT. The owner said he used to work for a big corporate company, in a high stress job. He gave it all up to start a restaurant, which opened at noon. He said he loved it. Every morning, he woke up, took a run, then got ready to come to work by 11:30. He said the stress of his job was much less and he was a happier person for being able to set his own schedule. He made less money, but he didn’t care. It gave him the freedom to be healthy and enjoy his life instead of being a slave to his schedule.
Other Thoughts on Sleep & Schedules
I’m fortunate enough to work part-time from home making decent money doing social media. It’s low-stress, although my life can sometimes be high stress as a homeschool mom. I’ve talked to a lot of people that work for themselves and the one thing I’ve noticed about them is that they are happier.
My hair dresser rents out a room and sets her own hours and makes decent money doing what she loves. Last time I walked in to her salon, she was chatting with the other stylists that have rooms in the same hallway as hers. While I was getting my hair done, one of the stylist came in and brought her food that she had made from home. Another came in and asked to see pictures of her dog. They were all good friends. And the best part was that she was working for herself.
This is highly attractive to me as a mom of kids entering the work world. I want their lives to be filled with joy, not stress. Is it possible in today’s world that our children could find work that fits their specific personalities?
I feel for people who are night owls and are forced to get up early and function as humans. I’m not sure how they do it. If you are a night owl, does your work or schooling accommodate your schedule? If not, how do you deal with it?