365 Days of Writing – 28th April – “Your time to shine”

Early bird, or night owl?

Well I tend not to like the fact that as human beings we have to sleep, there’s far to much to do in this life and nowhere near enough time to do it, so why on earth would I want to spend such a large portion of it seemingly doing nothing at all!

Because of this mentality, if I am left to my own devices, to do as I wish with no real schedule, I tend to operate on a slightly longer cycle than the usual 24hours that we are given each day, which means that initially it would seem that I am a night owl by staying up longer, but at some point my cycle makes me get up early in the morning. Because of this I came to believe that’s my natural cycle, but it turns out science has something to say about that.

I came across an article on slate.com which explaines that there are in fact photosensitive cells in your eyes, other than the rods and cones used for normal vision, which connect with your hyporthalamus, these cells basically feed the hyporthalamus with information that allows it to decide wether it is day or night, and when night does come around it relays that information to your pineal gland that will then release melatonin which makes you sleepy.

By staying up longer and using artificial light, you trick your hyporthalamus into thinking it has it’s cycle wrong, so it will try to compensate, and you won’t feel tired until later the next day, and the next day, and the next day, so your cycle is being artificially shifted. So I guess my “natural” cycle is not so natural after all.

I do feel however that I’m definitely capable of adjusting wether I get up early or stay up late depending on my schedule, I did a paper round for about four years or so, having to get up at 5:30 or something like that, everyday, which wasn’t a problem for me. But that is more physical work and doesn’t really require your brain to be in gear. My best work I believe gets don’t after I’ve warmed up a bit and then I like to keep going for as long as I can, which usually means working into the night.

I read a quote the other day

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Working late!

“No human believes that any other human has a right to be in bed when he himself is up” (Robert S. Lynd)

And in general I think there is social stigma toward night owls, but there’s really nothing wrong with it, according to an article in the New Scientist about 10% of people qualify as early birds and 20% are night owls with the majority of people left falling somewhere in between and it’s completely natural for people to have these different chronotypes. As well as this, studies have shown that night owls are better at reasoning, more productive, wealthier, and more professionally successful, so don’t dis yo!

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