3 Smart Things About Sleeping Late

Throughout high school, I routinely stayed up past midnight to work on my homework and websites, or to read articles and listen to podcasts.

Despite my best efforts to sleep early, it was all too easy to find justification for staying up just one more hour. I would stumble upon some cool video or article, have an idea for a website feature — and that always took priority over sleep.

Take tonight for instance. I’m posting this message at 5:00AM. And you know what the best part is? I have psuedo-scientific evidence to prove that my night-owl habits are actually good for me.

The Evidence

I stumbled upon this short piece in the January 2009 issue of Wired Magazine, which proves that being a night-owl is AWESOME, and good for you too:

1. You may need more sleep than you think. Research by Henry Ford Hospital Sleep Disorders Center found that people who slept eight hours and then claimed they were “well rested” actually performed better and were more alert if they slept another two hours. That figures. Until the invention of the lightbulb (damn you, Edison!), the average person slumbered 10 hours a night.

2. Night owls are more creative. Artists, writers, and coders typically fire on all cylinders by crashing near dawn and awakening at the crack of noon. In one study, “evening people” almost universally slam-dunked a standardized creativity test. Their early-bird brethren struggled for passing scores.

3. Rising early is stressful. The stress hormone cortisol peaks in your blood around 7 am. So if you get up then, you may experience tension. Grab some extra Zs! You’ll wake up feeling less like Bert, more like Ernie.

(If you liked this, you might like Travels in Japan.)

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Feross Aboukhadijeh Hey, thanks for reading! I'm Feross Aboukhadijeh, a programmer, designer, teacher, and mad scientist. I am currently building WebTorrent, a streaming BitTorrent client for the browser, powered by WebRTC. In my free time, I work on StudyNotes, a website to help students study better and get into college.

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