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Are You A Night Owl?

Do you ever remember being told that if you don’t get a good night's sleep you’ll be grumpy or not feel well the next day? This is a partially true statement said to many from our parents but what does it really mean and why? The reason is because our bodies run naturally on what is called our circadian rhythms. Fernandez et al. (2022) says that “circadian rhythms influence human physiology and behavior, promoting wakefulness and cognition during the day and reducing cortical activity for sleep at night.” The studies also found that during our regular typical night's sleep our “cognitive capacity and mood regulation are diminished and “reason sleeps”, which ends up distorting our next day. But what about people who seem to enjoy staying up late or just struggle to have an early bedtime? In this study they explored what kind of effects staying up late can have on individuals. They found that

“Nighttime is associated with an increase in impulsive and maladaptive behaviors. The empirical data for four such behaviors are considered here: suicide/self-harm, violent crime, alcohol or other substance use, and food intake.” (Fernandez et al., 2022)

as well as classifying staying up late to be past midnight. They found in their study and observations of other studies that the most common times for suicides to happen are between 12:00 am to 6:00 am. It was also found that across the globe most violent crimes happen “an estimated 55% of violent crimes are committed between 7:00 pm and 7:00 am” (Fernandez et al., 2022). Mass food and alcohol consumption peaked during these late night hours too.

“that wakefulness during the habitual sleep period is linked to significantly worse subjective ratings of mood. Nocturnal wakefulness also impairs regulation of negative affect and promotes depressive, anxious, and paranoid thinking. Nocturnal wakefulness can also increase exposure to artificial light that can further disrupt sleep-wake rhythms and potentially tilt the balance of affect towards negative mood.” (Fernandez et al., 2022)

Ultimately these findings come down to not only does staying up late affect and disturb our circadian rhythm but the effects of that affect us psychologically too. So maybe in the end being a night owl and the idea of having more time is actually more psychologically detrimental to us.

"Tired of Being A Night Owl? 9 Steps to Stop Staying Up So Late" from Healthline

1. Get light early in the day

2. Wake up at the same time every day

3. Make adjustments in small increments

4. Avoid caffeine late in the day

5. Avoid screen time before bed

6. Get physical exercise

7. Try melatonin

8. Reduce your bedroom temperature

9. Develop a bedtime routine

Medically reviewed by Raj Dasgupta, MD — By Lizzy Sherman on January 3, 2022


Fernandez, F.X., Grandner, M.A., Klerman, E.B., Perlis, M.L., Tubbs, A.S. (2022). The Mind After Midnight: Nocturnal wakefulness, behavioural dysregulation and Psychopathology. Frontiers in Network


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