General Question

kevbo's avatar

Does your night owl-ism affect your self esteem in your work life?

Asked by kevbo (25634points) September 12th, 2007

@admin: my intent here is not to sell the book, but to bring to light the legitimacy of night-owlism. Thanks.

Just finished Birds of a Different Feather by Carolyn Schur (which inexplicably sells for $154 used on Amazon and $14.95 new on her organization’s site). It’s an enlightening read for both early birds and night owls, but was conceived and is told from a night owl perspective. It is a sociological study of the two camps.

The book articulates perceptions that most of us share about night owls being lazy, partyers, etc. and about early birds being virtuous, go-getters, productive (and wet blankets at a party). It also articulates how little sympathy members of each group have for the other.

It also reveals that many of these perceptions while extremely difficult to shake, are not true. Night owls are no less productive if given the opportunity to work on their preferred schedule.

It demonstrates that alertness and productivity for each group are related to natural fluctuations in body temperature throughout the day on the order of 1 degree Celsius. Early birds experience a sharp rise in temperature in the morning and a sudden drop in the early evening. Night owls experience a very gradual rise in body temp throughout the day (which is why we are useless in the morning) and peak from late evening to late at night.

Lastly, it offers strategies for dealing with your biologically-based affliction and dealing with those who do not share your schedule, including significant others and coworkers.

After getting beat up in an 8 to 5 for so many years, understanding this topic has made me feel tons better. I hope this evangelization saves the chosen few from further misery.

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5 Answers

Poser's avatar

Is someone necessarily one or the other? I’ve found that, depending on what is required of me, I am occasionally both (not at the same time).

kevbo's avatar

It is a continuum. Also, the book purports that, biorhythmically, we operate on a 25 hour schedule, so what you describe may be related to that.

The 25 hour assertion was sort of contradicted in an article from a few years ago, which described the plight of the Mars Rover crews who had to work on 25 hour/day schedules to account for Martian days.

I favor the former explanation.

gailcalled's avatar

Until recently, when I stopped most carousing, I was a party animal from 6:00AM to mid-afternoon. At college, there would be me and two others in the dining room for breakfast. I’d snore over a book at the library after supper and be asleep by 10:00. Half of our family was like me (my sis and son); the other half rose, when given the choice, at 2:00 PM (my daughter and bro) and functioned brilliantly at 3:00 AM.

Even in HS, I’d drop off during the last class of afternoon- so embarrassing, but my diurnal rhythms were clear. So I chose careers in academia; where I could make my own hrs. or work during the traditional school day. Nodding over a class D 9th grade girls’ field hockey game in late afternoon was doable, particularly if I wore sun glasses.

I am always fascinated that we know so much intuitively and still need expensive studies or research to prove it. Love in the afternoon is a good compromise for imcompatible partners.

jlm11f's avatar

“I am always fascinated that we know so much intuitively and still need expensive studies or research to prove it” – well said.

kitszu's avatar

I fine myself lonely at night b/c I am awake for both day and night. There are only a few awake at “night”

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