For years, I made bad lifestyle choices, the top amongst them was my abnormal sleeping pattern. I preferred staying up late and working. I won’t lie, I loved it, but it was doing more harm than good.
My sleeping pattern stayed messed up throughout the years, and while I was getting things done, I was also missing out. I was a chronic night owl and when I started to question whether being a night owl was a good thing, discover the harmful effects it had on my health. I had to make changes.
Why staying up late is so appealing?
For me, staying up late provided me the peace and tranquility I needed to think. There was something special about the silence of the night, it sparked my creativity. I have met a lot of people who love working late, and when I read that this might be natural, I never had a reason to change.
I was able to focus on the task without any distractions and could get more done. I was writing better, I was more relaxed, and most importantly I was happy. For many, late night plans were a big NO! Not me, I was always up for a late night party or a drive.
How did I start staying up late and loving it?
Well, it was exams and projects! I studied late at night most times and still managed to get good grades. I worked late at night on many projects and managed to meet the deadlines. All these past experiences let me believe that working late at night was productive and a sign of creativity.
This is a misconception that a lot of people have. It’s not their fault, its common perception that people have created around staying up and working at night.
What I didn’t realize was that what I could have achieved if only I managed my time better in the day and got proper rest at night.
I am sure people who prefer staying up late know how freeing the experience can be but there comes a time when you have to question whether its good for you.
Why staying up late does more harm than good?
For many years I believed that being a night owl helps you to become more creative and always had the facts to back my claim. However, its one of those things that when not done in moderation will hurt your health. Staying up late at night regularly sets off our biological clock and can impact our overall mental well-being.
In one of my self-reflection session, I reconsidered my habit of being a night owl and weighed the pros and cons to make a decision. Yes, I was so not willing to give up that I actually had to make a pros and cons list, even though I already knew that It was not good for me.
See, the truth is that our body has its internal clock and no matter how much we try to recalibrate our biological clock, it will run the way it has for centuries. It is needed for us to align our behavior with nature. The biological clock is the reason why animals behave in sync with the time of the day.
The reason why staying up late is unhealthy because it messes up our clock. Imagine waking up and getting ready for work only to discover that someone messed up the time on your phone and its afternoon! That is how our body feels.
Our body prepares in anticipation of our behavior. However, for night owls, the behavior is unnatural. And, moreover, staying up at night gives you the isolation you need to indulge in drugs and alcohol. And this isolation might also drive you in depression, eventually.
I won’t deny the fact that it is easy to play with your internal clock and I know this because I have been there and done that, but over time I realized that it is not worth it. Trust me, the higher risks of obesity, high blood pressure and cardiovascular diseases that are usually associated with being a night owl, is not worth it!
Also Read: Understanding habit transformation
I still work late at night sometimes and trust me, it is better this way because now it is something that my mind does not expects and the creative drive that I generate with this element of surprise is far higher than what I used to have when I worked late regularly. I have tried working at night, and as I matured, I understood the importance of giving your body and mind the rest it deserves, and sometimes I give myself the gift of experiencing that beautiful feeling of working in the silence of the night, and I’m happier and in a better mood than before!