When it comes to productivity split between Night Owls and Early Birds, stereotypes have put the nocturnal workers at a great disadvantage. They were always seen as poor choices for employees because their nocturnal living habits allegedly stifle their productivity. Well, due to the developing culture of the “Internet nation”, a big chunk of which are passionate Night Owls, there have been many studies recently that show the people who live when it’s dark in a completely different light.
You would assume that the energy that is at your disposal during a day is steadily depleted until you are tired and ready to sleep, but you are wrong, at least when it comes to people that are active at night. According to one study, Night Owls have an energy peak that naturally occurs in the evening and at that moment, they feel refreshed and ready for action.
It is bad for their sleeping pattern but definitely great for their productivity and this is something that their early rising counterparts do not have. Early birds steadily deplete their energy throughout their day and do not have the energy burst in the morning after they wake up. This phenomena is strictly attributed to people who are used to having active night lives.
A lot of you may be skeptical about this, but if you take a look at the facts and start researching backgrounds of successful people, you are quickly going to realize that there is a lot of truth to this statement. The current president of the US, Barack Obama, is an admitted Night Owl and the list of successful people who prefer doing work at night goes on and on. There have been numerous studies that have confirmed the hypothesis that Night Owls have a better chance of making it in the world so don’t worry, you are in good company.
Of course, this isn’t a strict rule and should not be taken as a given but a study conducted at the London School of Economics and Political Science, seems to indicate a firm correlation between higher IQ and adaptive behavior with the genetic predisposition of being a Night Owl. Satoshi Kanazawa, an evolutionary scientist who conducted this research, classifies this kind of behavior as the “evolutionary novel”, which is basically a deviation from the more common behavior of our ancestors.
A study conducted by a joint team of scientists from Belgium and Switzerland conducted a trial with 16 early birds and 15 night owls in an attempt to compare their productivity and concentration. Although both groups performed similarly in the beginning, somewhere around the 10 hour mark into the day, early birds started lagging behind.
During this study, the team used MRIs to monitor the regions of the brain that are responsible for our ability to focus and pay attention. Professor Christina Schmidt led this experiment but the entire project included quite a large team and was published in the Science journal. Our ability to concentrate has a lot to do with our productivity and the facts are actually stacked in favor of Night Owls.
Still, depression is three times more present with Night Owls than their counterparts, according to a study published in Psychiatry and Clinical Neuroscience, and this can be attributed to two factors. Less exposure to sunlight can cause a deficiency of vitamin D, which can lead to depression. This is something that you need to keep in mind and adjust your diet to compensate for this loss.
Again, there is nothing better than the natural way of things, so take a vacation this spring and take a week to spend time outdoors soaking in the sun and getting some fresh air. Furthermore, the fact that it is our pattern to be awake and active when everyone is asleep makes socialization a bit difficult to accomplish, the lack of which can cause depression as well. Still, if you manage to get these two factors under control, you are going to be far more effective than you thought you could be.
In the book Sleepfaring: A Journey Through the Science of Sleep, professor Jon Horne explains that people who are Night Owls have a much easier time adjusting to their 9 to 5 schedule than Early Birds have. If you invest serious effort into the change, you will soon realize that you can readjust rather quickly and remain productive. And remember, that energy boost that happens in the evenings, still applies so if you really need to take care of your business, you can always rely on it to tie up any lose ends and put in some extra effort.
The myth that people with the “bad habit” of being active at night and sleeping in late in the day is really outdated and should not be a real factor during hiring. After all, approximately one quarter of the World’s population has this genetic trait, so businesses and hiring experts need to keep in mind the talent that they might be passing out on based on outdated prejudice.
Furthermore, the 9 till 5 schedule is slowly dying out with the rise of the online business model and the globalization of the work environment, so it seems that the situation is getting a bit more favorable for Night Owls. A big part of the online freelancer community falls into this category and the majority of them really enjoy the freedom that this work style offers.
Featured photo credit: Young female architect working at home.She works late into the night. via shutterstock.com
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