Night Owls: Balancing Sleep with Daily Activities

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With all of the breakthroughs in sleep research, people are looking into their sleep habits and their effects on health. In a recent study, sleep loss was linked to signs of brain tissue loss (for more information about this study, read our blog post here). Many people consider themselves to be ‘night owls’ and this designation may be connected to a genetic disposition. If you are a night owl, does this make you more likely to suffer health consequences? The simple answer is yes. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, a night owl is defined as, “a person who enjoys staying up late at night”. A simple way to determine if you are a potential night owl is consider if you would rather work on an important task at 6 in the morning or 10 at night. If your preferred time is the 10pm choice, you might be a night owl. While sleep deprivation will not kill you, it can cause mental issues in the long run.

When you are a night owl but you work a 9-5 job, there can be detrimental effects to your thought process and it can negatively impact your waking life. Dr. Robin Haight, a clinical psychologist and president-elect of the American Psychological Association, says, “not only are their bodies wearing down, but their internal emotional and mental resources are becoming depleted over time.” Night owls may notice mental issues in their work life. Luckily there is hope and night owls can work toward a normal sleep cycle. If untreated, night owls may “stand out – less in a physical sense but more in how they act mentally. They’re usually anxious, stressed, or depressed…depression, anxiety, and stress cause your brain to race rapidly and keep you awake at night”. Night owls can get caught in a cycle of less sleep and more stress, and these two impact one another greatly.

Night owls should try to adapt their natural sleep patterns. There are both medical and nonmedical solutions toward being more productive during regular waking hours. Almost every single sleep professional agrees that screens have a detrimental effect on night owls. Looking at screens including televisions, computers, tablets, and cellphones cut down on hormones that make people feel drowsy. Using screens right up to turning out your light to go to sleep does not give the body a chance to move through the natural phase of drowsiness. Dr. Haight says, “Losing our on that phase could hurt your memory, functionality, and ability to heal mental wounds.”

If you are among the group of sleep deprived night owls, making an appointment with a sleep doctor that will assess your sleep and find solutions for you will have a dramatic impact on your live. Improving your sleep patterns leads to improving your work and daily activities. Contact FusionSleep to schedule an appointment with one of our sleep doctors.