12

votes

What if im nocturnal?

Answered on September 12, 2014
Created May 23, 2012 at 11:22 PM

Ever since I can remember(really), i've been a "night owl". Even when I was a kid and had no reason to stay up late i.e. no computers,wasn't allowed tv at night, I always was up really late. It was a burden at school, I had to drop out and get a GED because I would always sleep in class. It's gotten worse now as an adult. I almost have to take crappy night jobs, dating a women is hard, unless I work at a bar. But I do feel more "alive" and energized at night its just always been my clock. Maybe people like me were night security back in the day around the fire or caves. Any thoughts? Maybe theres nocturnal or even metaturnal people.

41dfb1a4fecb38d24075ff52f13ccb28

on June 02, 2012
at 08:15 PM

You know, it's funny you mention that.. for years I joked with my mother that I needed to move to the West Coast (from the East Coast) because I was a night person and was living on a WC time schedule anyway (more or less). I actually did end up moving and my sleep schedule shifted right along with my move so I'm probably now on a Hawaii schedule or something. So of course my Mother had to be all "I thought you said it was going to fix you!" *Sigh* Mom... I was kidding. :)

D07a525f9021f8d72bf6aaa52893c795

(1011)

on June 02, 2012
at 10:17 AM

@sargon - good one. Getting the diurnal rhythm fixed is pretty crucial to optimum health - I don't buy the Liege study conclusions at all. We're smarter - we recruited dogs!

2effea67cf9181023cf5820d93c693f0

(60)

on May 24, 2012
at 10:59 PM

This describes my life almost too a T!. But after I asked the question, I forgot about another detail. I have absolutely HORRIBLE eyesight, so therefore I would be useless on a nightwatch back in the day. But I was also born premature,incubated for a couple of days,and formula fed as a baby.But maybe that explains both the poor eyesight and poor circadian rhythms too.

47a42b6be94caf700fce9509e38bb6a4

(9647)

on May 24, 2012
at 10:31 PM

See my question here also: http://paleohacks.com/questions/12555/late-sleeping-what-is-it I guess this is a duplicate, but I don't really bother closing duplicates anymore (most of the time).

Da2c728c093488e4f2ea87b81619682f

(388)

on May 24, 2012
at 12:52 AM

"Maybe people like me were night security back in the day around the fire or caves" Haha, you have no idea how many times I've asked myself this same question!

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on May 23, 2012
at 11:42 PM

I don't know the answer but I love the question.

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9 Answers

5
Medium avatar

(2923)

on May 24, 2012
at 01:57 AM

Night Owls Stay Alert Longer than Early Birds
Why night owls are cleverer and richer than people who get up early
Early Risers Crash Faster than People Who Stay Up Late

All of these refer back to a study at the Universit?? de Li??ge in Belgium on circadian patterns.

One theory posits that the early birds in society were the gatherers for the group, the night owls were the guardians for the group ... (in other words, your comment isn't that far off the mark) ...

5
5e63e3fa78e998736106a4a5b9aef58c

on May 23, 2012
at 11:59 PM

I'm the same way. Always have been. Left completely to my own devices, I go to bed around 4:30-7:00 AM and wake up between 11:00-1:00. And since I'm self-employed and can call my own hours, that's what I do now.

I've had jobs in the past (as well as school, when I was a kid) where I had to follow a daytime schedule, and it was incredibly difficult for me. I never adapted to it. I had terrible insomnia starting in early childhood; I was unable to get to sleep at night, and by the time I did drift off sometime after 3:00 AM I only managed to snag three or four hours' sleep before having to get up again. I didn't do well in school, and had serious trouble getting to work on time in the mornings because I either slept through he alarm or was so lethargic I could barely function. In college, it took huge amounts of coffee to get me through 8:00 classes, and even then I did poorly; I ended up dropping out for a while and taking night classes at a community college (where I did well academically for the first time ever).

I have one day a week where I volunteer at one place from 7:30-11:30 AM, then at another place from 3:00-6:00 PM (and I usually stay late to avoid traffic). Thursdays can be rough, because I usually only get a 2-3 hour nap before going to my first gig. Sometimes, I manage to squeeze in a 1.5-2 hour nap before going to the next one, but not always. When I get home, I usually end up staying awake until midnight-2:00 AM no matter how tired I am. The next morning, I wake up around 10:00 AM, and I'm back into my regular cycle.

I'm a night person. Period. And while I get where all the "paleo sleep" advocates are coming from, and I believe that stuff works for day people, I am not a day person. Me? I'm the one that sat up all night keeping watch for predators while everybody else in the tribe slept. Like introversion or left-handedness, I believe it is an inborn trait, and that it's a minority trait does not make it unnatural or render me in need of fixing.

I don't need to take melatonin, or buy black-out curtains, or attempt to remedy it in any way; I just need to respect and adhere to my body's own clock. And when I do, my mental and emotional health is so much better--and that, in turn supports my physical health.

2effea67cf9181023cf5820d93c693f0

(60)

on May 24, 2012
at 10:59 PM

This describes my life almost too a T!. But after I asked the question, I forgot about another detail. I have absolutely HORRIBLE eyesight, so therefore I would be useless on a nightwatch back in the day. But I was also born premature,incubated for a couple of days,and formula fed as a baby.But maybe that explains both the poor eyesight and poor circadian rhythms too.

3
Ae8946707ddebf0f0bfbcfc63276d823

(9402)

on May 24, 2012
at 01:32 AM

Maybe, try moving to Asia? The 12 hour time difference might set you straight. :)

41dfb1a4fecb38d24075ff52f13ccb28

on June 02, 2012
at 08:15 PM

You know, it's funny you mention that.. for years I joked with my mother that I needed to move to the West Coast (from the East Coast) because I was a night person and was living on a WC time schedule anyway (more or less). I actually did end up moving and my sleep schedule shifted right along with my move so I'm probably now on a Hawaii schedule or something. So of course my Mother had to be all "I thought you said it was going to fix you!" *Sigh* Mom... I was kidding. :)

1
7bf306ada57db47547e9da39a415edf6

(11214)

on May 24, 2012
at 03:43 PM

I felt like this for much of my life, but after going paleo and starting to curtail my exposure to blue light at night, I don't feel this way anymore. Also, a nice dose of D3 in the morning really helps, as does sunlight. My sleep patterns might be a bit different if I didn't have an 8-5 job; I suspect I'd have a siesta and thus need less sleep at night. Dawn and dusk seem to be where things are clustered around- no doubt prime hunting times.

1
9b0310b623f8ed289c9571ab3a58a142

on May 24, 2012
at 12:44 AM

Do your eyes glow at night? Does being out in sunlight on a nice day make you fall asleep? I don't know about you, but if this happened to me to such an extent I would definitely not believe it was what I'm supposed to be like.

I have always seemed to have trouble waking up early and going to bed before 11:00-12:00, but I can attribute that to modern electricity. Even if you didn't have TV or computer, you had electric lighting.

You should look in to how electric lights changed our sleep patterns; it is quite fascinating. Did you know that the phrase "burning the midnight oil" originated because it was actually normal behavior? Before electric lights they had oil lamps, and oil was an expensive commodity not to be wasted. People went to bed near sunset and woke near sunrise, but they did their sleeping in two separated chunks. The terms 'first sleep' and 'second sleep' were commonplace. During this break in sleep people would read, write, do chores, and even visit friends/family.

So maybe try to not use lights after sunset for a while to see if that changes anything. You also don't mention anything about your caffeine usage, which can lead to this problem: supposedly there's something about it that causes elevated cortisol levels in the evening and low levels in the morning, the opposite of what should happen.

Do you feel well-rested and alert when you wake up in the afternoon? When I do this I feel really tired, and when I do get around I am sluggish.

1
870fdea50f2a9f1cd2890c8e22549300

(2056)

on May 24, 2012
at 12:12 AM

Well, the formal name for this condition (query whether it should be considered a "disorder") is circadian rhythm sleep disorder, delayed sleep phase type. And it isn't well understood. Extreme night owls probably just have longer circadian cycles than the norm. The bottom line is that there really isn't any way to change this--just work around it.

I don't often recommend wikipedia as a reference but the entry on "delayed sleep-phase disorder" actually lays this subject out pretty well.

1
723519573be05b5edeb0659025b2fcd2

(306)

on May 23, 2012
at 11:27 PM

I'm also a night owl, although having a child (I'm male) changed this to a surprising extent. You should try melatonin and blackout blinds.

D07a525f9021f8d72bf6aaa52893c795

(1011)

on June 02, 2012
at 10:17 AM

@sargon - good one. Getting the diurnal rhythm fixed is pretty crucial to optimum health - I don't buy the Liege study conclusions at all. We're smarter - we recruited dogs!

0
D5d982a898721d3392c85f951d0bf0aa

(2417)

on May 24, 2012
at 05:09 AM

My better half is like this. He's adapted to my schedule now, but left to his own devices, he's basically nocturnal -- and I've heard the family stories about him as a child. Apparently his very-old-world grandmother hung him from his heels once, when he was just a little tot, trying to "reset his clock". (Makes for a cute story, eh? True, too!) He worked in show business for years, and loved the hours. Weirdo. I think it's fascinating and I'm happy to think it may be a rare but useful genetic trait.

0
D4de52a6f46b338b5ea2487bb00fd77c

(-12)

on May 24, 2012
at 02:04 AM

idem here; it's 3 am; usually it's 10pm-12am for a day

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