You like to stay up late and morning is not your best friend. But are you really the most productive night owl you could be?
Some people perform optimally at night, but others, sometimes known as “sleep procrastinators,” are often preoccupied by television, phones or computers, or are simply too tired to put themselves to bed.
“You’re really a night owl if you’re doing your best work at night,” productivity expert Laura Vanderkam told Business Insider. “Plenty of so-called night owls aren’t putting off sleep for creative output and groundbreaking revelations. They’re putting around on Instagram and hitting the next episode on Netflix,” rather than making a conscious “decision to go to bed.”
A good morning routine designed for a night owl can be highly beneficial “even if it’s only a 10- or 20-minute add-on to your morning activities,” according to “How to Design the Ideal Morning Routine If You’re a Night Owl” in Business Insider.
By setting your alarm for just a few minutes earlier you can choose a healthy habit you’d like to add to your day: for example, a quick exercise routine, a brief meditation or even just some quiet time for yourself.
“It doesn’t have to happen at five a.m. to count as a morning routine,” Vanderkam told Business Insider. “It’s about having something that makes you feel like you started the day in a way you wish you started the day.”
And everyone’s internal clock, or circadian rhythm, is different. Located in the brain’s hypothalamus, this internal timepiece controls the sleep cycle and is also responsible for helping organs like the brain, heart and lungs work well together.
According to Business Insider, even if you get the recommended amount of sleep, knocking your circadian rhythm out of whack by forcing a different schedule on yourself can cause serious health consequences, including obesity and more severe symptoms of depression.
Experts say this phenomenon, also called social jetlag, is caused by light signals. So, if you are a night owl, maybe take those five minutes or so of quiet time you’ve added to your schedule and go sit in the sun before starting your day.
For more tips to identify whether you are a night owl, read “You’re Probably Not a Night Owl — You Just Don’t Know How to Get to Bed on Time.”