How are you all doing today? Or rather, how was everyone doing at 8:22 am when I am writing this. Yeah, that’s right, I’m not your “lazy” college student that gets up at 2:00 pm every day. Though I have done that in the past. And I am not sure how I feel about people that wake up late. In fact, the only reason I don’t wake up later is that I work in the morning, and money is pretty important to survival in this day and age.
The reality is that people function on different internal clocks at various points in their life. Why do people always say that old people go to sleep early? Probably because there is a trend toward it. I would imagine that, at some point, the human body becomes accustomed to falling asleep prior a certain time, and waking up at a certain time. As you grow older, it’s quite possible that your body reacts to the sun going down more strongly than when you are younger.
Likewise, with teenagers and young adults, the internal clock is probably different. Their brains are just more awake at night. I have no idea why that is—and it is certainly possible that this is just a cyclical thing where we don’t go to bed early, wake up late, and then suddenly we all wake up late and go to sleep early. But I don’t think it’s that simple. Perhaps I’m just different than most of my peers, but I typically go to bed at about 12:30 am to 1:00 am, and wake up at 6:45 am for work (at least, during these summer hours that is). So roughly 6 hours of sleep per night. And I am always tired in the morning. But most people call me productive and successful to some extent because of this.
Which is simply not true, right? Most of these people that are up till 3:00 or 4:00 am and sleep until 2:00 pm are simply getting up later before they do things. Sure, they probably aren’t working the same hours as a “normal” person does. But think how many people can work from home nowadays. Is it really necessary that we demonize people who stay up late and sleep in late? Isn’t that just a waste of energy?
Well, it’s probably dualistic, like most things in life. Take for example the need to become a good citizen. I know, that’s often said in context of “we are being controlled and brain washed” but being a good citizen isn’t always a bad thing. Seriously, often times being a “good citizen” simply means being a responsible human being. So it simply helps sync everyone up when we all get up at the same time. Isn’t it a pain to contact someone when you wake up at 7:00 am and they wake up at 3:00 pm? You have better things to do.
But coming back to how we are programmed to vary our wake up times, it’s a reality we live in where people wake up at various times during the day, and not because of their own decisions. So perhaps we should focus less on demonizing people for something that is, at least partially, out of their control, and begin opening up options to empower their excessive wakefulness at unusual hours.