Am I a Night Owl by Choice?

I have been a night owl, as one is called when they prefer being awake at night, since I was a child. As I have aged, I have learned this is not by my own choice but a choice of my body.


Night owl “syndrome,” or living if you can call it that can sometimes, can be an actual condition instead of a personal preference to not sleep in the late evening and into night, but to stay up ‘til late night and sleep through the morning.


This is called delayed sleep syndrome.


According to the American Sleep Association, the syndrome occurs when an individual’s natural circadian rhythm is delayed from the typical day/night schedule.


This is among several other sleeping disorders with its validity. It is not exactly a disorder, but a difference in schedule where the sleeping cycle is concerned.


People who live with delayed sleep syndrome prefer to go to sleep somewhere between the hours of 1 a.m. and 4 a.m. when a person would normally be asleep before this hour, and waking up around 6 a.m. to 8 a.m. with the best experience.


The person with delayed sleep syndrome would likely wake up between 8 a.m. and 10 a.m. or later depending on what hour they do actually fall asleep, according to the American Sleep Association.


This does not interfere with the person achieving healthy sleep as long as the lifestyle does not cause an unintended waking hour to be necessary.


When the need for an early alarm clock call arises, that can cause a break in the schedule that is extremely hard to adjust to for someone with this syndrome.


The reason for the issue is because the body does not adjust to the bedtime hour along with the waking hour unless there is an intervention, which can include medication and working into a routine of some kind.


It is not insomnia, which can be similar to delayed sleep syndrome, but is different because the person can fall asleep and stay asleep successfully.


Insomniacs struggle mostly with sleeping through the night and maintaining a sleep sequence without waking. This is not to say a person cannot experience a mix of insomnia and delayed sleep syndrome, which could be detrimental to their health.


My experience has been functioning well with the later hours of sleep, as long as I can maintain that schedule of sleeping later and waking later than what would be considered normal by society standards.


I do not feel tired throughout the day when I sleep my 6 to 8 hours like someone who would have slept only 3 or 4 hours, but it may seem like I have been living carelessly as well to someone who can achieve the same sleep at a more acceptable time.


Society as a whole can inhibit a person living with delayed sleep syndrome, but it should not be a hindrance to living a successful life and being productive.


I found it comforting when I realized that my reasons for being a “night owl” were not conceded and an act of irresponsibility on my part, but a difference in my own body’s rhythm.


With the knowledge that I now have, I know how to handle my sleep schedule and have learned what is best for my body where sleep is concerned so I can be a productive person.