BY: Tyler Lascola
People have a tendency to categorize things that actually exist on spectrums. We do this with a lot of things, but we especially seem to do this with personality traits. Political leaning, gender, the four opposing pairs of Myers–Briggs types – none of these are binary sets, but opposite ends of continua. The question of being an early bird or a night owl is another one of these false dichotomies. In truth, most people have relatively average sleep schedules. But I’m not really one of those people.
I have a tendency to feel like I’d be better off elsewhere on some of my spectrums. Exempli gratia: I’m an introvert hopelessly aspiring to be extraverted, and I prefer to use they/them pronouns. Argumenti gratia, though: I really wish I were an early bird rather than a night owl.
Being a night owl might seem like a perk when I’m in my moonlit element, but the consequences when –
• • •
*WAKES UP AT AROUND 10:30 A.M.*
. . . Wow. How’s that for irony?
I think I must have fallen asleep close to two o’clock last night. Maybe I shouldn’t have been typing this opinion piece on my bed. (Then again, I’ve fallen asleep in chairs and on desks plenty of times before, so working somewhere else might not have made much difference.)
But returning to the point at hand: what I was trying to say, before abruptly passing out, is that being a night owl can be really inconvenient at times (id est: in the morning), especially for someone like me who needs a greater-than-average amount of sleep. I cannot function unless I get at least eight or nine hours of sleep, and when I’m not falling asleep until after midnight most nights, that means I’m not starting my days until long after the days have already begun. It’s frustrating when I wake up to find it’s almost noon; I feel like I’ve wasted half of my day. More frustrating than that, though, is when I sleep straight through my battery of alarms and wind up late to my 9:30 classes, or absent altogether. Thankfully this doesn’t happen too often, but even when I do get up and get to class on time, if I’m short on sleep then I often won’t have the mental energy to be engaged. It’s such a pain. I envy the early birds.
There have been occasions when I have woken up involuntarily early. I’ve woken from nightmares, dogs barking, my early bird housemates making a racket downstairs, et cetera. Not pleasant ways to wake up, but once I’m shocked out of sleep I’m totally alert, and to my delight I suddenly have as many as six bonus hours added to my day. I really enjoy getting stuff done in the morning when that happens – I just have a hard time making it happen on my own. If it weren’t for my nocturnally-turned circadian rhythm, I’d make a great morning person.
Although, I suppose it’s just the hassle of getting up in the morning the makes me resent being a night owl. Honestly, it’s not such a bad thing. As an admitted introvert, I do adore the tranquility that comes when the rest of society is in repose. And there’s nothing quite like walking under the stars down deserted streets and beaches, perchance passing an opossum, a skunk, a raccoon, or some deer, my fellow creatures of the night.
Carpite diēs! Carpam noctēs.