How Night Owls Can Thrive in a 9 to 5 World
People who function best at night may find it tough to navigate a 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. world that seems designed for morning people. Even the smell of freshly brewed coffee or the taste of the best croissants in town may not alleviate the groggy, uncomfortable feeling of early-morning disorientation and the unrelenting desire to go back to sleep.
What can night owls do to make their days a bit less agonizing and more productive? One solution is to schedule important meetings and tasks for later in the day, if that’s when you feel strongest, says Jonathan Alpert, a Manhattan psychotherapist and author of “Be Fearless: Change Your Life in 28 Days.”
Here are a few other tips that can help night owls thrive in the workplace and beyond.
Staying up late often leads to sleep loss, which in turn makes people more prone to procrastination, according to a study in the Journal of Organizational Behavior. Sleep-deprived night owls can cope with this issue by breaking their workloads into smaller chunks interspersed with frequent intervals. Scientific American recommends a time-management technique called pomodoro, which involves setting a timer and working for 25 minutes straight, followed by a 5-minute break.
Modify Your Sleep Schedule
Try to gradually shift your sleep patterns to feel more energetic during the day, Alpert suggests. “If someone usually goes to sleep late because they’re a night owl, then they can gradually adjust that by going to sleep earlier – but just in small increments,” he recommends. “So, for example, if you normally go to bed at 12:30 a.m. – then go to sleep at 12:15 a.m. for a few nights, then 12 a.m. for a few nights, and eventually get to an earlier bedtime.”
Talk to a Doc
If your night-owl ways interfere with your lifestyle, you may want to talk to a doctor to make sure you don’t have a sleep disorder, says Dr. Marc I. Leavey, a primary care physician at Mercy Personal Physicians at Lutherville in the Baltimore area. “People often don’t recognize sleep disorders,” he says.
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