I sometimes daydream about living in an alternate universe, where life happened at night and quieted during the daylight hours. What would a world, filled with only night owls, be like? Well…I think it would be peaceful, simply because the “peace and quiet” is what I enjoy most about being awake while everyone else is asleep.
Throughout my life, I have always felt somewhat “judged” by my “early bird” family. They would always ask me, “Why do you stay up so late?” and tell me, “You really should keep regular hours.” Based on experience, it seems to be the regular mindset of those who are early risers. The truth is, I am just not a morning person and it’s not by choice; I can’t muster up the brainpower to function in the mornings because I’m not wired that way. My flow of creativity happens in the evenings or wee hours of the morning because that’s when I feel like I can concentrate a whole lot better. There are no external interruptions that stress me out. Maybe it’s part of being introverted ~ the knowledge that I can work without interference makes a huge difference in my concentration.
Anyone who knows me knows that I don’t conform to what society believes I should be doing. Additionally, I suffer from insomnia much of the time because I find it difficult to shut off long enough to allow sleep to take over. I wonder ~ maybe it’s because of my inherent need to rebel against the idea that society generally sleeps at night and becomes active during the day.
This is not to say that I think that everything should change because I am a night owl. I am only suggesting that, perhaps, we might accept and embrace that not everyone is wired to be on the same schedule. I am more and more convinced that the reason that my insomnia continues is because I am trying to live on a schedule that’s not in harmony with my internal body clock. I sleep better during the day and feel more rested when I do. Forcing myself to sleep at night might just be the reason I can’t.
I know many who have issues with insomnia, to a point where it seems epidemic. Why are so many people having so much trouble sleeping? Is it stress and the pressures of daily life? Or is it that we ignore our internal body clocks because it’s considered the “norm”? I believe that part of being authentically who we are is learning to truly listen to what our bodies are telling us, in every aspect. Forcing ourselves to eat when we’re not hungry or sleep when we’re not really tired has an impact on how well we function.
My maternal grandmother lived to be 100. Her secret was simple. She ate just enough food when she was hungry, slept when she was tired (which included a nap every day), kept herself moving and declared that she was “going to be okay tomorrow”. As far as I’m concerned, she was the best example of someone I knew to be completely in tune with her body. She didn’t force sleep, nor did she overeat in a “my eyes were bigger than my stomach” sort of way.
Regardless of whether we’re “night owls” or “morning people”, the reasons are irrelevant. Our bodies have a way of letting us know when we’re skimping on self-care. Of course, we can choose to alter our internal body clocks by changing our patterns, and it’s great if it works for us. If it doesn’t work, it means re-adjusting until ~ and only until ~ we find the balance that keeps us authentically in sync with who we are. All we really have to do is listen. And embrace our authenticity and that of others.
Night owlism, and all.