I’m no stranger to long nights. In fact, I’ve spent most of my life walking the fine line between adequate sleep and being a nocturnal workaholic. While I used to try to balance my late nights with early mornings or catch up on sleep when possible, I’ve finally managed to change my sleep patterns.
You’re Not Alone. Many People Prefer to Work at Night
Whether it’s because they’re simply not a morning person or because their brain works better at the end of the day.
Research suggests there may be some truth to this preference – your body releases different hormones depending on the time of day.
There are many reasons why you feel inspired at night:
You Feel Like You’ve More Time to Get Things Done
When you wake up in the morning, you have a million things to do. But if you’re an evening person, you may have fewer obligations and more time to work on your favorite project.
You’re More Likely to Stay Up Late and Go to Bed Later
Some people are night owls by nature and prefer to stay up late and get up later in the morning, which can make it easier for them to get their most intense work done.
If you’re in this category, keep in mind that staying up too late can throw off your sleep patterns – so try not to stay up past midnight if possible.
Your Brain Releases Different Hormones Depending on the Time of Day
Scientists know that certain neurotransmitters (like dopamine) are more active after dark than during daylight hours. Dopamine plays a role in motivation, attention span, memory formation, learning ability, and mood – so if you feel more energized after dark than during the day, it could be due to the release of this substance that could contribute to your sleep disorders.
If You’re a Night Owl, You Probably Get Your Best Inspiration and Creative Ideas at Night
Morning people are also creative thinkers, but they have a different internal clock that keeps them awake late into the evening. If you’re constantly inspired at night and never in the morning, don’t worry: there’s nothing wrong with your brain!
You’ve Slept Enough to Be Fully Rested
When you’re tired, it can be hard to activate your imagination and come up with new ideas. If you’re feeling tired and your brain is working overtime, take a nap before tackling a big project.
You Need Quiet Time Away From All Distractions
Most people can only focus on creative thinking when they completely disconnect from their environment – even if it’s just for a few minutes at a time. You may need some time to yourself so your mind can roam freely without being distracted by other thoughts or sounds around you.
Your Mind Can Focus Better
Your brain can concentrate better at night because there are fewer distractions.
The brain is a complex organ. It’s capable of handling multiple tasks at once, but it can also focus on only one thing at a time.
The ability to focus is the result of two processes: processing information and filtering out distractions. The brain works best when it’s access to the information it needs and isn’t confronted with competing stimuli such as flashing lights or loud noises.
When you’re trying to focus, it helps if you eliminate noise, clutter and distractions. But if your mind is constantly bombarded with stimuli – whether from outside or inside – you’ll have a hard time focusing on what’s important.
You Feel More Creative
One reason we feel more creative at night is that we’re more relaxed when the sun goes down. The hustle and bustle of everyday life can be stressful, and that’s why we often get less sleep than we need during the week.
To catch up on sleep, many of us go to bed early on weekends or even during the week, so we believe that we have plenty of time to develop our creativity in our sleep-deprived brains.
You Feel Anxious
If you’re anything like I used to be, you probably have a hard time falling asleep at night. You lie awake thinking about all the things you still have to do for work and your personal life. The next day is just around the corner and that scares you!
- What if I forget something?
- Or what if I forget it again?
This anxiety can take a toll on both your mind and your body: lack of sleep leads to weight gain and weakens your immune system.
So instead of worrying about what’ll happen tomorrow (or yesterday), focus on what you accomplished today. You’ve probably accomplished more than most people do in their entire lives – and that’s a great feeling!
You could feel proud of yourself because no one else has done what you’ve done. But the lack of sleep can also make you feel that you didn’t do enough and produce more stress and anxiety, which could impact your mental health.
Getting Ahead of the Day
You stay up late because you have the time to do what you want. Maybe you’re working on a project or spending time with your family, but either way, if you’re up at night and everyone else is asleep, that means their schedule doesn’t affect yours as much as it would during the day.
If there are things that need to be done now and not tomorrow morning at 9 am sharp, then there’s no reason why they can’t be done today instead of waiting until tomorrow morning. This could be anything from doing the dishes to completing tasks that are due at school or work next week, or just getting your chores done so they don’t pile up while you sleep in each day.
You might also be less productive than someone who gets up early every day (although that’s not always the case). The point is that when you stay up later at night than usual – or maybe even regularly – you feel like you have more time to do the tasks that need to get done now.
You Think You’re Working Faster
You probably feel like you’re working faster at night. You think you’re gaining time because you’re working at times when no one else is. But if you don’t get enough sleep or if you work with a lot of stress and anxiety, your body can’t function as well and you slow down.
Many people who work nights didn’t get enough sleep during the day, so they feel tired throughout the day. This can lead to fatigue, which in turn leads to a lack of focus and productivity.
When we’re tired, our stress hormones also increase, making us more tense and anxious. This also leads to less productivity because we’re more likely to make mistakes and think less clearly about what to do next on a particular task or project we’re working on.
You Left Your Phone on Too Long
If you’re doing anything on your phone before bed, it’s going to disrupt your sleep.
The blue light emitted from screens can mess with your circadian rhythm, making it harder for you to fall asleep and stay asleep through the night. And if you read on your phone in bed or just have it turned on next to you, it can keep you awake at night.
If you have a habit of falling asleep with the TV or the radio on, it’s similar – the light from both sources can suppress melatonin production and make it harder for your body to rest at night.
You Feel Overloaded
You have too much hard work to do, the to-do list is long, and it doesn’t look like it’s going to get any shorter anytime soon.
You feel like you have a lot to do, but you also want to spend time with your family or friends.
You’re trying to balance your work life with your personal life, but you don’t feel like you’re doing very well at either! Life has become hectic and all these things seem to take up so much of your time!
You may even feel overwhelmed by all the pressure. When there’s so much to do, you may not be able to sleep because you’re worried about what all needs to get done.
You Eat Too Much Sugar
One of the biggest factors that affect our creativity isn’t what we eat or drink, but when we eat and drink. When we eat too much sugar, our blood sugar levels spike and then drop. This makes us more alert in the short term, but less focused over time – which could explain why so many people feel they can’t concentrate after lunch.
You Just Can’t Sleep at Night
You’re not alone in this. You may have heard that night owls are crazy or have trouble waking up in the morning. But that’s not necessarily true. It’s also possible that you’re not a morning person, which means you don’t get enough sleep at night.
Sometimes People Who Are Considered Night Owls Just Don’t Get Enough Sleep, and Their Bodies Are More Tired Than Their Minds Tell Them
If your body doesn’t get enough rest during the day (or if you stay out too late), it gets tired earlier and wakes up later than usual.
When this happens, it can be hard to fall asleep when your body wants to go back to bed – but maybe not! It may be that your internal clock is still set to “early” even though you’ve been staying up later than usual lately.
As a result, you lie in bed and let the thoughts swirl around in your head until they finally coalesce into something meaningful or inspiring (or maybe just funny).
Change Your Sleep Patterns
Sleep is an important part of life. It’s the time when you relax and recharge your batteries. However, it’s not always easy to get a good night’s sleep, especially in today’s world with all the distractions that keep us awake until the wee hours of the morning.
But once you figure out what’s good for you and your body, you’ll feel better – and be more productive – as a result.
Here are some tips to help you sleep better at night:
- Set limits to avoid becoming overworked or overwhelmed. When you’ve too much to do and too little time, it’s easy to tell yourself you can get by without sleep. But if you’re tired all the time, it’s hard to be productive, let alone have fun. If you’re busy with projects, set limits on how much time you can take off.
- Avoid caffeine in the afternoon and evening hours. Caffeine has a half-life of about six hours. This means that half of the caffeine is gone from your body within six hours of ingestion. Avoiding caffeine during these times can improve your ability to fall asleep at night.
- Try physical activity during the day, but not within three hours of bedtime. Regular exercise contributes to a good night’s sleep, but try not to exercise too close to bedtime, as exercise leads to increased alertness and adrenaline release, which can affect the onset and quality of sleep.
- Yoga for example can help balance your sleep pattern and it’s great for our mental health.
- Don’t drink alcohol before bed. Alcohol can make it harder for you to fall asleep and stay asleep through the night. It can also disrupt your REM sleep (Rapid Eye Movement), during which you dream.
- Don’t use electronic devices in bed. The light from these devices stimulates brain activity and makes it harder for you to fall asleep and stay asleep through the night. If possible, turn off all TVs, computers, tablets, and smartphones at least an hour before bedtime so they don’t distract you while you’re trying to fall asleep. If you watch a series before bed, be disciplined.
For example, if you watch Stranger Things, set a time limit so you don’t watch an entire season and end up going to bed at 4 AM.
- Avoid naps during the day if they interfere with nighttime sleep. If a nap is helpful for you or your child (especially if he or she’s sick), limit it to no more than 30 minutes in the afternoon and make sure it doesn’t interfere with nighttime sleep.
- Work on your positivity. Also, try to work on your positive thoughts. The more positive we’re, the more inspiration we find in bright light (during the day) and not in darkness (night).
- Eat a healthy diet. Change your diet if you eat too much sugar and processed foods – these foods make it harder for your body to fall asleep quickly.
- Set an alarm clock. Try to get up early in your daily routine, even if you didn’t have a restful sleep, to begin with. If you get used to the early morning routine, you’ll sleep better at night.
- Start with a small step first, with smaller goals. You don’t have to try to achieve all of the above goals at once, especially if you’ve been a night owl for years or decades. The goal is to slowly improve your quality of life without losing your creativity.
For example, you could try walking 30 minutes every day for two weeks, and then start reducing sugar in your diet and keep that up for at least two weeks. One small step at a time.
The great thing is, that when you change your pattern, you can even find inspiration and have new creative ideas.
Once that happens, you’ll find the motivation to improve your sleep pattern, because you’ll realize how much creativity, inspiration, and motivation you can get just by having a better quality of life!