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My class 12 board exams were on, and mother always insisted that I sleep in time and wake up by 4 am to study. It would help me concentrate better, she believed. But mom, I prefer studying till 4 am and then hitting the bed, I’d say. Not to brag, but I followed my own schedule and cleared the exams with flying colours.

Now I’m sure many of you can relate to this. Not all of us can wake up early and get to work; we function better at night. We’re not morning people – and that’s okay.

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What Science Says

Your sleep is governed by something known as the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN), a tiny region in the brain that controls your circadian rhythm — your 24-hour body clock that tells you when to sleep, rise, eat, etc.

Based on this concept, a person is either a lark (starts feeling tired/sleepy by late evening) or an owl (doesn’t feel tired until late night).

The circadian rhythm varies through your lifetime and it’s not easy to control or manipulate it. As a baby, you tend to sleep more. As a teenager, you tend to stay up late, and as an adult, you prefer sleeping on time and waking up early.

But it’s important to note that everyone is different, and one’s lifestyle also plays a big role in determining sleep patterns.

For instance Ritesh, 32, also prefers working at night, “I don’t have to worry about the ticking clocks, I don’t have to worry about people coming in and out, and I don’t have to worry about any kind of planning. (At night) I can be me.”

“As far as the morning goes, it’s strange, but waking up early gives me anxiety the night before and a headache later on,” he adds.

If that’s not all, there could be another scientific reason why you find it tough to rise early. Blame it on your DNA!

What the Night Owls Say

We spoke to Madhur Anand, a young marine professional on why he prefers staying up until late night. “It comes naturally to me, no matter what time I have to get up the next day for work. I just can’t let go of the ‘me time’ I get at night.

“I like spending this time introspecting on my future plans with no foreign thoughts in my mind. There’s no hustle bustle of the daily chores.

“The only thing I miss about mornings is my workout sessions. I feel I could some day ditch my habit and wake up for the sake of my health.”

Well Madhur, for people like us, gyms are open till late these days. I only wish breakfast was available till late afternoon!

Time No Bar

Since the last two generations have fed us the concept of 9 to 5, we’re led to believe that this is the most ideal time to work, and thus, we need to wake up at 7 am.

But who’s to say that this is the sure-shot formula for success? Why does timing matter?

The fact is, night owls are a lot more productive in the later hours of the day — they get more done at night. This study explains that night owls could actually be more intelligent than early risers.

While some Indian startups are beginning to acknowledge this culture and starting their work days in the afternoon, the majority of companies still don’t understand or approve of it.

Ultimately it’s all upto you — if you’re not a morning person, so be it. Don’t push yourself. Several personalities like Barack Obama and Aamir Khan are said to be night owls, and they seem to be doing more than just fine!

So, the next time you hit the snooze button for the fourth time in a row, don’t feel guilty about it.

Are you a morning person or do you burn the midnight oil? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Image Credit: Nikhil Mudaliar

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