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Image / Editorial

Are you a night owl with a 9-5 day job? Here are 5 tips to help you get through the day


by Colette Sexton
23rd Jan 2020

Woman entrepreneur looking tensed while working late in office. Businesswoman sitting tired in front of computer with hands on face and closed eyes.

Research has found that forcing night owls into 9 am to 5 pm working days is the equivalent of giving them jetlag every single day


It might be hard to believe if you love waking at dawn and tucking yourself into bed nice and early at night but people who enjoy snoozing well into the morning are not actually lazy.

Some people are built to sleep later into the morning and stay up later at night.

Night owls actually have different brain patterns to those who rise early in the morning, and this has been proven in research done by the University of Birmingham. The researchers found that forcing night owls into 9 am to 5 pm working days is like the equivalent of giving them jetlag every single day.

That is deeply unpleasant, but if you are a night owl working conventional hours, here is what you can do to make life easier for yourself.

Give yourself as much time snoozing as possible

I could tell you to go to bed early, but you’re a night owl, so you probably won’t listen to me. However, you can use your time at night to give yourself some more sleep in the morning. You can shower before bed, lay out your work clothes, pack your bag, make your breakfast and lunch all at night so you can hit the snooze button a few times the next day.

Beat the morning fog

If you work best in the afternoons and evenings, it is likely that when you arrive into work at 9 am, your brain isn’t firing on all cylinders yet.

“As a night owl, you are just as productive as morning larks, but you just simply work better later in the day.”

To give yourself the best chance in the mornings, make a list before you leave work every evening covering what you need to do the next day. It will help you to focus, and get your brain through that nasty morning fog. 

Work backwards

If you find you are most alert in the afternoon and evening, then leave your most important tasks until this time.

By doing so, you can ensure that you are performing them to your best ability.

In the morning, you can do less important tasks like responding to emails, expense reports, and so on. 

Talk to your team

As a night owl, you are just as productive as morning larks, but you just simply work better later in the day.

Recognising this is a good step toward improving your working life. If you are a night owl, tell your colleagues that you work best in the afternoons and evenings and ask them, where possible, to schedule meetings for later in the day.

Ask for more suitable hours

Many workplaces are moving towards more flexible working arrangements, including options for different working hours and working from home. Talk to your employer to see if they would be willing to introduce more flexibility on hours, even for a trial period.

If they are insistent on traditional working hours, ask if you could work from home – saving time on your commute will give you more time to sleep. 

Featured image: Getty


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