10 Benefits of Staying up Late, and How to Do It

May 27, 2007 | Uncategorized

[UPDATE]: Since writing this I have become an early riser, checkout my alternative to this article: 10 Benefits of Getting Up Early, and How to Do It (The Conversion of a Former Night Owl).

“Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise” – Ben Franklin

“Put no trust in the benefits to accrue from early rising, as set forth by the infatuated Franklin…” – Mark Twain

“Early to rise, early to bed, makes a man healthy but socially dead.” – Cenobite

I recently ran across the post “10 Benefits of Rising Early, and How to Do it” from the Zen Habits blog on Digg. The article has some great reasons as why to shift your schedule and become an early riser but I thought, as a person that consistently goes to bed anywhere from 4-6am, that I would respond with the 10 benefits of Staying Up late, and How to Do it.

This list is also dependent on a few other factors. I am fortunate to have an alternate work schedule that allows me to get to work later. So you need a job that doesn’t require the 9 to 5.

*This is not a slam on the Zen Habits post just an alternative spin on it, I really appreciated his thoughts and think his ideas are valuable.*

The Benefits

1.) Greet the day…then go to bed.

After a late night and the sky turns from the midnight black to the clear morning blue I know that bed time looms. I love walking out my back door to stretch and feel the crisp air and give thanks that I am healthy, have a great job and wish happiness for others. Then I go to bed with that peace of mind.

2.) Amazing End

The transition of the night sky that I mentioned above is a very awesome thing to experience. I agree that sunrises are truly epic but I think the transition from night to day is equally as spectacular and is a great way to get into a peaceful mindset before bed that will aide in a restful sleep.

3.) Quietude

No one is around because they have all gone to bed so that they can get up early the next day. I can ride my bike with minimal traffic and it’s typically quiet outside so I can work on my computer in peace.

4.) Video Games

Night is a very unique time for video games. I think it goes hand in hand with quietude. All the casual, novelty gamers have gone to sleep and my friends and I can get down to business with a 99 kill game of Red Steel or a time blurring session of Counter Strike or 4 chapters in Super Paper Mario or fill in the blank with your favorite game. Gaming is good anytime but I think any other gamer can attest to the fact there is something about gaming that goes hand in hand with the night.

5.) Breakfast

Breakfast is good anytime, just ask IHOP. I eat breakfast everyday at noon. I roll out of bed and hit a bowl of Wheaties with my bed-head in full effect as I wait for the shower to heat up.

6.) Exercise

I have a very dedicated workout routine that I do every night. I usually do it anywhere between 10 PM and 2 AM. I get on my road bike and ride at a fast pace for 10 miles then do push ups and an ab routine. The night is much better to ride my bike because there is hardly any traffic, like I mentioned earlier, and it is much cooler outside so it easier to sustain a faster pace and work your muscles harder. In addition, you work off any calories that you took in from dinner, which is good because it is hard on your body to process food in your sleep.

7.) Productivity

Zen Habits noted that this is a personal thing, and for me my most productive time is from 10 PM to 2 AM, my work out fits in to give me a break from the computer and give my brain some energy.

8.) Goal Time

I really like this part of the Zen Habits post. Goals totally rock. Without goals you could meander through life without a clue. Goals give a necessary structure and a purpose to things. I like to think about my goals the night before so when the next day come I hit the ground running already fresh and knowing what I need to do.

9.) Commute

This one is totally dependent on your work schedule. Since I can go into work later I can leave later. I go in at noon and leave at 9 PM. I never hit traffic.

10.) Nachos

This last benefit is pretty subjective as is most of these benefits but I feel that there is an inexplainable phenomenon that makes a double layer full plate of nachos taste extremely over-the-top delicious once the sun goes down. Whether they are cooked in the microwave or the oven something about the lack of sun puts supernatural flavor in every chip/cheese/salsa bite.

The How

Staying up late is easily achieved in one step. The key is to be aware of the time in the evening or early night when you get tired and start to feel sleep creeping in. Instead of indulging your body in its natural need for sleep go to 7/11 and get your favorite energy drink or cup of coffee and go home and push through that unwanted sleepy time and on into your second wind. Once that second wind has hit you are on your way to a nocturnal lifestyle. The resulting second wind will keep you up much later, which will make you sleep in much later. Even if you are an early riser you will sleep in and will now have more energy later in the day and you will have officially started your life as a “night crawler”.