why am i more productive at night

10 Science-Backed Reasons Why You’re More Productive at Night

Why am I more productive at night? This is a common question.

why am i more productive at night

We all have our own internal clock that governs our sleep-wake cycle. This is called the circadian rhythm, and it plays a big part in determining if you’re a night owl or an early bird.

And if you’re one of those who find themselves more productive at night, it’s essential to make it work for you. Even though most people follow a “normal” 9-to-5 schedule, you can still take advantage of your productivity spikes during your personal “awake” hours.

If you want a little validation of your after-hours productivity, then this list is for you. Let’s dive into the science behind being a night owl and why you might just be onto something.

Your Brain is Wired Differently

In a world that seems to favor early birds, it can be easy to feel like a bit of an outsider if you’re at your best long after the sun has set. But the truth is that there’s plenty of scientific evidence to explain why you function differently at night compared to your early-bird counterparts.

For one, a 2014 study found that night owls have more white matter in the areas of the brain associated with inhibitory control. This is the ability to stay focused and ignore distractions, which is obviously pretty handy when you’re trying to get through a tricky project late at night.

The study also found that night owls had more gray matter in the regions responsible for negotiation, so you might be a bit of a natural born problem solver to boot.

Me? I’ve always known I was a bit different. The early morning just seemed like a cruel joke. No matter what time I went to bed or how tired I was, my brain would always start to come alive as the evening progressed.

Now, I relish those late nights when I can get in the zone and let my unique nocturnal brain take center stage. It turns out that being wired a little differently isn’t so bad after all!

You’re More Creative

One of the big upsides of having a unique brain is that you’re likely more creative than your early-bird friends. Yes, it seems night owls really do have all the fun!

In a study published in the journal Thinking Skills and Creativity, researchers found that night owls outperformed morning larks when it came to creative thinking tasks.

The study had participants complete a series of creative problem-solving tasks at different times of the day. Not only did the night owls perform better overall, but they also generated more creative solutions to the problems they were presented with.

So, if you find yourself embarking on wild and creative brainstorms during the wee small hours, you can thank your nocturnal tendencies.

I can totally relate to this. Some of my best ideas and bursts of inspiration hit me late at night when the rest of the world is quiet. There’s something about the stillness and darkness that seems to ignite my imagination, and I’ve learned to embrace those moments of creative flow as a gift.

You’re a Pro at Problem Solving

It’s not just creativity that gets a boost when you’re a night owl. Problem-solving skills also seem to go hand in hand with staying up past your bedtime.

A study by researchers at the University of Chicago found that participants who identified as night owls were better able to solve a range of problems compared to early birds. In particular, they performed better on tasks that required them to find hidden shortcuts and to connect seemingly unrelated sets of information.

So, if you’re often the one who comes up with a brilliant solution to a complex problem that has everyone else stumped, your night owl brain might just be to thank for that.

I know I’ve had my fair share of “Eureka!” moments late at night. Sometimes it feels like my brain is a little like a web, weaving together different strands of information and making connections that aren’t immediately obvious. And more often than not, those late-night lightbulb moments turn out to be the key to unlocking a tricky problem.

Your Attention to Detail is On Point

I’ve always prided myself on being a bit of a perfectionist, and it turns out that my night owl tendencies might have a lot to do with this.

A study published in the journal Personality and Individual Differences found that night owls generally outperformed early birds when it came to attention-related tasks. Specifically, they were better able to sustain their attention over long periods and were less susceptible to distractions.

These findings suggest that if you’re burning the midnight oil in pursuit of a perfectly polished project, you’re probably bringing an above-average ability to focus and attend to detail to the table.

As a self-proclaimed perfectionist, I can definitely relate to the findings from this study. I’ve always been adamant about getting things just right and zeroing in on the tiniest of details. There’s something about the quiet and stillness of the night that seems to allow me to completely immerse myself in a task and give it my full attention.

You Tend to Be More Persistent

If you’re anything like me, once you sink your teeth into a project, the hours can fly by almost without you noticing. That’s because I tend to get into a flow state, where time seems to stand still and I become completely engrossed in what I’m doing.

And it turns out that this ability to get into the zone and persevere with tasks is common among night owls. In a study published in the journal Psychological Science, researchers found that night owls displayed higher levels of persistence than morning larks.

The study had participants engage in a challenging task and measured how long they persisted despite facing difficulties. Night owls showed greater perseverance, sticking with the task for longer and trying out different strategies even in the face of failure.

So, next time you find yourself knee-deep in a project well past your bedtime, take a moment to acknowledge the fact that your inherent night owl persistence is likely driving you forward.

You’re More In Tune With Your Authentic Self

One of the perks of being a night owl is that it often feels like you’re operating in a parallel universe. While the rest of the world is fast asleep, you’re wide awake and ready to take on the world (or at least get some serious work done).

This unique experience can actually help you feel more in tune with your true self. A study published in the journal Personality and Individual Differences found that people who identified as evening types reported higher levels of authenticity compared to morning types.

Feeling true to yourself and free to express your individuality is a powerful aspect of wellbeing, so it’s interesting and perhaps even affirming to know that your night owl tendencies are contributing to this.

I know that when I’m up late and immersed in my own little world of productivity, it feels like I can truly be myself. There’s less pressure to fit into societal norms and expectations, and I feel a sense of freedom to be as creative, focused, and productive as I naturally am.

You Tend to Be More Relaxed

One of the reasons why being a night owl feels so good is that it often comes with a sense of calm. And this isn’t just a subjective feeling – there’s actual scientific evidence to support it.

A study conducted at the University of Barcelona found that evening types (aka night owls) tended to have lower levels of stress compared to morning types. The study looked at salivary cortisol levels, which is a biomarker for stress, and found that evening types had a significantly different daily pattern of cortisol secretion compared to morning types.

So, if you find yourself powering through your to-do list after hours with a calm and collected demeanor, it’s not just all in your head. Your night owl tendencies might be working to keep your stress levels in check.

I can definitely attest to this. The hustle and bustle of the day seems to fade away as the evening draws in, and I’m left with a sense of peace and tranquility. It’s just me, my thoughts, and a laser-like focus on what I’m doing. It’s a unique and special state to be in, and I appreciate the fact that it seems to shield me from the stresses of the day.

You’re a Natural Night Watchman

Fun fact: being a night owl actually aligns with the sleep-wake patterns of our ancestors. And by ancestors, I mean way, way back – think cave people!

A study published in the journal Personality and Individual Differences examined the sleeping patterns of the Hadza people, one of the few remaining hunter-gatherer groups on the planet. They found that around 35% of the population were night owls, and these individuals took on the crucial role of keeping an eye out for predators during the night.

This study offers an interesting insight into the evolutionary roots of being a night owl and suggests that if you often find yourself feeling most alert and productive during the dark hours, it’s because your biology is, in fact, perfectly in tune with the way it should be.

I get a bit of a chuckle out of knowing that my late-night tendencies would have been incredibly useful back in the day. Although I’m not sure how fit I’d be for the task of warding off predators, I’d like to think I’d do an okay job of keeping the nighttime watch!

You Have a Higher Tolerance for Pain

This one came as a bit of a surprise to me, but it’s a cool finding nonetheless. A study published in the journal Sleep found that night owls had a higher pain threshold compared to morning larks.

The study had participants undergo a pain tolerance test where they had to keep their hand submerged in icy water for as long as they could. Night owls managed to tough it out for longer before having to pull their hand out in discomfort compared to early birds.

The researchers suggest that this higher pain threshold might help explain the survival advantage that being a night owl seemingly confers. After all, if you can stay up late and remain alert and productive despite the discomfort of fatigue, it’s likely that you’d be able to stay on the lookout for potential dangers in the dark.

I have to admit, I haven’t really put my pain tolerance to the test, but it’s interesting to know that it might be higher than average. It’s like having a hidden superpower that I can tap into during those late-night work sessions!

You’re More Likely to Be a Night Owl if You’re Intelligent

Last but not least, if you’re a night owl, you might just have a higher IQ to go along with it.

A study published in the journal PLOS ONE found that individuals with higher IQ scores were more likely to be night owls. The study looked at the sleep habits of over 20,000 participants and assessed their cognition using a series of tests.

The researchers found a significant association between intelligence and being a night owl, suggesting that there might be a genetic basis for both traits.

So, the next time someone questions your late-night habits, you can simply tell them that you’re up past your bedtime because you’re just too darn smart!

In all seriousness, this finding is a testament to the fact that we all have our own unique rhythms and patterns that we function best within. And while society as a whole tends to favor early risers, it’s important to embrace your individuality and find a way to make it work for you. After all, some of the world’s most brilliant minds burned the midnight oil to bring their ideas and innovations to life.