The Perks of Being a Nightowl in College

We just released an article about the benefits of being a morning person, so naturally as a born nightowl, I had to make sure to provide an opposing view. Being a morning person is great, yeah cool whatever. But being a nightowl definitely has perks that morning people will never experience.


First, let’s get a little bit of background to really understand the differences. According to a study conducted by 23andMe, some people tend to be early risers while others feel naturally drawn to stay up later relates to our circadian rhythm. 

Essentially, our bodies run on a natural clock based on the light-dark pattern of the sun rising and setting, which is referred to as our sleep cycle. Though everyone has a generally similar cycle (i.e. awake when there’s light, sleepy when it’s dark), some people’s cycles tend to run longer or shorter. If you have a long cycle, you’d be prone to stay awake and wake up later a.k.a. nightowls.

Now let’s look at the perks.

It Feels Better

For me, the first pro is it just feels better. Yes, obviously if I need to wake up early I can do it, but my first hour or two awake on an early morning I’m just out of it. I feel groggy, sluggish, and irritable. I’d much rather be up until 2-3 a.m., taking advantage of the hours I feel alert than force myself out of bed just to be moody and wishing for my bed.

It’s Peaceful

While Aaron points out that the early morning hours are peaceful (here), I would argue that the same goes for the late night. By that point that normal background noise and commotion that you experience during the day are silenced. You can do homework, watch tv, or cook yourself a late dinner in peace.

I’m More Productive

In a college context, being a nightowl can be especially great! A lot of college social life revolves around nightlife, and even on weeknights, people are up late hanging out after a day of classes and homework. My favorite part is it doesn’t cut into your productivity at all. After class, you have time to take a break, spend a few hours on homework, maybe grab a snack, and by 11:00pm you’re ready to go socialize without having missed anything.

College Makes it Work

The great thing about college is that in a lot of cases, you have the ability to tailor your schedule around late nights. The reality is, most of the world’s schedule is not geared towards nightowls. For your years in college, you have the opportunity to work with your body’s natural schedule and take advantage of your flexible schedule. 

Yeah, it can be hit-or-miss. Sometimes you end up getting stuck with that 8:00am that you really can’t work around. But for the most part, you can work with your class schedule to make it something that will allow you to be your most productive.

We often have a sense of shame surrounding sleeping-in, but for some people that schedule really is the most natural according to their circadian rhythm. If that’s what’s best for you and your body, try your best to work with it. You can be just as productive taking advantage of late night hours as if you had woken up early, so if that’s what you feel like your body wants, try it out!

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