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Why are there people who work better at night?

Contrary to what has always been thought, working at night, for 30% of the population, is much more productive. This is the evening chronotype. Although the rhythm of the work is established and drawn following the pattern of the great early risers, the truth is that the rhythms are very different depending on each one. In fact, there are different types of people according to their rhythms.

There are those known as “early birds” (40% of the population and their internal rhythm coincides with that established in our society) and those baptized as “night owls” (which are 30% and whose vital rhythm is more attached to the night ). The rest of the population would be distributed between the two in that intermediate time slot.

Following the Why We Sleep study by Matthew Walker, director of the Center for the Science of Human Sleep at the University of California at Berkeley, the myth of night owls takes on serious overtones. “Night owls are not owls by choice. They are forced to follow a delayed schedule by the traits of their DNA. It is not a conscious failure, but a genetic destiny, ”says Walker in his study.

What has been accepted as normal for ages are the routines of the early birds that wake up early in the morning. For night owls, these first hours of the day are very hard and not very productive. This is because their prefrontal cortex, which is responsible for managing thought processes and logic, “remains deactivated or offline. Like a cold engine,” says Walker. And he adds that this cold engine, “in an attempt to start early, takes a long time to warm up and get to the ideal operating temperature.”

The two faces of the night owl

We are used to reading and hearing about different sleep disorders and how people who have trouble sleeping, or sleep at odd hours, put their physical and mental health at risk. In this way, an early bird compared to a night owl has an advantage over the pace at which our world moves.

There are also studies that say that this type of person is more prone to smoking, drinking, and being more promiscuous. Not to mention the mental instability to which they suppose they are doomed.

But all this is starting to sound very old. Great personalities triumphed from their vantage point of the evening chronotype. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg himself said that he was never a morning person. And if we talk about programmers, then in most cases their working hours face the deadliest night. While the great entrepreneurs of new technologies announce their nightly trends as a status symbol.

And it seems quite normal that they feel proud. Over time the tables were turned and some studies began to define these nocturnal birds as special people. As early as 2009, an evolutionary psychologist at the London School of Economics and Political Science, Satoshi Kanazawa, was beginning to suggest that night owls might be more intelligent than early birds. That they have “a higher level in their cognitive complexity,” said the psychologist.

The important thing is to respect and take advantage of the rhythms of each chronotype. For greater productivity, it is necessary to know the moments of greatest stimulation for each individual… And this seems to be a trend.

Due to the diversity of chronotypes more and more companies are giving flexibility when organizing work. This, for night owls, is a push toward their days of happiness at work.

But human chronotypes are not determined by age which means kids can also fall under early birds or night owls. There is still a long way to go for all those who have been genetically destined for their most taciturn splendor. Camilla Kring, a Danish consultant, and author founded B-Society, a nighttime advocacy group that is pushing for an end to single daytime, standardized flexible work hours, and an adjustment to school hours, “to support the different human chronotypes”

Having an evening chronotype doesn’t mean that we are exempt from developing health issues if we do not maintain a healthy diet and take care of our sleep patterns, if you are concern about your health make sure to visit your doctor.


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