Bobby (name changed to preserve anonymity) has a secret. Although it’s a secret shared by a large portion of the population, the shame is too great to admit out loud. His family suspects the truth, but is happy to hold onto the idea that Bobby is “normal”. Bobby does his best to appear like his friends and the rest of society, but keeping up the image is exhausting. What he can’t express is that he is different. The norms of everyday life that are accepted by the mainstream, don’t feel right for him. He feels alone. He wonders if there’s anyone like him out there. Bobby is a Night Person. On days off he sleeps past noon and if he wouldn’t be considered a freak he would be comfortable sleeping until 5PM. Bobby has endured years of being called hurtful words like “lazy”, “narcoleptic”, and even “slacker” with a hard “R”. Bobby is a pariah, whose natural tendencies are “wrong” to the rest of the world. Until now.
I too suffer the stigma of being a Night Person. I’m an ex-raver, which inherently requires all nighters. My college job was the over-night shift at a hotel, and now I primarily work as part of the late night crew on reality TV shows. I am perfectly comfortable with waking up at 4 in the afternoon, going for a run, working my shift and hitting the sack at 6AM. I’m not even on drugs I swear, its just natural. I think the time is right for us Night People to raise our fist proudly, and declare “Fuck 9AM!”. In this post-agricultural, post-industrial, Internet society we are free to be awake whenever we want. The time is now to take up our cause and fight for our rights.
Since the dawn of human kind and until very recently, we’ve depended on hunting, gathering, farming or going to a job as means of survival/making a living. The “9 to 5” is an anachronistic relic from our past. It may be one of the deepest ingrained since being awake in the day has seriously helped our success as a species. The time for that practice has passed. Sleeping when predators are sleeping, getting up at dawn to take care of the crops, and by extension; heading to the office by 9AM don’t matter in the modern age. The whole world isn’t quite there yet, but as a New York City resident, I can easily take care of any day-to-day business at any hour of my choosing. And with the Internet, Night People all around the world have a tool to let their freak flag wave. This idea will be very alien to a day-walker, but I have research (aka Google) to prove my point.
Most day-walkers will say, “Only being awake at night is bad for your health, silly”. I’ll tell you what’s silly, waking up at dawn for no reason. Actually a quick search through the interwebs finds many, many more references to the adverse affects of sunlight. Page after page will teach you ways to avoid getting too much sun. We have a whole industry of creams to protect us against the sun. A Night Person ain’t worried ‘bout no sunscreen. According to an article from health.usnews.com, a fair skinned person needs 10 minutes of direct sunlight to get the daily value needed that doesn’t come from food sources. Plus if anyone lives “north of Atlanta” none of us get ANY vitamin D from the sun all winter long because “the sun never gets high enough in the sky for it’s ultraviolet B rays to penetrate the atmosphere”. What do you say now, day walkers? You got no vitamin D from your precious sun. In your face!
Another argument for the norm is that lack of sunlight affects mood. That’s a tough one to explain away. Science says we have circadian rhythms and they naturally guide us to the daylight much like plants, which need sun to survive. They say disrupting these rhythms lead to depression. If these species wide rhythms exist and come from our place in nature, why are they considered so important? Equality should extend to everyone’s circadian rhythms. Humans don’t migrate seasonally to mate. We don’t kill and eat the closest thing to us when hungry. Plus, do you think a raccoon is chronically depressed because he happens to be nocturnal? Here, I’ll have to break from “scientific findings” and use some empirical observations. Night People march to the beat of their own circadian rhythms. I’m happier on my schedule. If the stigma were lifted from NOS (night owl syndrome) maybe the nocturnal leaning human won’t feel so ashamed of their snoozing.
One thing is certain; lack of sleep is terrible for the mental and physical state of a body, and this is exactly what is harming my people. Every time a Night Person naturally stays up watching Hulu until 4AM and has to be at work at 9AM he or she is forced into an unhealthy lifestyle. Forced into physical harm by the establishment! The Man is keeping us down with shame tactics, and literally weakening our numbers with their old fashioned day time activities. It’s time to break the shackles of the old guard sleep schedule. Night People unite! We must tell our stories. We must show the world that our lifestyle might be different from theirs, but we are still human beings. We must proudly do our laundry at 1AM and shop at the bodega for groceries in the wee hours of the morning without shame. Hit the snooze button in solidarity Night People. New York City is our promised land! Let the revolution start here. Equal sleeping rights FOR ALL!