The number one misconception that I am faced with, as a night owl, is that we are lazy. We stay up late doing nothing more than browsing Reddit and snacking. Which, OK, doesn't sound like the worst life if you ask me, and those are definitely two out of many things that we do while we're not sleeping. But there is a lot more to being a night owl than doing nothing; namely, getting things done that just don't seem possible during the noise of the daytime. This could be reading or writing, or even cleaning. I'd be lying, though, if I said that I never get distracted or procrastinate when I'm staying up late. Because I definitely do sometimes, and I know I'm not the only one. Which is why the whole idea of New Year's resolutions for night owls is probably the most perfect thing ever.
I would never suggest giving up the "lifestyle" as a whole — because let's face it, a virtually silent house makes for great concentration — but why not use all of this extra, peaceful time for good, right? Why not find some use in the hours when no one is around to distract us? I'm not saying it's going to be easy to cultivate this extra nighttime time, but I'm sure it's plenty worth it to get in the habit of getting enough sleep while still staying up late, or incorporating some healthier, fresher stuff into the junk food diet of the midnight world. As parents who are night owls, we are gifted with this rare ability to stay up late, get up reasonably early, and still make it through the day without being totally exhausted. This gives us time to make sure the house in order, as we were working or playing all day. Your kid may be snug in bed, secure in the idea that Mommy or Daddy is also tucked into bed like a human burrito, but there are no early nights for night owls. Even ones with kids.
1. Develop A New, Useful Hobby
You don't need to start learning the values behind stamps and begin building a hefty collection and albums full of 'em, but there's no harm in trying out a new hobby to make you feel like you're doing something more useful with your time than binge-watching that HBO show you've been meaning to get into. Now, don't get it twisted: I love binging as much as the next Netflix user who refuses to give out her password to any friends or family. But as a night owl, there's definitely room for a new hobby too.
2. Don't Sleep The Day Away
A good resolution would be to not do this: Sometimes, I give in to my night owl brain and stay up super late, into the wee hours, so late that I end up telling myself that I "might as well just not go to sleep at all." On these nights, the mornings tend to be pretty bad, full of dragging feet and splashes of cold water on the face. Other times, I can do the whole night owl thing without taking it to the sunrise, and can get up at a reasonable time and be totally functional. I'm not really sure how I manage that when I do, but it always ends up giving me the best of both worlds without any help from too-sweet energy drinks or shots.
3. Read More Books And Stare At Fewer Screens
OK, so I'm probably the last person who should be suggesting this, since the Bustle app and I are currently in a tawdry love affair. But I will admit that in the new year, I should be using this extra nighttime energy for brain-fueling good, as opposed to straining my eyes constantly. If you can add the resolution to read more books to your list, you will not only be able to recommend books instead of apps to your friends, but you'll be ahead of the curve when the next big movie from a book is released. Everyone wins.
4. Use The Extra Time To Work On Your Fitness
I'm not saying that you should buy into the absurd and damaging notion that New Year's Eve is a great time for your self-hate and body-shaming to reach an apex that hurls you into an unmanageable diet and exercise routine on January 1. Definitely skip, like...all of that. I'm also not saying that you should merge this New Year's resolution with the hobby one and develop a penchant for body building or anything extreme. I'm just saying, moving your body is great for your body, and if you're going to be up late anyway, might as well use this extra time and energy and quietness to move your body a little more than you would be doing, say, on the couch during a TV show binge. I've found that if I can follow some of the circuit training sets on Pinterest while I watch a few episodes of Girls, the workout goes so fast and I even get to get in my show watching time. No downside, right? Pay no mind to those aching muscles and that sweaty cleavage. (Wait, who doesn't love aching muscles and sweaty cleavage? There really is no downside here.)
5. Chill On The Junk Food, AKA, The Only Food That Ever Sounds Good After Midnight
Try being the operative word here. Because I know that nighttime, when no one is around and you're feeling energized and content, makes for uninhibited snacking. Which you should totally do if you want because, chocolate, hello. But if you're aiming to eat a little healthier in the New Year, maybe just opt for dipping carrots into peanut butter or ranch dressing instead of potato chips. Or eat the chips. Eat everything. Look, this is just a suggestion; I really can't sit here and tell you not to eat delicious food. I wouldn't be able to live with myself. But waking up with that patented "I ate an entire bag of chips right before bed" greasy sheen on your face is not the best feeling, so if you can make different late-night munch choices, the cleanliness of your pillow will thank you.
6. Get Enough Sleep, No Matter When You Go To Bed
Staying up late isn't really a problem, unless your sleep schedule literally consists of just a couple of hours each night. The important thing is to be sure you get enough hours of sleep, even if you are staying up later than the average person. Not only will you start to have even more energy, but you can stop those questions from your partner or friends who insist that your schedule just isn't normal. Don't let them night-owl shame you! But seriously, make sure you're sleeping enough in the new year.