Night owls, our world needs to start respecting you. Here are 4 reasons why.

I am my cheeriest and most creative when most people are hitting the hay. But this is me if I'm forced out of bed by 7 a.m.:

"Ten more cups of coffee, please." Photo via iStock.


Yes, I'm a night owl. And I'm certainly not alone.

Many people have internal clocks that make it tougher to function in our 9-5 world. If you're like one of us, falling asleep and waking up at "reasonable" hours isn't reasonable at all. You shouldn't feel badly about that either — internal clocks naturally vary from person to person.

Society, however, doesn't like adhering to science (on this issue, at least). There are so many ways our world favors early birds over night owls. And frankly, it needs to stop.

Here are four reasons why we should make our world more accommodating for night owls.

1. Stereotypes about night owls and late sleepers are baseless and harmful.

You like to stay up late and sleep in, so you're lazy and on the fast track to failure. Right?

Photo via iStock.

Wrong. These backward notions are bologna. Yet they live on, making night owl-types feel less than. We're not!

In fact, some studies have suggested we might be more creative, "more intelligent" (researchers' words, not mine), and have bigger incomes than our early bird counterparts. So there.

2. Everyone wins when employers think of their workers less like robots programmed to turn on at dawn and more like, say, humans.

As I'm sure you know by now, many Americans don't get enough sleep. And, believe it or not, when these tired Americans — a disproportionate number of them night owls, I'd imagine — stumble into the office each morning with their eyes half-shut, they aren't on their A-game.

This collective sleepiness ends up costing us.

According to a study out of Harvard University, the U.S. economy sheds over $63 billion in productivity losses each year due to lack of sleep among workers. On the other hand, some research suggests more flexible work schedules make us happier, healthier, and — get this — even more productive.

Seems like a change is in order.

Photo via iStock.

The typical workday discriminates against late-sleeping night owls too, according to Camilla Kring. She's the founder of B-Society, a group that advocates for a more inclusive world for all sleep types — namely late risers or "B-persons," as she refers to us.

"[Early risers] have the competitive edge," she explained to Upworthy. "Most schools and workplaces are organized based on an 8 or 9 o'clock starting time. But why are we considered less productive if we prefer an active evening and calm morning? And why do [early risers] have the patent on discipline simply because they get up early?"

Good questions.

3. When schools start later, students excel. Just ask the CDC.

Nauset Regional High School in Massachusetts used to have a sleep problem.

“At one point, we asked teachers not to turn off lights or show movies,” former principal Tom Conrad told The Boston Globe this past March. "We didn’t want students to fall back to sleep."

So the school pushed its start time back from 7:25 a.m. to 8:35 a.m. And officials noticed big changes — immediately.

Photo via iStock.

Tardiness fell, grades went up, and more students showed up ready to learn.

This, I'm guessing, wouldn't surprise many folks at the CDC, which thinks far too many middle and high schools start too early, robbing students of vital rest. It recommends start times of, at the earliest, 8:30 a.m.

This makes sense — especially considering young people are naturally more night-owl-ish, so to speak.

When teens are experiencing puberty, melatonin is released into their systems later in the evening, and “this shift often makes many teenagers incapable of falling asleep before 11 at night,” Mary A. Carskadon, Ph.D., a sleep expert and researcher at Brown University, told Real Simple.

Teens, don't feel bad about hitting snooze. It's not you, it's this messed-up world we live in.

4. If you're not an "early to bed, early to rise" type, our society's 9-5 structure could be hurting your health.

"A circadian rhythm is not something you choose," as Kring pointed out. "It's something you're born with."

And when you miss out on those precious ZZZs because you're up late then forced to wake early, it could take a toll on your health.

Photo via iStock.

As the CDC notes, people who don't get enough sleep are disproportionately affected by a range of health complications — from diabetes and hypertension to depression and cancer.

We all deserve to get adequate shut-eye, regardless of when our internal clocks start and stop.

To be blunt, our world would be a better place if night owls were treated equally, damn it.

But don't take my word for it — take Kring's (who put it a bit more eloquently):

"Quality of life, health, infrastructure, and productivity would all improve if we offered people work hours matching their circadian rhythms."

Night owls, let's fight for our right to stay up late and sleep in later and put this issue to bed — once and for all.

To learn more about how B-Society's fighting to do just that, check out its website.

Motherhood is a journey unlike any other, and one that is nearly impossible to prepare for. No matter how many parenting books you read, how many people you talk to, how many articles you peruse before having kids, your children will emerge as completely unique creatures who impact your world in ways you could never have anticipated.

Those of us who have been parenting for a while have some wisdom to share from experience. Not that older moms know everything, of course, but hindsight can offer some perspective that's hard to find when you're in the thick of early motherhood.

Upworthy asked our readers who are moms what they wish they could tell their younger selves about motherhood, and the responses were both honest and wholesome. Here's what they said:

Lighten up. Don't sweat the small stuff.

One of the most common responses was to stop worrying about the little things so much, try to be present with your kids, and enjoy the time you have with them:

"Relax and enjoy them. If your house is a mess, so be it. Stay in the moment as they are temporary..more so than you think, sometimes. We lost our beautiful boy to cancer 15+yrs ago. I loved him more than life itself..💔 "- Janet

"Don't worry about the dishes, laundry and other chores. Read the kids another book. Go outside and make a mud pie. Throw the baseball around a little longer. Color another picture. Take more pictures and make sure you are in the pictures too! My babies are 19 and 17 and I would give anything to relive an ordinary Saturday from 15 years ago." - Emma H.

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Photo by Daniel Schludi on Unsplash
True

The global eradication of smallpox in 1980 is one of international public health's greatest successes. But in 1966, seven years after the World Health Organization announced a plan to rid the world of the disease, smallpox was still widespread. The culprits? A lack of funds, personnel and vaccine supply.

Meanwhile, outbreaks across South America, Africa, and Asia continued, as the highly contagious virus continued to kill three out of every 10 people who caught it, while leaving many survivors disfigured. It took a renewed commitment of resources from wealthy nations to fulfill the promise made in 1959.

Forty-one years later, although we face a different virus, the potential for vast destruction is just as great, and the challenges of funding, personnel and supply are still with us, along with last-mile distribution. Today, while 30% of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated, with numbers rising every day, there is an overwhelming gap between wealthy countries and the rest of the world. It's becoming evident that the impact on the countries getting left behind will eventually boomerang back to affect us all.

Photo by ismail mohamed - SoviLe on Unsplash

The international nonprofit CARE recently released a policy paper that lays out the case for U.S. investment in a worldwide vaccination campaign. Founded 75 years ago, CARE works in over 100 countries and reaches more than 90 million people around the world through multiple humanitarian aid programs. Of note is the organization's worldwide reputation for its unshakeable commitment to the dignity of people; they're known for working hand-in-hand with communities and hold themselves to a high standard of accountability.

"As we enter into our second year of living with COVID-19, it has become painfully clear that the safety of any person depends on the global community's ability to protect every person," says Michelle Nunn, CARE USA's president and CEO. "While wealthy nations have begun inoculating their populations, new devastatingly lethal variants of the virus continue to emerge in countries like India, South Africa and Brazil. If vaccinations don't effectively reach lower-income countries now, the long-term impact of COVID-19 will be catastrophic."

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