Being a Night Owl: Advantages, Disadvantages, and How to nail it

Freelance translators and language service providers in general are known to have one of the careers where working at night often comes with the territory. I bet all linguists have had to work at night and pull all-nighters at least once in their life. But just like everything else, being a night owl has its pluses and minuses.

Below are the advantages and disadvantages of working at night.

Advantages

  • You get a lot more done without all the daytime distractions and noise.
  • You can take on more jobs than usual, since you’ll be working for longer hours, thus earning more money.
  • You get to meet urgent, early morning deadlines without having to wake up first thing in the morning.
  • Some feel more creative during the graveyard shift and display their best skills.
  • For mothers, it’s like getting the best of both worlds: they get to spend the day with their kids instead of dropping them at daycare, and they would still be doing what they love and getting paid for it.

Disadvantages

  • Health problems: Basically because the brain is programmed to sleep at night. When the sleeping pattern is disturbed or completely changed, your body will understandably feel tired, which can cause stress and irregular heartbeats. Working on the computer can also lead to eyestrain. Moreover, night shift work increases the risk of diabetes and breast cancer.
  • Working at night means you will need to sleep for longer hours in the morning, which your body might not be able to do since it is not used to it.
  • Family and social life is disrupted because you would basically be following a routine that is the complete opposite of that of the people around you.
  • Weekends seem awkward and when your body finally starts getting used to staying up late, you’ll find yourself sleepless on Sunday nights. The result? A very moody and cranky you the next morning. (Now we know where the Monday blues come from!)

I have known several occasions on which I had to stay up late and work, or even pull an all-nighter. I found that with age, I am no longer able to do so, especially that I am a mother of two now. There are still days where I have to stay up until 11:00 pm, but that’s about the longest time I would spend on my computer. I understand that’s what works for other translators, and even if the latter do not have to wake up early in the morning and might not even work when the sun is up, it’s still not healthy for the body to deprive it from what naturally makes it feel good, and I would pick my health over anything else at any given moment.

 

If you work at night because you have to or because you choose to, here is how you can do it better:

  • Eat better: Fuel your body with the right foods. Keep it clean for maximum energy.
  • Don’t depend on caffeine: Coffee and caffeine in general is known for keeping people up and boosting their energy level, but it has its disadvantages as it increases the risk of stress.
  • Take a nap before you start working: When you give your body the rest it needs, you will eventually be able to produce better work without feeling too tired.
  • Take breaks: Don’t sit at your computer throughout the night. Instead, get up and give your eyes a break away from your screen. Actually, your entire body will thank you for it.
  • Wear protective glasses: It’s highly important that you protect your eyes at all times while looking at the computer screen, but it’s the most important while working at night when there is no sunlight. If you don’t like wearing protective eyeglasses, you might as well buy an anti-glare screen protector.
  • Keep your night shifts to a minimum: don’t make it a habit to work at night. It’s not healthy by any means. Unless you really have to, it’s better if you schedule everything to be done during the day.
  • Get as much rest as you can in the morning.

 

Are you a morning person or a night owl? When do you feel most productive? Do you have any other tips for having more productive nights? Share them in the comments below!

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