The Oxford Dictionary defines a night owl is “A person who is habitually active or wakeful at night.”

Contrary to popular belief, most night owls do not choose the night—a genetic mutation chooses it for them. This mutation is linked to delayed sleep phase disorder (DSPD) which causes a night owl’s circadian clock to run two to three hours behind an average person’s internal clock. Scientists are not sure what percentage of the population is made up of night owls, but some studies go as high as 20%.
Without a doubt, I am one of the 20% with DSPD. In the past, I never dedicated much thought to the term night owl. After all, I do take full advantage of all the wonderful qualities the night has to offer, and I do adore owls. Yet, the more time I spend writing the louder words scream in my ear, and pairing the words night and owl causes a ringing of redundancy I can’t seem to shake. Aren’t most owls nocturnal and aren’t most people aware of this fact? Like everyone else, I seem to have mindlessly embraced a term that is the literary equivalent of “waddling duck” or “lying politician.” Night owl is such a wasteful use of words—if you ask me.
I prefer the term: nightlifers
So, if my affinity for the night requires a label, then I want a new one:  nightlifer. It is simple, straightforward, and suggests a time free of guilt for one to do what one wants to do as opposed to the time when one typically does what one has to do. I hope most agree, especially those who seem to get the most out of life while everyone else is sleeping. As for those who thrive on sunlight, I have a term for you too: daylifer. Together, the terms  have an obvious yen and yang quality, which is important, because the world needs both types of people. And as much as I appreciate the typical daylifer’s academic achievements, pro-activity, optimism, nutritional maturity and overall better mental health, this website is dedicated nightlifers—the often misunderstood and underappreciated slice of humanity that spends more time doing and less time dreaming. 
But daylifers please keep reading. Nightlifers know who they are. It is everyone else that seems to be so perplexed by us.


More likely to take risks 

Burst of evening energy

Typically more intelligent

Greater stamina

Less work distractions

Entrepreneurial spirit 

Typically more creative 

Flexible sleep schedule 


Michael Chabon – author
Winston Churchill – political leader
Hillary Clinton – political leader
Charles Darwin – scientist
Leonardo da Vinci – artist, scientist
Thomas Edison – inventor
Gustave Flaubert – author
Sigmund Freud – founder of psychoanalysis
Glenn Gould – pianist
Samuel Johnson – author
James Joyce – author
Carl Jung – founded analytical psychology
Franz Kafk – author
Fran Lebowitz – author
Michael Lewis – author
Bill Maher – TV host, comedian
Marilyn Manson – musician
Napoleon – political leader
Frank Meyer – philosopher
Barack Obama – political leader
Elvis Presley – musician
Prince – musician
Marcel Proust – author
Gordon Ramsay – chef
Keith Richards – musician
George Sand – author
Kathryn Schulz – journalist
Susan Sontag – author
Hunter S. Thompson – author
J.R.R. Tolkien – author
Linus Torvalds – software creator
Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec – artist
John Travolta – actor
Mark Zuckerberg – Facebook founder


“Life is something that happens when you can’t go to sleep.”  – Fran Lebowitz
“What hath night to do with sleep?” – John Milton      
“Those who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night.” – Edgar Allan Poe
“We sleep soundly in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm.” – Winston Churchill