• Matt Phillips

Surviving As a Night Owl

For some reason, creatives and brand-builders seem to have a unique propensity for burning the late-night oil. Maybe it’s because we’re super busy, are often surrounded by distractions, or have a huge workload? Whatever the reason, it seems that brand-builders love to work late! This is all well and good, but working late into the night can start to take a big physical and emotional toll on the human body if we’re not careful. In this post, we’re sharing some practical tips and tricks for ensuring that you can survive (and even thrive) as a night owl!

#1 – Prepare beforehand

We get it. Most of the time, you don’t know that you’re going to be working late until the deadline is upon you, the day got away from you, or you just didn’t get enough done to call it a night. However, as much as you can, we recommend planning out late nights of work. If you can see an unmet deadline approaching, prepare yourself for a long night. If you’re not able to be productive during the day, plan to be up late. And when you’re planning, make sure to go to bed at a reasonable time the night before! While your body can likely handle one late night, it can’t handle two in a row.

You need sleep to function, and if you’re already exhausted by the time you sit down to work late, you’ll be miserable and unproductive the whole time. In addition to getting good sleep the night before, make sure to eat a healthy breakfast! If you start your day with a nutritious, filling breakfast, you’ll be sharper, more alert, and able to focus on the tasks at hand when you start your night of work. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but what you eat for the rest of the day matters, too.

When you sit down to work late, make sure to come equipped with healthy snacks, coffee, and lots of water. Don’t raid the vending machine and eat Twinkies all night! By looking out for your body, you can maximize your productivity and health when you’re burning that midnight oil!

#2 – Move around and take breaks

When working late into the night, it can be tempting to “buckle down” and not stop working until you’re completely finished with all of your tasks. While this is probably the most efficient strategy for working late, it takes a major toll on your body. Most medical professionals suggest taking a 10-minute break from sitting every hour to allow for better blood flow, a shift in mental focus, and deeper breathing. So, if you can, make sure to get up, walk around, maybe do some jumping jacks or pushups, and allow your body to breathe and reset for your next stretch of physical inactivity.

In addition to benefitting your body, this practice will also allow your mind to take a break from intense focus and relax for a bit. By getting up and moving, you can jump-start your brain’s endorphin flow and gain some much-needed mental energy. Then, when you resume your work, you’ll be more relaxed and recharged! If you want to remain productive and healthy while you work, it’s crucial that you get up and move around!

#3 – Put your phone down and go to bed

One of the worst habits to get into when you’ve been up late is to “unwind” afterward by turning on Netflix, YouTube, or a game on your phone. Our Brand Nation team can certainly attest to this temptation. After all, you deserve some much-needed stress relief, right? The reality is that, while mindlessly staring at your phone seems relaxing, the light from the screen prevents your brain from winding down to sleep.

When you’re looking at your phone, your brain gets tricked into thinking that it’s still daylight outside; this causes it to produce hormones to keep you awake, which naturally prevent sleep. This is even more of a problem when you’ve been staring at a computer screen for hours already! So, if you want to be able to sleep after you’re done working, put your phone down and do something like journaling, cleaning, or reading before you go to sleep. Your body will thank you!

#4 – Use blue-light protection glasses

As we’ve already established, the blue light produced by most screens can prevent your brain from producing hormones needed for sleep. However, the effects can be far worse. Blue light can affect your eyes, leading to damaged retinal cells and macular degeneration. Thankfully, optometrists have been able to develop special lenses to remedy this issue.

By wearing blue-light protection glasses, you can cut down on eye strain and permanent damage. These glasses are essential for anyone who consistently works late into the night on a computer!

#5 – Exercise the next day

Earlier in this article, we covered the importance of taking breaks to move during long stretches of sitting down. Exercise is essential for your body’s production of endorphins, hormones that lead to increased energy, feelings of happiness and well-being, and heightened focus.

So, after a long night of work, exercising can drastically improve your mood, energize you, and help you focus. Because late nights are so often unavoidable, you would do well to give your body and mind every advantage you can; exercise is a huge one.

#6 – Avoid working late at all

Obviously, the entire point of this article has been to help you navigate late nights of work. However, the absolute best way to ensure that your body and mind are healthy is to avoid working late entirely. As much as you can, be productive during the day, don’t procrastinate, and try to stay on top of deadlines. It’s so much better for your body’s health if you go to sleep when the sun goes down and wake up when it comes up. That’s how humans are designed. Take every possible step to prevent yourself from having to be a night owl.

These have been some simple tips and tricks to help improve your physical and mental well-being when you’re burning the midnight oil! Hopefully you have benefited from this article; for some more great content for creatives and brand-builders, check out the Brand Nation Podcast, a weekly podcast where we talk all things branding! Head over to digitalbrandnation.com to listen, and to find some more great resources like this one! Peace✌️ #TeamBrandNation

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