In Praise of Night Owls: 4 Successful People Who Sleep Little

Freelance Writer & Former Entrepreneur
3 min read
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Night owls are often misunderstood. While the majority of the world operates on a 9-5 schedule or even earlier, early birds often shake their heads at late-risers, who seem to miss all the important action of the day. Breaking news, banking hours and even our school schedules are tailored to meet the needs of morning people. However, anyone who's tried to buck their own sleep schedule in favor of a night time or morning schedule can attest to how difficult it is. Some people just embrace their inner night owl and the non-traditional sleep schedules that go with it. Here are four noteworthy people who prefer to burn their candles late into the night.

Related: How Technology Is Ruining Sleep -- and How to Fix the Problem (Infographic)

President Obama

While President Obama begins his workday at 8:30 a.m., he explained to Newsweek, "I'm a night owl.... I usually have about a half hour to read before I go to bed … about midnight, 12:30 a.m.—sometimes a little later." This is the period of time that he uses to catch up on his reading, a pasttime that he makes sure to prioritize while attending to his presidential duties. If you've been putting off your own reading, then you might want to look to President Obama's schedule for inspiration, since he still finds time to get in some nightly reading.

Laurie Tucker

The shipping industry is a 24/7 endeavor, with employees rushing around the globe to deliver packages. So perhaps it's not too surprising that Laurie Tucker, the senior vice president of FedEx's Corporate Marketing department, is a night owl. Tucker routinely goes to at 2 a.m. and rises at 6 a.m.

"I adore late night. When my kids were young, I loved having hours of quiet after they went to bed. I had team all over the world back then so I would do conference calls, respond to email, and catch up on reading," she said in a published interview.

Related: Yes, You Can Sleep In and Still Be Successful

Michael Lewis

The prolific non-fiction author known for Flash Boys is an avowed nighttime writer. He told Robert Boynton that his ideal writing schedule is 7 p.m. until 4 a.m., in an interview for The New Journalism: Conversations with America's Best Nonfiction Writers on Their Craft. It's easy to see how this extreme late night schedule could be conducive to writing - after all, once everyone's in bed, you get the most peace and quiet.

Fran Lebowitz

This writer and New York City icon told Vulture magazine that she identifies as a night owl. Lebowitz described her work with Martin Scorsese while filming Public Speaking for HBO. She said, "...we shot starting at like eleven o’clock at night until five in the morning. All the stuff in the Waverly Inn is done at night." In spite of their extreme schedules, Lebowitz describes how she and Scorsese maintained a positive and friendly collaboration.

Night owls, don't fret. These successful leaders, business people and creators all thrive on the wee hours. If you find yourself trying to force a morning schedule, see what you can get done late at night.

Related: How Much Sleep Do You Really Need?

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