I'm nocturnal cartoon

Ah, waking up early in the morning. Cue that one classical piece they play in every movie when the main character is waking up. The birds are chirping gleefully right outside your window. With the sun peeking through your curtains and gently, peacefully rousing you from your sleep, you’re well-rested and completely ready to start your day.

Must be nice.

If I’m being honest here, I can’t remember the last time I’ve woken up early without being extremely disgruntled and angered by it.

This semester, more frequently than ever, the sun is up and birds are chirping by the time I actually make it to bed. I’d say it’s a wee bit of a problem.

Given these occasional nocturnal tendencies, I get my daily burst of energy around 9-11 p.m. These are usually pretty productive hours for me.

It might be a little weird to do the bulk of my schoolwork at a time when normal, healthy people are getting in bed for the night, but I know I’m not the only one.

It’s really no big deal…or so I thought.

Recently, I was cranking out an almost-forgotten, due-at-11:59 p.m. assignment during my unorthodox hours of efficiency when I realized I was hungry.

Desperately hungry.

My brain had effectively burned just about all of the calories left in my body, and I had just enough mental fortitude left after hitting “submit” to decide I needed to run to the store.

I told my boyfriend I needed to go on a snack run. Given that he shares my nocturnal, anti-circadian sleep schedule, he was down to be my passenger on this snack run.

So we were off.

We embarked at midnight and headed toward the nearest Walgreens. Those are open 24 hours, right?

Unfortunately not.

Okay, well, we can just hit up the CVS right down the road. Surely that’ll be open; they’re a pretty smart competitor.

Nope. Of course not.

Needless to say, this was not our desired outcome. He began frantically typing and looking for open stores and supermarkets around campus.

Not a single one. Unless, of course, you’re willing to play a dangerous game: taking a 1 a.m. trip to a decrepit gas station or the ominous 24-hour Walgreens on Government Street.

We were taken aback. Appalled. Offended.

This is when it fully sank in.

This is when I realized our society is unaccommodating to and borderline prejudiced against the nocturnal.

I think more businesses should adopt a 24-hour schedule and stay open through the night. I feel like they’d get more customers than anticipated, especially if these changes were made on and around college campuses to accommodate for students' broken schedules.

I know this change is unrealistic, and I’ll probably never get my ideal paradise of a completely nocturnal world — but our collective reliance on the light versus dark, day versus night schedule to dictate when we should be awake and asleep isn’t completely fair.

While I’m partly to blame for my own shifted sleep schedule, many people have no other option than to stay awake at night and reserve their resting hours for the day.

Take, for instance, those who are stuck on night shifts at work, or those who suffer from a circadian rhythm sleep disorder.

Realistically, how is it any fairer for them to sacrifice sleep during the day to run errands than it would be for an essential business to only stay open at night?

The longer I think about it, the stranger it appears to me that society as a whole so heavily operates around the concept of daytime being for activities and nighttime being for sleep.

Earliness and lateness, as well as time itself, are social constructs completely designed and followed by humans.

While that’s nearly an entirely different, mildly existential conversation, I’d like to use it to point out that other nocturnal creatures don’t have to wait until daylight to find something to eat or hang out with friends, and they’re doing great.

I know this column won’t realistically sway any business owners to alter their hours to fit a nocturnal person’s daily (or nightly) regimen, but I simply wish to point out that it couldn’t hurt to try.

Until then, I’ll be grouchily dragging myself out of bed every morning and suppressing my inner raccoon.

Emily Davison is a 19-year-old anthropology and English sophomore from Denham Springs.

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