Why Don’t We Have a 24-Hour Society Where Night Owls Pick Up Where the Day Shift Left Off?

People usually identify as either a night owl or a day/morning person – maybe even an early bird – but regardless of how you’re most comfortable or inclined to live you life, most of the world is on a cycle that coincides with the sunlight.

Why, though?

That’s what this person is wondering – why we don’t have a nocturnal cycle every night for those who want to carry on with that lifestyle?

Why don’t we have a nocturnal society where all the night owls pick up where the day shift left off?
byu/casual_microwave inNoStupidQuestions

I mean sure, you can work a night shift, but those are few and far between, and honestly, many of those jobs are a bit sketchy and not exactly safe.

Here are Reddit’s thoughts on the matter, and I’m super curious!

13. Maybe you just have to know where to look?

tl;dr: There is a kind of nocturnal society that most people just aren’t aware of.

Night crew guy here. In a way there is a nocturnal society: Truck drivers, warehouse people, people overnight in grocery stores that keep the shelves stocked, cops, ambulance crews, doctors and nurses, people who do road construction, people that keep power plants running, linemen that keep the power going when lines get taken out, clerks at stores, security guards…I’ve got to be missing at least a million.

So, so much goes on at night that most people wouldn’t think or be aware of. The world doesn’t stop at night. IMHO most of the important things that keep society running are handled by people like me who are “invisible”. And I don’t mean invisible in a derogatory way. Its just that people don’t realize that we’re there. They shouldn’t! If people really have an occasion to think about us it means that somebody messed up somewhere along the way.

12. Seems like a successful experiment.

Las Vegas is pretty much a 24 hour city. You can buy breakfast with a pitcher any hour of the day.

It’s kind of a weird city in that regard. You’ll see people jogging or walking their dogs in residential neighborhoods at 3AM, and that’s completely normal.

11. It would be rough with kids.

I’ve taken the bus/train at midnight/early hours of the morning and seen some kid being picked up/dropped off at overnight/bedtime daycare and they always look so overtired and grumpy and uncomfortable.

Like poor little dude, in his paw patrol jammies, probably got up an hour ago and will have to be up again in another three or four hours for first grade, if he even gets any real sleep after having been woken up to commute to daycare in the middle of the night (nightcare?).

I wish we lived in a society that had better childcare accommodations, since it’s not their fault what kind of jobs their parents have to work or when.

10. It’s the people that don’t sleep.

The single-most, and perhaps the entirely only disappointment I had when visiting NYC was how much of “the city that never sleeps” was actually closed at night.

I remember walking like half the length of Manhattan at 2 AM, just trying to find someplace to eat. Eventually found a food cart, had to wait in line for an hour because there were so many people doing the same thing.

Conclusion: the city sleeps, but the people don’t.

9. It seems to be going the opposite direction.

Fellow night-lifer here! I see the sun so rarely during my workweek I basically consider myself a vampire.

Is it me, or did the night scene kind of… dry up somewhere in the last ten or so years?

I remember fast food places and shopping centers being 24 hours almost universally when I was in my teens, but now there are very few places open when I have a free night.

8. You can find it if you look hard enough.

Maybe not your doctor, but I often go to get labs done in the middle of the night to avoid a crowd, and emergency night dentistry is a viable business with all the residents and tourists here.

DMV has grocery store kiosks and encourages you to do things there or online, but going to their physical office is as painful as anywhere.

7. There is a certain perception.

Nightlife has kinda fallen out of style for Gen Z.

You’ll see millennials but now even Millennials are avoiding it as they age out. I

‘m sure Nightlife will always be popular due to the lure of rebellion it offers. Since most Nightlife stuff isn’t looked upon in a good light. It’s just now

Nightlife isn’t really looked upon period save for old TV shows I guess.

There are also more and more studies about people who work night shifts/graveyard shifts and how they die younger, have higher rates of cancer and diabetes, etc.

6. The judgement!

Used to work a warehouse gig about ten years ago where I’d get off work at 6 am.

I remember getting some really sad looks because I’d be buying a six pack of beer at 7 am.

5. Some people would thrive.

This is all entirely true, making people with normal circadian rhythm to work night shifts is deleterious for their health.

However, a small fraction of people are extreme night owls like me, and making us wake up early causes sleep deprivation with similar consequences.

Many night owls who can work from home and make their own schedule are healthy.

(And the worst kind of schedule is when day and night shifts are alternating, this is an absolute nightmare for your endocrine system regardless of your chronotype).

I suppose the reasons behind places like banks or lawyer offices being strictly daytime are economical, not medical. You just wouldn’t get enough clients at night for this to be profitable.

4. Sure, but not a whole society.

Manufacturing often works 24 hours in three 8-hour shifts

1st/Day 8-4, 2nd/Swing 4-12, 3rd/Night 12-8

Hospitals are open 24/7

Critical retail is open 24/7

Security guards

There are jobs for night owls

3. Night owls do need more options.

I agree with most of what you said but I definitely wouldn’t go far enough to call it a nocturnal society.

When I worked nights in a warehouse, for lunch (midnight) my only dining options were taco bell and waffle House.

If I wanted to run errands, I had to either wake up early or stay up late, and going to the bank after a 10 hour shift while very sleepy isn’t fun

2. Would it feel the same, though?

One of my biggest disappointments after moving from Chicago to NYC was that I couldn’t go grocery shopping at 3am anymore. The bodegas are cool and the delis at said bodegas are pretty incredible 24/7 but no regular old grocery shopping, and grocery shopping at a bodega is sad. That’s not as normal in Chicago anymore either, unfortunately. In the 90s half the grocery stores were 24/7.

These days there really isn’t much to do besides a bar or greasy spoon at 3am… and maybe laundry. I wish they truly were 24-hour cities because I tend to prefer being awake all night.

Both cities are also severely lacking in one thing I miss from Seattle which was 6am happy hour.

1. It can and does work for some.

I worked night shifts for over a year in a dementia care home. It was one of the most enjoyable jobs I’ve ever had. It was a tiny private care home so my role was to do the house cleaning, laundry and ironing for 12 residents (which is a lot when many of them wet the bed frequently so there were always bedsheets to wash and iron), getting the breakfast ready for the next day, any extra night time medication, helping residents to the toilet, and helping them to get up and dressed in the morning.

People with dementia are often very active at night so on top of all of this I would also be making countless cups of tea and biscuits and sit having a chat with the ones who needed calming down a bit at 2am. Two of the residents also had their cats living at the home so I loved sitting with them too!

The world never felt “asleep” to me, it just felt like we were all in another timezone. Sometimes before going home I’d go and have a cooked breakfast for “dinner” at the pub. I miss that job a lot sometimes. It was like being part of a quirky second family, and I still keep in touch with many of the residents.

I think this would make sense for a lot of people, but I’m just not sure how feasible it is at this point to totally change how society functions, you know?

What are your thoughts? Would you live the nocturnal life? Tell us why or why not in the comments!