DeAnne Smith and the Sweet, Sweet Sleep

Good morning, Autostrudels!

I’m writing you from my kitchen table (orange, kick-ass and vintage ’50s, thanks for asking), drinking coffee, shaking off dreams, and wiping sleep from my still-tiny eyes. It’s twelve thirty p.m.

Yeah, that’s right. I’m a night owl. And I’m tired of being ashamed of it!* It’s a good thing. Waking up at noon is just one of the many perks of being self-employed, working mostly at night, and not having too much pesky ambition. Oh yeah, and it also means I’m smart! Night owls tend to have higher IQs. People with higher IQs also tend to drink more. That’s not really relevant, but I wanted to let you know that if you, like me, woke up hungover at noon last Wednesday, it’s not because you’re lazy and self-indulgent. It’s because you’re a genius! A freaking genius!



“Society” at “large” tends to view night owls as lazy, indolent, slothful, shiftless, negligent, slack, lax, lackadaisical and far too reliant on online thesauruses. There’s that saying: “The early bird gets the worm.” And yeah, I get it. The early bird probably does get the worm. But so does the midnight tequila drinker. I’m just saying, there are more fun ways of getting worms, if worms are what you’re after. You can probably also go to one of those gas stations/bait shops along rural highways and pick up a styrofoam container of worms for, like, $3.99. Or you could mail order worms here. Or you could look deep into yourself and question why you have such an irrational and insatiable need for worms in the first place.**



To say I’m not a morning person would be understating it. I flat out refuse to do anything in the single digits. What’s that, hotel I’m staying in? There’s free breakfast from 7 to 10 a.m.? I’m sorry, I stopped listening as soon as your mouth started shaping the first syllable of “seven.” You might as well tell me free breakfast is served between the 16th and 17th centuries***, because it’s just as likely I’ll turn up there.

If I have to be up in the single digits, I react to morning like I’m visiting a foreign land. I stumble around lost and fascinated, completely perplexed by things morning natives take for granted. This is interesting, all this breakfast and achievement. And what’s this called again? “Early morning sunlight?” No, I’ve never seen that before. I had no idea it could do that. The light I’m most familiar with is the glow of Gawker on my computer at 2 a.m. Painters don’t tend to depict that one quite as often.



I may have inherited night owlness from my mom (orange, kick-ass and vintage ’50s, thanks for asking). And with my nocturnal ways, comes a love of sleep so pure it rivals Tim Tebow. (That’s a virgin joke, you guys.) I get psyched when it’s time to go to bed. I suit up. I get into my jams, chuck in my mouth guard****, pop in some ear plugs, pull down my eye mask and sleep like it’s a sport and I’m about to win. If I could sleep competitively, I would. As it is, sometimes I wake up shouting, “In your FACE, suckers!” to no one in particular.

Maybe one of the reasons I love sleeping in so much is my t-shirt sheets. Do you have t-shirt sheets? The answers are either “Yes, of course” or “No, I haven’t yet figured out how to life a full and amazing life.” T-shirt sheets are the best. The only way t-shirt sheets could be more comforting is if they whispered, “You’re making the right choices in life.” When I hit the snooze alarm, it feels like they do.



There is nothing like the feeling of hitting that snooze alarm in the morning. There’s also probably nothing like the feeling of owning your own home, but only one of these things I can immediately accomplish. I can’t get a mortgage together, but I can get nine more minutes of glorious sleep. I don’t mind. I’ll own real estate in my dreams. For nine more minutes, I’m living in a pancake castle with mom and that guy from the Old Spice commercials who’s also kinda my mom. It’s weird, but I like it.

What’s your deal, Autostrudels? Are you night owls, morning larks, or somewhere in between? Let’s fight it out in the comment thread!


* Actually, I’ve never really been ashamed of it. Except when I realize the comments I leave on my high school friends’ Facebook photos are time-stamped 3:42 a.m. Yeah, congratulations on your Ph.D. and new baby. I’m also doing super important stuff.

** Unless it’s for vermicomposting, which makes you sound kind of hot and German, and is also a good topic to kick off a conversation with that cute girl selling gluten free, organic quinoa brownies at your local farmer’s market. “Those brownies look so rich and moist. Much like my vermicompost.” THEN YOU MAKE OUT.

*** If I was going to the 16th and 17th centuries, I’d totally make friends with kick-ass Italian painter Artemisia Gentileschi. Don’t know who she is? Not a problem; that’s what the internet is for! Especially if you have work to do that you’re procrastinating by reading Autostraddle. Procrastinate the procrastination by getting to know Artemesia. Also, you’re welcome for your new cat’s name.

**** My dentist told me the mouth guard would “cut down on the night time grinding.” It was all I could do not to elbow him in the rib, wink, and say, “Heh, in more ways than one, doc.”

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I care a lot about my hair. Unrelatedly, I say short, funny things at

DeAnne has written 22 articles for us.


  1. I am a teenager so my life is completely inhabited by people who think having insomnia is trendy as fuck.

    I have been recorded many times going to bed before nine.

  2. Hey! So just today I woke up in a hotel at noon, having missed free breakfast, and called in for an extended check out. This article is true facts.

    • Recently racked up a double room charge despite calling for extended check out. Had to play it like a baller who does that kind of thing on purpose.

    • the worst is the 6-9 breakfast, especially since if you manage to drag yourself out of bed for an 8:45 breakfast pit stop, all the good shit is gone and they’re already putting away the cereal

  3. The early bird probably does get the worm. But so does the midnight tequila drinker.

    i’m putting that on a mug.

  4. In the long expanses of my summer holidays, my sleeping schedule slowly changes from the 1am – 8am of school days, to being round about 5am – 1pm. It’s like I’m allergic to sunlight or something.

  5. **** My dentist told me the mouth guard would “cut down on the night time grinding.” It was all I could do not to elbow him in the rib, wink, and say, “Heh, in more ways than one, doc.

    This made me actually spit out my gum. The gum I’m chewing to wake my self up at 2pm because I have to get up every day at 6:30 and goddamn I wish I was on gawkwer at 2 AM like my hero, you.

  6. Working evenings has pushed my whole schedule back. I mostly work 12-8 and instead of getting up early an accomplishing things in the morning like a normal person, I wake up at 11:30 and then get everything done after work. Which means I go to bed at 3AM

  7. You know, as I was making my to-do list this morning (using Autostraddle-recommended software!), I didn’t really think that “see a picture of worm sex” would be on today’s list of things done.

    • How gross are the worms hatching? I’m really surprised there is not more outrage about the inclusion of that picture.

      • I didn’t register the part of the picture with the worms hatching… so I just went and had a look.. then I did a little sick in my mouth.

        First post on the website and its about worms hatching and acidy-sick-in-mouth. This is all kinds of weird.

      • Gross, but worms mating are funny, though. Like, just how I always would have imagined worms mating to look like, if I spent my time fantasizing about worms mating.

  8. Its 6am, I usually read AS over breakfast in hopes that it will force my brain into ‘function’ mode. A tiny tear might have rolled down my cheek at the idea of being wrapped in tshirt sheets instead…

  9. What are t-shirt sheets? Are they a bunch of tshirts sewn together like a patchwork quilt? Cause that would be amazing.

    • although t-shirt quilts are a thing, and they are awesome, and i have one, which i made for myself! super easy, if you have a lot of tshirts you don’t wear (i took all my high school club/special event/whatever ones and cut them up) and a decent ability to do a little arithmetic (how big do you want your blanket to be? how many shirts do you have? it is very important to make sure that the size of square/rectangle you want can be gotten from the smallest available shirt, as well. learned that the hard way. not really. but i almost learned it the hard way. instead, i measured the littlest shirt first).

  10. I am a morning person and clever as fuck, thank you.
    also, I was eating breakfast while reading this and the worms were very upsetting.

  11. I am also not morning inclined, but I don’t get to work at home :(. Well, really I would just like to sleep forever and then just quietly stretch out in my bed with the t shirt sheets and snuggle.

    Except I’ve been working really late lately doing ALL THE SCIENCE and then I go home at midnight, need to decompress, wake up late and can’t convince myself to get out of bed, go into school way later than everyone else, stay til midnight again. This is a terrible cycle (I think I will try to go to bed early tonight to fix it).

  12. So funny and so true!

    And now I have to go and read ALL your other articles, DeAnne! How did I miss them so far?!

    Also, thanks grad school for letting me sleep in every day!
    I know we don’t always get along but I truly appreciate that!

    • “Also, thanks grad school for letting me sleep in every day!” Real talk, all my of seminars are in the evening.

      • Definitely! Even though my TA union is on strike right now, I still have sweet, sweet sleep-in times because of grad school.

  13. The worms were a disturbing addition to my day but the hilarity of this article overall made up for it.

  14. “Those brownies look so rich and moist. Much like my vermicompost.” THEN YOU MAKE OUT”

    Favorite line ever. I actually just drove 60 miles the other week to buy some worms to start composting with, so I guess now it’s time to hit up the brownie stand at the farmers’ market.

    Also in the category of worm personal functions that are disgusting yet you can’t look away, I watched a worm pooping in a garden for 15 minutes the other day.

    • in 4th grade we did an “experiment” with worms (aka we basically just watched worms for several classes) and i was always transfixed by their pooping process.

  15. True might owl here. I usually sleep from 6 or 7 am to about 1 pm. So I do know what dawn looks like… It’s usually my sign that it’s time for bed.

    I don’t feel lazy at all, though, because I pull my writing/web design/other work shifts in the middle of the night and I consider those chocolate-Eating and money-making hours. Also I get to go out on weekday nights and no one bugs me because t hey’re all sleeping like normal people.

  16. Cheers for a self-employment schedule! Nothing like waking up, eating breakfast when everyone else is eating lunch, working in pajamas, squeezing in actual exercise and socializing, and somehow managing to still be working at 2 in the morning after you’ve had a few beers. This is my life, and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

  17. I haven’t slept until the double digits since grad school started. On the first day of winter break I will sleep until the double digits and then have a minosa-centered brunch/rest of the day.

    • It is entirely possible to do a PhD and be a night owl.*

      *If you can survive on 4 hours sleep a night. FML

  18. Mornings are terrible, though at some point I should get probably try and get past the tendency to glare at anyone who dares talk to me before noon

  19. I woke up at 4pm today, which was a significant amount of time after my 1:45pm alarm went off. What is time?

  20. I just realised I didn’t wake up in time for a single hostel breakfast in the months that I was travelling around Europe.

  21. I loved this article. I am def a night owl. I remember one time several years ago, around 5 or 6 am, I was looking outside and I thought “wow, I’ve been staying up so late my eyes are adjusting to the dark”, and then I realized that, no, it was actually just the sun coming up. also I read this somewhere:
    The early bird gets the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.
    And personally, I would rather have the cheese.

  22. As a college student and one of the youngest (but best regarded, just saying) employees at the healthcare agency I work for, I get all the crap hours….like 8am shifts half an hour away from my warm cozy bed and bed buddy.

    I have been known to curl up in bed and make sad little noises until I’m going to be late then driving like a crazy woman to get to work.

    However despite my annoyingly early wake up time, I still regularly stay up until 2-4am by including afternoon naps into my regular sleep schedule.

  23. I have always wanted to know how worms do what they do. I am very appreciative of that photo, although it made it difficult to eat my breakfast.

    I work second shift. My breakfast is at noon.

  24. Night owl here too, and midnight tequila drinker. Love this article. I seriously laughed out loud at work while reading it…which is really no big deal since we all make our own hours here and I am the only night owl in this lab.

    Besides the lines at Starbucks are so much shorter on my way to work at 2 pm. :)

  25. This article is the story of my life: portrayed very accurately by the fact that i am awake writing this at 4.25AM (UK time) and recovering slightly still from a hangover. (Which was caused by an extremely messy night in which i made a total idiot out of myself infront of the same really hot girl i made a total idiot of myself in front of only a couple of weeks ago – suggesting that the higher IQ stats could be flawed). Wow that sentence is hard to read but i’m too lazy to unscramble it. Now to go and sleep until at least 2pm tomorrow.

  26. I have this problem when my alarm goes off where I can’t figure out what the noise is, what time it is, where it’s coming from, or how to stop it. Night owl problems? I think so.

  27. I’m such a night owl. I go through periods where I train myself to go to sleep earlier but it always demolishes quickly – it’s like, one vacation or late-night party or something and it’s gooooooone. I’m currently in the middle of one of those periods (although it was really a matter of “I was so fucking tired when I got home so I just passed out at 8 PM”) so we’ll see how long it lasts!

    I am kind of impressed though that I am able to get up most days for my 9 am class. My undergrad self would never have been able to do it.

    On days when I’ve woken up early I totally have that feeling of thinking that I’m on vacation in some mysterious new world I never get to see. Mornings are so weird! Being able to get up for breakfast at a normal hour is so weird! Watching the sun rise isn’t weird though because of multiple times when I’d stay up LATE enough to do that…

  28. Today (yesterday to normal people) I woke up a 7:00 PM, it was already dark. I have a 26 hour day, 10 hours asleep 16 hours awake, so I get up about 2 hours later every day. My dream is to one day be able to afford to move two time zones west every day or figure out a way to slow down the earths rotation, so that I can be in sync with everybody else

  29. I have all the fun of being a morning person and a night owl. Who really needs more than 5 hour of sleep in a night? I wake up at either 7 or 8 every single morning. even if I only went to sleep at 5.
    I lie, I do need more sleep. Which is why every now and then I will sleep for 15 hours straight. Occasionally I’ll even do that every night for a week. I’ll go have a nap at 3 PM and just sleep through til morning. Best thing ever.

  30. Just thinking about my t-shirt sheets makes me want to happy cry. And I tell everyone about the many virtues of jersey sheets. All the time. I’m like some sort of bed linen evangelical.

  31. This is me, night owl and a half (minus the alcoholism and obsession over worms). I had many chuckles while reading this article and truthfully, I usually just skim.

    I have my own business and usually don’t need to be at my shop until two or three in the afternoon. On the occasional day off I often enjoy staying up till 7 in the morning and watching the sunrise then crawling into bed with fresh, clean sheets (500 thread count Egyptian cotton, thanks for asking).

    It is totally true that night owls are regarded as lazy, even though I am the hardest worker with tons of ambition. All my friends with kids, schedules, routines (blah, blah) say that it is unhealthy and think I am a vampire.

    I love that there are other night owls out there!! The day-walkers are just jealous of our mad sleeping skills.

  32. I’m still up and it is 3:05am EST… and I’m not planning to climb in to my (particularly comfortable soft cushy) bed just yet.

  33. I actually like mornings, but since dropping all my classes (hey-o!) here in the dark and rainy PNW, I’ve been sleeping in till noon every day. I have an inability to stay up late, though, so I end up spending 14 hours in bed daily. I can’t tell if I’m depressed or just awesome.

  34. Wait… look at the worm mating picture. ARE THEY 69-ING?

    Anyway, I’m a night owl, but not by choice. I have terrible insomnia, but it doesn’t bother me that much. Mainly because I’ll just stay up for hours if I can’t sleep reading Autostraddle and pinning useless things on pinterest.
    And it’s 1:35 AM here and I’m not a bit tired, despite the fact I’ve already taken my “sleeping” medication. It doesn’t do it’s job very well.
    But I love sleep when I do attain it. I often nap, in fact, besides crocheting napping is my favorite hobby.
    I can’t sleep at night, but I’m a pro at sleeping the day, go figure.
    But at A-Camp my insomnia worked to my advantage because everyone seemed to want to stay up until 3am every night anyway. The trouble was waking up for cool things like lipbalm making and waffles.

  35. I, too, am self employed and only work between 3pm and 7pm or whenever I feel like it if I ever feel like it. I routinely wake up at 2:30, throw on a t-shirt that can’t have been worn more than twice since last time I washed it (right? not possible…right?) and book it to work to meet my first client. Last Thursday I decided I would act like an adult and go to bed by 11pm because that’s a super early night for me. I woke up with the flu. Lesson learned.

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