Creative work and late night hours

I seem to do my best work extremely late at night. I know this is a stereotype, and I’m not certain it’s actually true. But it seems true.

Does anyone know if there’s research that shows that it is (or isn’t) an actual phenomenon affecting a significant number of people? If so, what theories are there about why it works this way for many of us?

(My guess would be that the exhaustion my brain is suffering causes inhibitions to loosen–kind of like being drunk maybe?!–but that’s a complete WAG.)

Can’t answer your questions, as I haven’t read anything about the subject, but I have it the same way. If I need to focus on a task, programming for instance, the later in the day/during the early parts of the night is optimal.

Of course, seeing as I have to be at work at 9ish every day these days, I can’t really work according to that schedule anymore, but in my student days I’m guessing 60-70% of all real studying/programming/learning I did was done in the evening/night.

I remember reading that actual scientists found that people do their best work when they’re tired.

Quick googling finds cites: (has a link to the study, but you have to buy it)

I’ve seen reports in the past, but don’t recall examining them for validity. I find myself doing a lot of work late at night, and I attribute it to the quiet, and unlikelihood of being interrupted. I think whether it’s creative work or not, the lack of distractions is the key factor, at least for me. I’m always concerned about any study that looks at creativity because it’s a poorly defined concept.

Anecdotally, I’ve read zillions of descriptions of how writers work and they overwhelmingly tend toward getting up early and doing the work first thing while fresh.

My WAG is that people form a spectrum in this as in every other thing about people. Some are early birds, some night owls, and some in the middle.

Isaac Asimov said he was an early riser and wrote best in the mornings.

I’m not particularly a morning person but I think I do my best work in the late morning. Definitely not in the evening, when I’m starting to get tired.