We know that an early bird is used to describe someone who prefers or enjoys waking up early, and a night owl is used to describe someone who prefers or enjoys staying up late.

I happen to know someone who enjoys the early mornings and also staying up late because if you think about it, this period of time just happens to be much quieter compared to the rest of the day.

So if you are an early bird and a night owl, then are you both or neither, and is there a term that describes this? I guess terms like nocturnal or vampire-like covers the periods where it is mostly dark, or it not full light yet, but I am wondering if there's anything more suitable.

  • 1
    Mediterranean? Lots of Mediterraneans have an afternoon siesta, so they could indulge themselves in such a preference. But Anglophones by and large don't go in for siestas, so there's probably not much call for a single term covering both "morning person, lark, early bird" and "night owl". Commented Mar 30 at 22:14
  • 1
    If you need to go for a neologism, I suggest crepusculophile - lover of twilight (which includes early morning half-light as well as the dimming of the day). Commented Mar 30 at 22:19
  • 6
    They burn the candle at both ends. Commented Mar 30 at 22:35
  • 1
    Do you mean that they just get very little sleep?
    – alphabet
    Commented Mar 30 at 22:39
  • nocturnal? Sleep from 10 a.m. to early evening?
    – Xanne
    Commented Mar 30 at 22:44

1 Answer 1


Perhaps this person is simply still following an atavistic schedule of bi-phasic sleep.

Seems that this was still normal in mediaeval times, and in many different societies, until the industrial revolution affected our light/dark schedules.


One could say he/she is cathemeral.

“The timing of wakefulness relative to the daily light-dark cycle is divided into four broad categories: diurnal (wakefulness concentrated during the light phase), nocturnal (wakefulness concentrated during the dark phase), crepuscular (most activity occurring during twilight), and cathemeral (activity during both the day and the night). Humans and dogs are diurnal (Czeisler & Gooley, 2007; Nishino, Tafti, Sampathkumaran, Dement, & Mignot, 1997), cats are cathemeral (Kuwabara, Seki, & Aoki, 1986), lab rats and mice are nocturnal (Anaclet et al., 2012), and flies are crepuscular (Dubowy & Sehgal, 2017).”

Humans and dogs are diurnal they say. But perhaps they never really were. Certainly my dog is not exclusively diurnal.

As a livestock guardian breed (Spanish mastín) he is alert night or day, and especially at sundown as he prowls the perimeter to ensure it's secure at this most vulnerable time.

Throughout the night, the mastines take turns at sleeping while the one on watch sits silently, scanning the surroundings from a good vantage point, and from time to time walks the fenceline.

The least activity occurs during the heat of the day though one is always on guard, but the danger is less and more obvious in the light.


  • +1 How did you learn about this? I think this is pretty much spot on! Commented Mar 31 at 22:45
  • I never heard the term "biphasic sleep" before, but apparently it's a thing! 50 years ago as a student revelling in the freedom of not living with my parents, I spent a few weeks trying to get used to sleeping for 10 hours every other day (I resented having to waste so much of my life asleep). Eventually, I realised that just as you can't fight city hall, you can't fight billions of years of evolutionary history! Commented Mar 31 at 23:34
  • 1
    @FumbleFingers I too have experimented with alternate sleep cycles like polyphasic sleep, which involved sleeping for about 10 minutes every 4 hours or so. I think it is possible to fight the evolutionary biology side of things, but much harder to fight the established system (which works very much against nature as well :D). Commented May 30 at 22:20

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.