You are busy during the day, and you tend not to get enough time for yourself. Therefore, the one thing that you may want to do is to stay up very late by going online, reading some books, or even eating some snacks, and that means you may not end up getting to bed until 2 am. And what happens when you need to wake up early? You don’t get enough sleep. However, this is not even about lack of sleep, as you are aware of the consequences that can result from not getting at least six hours of sleep. This is all about staying up after midnight because scientists have found that the human mind is not meant to be awake past midnight.
Staying Up Past Midnight Can Be Dangerous For The Mind
It is understandable that you need to have some extra time to yourself if you feel you do not have much “me” time earlier in the day. You may be working, then having to tend to your family, and then you have other home responsibilities too. Where is the time you need for yourself? However, scientists have found if you stay awake past midnight, your mind goes to the dark side.
You begin to have negative thoughts, and you also have cravings that are not good for you, such as cravings for sweets or even cigarettes. Dangerous ideas can develop if you stay awake past midnight. You may think about past traumas and focus on those and other negativity. Any positive feelings you have to fall away if you stay up past midnight. That is because your mind truly does go to the wrong places. You may wonder why your mind goes to the dark, but there are some findings as to why that is.
The Human Circadian Rythm Is Behind Your Mind’s Functioning
There are researchers that believe that the circadian rhythm, which is the sleep/wake cycle, is the reason that your mind goes to the dark side if you stay up past midnight. There is evidence of how brain systems work after dark, and the human body and mind follow a 24-hour activity cycle which is natural. And that does influence behavior and emotions.
Therefore humans are inclined to act and feel in specific ways. For example, when it is daytime, brain activity and molecular levels tune into wakefulness. However, at night, your body and mind are meant to sleep. And this has stemmed from the caveman days if you look at it from an evolutionary standpoint. Hunting and gathering during the day are what cavemen did, and even though nighttime is the time to rest, cavemen were more likely to fall prey to hunting.
Therefore, fear develops at night for this reason, and that is the reason that the mind goes to the dark if awake past midnight. At one time, hyper-focus was beneficial for survival, but it could also feed into the negative aspects of the reward and motivation system. Therefore, it can make someone prone to doing risky things or, at best, thinking risky thoughts.
It is evident that those who are awake at night do not function as well during the day, and that is also why working graveyard shift hours can be very difficult. Many people who have to work those hours end up becoming very depressed. There needs to be a lot more research on this phenomenon, but so far, enough of it shows that you are not in a good place in your mind if you stay awake past midnight. You can always go to bed earlier and wake up earlier to get some “me” time instead of cramming it in late at night.