Coding at Night - Better Programming

As a programmer, I generally prefer to start coding after dinner and into the wee hours of the morning before heading to sleep at almost all weekends. While working in the salon, which made me so tired during the day, I would spend the late nights learning to program. If you ask a random programmer when they do their best work, there’s a high chance they will admit a lot of it’s done late at night. Some earlier, some later. Some people are naturally not morning people, so they sleep till noon and work afternoons and late nights, still maintaining a healthy amount of sleep.

I love coding at night due to no constant interference when there’s nothing to disturb your aloneness. Coding during the day means having to deal with interruptions in the form of people, calls, texts, and life in general. But in the wee hours of the night, there is no one to disturb me, no social notifications to bug me, and I can code just the projects I want to.

The tranquillity of the night is when the background noise of endless activity around you, like cars passing by, people talking, and whatnot, becomes completely muted, so much so I can have a pin-drop silence. If that is not the perfect atmosphere to work or chill, I don’t know what is. You might say that we can have a similar atmosphere in the daytime by using noise-cancelling headphones and getting your groove on listening to your favourite music.

But constantly listening to music on headphones should be avoided to keep your hearing sense in good health. It is actually recommended not to use headphones continuously for more than an hour and to take breaks in between. The quiet atmosphere at night actually feels a lot better for mentally stimulating tasks like coding.

The brain works best when it's late at night because it turns out that late at night/really early in the morning, the brain gets tired enough that it can only focus on one task, not on multiple tasks. There will be flexible and creative thinking.

Studies have proven beyond doubt that night owls/early birds tend to be more intelligent and creative than others.

When you code at night, interacting with humans is at a minimum. There’s nothing better you can do than become a programmer. Not only will you not have to see people during the night because everyone’s asleep, but you can also avoid them during the day because you are asleep!

Again, coding at night always puts me in the flow: I start working on the problem with full focus, leaving behind the world around me. At such wee hours, I am much more likely to get in the flow of things, developing the project without thinking about things happening around.

No matter the time you prefer to work, always keep in mind that developers need an adequate amount of sleep just like everyone else. If I don’t sleep, I tend to screw up more, so I always make sure that I have sufficient hours of sleep and a proper sleep schedule to prevent feeling burnt out and weakened during the day.

The core reasons I work at night or very early in the morning have to do with deep thoughts, flow, focus on one’s work.

The main lifestyle factors that affect coding at night are:

  • Freelancer or employee
  • Scholar of some sort
  • Have projects
  • Spouse and/or kids

A popular trend is to get up at 4:00 a.m. and get some work done before the day’s craziness begins, just to avoid distractions. You might ask, “what’s so special about the night?”

I think it runs down to the maker's timetable, the tired brain, and the luminance of computer screens.

You might ask, “why do we perform our most mental work when the brain wants to sleep, and we do simpler tasks when our brain is at its sharpest and brightest?” Because being tired makes us better coders simply because when your brain tired, it has to focus. There isn’t enough leftover brainpower to afford losing concentration. Being tired makes you pointless enough that the task at hand is enough.

You might ask, “if I keep staring at a bright source of light in the evening, what happens?” Your sleep cycle gets delayed.

Programmers work at night because it doesn’t impose a time limit on when you have to stop working, which gives you a more relaxed approach. Your brain doesn’t keep looking for distractions, and a bright screen keeps you awake.

Plan. Break down your tasks. Get a timetable of what to do each day and keep doing it.

There’s magic in the nighttime. The peace and quietness, the internal serenity. There’s just you, your work, and an infinite abundance of time. You are alone.

As a society, we know that smart, talented people work at night. Often in a lonely place, they solve problems mere mortals could only dream of.

I hope this article will disclose too many people that a late-night work schedule is a key to creativity and productivity for many open-source programmers.