Why Developers Code During the Wee Hours

Software developers often get classified as geeks because of their intense involvement and relationship with computers. It doesn’t help that programmers and software developers have this penchant for doing their best work when everyone else is curled up asleep on a soft mattress.

Despite being called oddballs, misfits, and geeks, there seems to be a method to their madness. Programmers and developers have very definite reasons why they prefer working when the rest of the world is silent. Let’s look at several concepts that would seem to support the idea it is better to do this kind of work in the wee hours of the morning.

Project Scope

In almost every case, a programming or software development project is going to be a major endeavor. As such, it requires a large allocation of time. More importantly, the time must be uninterrupted time.

Programmers and developers cannot afford to have their trains of thought interrupted. When they are coding, they have to maintain tremendous focus until they complete specific tasks. They can ill afford to be interrupted by texts, email, or phone calls. Since they work on projects that have massive scopes, they have to have large blocks of uninterrupted time. That points to the time of the day when the people who might interrupt them are fast asleep.

Unique Communication Needs

Here is where the distinction between a programmer and a developer differs. Programmers are more task-oriented. They get a task, do the programming, and submit it for testing. Developers are more project-oriented. Because of their involvement with large projects, they often have to communicate and interact with others.

Many times, this interaction involves people living in other parts of the world. That puts developers on a different time schedule than an ordinary worker. They have to be available when the people they need to interact with are available. If some of those people are sitting on the other side of the world, they have to be awake and alert at odd times. That usually means being awake in the middle of the night and getting less sleep.

Dealing With the Sleepy Brain

When the brain gets tired, its ability to concentrate on multiple tasks at the same time diminishes. That’s not a bad thing for developers who need to stay focused on a solitary thing.

There is good news associated with how the sleepy brain reacts when the individual does finally go to sleep. When sleep occurs, the brain focuses on the most predominant thoughts of the day. For developers, those thoughts usually involve the developer’s work. When a developer goes to sleep in a tired state, their computer (brain) keeps working overtime on the issues at hand. That’s why developers get so much of their inspiration while sleeping. The sleepy brain becomes a problem solver.

The Initiation of Flexible and Creative Thinking

Developers rely heavily on their ability to be flexible and creative. When the brain is working full force during the day, flexibility and creativity tend to get inhibited by a multitude of things the brain is processing. As the brain starts to tire, it starts limiting the number of things it tries to handle at the same time.

That process works out well for developers. As they tire into the evening, the brain chooses to focus on one thing at a time. In the wee hours of the morning, developers report having much more flexibility and creativity because it’s easier for them to focus on just their project.

Why Developers Naturally Struggle With Sleep

There is a reason behind why developers tend to complain less about their lack of sleep. After spending long hours in front of a computer screen giving off its blue light waves, a developer’s brain tends to struggle with the secretion of melatonin, the sleep hormone. That causes developers to get less sleep, which gives them a license to spend more time awake in the wee hours of the morning.

For all developers out there. When you sleep doesn’t really matter. It’s the amount of sleep you get that will affect the quality of your life.