I'm sick of morning people propaganda. Some of us thrive in darkness and are tired of being night shamed for it.
Was never a morning person... I have the sleep metabolism of a house cat.
A most eloquent and entertaining essay, sir. The whole matter of the "proper" hours for sleep have been highly politicized, I believe, beginning with the industrialization of work, wherein human beings were yoked to the efficiency required by giant textile looms and, later on, mass production lines -- a parallel regimentation of machine and human.
For thousands of years, and still in some cultures today, It was common to sleep 4 hours or so, wake up for 2-3 hours doing whatever one wished -- weave, cook, chatter with others also awake, have sex, walk about -- and then sleep another few hours. A book on my to-read-someday list is Waking Up to the Dark: Ancient Wisdom for a Sleepless Age, by Clark Strand (2015). As a young man the author woke in the night and walked the dark countryside around his home, calm and unafraid. (Is fear of the dark also a modern imposition?) Although much of your essay is filled with bright-lights-big-city details, you do touch on themes of quiet revelation and freedom, as does Janette Winterson in her words you quote.