Should Some Employees Be Allowed to Start Work Late?

How Night Owls with Sleep Disorders Survive at Work

When Early Isn't an Option

How does a night owl who arrives at work after noon each day succeed in his career?

The first story in this series covers the basics about a type of circadian rhythm disorder called delayed sleep phase syndrome (also DSPS, or delayed sleep), which half a million Americans suffer. In the second story, a writer with delayed sleep says she felt like death holding down a 9-to-5 job, and ultimately felt better when she began freelancing. In this third story, you’ll meet Tom Lemmon, a software engineer at a top Internet company in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Lemmon, who doesn’t want his real name revealed because of the stigma that night owls face, shares how his employers have accommodated his unusual sleep needs, enabling him to start work after noon over the past 17 years.

"I do high-quality work in a field that puts a lot of weight on that, has trouble finding qualified candidates, and has a tradition of flexibility in the workplace," says Lemmon. "If any of those ingredients were missing, I imagine that I would have had a much harder time."