6 Unexpected Nighttime Habits Of Psychopaths, According To Experts
How can you spot a psychopath? Although there are many different characteristics of a psychopath to look out for, a 2015 study published in the journal Personality and Individual Differences did find that psychopaths tend to be night owls. As the study found, people with psychopathic traits seem to work better at night. So if you want to know if someone is a psychopath, their night time habits can possibly clue you in.
Although most of us have an idea of what a psychopath is, it's still important to get a clear definition of what traits typically categorize this personality disorder. Clinical psychologist, Dr. Danielle Forshee tells Bustle that psychopathy is a personality disorder that's "chronic, inflexible, typically begins in adolescence or early adulthood, and continues throughout one's lifetime." The term psychopath is also referenced as 'sociopath,' although its true name is Anti-Social Personality Disorder.
"Psychopaths can be very disregarding and in violation of the rights of others," Forshee says. "They can be aggressive physically, reckless, have a lack of remorse, be very impulsive, and can be very deceitful. They fail to conform to social norms with respect to the law. They usually destroy property, steal, they harass others, and are manipulative."
Because psychopaths do tend to be night owls, their before-bed habits can be a major tip off to this personality disorder. So here are some actual night time habits of psychopaths, according to experts.
1. They Have Unusual Sleep Patterns
In general, psychopaths have an affinity for cruelty towards animals, children, and other "helpless beings." That's because they have an unusual inability to connect with people. But when it comes to nighttime habits, psychologist, Dr. Kathryn Smerling tells Bustle that psychopaths typically have an inability to sleep. "A psychopath tends to have unusual sleeping patterns and is generally nocturnal," Smerling says.
2. When They Do Sleep, They're Never Really Restless
Although psychopaths tend to be nocturnal, everyone needs sleep at some point. As Dr. Sal Raichbach PsyD, LCSW of Ambrosia Treatment Center tells Bustle, “There is some research to show that people who demonstrate psychopathic traits tend to sleep for few hours very restfully, without much tossing and turning at night. People who struggle with sleep often complain of stress or racing thoughts, both of which would be out of character for someone with psychopathic tenancies."
According to Raichbach, if you're someone who can function with only two to three hours of sleep each night, it doesn't necessarily mean you're a psychopath. "It’s estimated that only about one percent of the population is truly a psychopath, while around four percent of the population is categorized as a sociopath.”
3. They Like Having One Night Stands
Psychopaths are known for being charming and craving high-risk behavior. "This dangerous combination often results in long nights out finding as many ways as possible to assert their dominance," Caleb Backe, Health and Wellness Expert for Maple Holistics, tells Bustle. "Psychopaths eagerly seek out opportunities to take advantage of others and may even engage in several sexual encounters in one night."
4. They Partake In Nightly Rituals That Are Centered Around Them
"Psychopaths have no moral compasses and are propelled through life by their obsession with self," psychotherapist, Dr. Paul Hokemeyer tells Bustle. Some obsessive nighttime rituals can include working out a lot or grooming themselves in a way that makes them seem "perfect" to not only themselves but others.
5. They Like Doing Something Creative And Productive
Even though they're not ones for morality, some psychopaths "do have incredible minds that they need to keep highly stimulated," Hokemeyer says. So in order to keep the wheels turning, psychopaths will do something creative and productive during the hours when people are usually asleep. Because psychopaths also tend to display deviant thinking patterns, Psychology Today also suggests that they can use this "divergent thinking" to explore art and other ventures with a novel, sometimes genius approach.
6. They Stay Completely Focused On One Task That Interests Them At The Time
The nighttime habits of antisocial personalities vary, Dr. Gene Beresin, Executive Director of The Clay Center for Young Healthy Minds at Massachusetts General Hospital, tells Bustle. There's really no one consistent activity or set of activities that all psychopaths do. However, whatever they choose to do, it's going to be self-centered and in the moment. "No matter what else is happening around the individual (even if it is monumental), if it is not immediately relevant to what the psychopath is interested in at that time, it is disregarded," Beresin says.
Although not all psychopaths are violent, Forshee says it's still important to be aware of certain violent tendencies. "People who have this kind of personality disorder can be very dangerous individuals," she says. If someone is concerned that they may be a psychopath, Forshee says they should, "make sure [they] receive the proper professional help, so they can determine if they are a psychopath, or if there’s something else causing this person to engage in these behaviors. Then that professional will guide [them] on how to manage this."
Although being a night owl, or being creative are not always major tip offs to whether or not someone is a psychopath, certain nighttime habits can definitely be signs for antisocial personality disorder.