Thursday, April 27, 2017

The Morning Owl

I've never liked mornings.

In fact, my parents continue, to this day, to tell me (and everyone else) that they had to wake me up on Christmas morning to open my presents.  When we went to Disneyworld, I was entirely unimpressed with the fact that Mickey was calling me to wake up in the morning and just wanted to go back to sleep.  I am basically a lifelong expert at hitting the snooze button and of knowing exactly how long it takes to get ready so I can fly out the door at the last minute.  Up until a few years ago, I could easily sleep for 12 solid hours, then take a nap later.

That's changed recently.

Well, not all of it.  I still love sleeping, but I've also grown accustomed to the face of pre-dawn.

This is all the fault of my husband.  Or, at least, of his job.  Mark wakes up at the ungodly hour of 4:30 every weekday, since he has to be at work by the equally ungodly hour of 6.  For the past few years we've been together, I had a pretty solid routine going.  His alarm would go off, we'd snuggle for a minute or two, and then I'd roll over and go back to sleep until my own alarm went off 2 hours later.  Then I would groggily drag myself out of bed (after hitting snooze a few times, naturally) and get ready for work.  I was the quintessential permanently exhausted pigeon.

Shortly before we moved, however, I made a decision.  I was tired all the time, and tired of being tired all the time.  And I had finally figured out that, by going back to sleep for two hours after Mark left, I was waking up directly in the middle of my sleep cycle and effectively making myself miserably exhausted.

So... I started waking up when Mark did.  And actually stayed up, in spite of the fact that the sun itself wasn't even up yet.  Mark now brings me coffee before he leaves for work (unless I have the day off and he thinks I should sleep in), and then I get up and get ready for the day.

It's nice, really.  I usually have about 3 and a half hours before I need to leave for work, including quality time spent lying in bed looking at Facebook.

So I get to take my time.  I get to be alone, and quiet.  The sun comes up.  The birds chirp outside the window (now that I have birds to listen to instead of traffic).  I drink my coffee, and reheat it, and drink some more.  Sometimes I make dinner for that night, or I bake.  I cross-stitch, or knit, or crochet, or read.  I do laundry.  I've even taken a nap.

It's not exactly ideal, obviously, but it strangely works.  I'm (usually) less exhausted than I used to be.  I fall asleep faster at night and sleep better.  Plus, I have that precious time to myself in the morning to introvert and to do whatever I want.  And I actually do enjoy it.

This hearkens back to last week's blog about my actively working on being happier.  After all, I've been reading for years about the benefits of waking up early.  Successful people wake up earlier.  Happy people wake up earlier.  Morning people are the unacknowledged gods among us mere mortal night owls. Blah blah blah.

And I tried to get up earlier.  I did.  I tried the suggested and oh-so-sneaky method of setting your alarm five minutes earlier every day.  This didn't work at all, because I already knew full well exactly how long I could sleep in without being late.  My body wasn't about to be fooled that easily, and so I only succeeded in hitting the snooze button more.

As it turns out, the cold-turkey method works best for me.   And I honestly don't know why I'm surprised by that.  I've never been a girl to do something gradually.  I'm either all-in or all-out.

So now?  I wake up really fucking early four or five days out of the week.

And, believe it or not (and for God's sake, don't tell my parents), I think it does make me happier.

While I may be a natural-born night owl, I have to admit that the stupid early bird might actually be onto something.

Or maybe he just drinks a hell of a lot of coffee.  


  1. Don't tell me this. I hate getting up early. I already have to get up at 530 and rush to get ready. Don't term me that by waking up at 430 and not hitting the snooze 12 times I'll be ready sooner, happier, less tired, less stressed, and sleep better. The night owl doesn't want to let go!

    1. Tell me about it. I clung to being a night owl for years, but... this works better. For me. Results may vary.