It’s been a bit of a standing joke with me over my life that I’m the night owl. I’ve seen way (way) more sunrises after staying up rather than getting up. I’m usually one of the last to leave a party (don’t you find they only start to get fun when three quarters of the people have gone home?). Colleagues regularly comment on emails sent at some crazy time in the early morning when most people are asleep, and my blog posts too are almost always done in the very early morning.
In the last office job I had, I convinced everyone that I should only come in at 10am. And yes, I really did do logarithmically more between 5pm and 6pm when everyone had gone home. And between 6 and 7. And 7 and 8… But that’s another story.
So my announcement of now being a morning person has been met with some scepticism. When I chat online to a colleague at 6am, I can feel the disbelief seeping through the ether when I mention that I’ve just got up, and deny having all-nighter.
So what’s changed?
I love the mornings. Sunrises are glorious, and waking up early when the world is still quiet is a peaceful and energising way to begin the day. I’ve realised I have better days when I wake up early.
I’ll do some tai chi, some meditation, and the day will be wondrous. It’ll still be 7am, and if I start work straight away, by 10am it feels like I’ve accomplished more than in most full days, and still I’ll have the whole day ahead of me.
Steve Pavlina describes the most effective technique I’ve come across for becoming a morning person. I can vouch for it – it works.
In short, neither just setting your alarm earlier, or trying to go to sleep earlier, work. Go to sleep when you’re tired, and set your alarm to wake up at the same time every day. And when it goes off, get up straight away!
Until recently, I was assisted 2 days a week. I taught a student tai chi at my house at 6am on Fridays, and practised tai chi with a friend in Kalk Bay at 7am on Tuesdays. The two early mornings, aided by the visit of my son every second weekend, were enough to set some sort of early rising routine.
The catch though is that little phrase every day. Since the student no longer comes, I’m down to one enforced early morning a week. And that’s not enough.
The main problem is on the ther side. I love the nights. They’re another quiet period where I feel hugely creative and productive. I think if I could sleep between 9am and 5pm, I’d have the best of the day in all respects.
I love the nights so much that I often resist the onset of fatigue, stubbornly battle through the midnight slump so as not to feel I’m missing out. After midnight or so the body’s cycle changes, and I can keep going until the very early morning when I’m completely depleted.
I’m fairly high energy in general right now, so even after a morning of rising at 5.55am, I find myself still going strong at 3am the next day. But it’s trying to rise at 6am again when things go wrong. I’ll either be a complete wreck the whole day if I get up early, or sleep till 11 and reset the cycle again.
I have about 5 hours till I need to get up for tomorrow’s (todays?) appointment. But, having had enough sleep this morning, I’ll manage it, and tomorrow will be fine. But you may not see me online at 6am on Wednesday.
So, anyone want to help me by coming for some early morning tai chi lessons?