According to Forbes, successful people wake up before 8am. So while Night Owls might be of an arguably more creative disposition, if you want to get stuff done, make it work, take names (and so on), rising and shining before the rest of your household is pretty imperative.
Unfortunately for me though, I love sleep. Like, really love sleep. A lot. As a child, but continuing into my adult years, sleeping has taken a priority slot in my list of life's musts.
BEFORE I BEGAN
When I was a little tot my sleep pattern was as follows:
11am-1pm = Nap
3pm-5pm = Nap
7pm-9am – Proper Sleep
My love of sleep has remained an integral part of my life. Interestingly, though, I still haven't mastered going to sleep early in the evenings. Even if I get myself into bed early, I end up reading a book, or sticking on Netflix for a few hours. Or I simply lie there, waiting, and before you know it, it's 2am. It's safe to say, I'm unlikely to want to wake up at 6am.
I've always admired those 'I'm a morning person' types; the ones that conquer the world before breakfast.
But I've never had any particular inclination to become one.
Don't get me wrong, I have made myself get up at ridiculous o'clock in the past - 4:30am wake-ups to swim in freezing lakes before sunrise (triathlon training); 5am 10-mile runs before work (marathon training) - but they were all exercise-related.
The only other times would be to get into the office super early to work on a deadline, or else I was catching a flight. I can't remember ever getting up really early just for the sake of it…
But that's what these "superpeople" do - get up really early and make breakfast, do yoga and read the paper before work. Sounds like a dreamy way to start the day, so why not give it a go?
I don't set myself a particular time to get up every day, just as long as it's earlier than I would normally get up both during the week and at the weekend, typically by 1.5-2 hours.
Thrusting my legs over the side of the bed and hauling myself into a sitting position, I soon discover I have time to put a wash on and also time to hang it out before leaving for work (it's a long cycle); I joined the pre-work breakfast club; I even had time to curl my hair!
(I'm usually the sort of person who would choose sleep over putting make-up on.)
I feel remarkably satisfied with myself for all my early morning accomplishments. Why did I never set an earlier alarm before? Even the weekend felt like it was way longer.
THE HALFWAY POINT
I feel shattered.
I then fall sick and the whole challenge momentarily goes out the window. I am off work for a couple of days and sleep for almost a whole 72 hour period.
I'm sure this was just a coincidence, rather than my body being allergic to getting up early, but it did make me think that, maybe I should have been a bit gentler, given myself more of an adjustment period.
I need to learn to build up to something slowly (I should have already learnt this lesson after my 30-day no caffeine challenge…).
Despite having got up early every day prior to this little sickly episode, I still hadn't been falling asleep early enough, so my body had probably been running on empty, and therefore more susceptible to getting sick.
I decide to try and not be too ambitious, while my body clock adjusts, and reduce my waking up early to just the one hour earlier than I used to.
As stated by Lifehack, 'If you were to get up just one hour earlier each morning you would gain 15 days in a year'.
I find a new love for mornings and how much more I can accomplish in a day. I'm not going to lie, I still love my bed, but who doesn't? Though I do think I have a healthier relationship with it now.
It was never going to feel awesome to get up early in the mornings if I wasn't able to fall asleep earlier in the evenings, so something had to give. I had to deal with some painful days, battling against my eyes closing, but it meant I didn't lie in bed for hours in the evenings trying to sleep.
Eventually, I became someone that could fall asleep within an hour of trying to in the evening and not hate the world when my alarm went off in the morning. That's progress for sure.
- Don't snooze. (And this is coming from the Master Snoozer.) When your alarm wakes you up, get up. The more you snooze, the worse you'll feel. You're restarting your sleep cycle every time you press that button...
- Don't let the last thing you look at before bed be your phone/iPad/laptop - according to Business Insider "studies have shown that being exposed to the blue-and-white light given off by phones, laptops and other electronic gadgets at night prevents our brains from releasing melatonin, a hormone that tells our bodies it's nighttime. That means it takes us longer to fall asleep."
- Make a plan of what great things you are going to do in the morning before work (make pancakes / read a few chapters of that new book) to make you more inclined to wake up for it.