I’ve previously written about my morning routine, which is pretty much the same thing whether it’s a weekday or a weekend. I get in a few minutes for planning my day, some gratitudes and affirmations, a VERY short yoga routine, generally have a protein shake, and then get to my workout before breakfast. On a weekday, I try to be out the door by 7:30. How do I do this? Well, my dirty little secret is that I’m one of those annoying “morning people”. I don’t throw back the covers, spring up and dance or anything, but I am one of those people who can naturally wake up early, without my alarm clock going off), get out of bed, and get going on my morning routine.
By the way, about six years ago I was diagnosed with an ulcer and, while the ulcer is better, coffee is the one thing that I can’t add back into my diet. I’ve tried and it wasn’t pretty. So, I wake up usually between 4:30 and 5 AM, do my morning routine, shower, make my lunch, sometimes help my wife with breakfast and making our daughter’s lunch, make sure our daughter is up and rolling, eat breakfast, and leave for work. And that is, again, without coffee.
Admittedly, on the dark, very cold Saskatchewan winter mornings this is definitely harder than during the hot summer days when the sun is rising by 4 AM, but I still manage to make it happen. Now that I have a regular morning routine that helps me start my day on a positive note and with energy (exercise and not checking my phone before focusing on me and my family in the morning has had that effect on me), I’m grateful that being a morning person just comes naturally to me. I didn’t have to learn to force myself to get up early to establish new habits, which honestly make me feel so much better.
That being said, I am not, nor have I ever been, a “night person”. I get emails from colleagues at 11 PM and I used to respond to them ridiculously early in the morning. I stopped doing that and these days I don’t touch my work email until I get into my office around 8 AM. Just as many people look at me with a mixture of annoyance and disgust when I say I’m a morning people, I have never understood how people can regularly stay up until midnight and function the next day. Thankfully I’m married to another morning person who also gets in her morning routine and workout before making us breakfast, showering, and heading off to work (although strong coffee is a part of her morning routine). Our daughter was a fantastic sleeper as a baby (she slept through the night from the start) and now happily goes off to her room to read while we fall asleep early. Harmony with our sleep routines abounds in our home.
If you’re not a morning person and you want to establish some new morning habits, you may need to force yourself to get to sleep an hour earlier so you can wake up earlier. This may mean less Netflix or Instagram. It may mean giving your children more responsibility to get things done earlier. It may mean one less coffee in the afternoon so that you can fall asleep easier. The benefits are worth it. By getting to bed a bit earlier you avoid the temptation of late-night snacking, which can lead to disruptive sleep and weight gain. Getting up before your children and / or your spouse may give you the time you’ve been looking for for some “you time” to exercise, meditate, write, plan your day, make yourself a healthy lunch to take to work, write letters to friends, etc. Try it, you may curse me for a few days, weeks, maybe even months, but even an hour shift in your day may make a big difference in your life. Do not, I repeat, do not, get up earlier without getting to bed earlier. Most people don’t get enough sleep as it is.
So there you have it. I’ve confessed. I’m one of “those people” and most days, if feels pretty damn good.
Image by Julian Jagtenberg under a CC-O license.