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Friday, December 14, 2007

How to help a night owl survive in a morning dove's world

I'm not a morning person, and I find it difficult to understand how anyone could be. To make matters worse, no matter how sleep deprived I am, I always find myself wide awake from about 10 pm - midnight. So it is very difficult for me to go to bed early.

I've sort of accepted the fact that sleep deprivation and I are going to be pals for quite a while. At least until I'm powerful enough to make my own schedule. Ideally, I would go to bed around 1 or 2 am, and then sleep until about 10 or 11 am. Then my official day would start sometime between noon and 1 pm and end somewhere between 3 and 7 pm, depending on how much I need to get done at any given time.

I don't think this is an unreasonable desire. For me, it's a rather natural, and much more productive schedule. I know that under such a schedule, I would be twice as productive as I am in my sleep deprived schedule of doom and despair.

But since I am not in a position to rework my schedule to my liking (that is, without taking a huge pay cut, which simply wouldn't do), I have to find ways to cope with the god-awful early morning hours. (To clarify, let me just say that anything before 10 am is god-awful early in my book.)

So twice this week, I employed a new waking technique which I learned from a friend who does the same thing: I got up immediately with my alarm (usually I snooze it for 30-45 minutes), and then hopped right into the shower. As soon as I was done showering, I came back to bed and slept until I normally get up from my snoozing. The second night, I programmed my second alarm to be one snooze alarm shy of my normal up-and-at-em time; that way I still get to snooze a little.

The result is not that I'm not tired. The only prescription for that would be either (1) more cowbell, or (2) applying the aforementioned change to my ideal sleep schedule.

But, I do find it easier to actually get up when I try this little mind trick. It's easy to get up and shower, because I know I can come take a nap as soon as I'm finished, and then it's easier to get up for real because I know I don't have to shower. And I don't have to spend as much time blowing my hair dry, because the nap takes care of most of the drying.

It's seeming to be a promising technique for helping me wake up during the god-awful hours.

If anyone else has a similar problem with being a night-owl in a morning-dove's world, feel free to comment with your coping techniques.



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12 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'm surprised and quite delighted that you tried this. I also like that you categorized it as a "mind trick", because that's exactly what it is. You have to fool your mind into thinking that it's actually time to be up, even though your body says otherwise.

There's another trick to this though that makes it more effective...

Sra said...

Pray do tell, oh anonymous one...

Anonymous said...

The trick is to nap in a different place than you sleep. Your mind identifies your bed with a full night sleep, so it expects you to be there for a while. If you nap on the couch/love sac/comfy chair, your mind will be more susceptible to shorter-term sleep. Your body will wake up faster and be more alert after your nap. You may not even need an alarm. Also remember to eat breakfast right after the nap, so your body can get the proper nutrients and carbs and whatnot to start out the day.

Sra said...

That's interesting. I see the psychology behind it. I'm not sure it would work for me, though, for one because I would need to have a separate alarm clock to use in my living room (I WOULD need an alarm, because my body would keep me asleep until 10 otherwise, and with an alarm, I can fully relax into the nap). For another, I would need to arrange a blanket that is just as warm and cozy as my down comforter. I think I'll stick to the status quo for now, but maybe I'll experiment with the rest of the technique later. Thanks :) And, you should really pick out a pseudonym!

Sarahbellum said...

I used to use this trick years ago, when I was forced by god awful corporate America to be to work at the unreasonable hour of 8.

I kept the bedroom alarm on for the first round of getting up, and my phone alarm for the second round. (I moved to the couch after showering.) Between that and a timer on my coffee machine I made it to the office on time at least three times a week. As for the other two... better late then never.

Sra said...

Ha ha, good! I'm glad to know I'm not alone in this! Alright, maybe on two recommendations I'll try the couch thing.

Sarahbellum said...

I have a new morning ritual, and surprisingly it's actually really helping so I thought I better share.

Chocolate for breakfast. If I get out of bed before a certain time I'm allowed one tasty homemade chocolate.

The downside is I'm getting fat, BUT that just means there's more of me on time for work.

Sra said...

Chocolate for breakfast -- you're a genius! I'm not sure if that would be enough incentive to get me out of bed, though. I think I might choose sleep over chocolate. But perhaps if I made a rule that I could not have chocolate at any time of the day if I didn't get up at a certain time, that might help, because I can't give up chocolate forever.

But anyway, I need to try something else, because the old routine has stopped working, and I've been getting to work quite late.

Sarahbellum said...

When you only allow yourself chocolate once a day you'd be surprised at how fast you jump out of bed!

Sarahbellum said...

I have a new morning ritual, and surprisingly it's actually really helping so I thought I better share.

Chocolate for breakfast. If I get out of bed before a certain time I'm allowed one tasty homemade chocolate.

The downside is I'm getting fat, BUT that just means there's more of me on time for work.

Sra said...

That's interesting. I see the psychology behind it. I'm not sure it would work for me, though, for one because I would need to have a separate alarm clock to use in my living room (I WOULD need an alarm, because my body would keep me asleep until 10 otherwise, and with an alarm, I can fully relax into the nap). For another, I would need to arrange a blanket that is just as warm and cozy as my down comforter. I think I'll stick to the status quo for now, but maybe I'll experiment with the rest of the technique later. Thanks :) And, you should really pick out a pseudonym!

Sra said...

Pray do tell, oh anonymous one...

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