health

"It's time to stop seeing early risers as the winners at life - they're no better."

For the longest time now I have been trying to improve my morning routine, convinced that if I could wake up earlier my life would improve. All the research says so. Giving myself more time each morning meant I’d be thinner, better looking, happier, more successful, a better mother, a better person, richer, possessing of superpowers and maybe even able to fly.

Each night as I go to bed I optimistically set my alarm for 5.30am with the intention of becoming one of these “early to bed, early to rise” types. Then each morning I press “snooze” for at least an hour-and-a-half and find myself the same frantic, panicked, dishevealed mess I always am at the start of the day.

Thinking I’d get a bit of sympathy from some of my Facebook friends who were probably feeling as guilt-ridden as I was about their inability to wake up early, I posted this.

Instead I was delivered an epiphany by my good friend Nancey who simply wrote:

Ok...Get up right now and get everything prepped for school and work ie clothes bags food etc .... Sleep in til 7 you have 50 minutes to get dressed n brekkie take them to school and casually walk with coffee to the bus .... Then breath.

The logic.

The wisdom.

The clarity.

The sheer genius of it!

What's with all the pressure to improve our morning routines when I can invest all of that energy I am expending by trying to be an early riser into being an awesome night owl instead? I don't want to have a mindful breakfast. I don't want to medidate as the sun rises. I don't want to exercise before the birds start singing.

I want to sleep as long as possible and get up with just enough time to get everything done before we race out the door. My morning routine is only made possible by the adrenalin experienced by almost (but not quite) running late.

Robin Bailey from Mamamia podcast The Well explained to co-host Rebecca Sparrow her trick for getting more sleep.

I am not a morning person. I will never be a morning person. From now on I plan to embrace my inner night-owl and do it all different starting with getting more done at night and then enjoying my sleep ins, with no guilt.

All this time, pretty much for my entire life, I have been trying to be one of these "get up earlier to get shit done" kind of people instead of accepting myself for who I am and just getting that shit done at night, so I can sleep in for as long as possible.

I blame my parents who during my younger years seemed alarmed at my ability to sleep in until well past midday.

Why were they so shocked that I was still in bed at 2pm some days? I had nowhere to be. I wasn't hurting anyone. I was employed, studying, healthy and happy. I just needed to sleep because I was probably up pretty late the night before. During my uni days I did my best work at 1am in front of the late night talk shows. My brain has always worked better at night.

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Why this sudden rash of research into the benefits of waking up earlier, sometimes disguised as the habits of successful people, as though the only way to be happy and successful is to wake up earlier?

'I am not a morning person, I will never be a morning person and I plan to embrace my inner night-owl'. Image: Trainwreck, Universal Pictures

All those things I plan to achieve by waking up earlier can be done the night before. Why has this never occurred to me before?

I can iron my children's school uniforms the night before, pack their lunches and bags, sort out my work clothes, go for a run, start the next night's dinner, get my kids to have a shower, do all the things I'm told I should cram into my early mornings except it is all done the night before.

Then as my wise friend Nancey suggested, I can sleep in each morning and just leave enough time to get enough of the morning stuff done to get us out the door.

From now on I am going to embrace my inner night owl and reject the premise that waking up earlier is the key success and sleeping as long as possible a recipe for disaster because it's simply not true.

Have you ever wondered what would happen to your body if you didn't sleep? Article continues after this video.

Some of us are morning people and some of us are not.

Some of us a breakfast people and some of us are not.

Some of us are coffee people and some of us are not.

Some of us are book kinds of people and some of us are not.

I just love my sleep. Plenty of us do. I love going to bed early and still sleeping in. I love napping at the weekend. Some days I'd prefer to stay in bed all day. It doesn't make me lazy or a failure. It's how I make use of my waking hours that decides if I am successful or not.

So thanks for the wisdom Nancey. Thank you and goodnight.

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