As a lifelong night owl, let me be the first to admit that mornings suck. Sure it’s great to know you have a pulse and are still alive to face another day. Yet all you really want to do is hide under the covers and hibernate there for a few more hours. Unless you’re rolling in the big bucks and can waste away your day with laziness, you’d better get your butt up and out of bed.
Just steer clear of your roommate or significant other; especially if they are morning people. Too much of their sunshine rays may vaporize you like a vampire being thrust into the light. The worst part about being a night owl is when you are stuck with a job where you start work early in the morning. You can’t be expected to stop being a night owl and turn into an early bird. You’re never going to love getting up early, but there are five must-know-tips that can help you survive being a night owl who has to get up early for work.
1. Calm Down Before You Sleep
Night owls come to life in the evening. They are usually very productive later in the day and into the night hours. However, there is one problem with stimulating your mind so much this late at night—it’s more difficult to calm down before you sleep. Maybe you’ve been working on another chapter in that novel you’ve been writing for the past few years. You might be finishing up on some work that you brought home. Staying up late may have nothing to do with work. You could be so caught up in a great book you’re reading. Maybe you are watching TV all night or hanging out late with friends. Whatever the reason, you’re up late and alive with so much energy.
Your early bird friends have long since either passed out on the sofa or begged off to go home to sleep. They’ll have no problem getting a good night’s sleep. You, on the other hand, may have more difficulty. Ok, so if you were able to sleep until 11 o’clock in the morning, sure you’d get the sleep that you need. However, you can’t. You need to be up early and ready to go to work. Make sure that you set a limit to your work or play time so that you give yourself at least 30 minutes before bed to calm down. Turn off all the electronics. Sit and meditate. Relax by doing some yoga. Or, if you have a significant other, you can have some fun—if you know what I mean—and release your energy and fall asleep more easily.
Do whatever you need to do to ensure that you can calm down and relax your stimulated mind before trying to go to sleep. That way, sleep will come more easily and you won’t waste valuable sleeping time lying awake, counting sheep. You’ll soon tire of that and then get up because you can’t sleep. Then you’ll really be tired in the morning.
2. Minimize Your Morning Routine
So you may not get a full 7 – 8 hours of sleep, but you can help yourself by minimizing your morning routine. Even if you did get a good night’s sleep, as a night owl, you will have less energy in the morning. You’ll probably be grumpy and want to go back to sleep. Do yourself a favor and do whatever you can to minimize your morning routine. If you can make the getting-ready-portion of your day flow more smoothly, you’ll have less stress wrinkles throughout the day. You may not realize it, but having a good morning can be very pivotal in how you are able to face the rest of your day.
Minimizing your morning routine means that you shorten the amount of time you allow yourself to get ready so that you can squeeze some extra minutes of snooze time. Just don’t hit the snooze button fifty times and then realize you’re actually going to be very late to work. It also means that you are going to plan ahead to make sure that you have fewer things to do in the morning while getting ready. Pick out your outfit the night before. You’ll probably end up wearing something more presentable than if you picked the clothes that morning in your groggy state. You don’t want to end up wearing mismatched clothes and walk in to work with two different shoes on!
Plan on having a quick but nutritious breakfast like a fruit or veggie shake. Drink water in the morning to rehydrate and help you to stay focused. Make sure your bathroom is organized so that your morning shower routine is quick and easy and you don’t have to run around your apartment looking for your blow dryer or curling iron. Don’t get distracted by turning on the TV or doing something that can slow down your routine.
3. Find Your Own energy Source
Night owls will need an extreme energy source to get moving in the morning, especially when having to get up early for work. After all, you won’t have the natural sunny disposition of those early birds. Your vampire-self is still lurking around, trying to hide from the sunlight. So, figure out what works best for you. Maybe you need to drink one to two cups of coffee before work and then grab another one at the office before even getting to your workstation.
You might not be a coffee drinker. There are some great teas like match green tea and pomegranate tea that are natural energy boosters. If you were up even later than usual and only got 5 hours sleep, it may be time to take an energy drink, but you don’t want to get in the habit of doing that every day. Those type of drinks have a lot of caffeine and aren’t the healthiest habit to develop. Take a natural vitamin supplement, especially one that has Vitamin B which will give you that energy boost you need.
Maybe your vampire-self is still not liking the morning sun yet. Plan ahead to give yourself at least 20 minutes to do an aerobic or Pilates routine or go for a quick morning jog. Again, if timing is perfect and your partner also has to get up early, having some morning fun time in the bedroom can also be a good energy source for you.
4. Plan for a Daily Power Nap
You’ll probably get tired during the day so you should plan for a daily power nap. Don’t sleep for more than 20 – 30 minutes or you’ll revert back to your vampire-self and be ready to sleep away the rest of the day in your coffin. Short power naps give you just the right amount of rest to power you through the day. Sleeping too long will get you into deep sleep. You’ll wake up groggy and ready for your bed, not to finish working. Now it can be tricky trying to plan a power nap; especially if your boss is against them. If you work at Google or Ben & Jerry’s or one of those companies that promote nap time, you’ve got it made.
If you don’t, you need to think of a different plan. You can try to plan your power nap during lunch time and close your office door so that no one can bother you. Maybe you work in a cubicle and you’d rather not nap in front of the whole office for everyone to see you drooling or snoring and who knows what else! You can nap in your car, as long as it isn’t too cold outside. Otherwise you’ll have to leave your car on so you have heat and waste valuable gasoline. Just make sure you don’t nap in the car with the engine running in a closed off environment. That would be a nap you won’t wake up from.
5. Fill Your Morning with Activity
This step sounds simple, but when you’re a night owl who has to come to the office early, you will probably not be too motivated to run around the office all morning. Ok, so you don’t have to do laps, but you should try to keep moving. It doesn’t even have to be making ten trips to the break room. Simply being active in doing your work is keeping in motion.
Don’t succumb to the temptation to zone out—that your vampire-self is trying to get you to do—while you stare blankly ahead at the computer screen. It can be quite mesmerizing, you know; especially when you are a night owl who is at work at 7 in the morning and would rather still be sleeping. Hopefully you’re not the only one there early in the morning, because you should try to keep talking. Even if you have to look like a mental patient talking to yourself, do whatever it takes to fill your morning with activity.
Night owls won’t necessarily enjoy having to get up early to go to work, but it is possible to make the situation doable. You just have to work extra hard to shut down your vampire-self during the day and embrace the morning sunlight. Don’t worry, you’ll be able to roam free as the night owl in the evening and enjoy being revitalized once again!
Are you a night owl? If you have to get up early for work, how have you handled the situation?