In Defence of Being a Morning Person. Every Morning.
The Debrief: Lark beats owl and that's a fact.
Sure, hate me if you like. But I’m going to outlive the shit out of you. And that’s what counts.
According to research by Dr Joerg Huber at the University of Roehampton, morning people are happier, healthier and live longer than their nocturnal counterparts. Oh sure, I hear you, the bruise-eyed owls at the back, snarking about how the research is four years old and, hey, what does one study prove. But it’s not just one study, my friends. Scientists at Germany's Aachen University found the same thing and anyway, according to research by Dr Louis Ptacek at the University of California, our circadian rhythms are, to some extent, simply genetic. When I wake up was written in my genes. Baby, I was born this way.
I’m from a long line of early risers. My father was often on the building site by 8am, while my mother had to be in her classroom every day before most of us had even had breakfast. The bloodline of dairy and sheep farmers that poured out my particular genetic code would all have thought nothing of my 5.30am starts.
That’s right –I wake up at 5.30am. Most days. Even if I set my alarm for seven I still wake up at 5.30am. Particularly in summer. Because I love it. I love having time for a proper breakfast, rather than a wildly-expensive-yet-brutally-disappointing pastry snatched from an Xpress on my way into the office. I love having a couple of clear-headed hours to write before everyone else wakes up. I love being able to go for a run when the birds are singing and rabbits are still scampering in the park. I love the silence. I love the rising sun.
Of course, there are times when rising at dawn is less than ideal. I tend to wake with an immediate, unswervable jolt of adrenaline that means I cannot, even if there is nothing else to do, go back to sleep. I’m awake – more awake than I will be for the rest of the day, my heart, mind and limbs already twitching with unused energy. This is great when you’ve had your sacred eight hours; less than ideal if you went to bed at 2am on a friends’ floor.
As a morning person, my hangovers tend to kick in just after lunch. This is great when you want to get shit done in the morning (like, getting home) but a bummer when everyone else spent the early hours sleeping their booze off and you’re left looking like a Goya painting. Sure, I may have spent 8am on New Year’s Day running around Sefton Park in a euphoria of morning glory but by 5pm I was ready to push marshmallows in my eyes just to block out the light.
Circadian rhythms aside, being a morning person isn’t hard to do. You just have to go to bed a little earlier. Don’t wait to be exhausted before you hit your pillow – revel in reading your book, lying somewhere soft and drifting off to sleep. Also, when morning comes, do not hit the snooze button. Ever. Treat your alarm as the name suggests – alarming; the do-or-die order to get out of bed. It will make you much, much less groggy than five interrupted micronaps first thing in the morning.
Finally, admit that mornings are wonderful. They are a dew-fresh slice of tranquility and potential. They are ripe with excitement and free from the choking stress of every body else. You don’t have to talk to anyone, you don’t have to brush your hair, you don’t have to weave through crowds of commuters and you don’t have to shout just to be heard. Even Twitter is relatively quiet. Mornings are your time to call your own – to work, run, eat, play, and enjoy. They are wide open. And, unlike most night activities, you can have one every day.
So here’s to all the morning people. Here’s to the early birds. I’ll see you at dawn.
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