Anna Bradfield Writes

Discovering the extraordinary in everyday life

How this Early-to-Bed Thing Works

In my life, nothing good ever comes of staying up late. I overeat, make rash decisions, and have trouble shutting down. I thrash more and wake up groggy. I snap and growl upon rising. And before I know it, I’m sniffling, aching, and wondering if that late night was worth it. Tell me I’m not the only one.

I know at least one other guy agreed with me:

Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise. – Benjamin Franklin

But not everyone agreed with him:

Put no trust in the benefits to accrue from early rising, as set forth by the infatuated Franklin. – Mark Twain

Leave it to Twain…

“Okay, but couldn’t this adequate night encompass more of a 2:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. schedule?”

This schedule represents eight hours’ downtime, true enough. But are you missing some of the benefits your early-to-rise counterparts are tapping into?

“Why would the time I rise make this much of a difference?”

Gee, you really don’t like this idea, do you?!? But let’s just think about the benefits of rising early:

  • You rise to peace and quiet. The bathroom is yours alone. The air has almost a cotton candy aura, as you groom and dress and actually think without distraction.
  • You focus on the day ahead – reviewing goals, taking notes, reading, praying – fully prepared and organized for that first appointment because of this gift of time.
  • You breeze to work on smooth and silent roads. No road rage. No car next to you at the stoplight, rocking with heavy bass. Wait, what?!? Stop lights? All the lights are green, baby…
  • You savor the freshest coffee and delight in the blissful glug-glug-glug sound of the water cooler — a sound eventually smothered by the racket of an office in full swing.

“Hmm…sounds pretty good. So how do I become a morning person?”

Glad to know I’ve finally convinced you! It may not happen immediately, but that’s okay. The important thing is to start down the path:

  1. Change your expectations. When you say, “I’m not a morning person,” you’re sabotaging your efforts. While some people are more prone to early hours than others, we can all move toward this early-rise phenomenon. Face it.
  2. Determine your shutdown and adhere to it. Mine is not the best since it includes television, but at least it’s routine. I begin my evening shutdown just prior to 8:00 (no, that’s not a typo) so I can snuggle in my bed with my husband for one of our favorite shows. By 9:40, I’m taking my Melatonin. And by 10:00, I’m kissing John and rolling onto my tummy and into almost instant sleep. This shutdown is consistent, no matter if it’s a weekday, the weekend, or a holiday. If you’re not used to this, don’t expect instant success. If you typically turn in at 1:00 a.m., consider shutting down just 15 minutes earlier for a few days. Then 15 minutes earlier, etc.
  3. Leave the alarm clock alone. While some will advise an earlier alarm, I say keep your alarm where it is. As your body adjusts to this earlier sleep time, it will eventually adjust to waking earlier. Maybe one day you’ll lose the need for the blat-blat-blat of an alarm altogether. Ahhh….
  4. When you wake up, get up. Do whatever you would normally do at the later hour (only now you can do it in peace).
  5. Give it time. Don’t try it for a day or two and say, “I’m clearly not cut out for this.” Three to six weeks of honest effort is usually a good time frame.
  6. Write it down. How do you feel each morning? Throughout the day. What benefits do you see? Do you feel more or less organized? Are you making deadlines better or worse than you were before? How’s your attitude? Your level of patience? Are you receiving comments or feedback from others, one way or another?

All of this will help you evaluate whether this little experiment is worthwhile at the end. And if it’s overall positive (as I predict!), you just may want to pursue this pattern for the long haul.

Your Inspiration Prompt: Until next time, tell us about your ideal rise time.

Share your thoughts in the Comments section.

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/31466424@N04/6105362810″>Sleepytime</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/”>(license)</a>

About Anna Bradfield

Anna Bradfield has been spinning tales, exaggerating the truth, and flat-out lying almost as long as she could talk. Nowadays, though, she calls it fiction. Buy her ebooks, Hey Grampa! or Barnyard Babies today. Join the online community and receive a free copy of her ebook, Boy Crazy.

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