There are two types of people, those who wake up in the morning full of the joys of spring and ready to face their day, but ask them to do anything past 6pm and you’ll be told where to go. Then there are those who HATE mornings, take two hours to get going but once they get past lunchtime they achieve more than a lot of people can in a whole day, manage to go out after work, crawl into bed very late at night and still get enough sleep.
It doesn’t matter how much sleep you get, you are either a morning person or you aren’t. I AM NOT A MORNING PERSON. Not in the slightest, never have been, likely never will be, and I will always hate the alarm clock, but why does it even matter? Until I read this book, I wasn’t even sure.
It useful, but not necessarily crucial, to know what type of person you are. Are you a Lark or an Owl? Knowing which group of people you fall into (your chronotype) can help you in planning your days, your sleep routine and help you to be more productive than you have ever been.
Modern society often means that we are on the go pretty much from the time our alarms go off to the time we flop into our beds, but imagine how great you would feel about yourself if you worked in tune with you body and as a result become more productive and achieved more in less time? How many times have you sat at your computer staring blankly at the screen, or tried to exercise and felt that you could have done better but you either couldn’t concentrate or felt too tired? My bet is too many.
If you are a lark (and I will repeat, this is not me), then you should be focusing on the tasks that require that little more effort in the morning and early afternoon and saving those mundane easier tasks for later in the day. For example, if you work in an job that requires you to give presentations, make important decisions, or motivating others, then where you can you could schedule these tasks for the mornings, and chances are you will keep your colleagues more interested as they will also most likely be more receptive at this time. Or if you are somebody who has a choice in shift pattern you could try and work shifts that are earlier in the day rather than shifts that finish at midnight. You will also most likely benefit from going for an early morning workout before you go to work.
Larks also need to make peace with the fact that they probably won’t enjoy late evening social events or parties as much as they enjoy an early evening tipple or going home and relaxing in a bath with a good book. It doesn’t make you anti social, or boring, it makes you human. Larks usually need to go to bed earlier to be getting enough sleep (as they are awake earlier), and so if you are a morning person consider what time you are going to bed. It’s a simple equation of the earlier you get up, the earlier you will probably need to go to sleep if you are going to remain healthy of both body and mind.
I’m sure no explanation is needed for if you are an owl….. Owls typically find it difficult to wake up full of the joys of spring in the morning and will often be grumpy when they do get up. This may go on for a couple of hours. They will more than likely need an alarm to wake them up. This is most definitely me, and has become more pronounced since having Fibromyalgia. As an owl it makes sense to do things opposite to a lark where my life allows. It also makes sense for me to be awake sometime before an important appointment and even for a little while before I am responsible for the little larks in my life. My morning generally goes better if I am awake and have had a drink about half an hour before my children get up. That way the worst of the grogginess and grumpiness has passed, and I’m able to be a better mother to them without the need to snap and nag them quite so much. Daylight is also a very useful tool for me in starting my day (see my post on the effect of blue light here for more information)
I’ve been lucky enough to negotiate a later start time at work, and as result by the time I get there I am pretty much ready to hit the ground running (other symptoms permitting of course!). Also by being able to get up at 6.30am instead of 4.45am I am able to go to bed later and make more of my evening, fitting in exercise and blog writing at this time when I am more likely to do a better job. By doing the important tasks in my life later in the day rather than first thing in the morning, I generally get more done in my time at work (a huge benefit to my employer) and with my spare time (a huge benefit to me and my family). This has been great for my mood and levels of self esteem, which are equally as important as physical health. Without these wonderful feelings my fibromyalgia would be much more difficult to manage.
Of course, there will be some of you who don’t fit into these two categories, you’ll fall somewhere in between, whereby you can pretty much function well all day long and get up with no problem for your day. You lucky lucky people…..
If you are still unsure what bird you are then take this questionnaire and find out!
We may not all be in a position to start work when we know we are going to be at our best. Modern society isn’t yet, nor likely in the near future, able to accommodate everyones individual body clocks, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t manipulate your day to suit you most days. It takes a bit of practice, and a bit of planning, but once your boss sees the benefit of this manipulation they will be more than happy to let you continue.
So what has been the point of learning all of this. Well I have learnt that by embracing my body clock, I am able to make small changes for large gains. I feel better about what I am achieving with my day and this in turn reduces my stress and anxiety levels, which helps me to sleep better. I am be able to exercise more effectively, which again helps me sleep. I am be able to work out just when the right time is for me to go to bed which …….. well you can tell where I am going with this. I am also able to use this approach when managing my fibromyalgia symptoms, which are typically worse first thing in the morning and last thing at night (with the exception of flares).
Sleeping well is as much about what we do with our days as what we do under the duvet. So take a step back and look at your day. Be kind to yourself. Love yourself. Larks and Owls are both beautiful birds, embrace your own unique beauty, preen those feathers and fly.
So which chronotype are you? What do you do to get more out of your day or what changes could you make? Let me know in the comments section.
This post along with many other inspiring fibro blog posts can be found on the Fibro Bloggers Directory.