Are you a night owl who has always wished you could be a chipper morning person that wakes up with the birds, feeling refreshed and ready for a jog? Good news, the New York Times has some tips on how to adjust your circadian rhythm and transform yourself into more of a morning go-getter. But be warned: you are going against nature, and the change could cost you dearly!
All that's required is an insane amount of self-discipline and an alarm clock. Basically you're going to give yourself jetlag without getting to go anywhere fun, and then you're going to force your body to deal with it until it eventually gives in and adjusts. Hey, no pain, no gain! Here's what you do:
To start, move up your wake-up time by 20 minutes a day. If you regularly rise at 8 a.m., but really want to get moving at 6 a.m., set the alarm for 7:40 on Monday. The next day, set it for 7:20 and so on. Then, after you wake up, don't linger in bed. Hit yourself with light. In theory, you'll gradually get sleepy about 20 minutes earlier each night, and you can facilitate the transition by avoiding extra light exposure from computers or televisions as you near bedtime.
Or maybe you can hire your partner or one of your children to pour a bucket of cold water on your head each morning, because that for some reason sounds more pleasant than "hitting yourself with light." Plus, it'd be more motivating—since you won't want to linger on wet sheets. If all of that doesn't sound painful enough, you also have to give up sleeping late on weekends since it will confuse your poor, exhausted brain.
Staying up later on Friday or sleeping in on Saturday sends the brain an entirely new set of scheduling priorities. By Monday, a 6 a.m. alarm will feel like 4 a.m.
After you make the initial adjustment to waking at 6 a.m. and never going out at night for fear of upsetting your sleep patterns, you'll have to maintain this pattern for a long, long time so it becomes ingrained deep down into your soul, and then congratulations! You will have reached the enlightened state of being that is known as "morning person."
Of course, after you've gone to all this trouble, you'll realize what all of us natural-born morning people already know: even though it's useful for going into an office and possibly for raising children, waking up super early has some serious social drawbacks. Namely, you wake up starving at 6 a.m. on a Saturday but none of your friends are awake. Thus you have no one to go to brunch with or even to Gchat with. So you're forced to spend hours alone cleaning and watching weird informercials on cable. Then come Saturday night you're exhausted and ready for bed by 10:30 p.m., and everyone at the party you force yourself to go to thinks you're a major snooze because you spend the whole time yawning and trying not to fall asleep on a stranger's lap. Don't say I didn't warn you!
So You Think You Can Be a Morning Person? [New York Times]
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