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20 December 2010

Have you ever made the switch? The switch to different waking/sleeping hours, that is.[More:]Most days we get up around 6:30 for work and rush around for an hour, getting out the door around 7:30 and starting the commute. It's always awful getting up at 6:30; we're rarely asleep before 11 and that just doesn't feel like enough time. We were idly thinking about what life would be like if went to bed much earlier, but got up at 5:30 to have time for working out and a sane breakfast before moving on to work. But I've never been a morning person. Has anyone ever made this work? I know that children sort of force you into this, but I'm wondering if anything short of that degree of urgency will have an effect.
I did this a few years back - managed to get up early enough to contribute to the girls' readiness, then head out to the local Y for a swim before getting ready for work. It worked out really well, except for the fact that the Y was so poorly run that I spent many a morning really frustrated with the I bailed on the plan.

But, yeah, I DID change my schedule and felt great for it! At least until I changed it back :-)
posted by richat 20 December | 09:46
I too am not a morning person, and yeah, the only thing that forced me into early mornings was the kid thing. Nothing else ever worked. Although you might have more of a shot with both of you being committed to it. Maybe you could alternate about who is the "getting up" cheerleader, so it's on that person to make sure you are both awake by 5.30?

same with going to bed. I find that from the time I think about going to bed, until the time that I turn off the electronics, finish futzing around in the kitchen, remember to stamp letters, brush teeth, all of that crap, an hour can go by. For that, my husband and I actually started setting an alarm. When it goes off, we have 5 minutes to shut down electronics (bc they are the biggest problems wrt bedtime) and then do the rest of the stuff.

Hope you can find something that works. Just the knowledge that I do feel better when I rise earlier and sleep earlier does absolutely nothing for me, definitely need outside motivation.
posted by gaspode 20 December | 09:52
As someone who's worked in broadcasting his whole life, I've had to keep all kinds of crazy hours through the years, often changing on little or no notice. Getting to bed on time is the key- it's actually the hardest part.

If you're worried you won't be able to sleep once you do get to bed, try taking 2 or 3 mg of melatonin about half an hour before bedtime. (And make sure you've allowed yourself 7 or 8 hours to sleep, or you'll have a melatonin hangover in the morning.)
posted by BoringPostcards 20 December | 09:56
For decades, my work starting time has been 7:30. So this lends itself to getting up early (in the dark most of the time).

For the past several years, I have added volleyball, for which I am obliged to be on the court at 6:15. For this, I am on my bike around 5:55.

I would love to sleep in on the weekends, but whatever animals we have at any given time do not have the same opinions about me sleeping in, and they have ways of compelling me to be up.

So I would LOVE to sleep in, and then stay up late, but it is not in the cards. Drowsy by 9pm usually.
posted by danf 20 December | 09:59
I have never got beyond the shower-shave-coffee routine for any substantial length of time. Most days, I spent my first two hours at work just waking up.
posted by Ardiril 20 December | 11:07
I've always been a night owl, but I've made the switch to (more-or-less) morning person and back a number of times. The first time it was for work, but I've also done it for entire semesters when an early class required me to get up at 6 or so to have a leisurely morning (coffee, breakfast, long bath, maybe a study period or a burst of exercise) before my long commute (two buses and a shuttle).

For me, the key is consistency. If I'm getting up early, I get up early every day, regardless of my work schedule. If I'm used to having my coffee early, I have my coffee early every day. If I am in the habit, I find that I usually hop out of bed pretty chipper in the dawn.

My default setting does seem to be night creature, but with consistency, I find it pretty easy to switch over. If I can do it, I'm sure you can do it.
posted by Elsa 20 December | 11:13
Although you might have more of a shot with both of you being committed to it.

Yeah, this strikes me as a big factor. During my previous successful switches, I lived alone. Now that I live with a partner who works late, I would find it verrrrrrry difficult, perhaps impossible.
posted by Elsa 20 December | 11:18
I have never successfully made the switch. Lately, I am in the habit of going to be earlier and I wake up earlier. Even an extra 15 minutes makes mornings go more smoothly. Of course this amount of time is not enough to allow for a workout.

There was a time when I woke up early to exercise while the rest of the house was sleeping. I don't stick with it.

I think it's possible but takes lots of determination and planning.

This is not the main focus of your question but I'll throw it in anyway: I think the best way to approach fitting in exercise is how likely you will keep up routine. My boss (not a morning person) is a long-distance runner, competitive marathoner, and all-around fitness freak. She gets everything ready the night before. She wakes up with just enough time to brush teeth and dress and works out on her lunch hour. She works out more when she gets home but I'm always impressed with how efficient her exercise is on her lunch hour. She munches some things at her desk when she can.
posted by LoriFLA 20 December | 11:20
hen an early class required me to get up at 6

Sorry, that should read "before 6 or so"; in my early bird phases, I often ended up waking at 5 or 5:30.
posted by Elsa 20 December | 11:24
My wife likes to sleep in, but has gotten very good at waking up early to teach an hour away. 5:15 or 5:30 is the usual time to wake up. I make lunches and she heads off, then I slack for a while before heading in. She can easily sleep in on the weekends, but I'm more stuck into some pattern, and I feel lazy for laying in bed (though I'll then spend the day on my computer, not getting much of anything done).

Personally, I feel a lot better getting to bed around 9:30 or 10 when we wake up at 5:30. Staying up to 11pm makes the mornings drag.
posted by filthy light thief 20 December | 14:50
Most days, I spent my first two hours at work just waking up.
That's what I use my commute for. I must admit that, now I'm driving to work rather than catching the train, this doesn't seem like such a good idea, although there's nothing like an hour at 110 kph in bumper-to-bumper traffic to wake you up ;-)

I've started work early for pretty much most of my career, so was forced to make the switch from being a sleeper-inner to a morning person. Now I can't stand to sleep past 7am no matter how late I go to bed. My alarm goes off at 5 am (I try to be on the road by 5.30) and I usually go to bed around 11 pm, so I'm probably not getting as much sleep as I should, but it seems to work for me.
posted by dg 20 December | 16:56
I've never made the switch successfully and lastingly, just for periods of maybe months at a time.

I imagine that if I was in a situation where there was absolutely no flexibility about when I started on any day, I'd probably be able to adapt. But I've always been in situations where that's not really the case.

The people I know who've made a really drastic switch from being night people to early morning people only did it with the stimulus of having kids.
posted by philipy 20 December | 19:03
I was a night owl through all of my twenties and well into my thirties. I discovered about five years ago that getting up at 5 and to work by 6 or 6:30 allowed me to come home by 3 or so. Even if I spent an hour at the gym, I'm out and on my way home by 4 (I have a set sched at work and overtime is rare and a hassle for my boss; obviously this will not work for everyone). That requires I get to bed at a reasonable hour (usually between 9 and 10). I seriously love having the quiet and dark of the morning, and it's not like I'm missing anything of any import after 9 at night. Much prefer the early bird life.
posted by tortillathehun 21 December | 07:55
Sorry for the late update... || HAPPY BIRTHDAY DAME!!!