So, let me be clear on my attitude toward mornings. I like being up. There’s something about being up early that makes me feel like I have purpose and control in my life. I like the quietness of early morning, and the feeling of possibility. That being said, I hate getting up. I’m at that stage in my life/career where I’m always tired, and for many years I lived in a climate where for five months out of the year, all I had to look forward to in the morning was brushing snow off of my frozen-shut car doors.
I’ve also discovered that I have a pretty serious sleep problem. I often set an alarm and go to sleep, only to wake up and discover that the alarm went off at the appointed time, and was then calmly shut off…by me. I don’t sleepwalk. I sleep-sabotage. Once I discovered that I was doing this, I started setting more alarms. I would set my clock, then set an alarm (or two or three or four) on my phone. Then I bought another clock. Then I set my stereo to wake me up as well. I think the most alarms I set to go off was six: two alarm clocks (one of which was the “Sonic Alert” clock meant for the hearing-impaired) three different alarm clock apps on my iPhone, and my FitBit, set to vibrate on my arm at 6:15am. That morning, I vaguely remember a few sounds, and my body moving around, then tumbling back in bed. I slept peacefully until 8:46. I need to train my dog to jump on my face or something, because I’m not sure any kind of machine will be able to help me.
Maybe getting to the source of the problem is the next step. My bedtime routine is hardly serene; it usually consists of working on the couch until I’m too exhausted to continue typing, then dragging myself toward the bathroom to swallow my pills and, if I’m lucky, wash my face and brush my teeth (yes, I just admitted that I don’t always do that before I go to bed. Yes, it’s gross. Yes, I’m gross). Then I lay in bed and shut the lights out only to tap away at my phone until I pass out with it in my hand, which usually leads to me having to search though the blankets to find it in the morning, which leads me to that routine. My mornings are usually me stumbling out of my bedroom to make coffee and feed my dog, then sitting in my pajamas with my computer in my lap, aimlessly kind-of-working while the wasted time ticks away, and then it’s 12:30pm and oh god not again and what the hell is am I doing with my life?
I want my bedtime routine to be restful and conducive to quality sleep, while my mornings are reflective and productive, without me rushing around or being a sloth. In short, I want my sleeping and waking life to look and feel like it came out of Real Simple magazine. Enter Little Green Dot’s 28-day How to Become a Morning Person online course. I received the first “lesson” in my inbox a few hours ago; I’m planning on reading it once I’m done with this post, as I lie here on my bed in a posture-destroying position, various screens flickering and too-creepy-for-restful-sleep music playing. I get the feeling that I won’t be able to do the same tomorrow.
Week 1: Still haven’t broken the chain on two hours of distraction-free work daily, but I need to be careful not to look at my phone or get up and start putzing around in the kitchen while I’m doing it.
Week 2: More or less, a complete failure. I kind of broke down early upon hearing some bad professional news (yes, I eat my feelings), and some of my paleo recipes didn’t turn out to be as good as I had hoped, so I wasn’t all that into eating them. I’m going to redouble my efforts, though, and add three restrictions this week to make sure I stay on the wagon: no skipping breakfast, no junk (it’s really embarrassing to be 34 years old and still indulging in cheese puffs on the regular), no eating after 8pm. I’m going to put all of these into Way of Life and track them that way. Try again. Paleo again. Paleo better.