No part of me is a night owl. In fact, no part of me is even a “late evening owl.” Around 9:30/10:00 PM, my brain is effectively tapped out for any deep or heavy thinking tasks. At that point, my best bet is light reading, a movie, a familiar recipe, a phone call with loved ones, or a little exercise.
Some of my dearest friends ride the other train. In fact, one of my former roommates and I could not have lived more opposing lifestyles. Partially due to our conflicting work schedules and partially because of the routines of our bodys, we often found ourselves eating a meal together: my breakfast and their dinner.
While I relished in my early mornings in the apartment—the quiet peace of being the only one floating down the hall—my roommate felt the same way in what I would call “the Witching Hour.” While I was sound asleep, they were reveling in their time and space… a time that worked best for them.
I’m aware of the perception of early birds. I’m very mindful of never putting anything out there that glorifies my patterns as “the only way.” While waking up early works for me, it simply does not work for everyone. I have had friends in the past marvel at the hours I keep and ask for my help in getting them on “a better sleep schedule.” And to that, I always reply that there is no better schedule, just your schedule.
To try to mold yourself into an idea that doesn’t work for your body does a disservice to you and everyone around you. You know what’s best for you. Lean into that.
This post is simply an exploration of my preferences. Because while some of my best friends compose music at midnight or apply for jobs at 10:00 PM or finish their grad school homework at 2 in the morning, I am most likely in a dream world. There’s no standard way to do things that lead to success or happiness or whatever other intangible you are after… but there is a “right way:” your way. And man does it feel good to do things my way.
In my life, I’ve developed what I call my “Feel Good Toolbelt.” It’s filled with mental images of hammers and screwdrivers each representing something I know helps me to be my best self. If going for a run is a flashlight and drinking a full water bottle before I leave my bedroom in the morning is a pile of nails, then having a consistent sleep schedule is the whole dang belt.
I have found that neglecting sleep is perhaps the most detrimental thing I can do for all other aspects of my health—mental and physical.
That’s why, as I was making my bed the other morning, I smiled at the acknowledgement of the hours of space I had between that moment and the start of my workday. I reveled in the joy of not seeing midnight recently. And not because any self-help book told me I need to wake up early… but because that is when my body feels most alive. Because watching the moon disappear into the sun is the purest joy I can imagine.