Society has decided that to be cool and uber successful you have to be a vegan yoga instructor, waking up at 3am to work out and meditate before reading 5 chapters of a personal development book written by someone who's been vegan for far, far longer than you and claims to have been at the original 'Habbalah Vegan Wakestock Convention'.
I say bollocks.
It doesn't need to be that extreme. 3am? What are we? Olympians? Oh no.
I'm a night owl (if you're reading this, the chances are that you are too). I'm also organised, healthy, happy and relatively flexible. I dont need 3am wake ups and chia seeds in my everything. I just set good routines. - Morning ones, evening ones and some 'Inadequate Parent' ones in between so I don't forget to collect the children from school or football.
You want to be a sleek parent, smashing their business or career, gliding around effortlessly with gorgeous skin and amazingly toned buttocks, kids in Joules and Abercrombie with the manners of little George and Charlotte, but you just LOVE a late night. You're more productive in the evening. You enjoy being awake when its quiet because everyone is asleep. You don't hate your family, but you'll become addicted to rhubarb gin if you don't grab those 'OMG I'm so tired but its silent and it's so good for my sanity', moments.
Why shouldn't you? And why shouldn't there be a way to make that work for you?
It didnt seem to exist on Google so I got my research pen out (the one I chew the most) and set about finding the best methods to help the rest of the nocturnal population become at least partially bionic 3am superhumans. - Don't thank me just yet.
The main thing I found out is that there's just no way around it. The 'early morning' and 'proper night's sleep' are keepers. We have to wake up, guys, I'm sorry. It sucks but it's true and denying it, fighting it or hiding from it ain't gonna make it any easier. The good news is that we don't need to train for Athens just yet. We can just go earlier than we are at present. 8.40am and a mad 'Sprint as You Dress' dash to school? NO. Just no.
6am? That fits just perfectly here. Find what fits your family and be fair with it.
So what's the easiest way to do it? - We need to move our entire day by a few hours (one or two at least). And not just ours, but the kids too. - Yeah. I'm serious. We need 7-9 hours of sleep, people and the kids need even more!
The benefits though... they're worth it. Better sleep cycle, better physical health, better appetite and metabolism, better productivity, brain function, energy levels, motivation, ability to cope in stressful situations, information absorption capability, sex drive/life, positivity and optimism.
I could go on! But I won't the evidence is overwhelming that the Early Bird really does catch the worm. - And whether we care to admit it or not, we want that fricking worm. Especially if we get abs like 2am Tania.
Here's my well researched and self-trialled top tips for transitioning into a Nocturnal Early Bird...
Set your alarm for 6am... A full 30 minutes before you have to wake the children/partner/anyone else who relies on you for breakfast or related relatively coordinated activities.
Use that time to shower (if you don't wanna work out first and get up before the early bird, herself). - Eurgh. Seriously, the shower wakes you up quickly, warmly and kind of friendly-ly. Also, surprisingly, feeling clean and fully conscious at 6.10am is a rather pleasant adult feeling to have bestowed upon one's self. Stairs seem more trustworthy. Less fairground. Safer somehow.
Make a cuppa, some breakfast or eat fruit and drink water if you must. - Nourish yourself. You feel a bit shitty because its 6.15am and you're not still up eating flapjacks in the dark with Gav & Stace on the blue light filled box up the corner. - You need the brew. Trust me.
Go OUTSIDE! Oh, Darling, you're nature now! You're basically a fresh green tree drinking fresh green tea in yoga pants and a shower-towelled turban. I don't care if its freezing or raining. Wear a coat, grab an umbrella. Take your drink outside and stay there for at least a couple of minutes. You're inhaling life. - If you live on a main road just breathe through your sleeve in small gaspy breaths until you're woozy. It'll have a similar effect. Be Scandinavian. They're all well fit.
Prepare for the oncoming tempest that is the waking of your family. - Lay out breakfast things, pre-position the toast ready for poppage, reboil that kettle, put the coffee on, open some windows and put on some morning music. (If you have teenagers "Wake Me Up Before You Go, Go", wouldn't be my first suggestion. They're usually angry enough without it). CHECK EVERYTHING IS READY.
Gently wake them. Be prepared for extreme arsehole mode from anyone at all, including toddlers. But stick to it. get them up at 6.30am and make them do what you did. - Standing outside is optional for children under 36 months, anyone with a severe lung condition and really pensionish pensioners.
Repeat the shit out of this every single day until it doesn't hurt anymore. Then carry on. Because it doesn't hurt anymore.
Make sure you're all going to bed as much earlier as you need to get those hours in. Make sure the kids help get everything ready for morning. Locating shoes, hanging out uniforms, making packed lunches, homework in bags and completed, PE kits, swimming kits, presents for 16 year old work experience staff member who you strongly resent having to buy a present for. Make sure its ALL been thought of and that the kids are taking some responsibility for preparing it.
Get rid of your screens an hour before you need to be falling asleep. All of you. A whole hour before bed, get rid of the tablets, phones,TVs, computers, laptops, smart watches. And any other gadgets you're rich enough to own.
Allow at least 15-20 minutes of setting the house to rest, 15-20 mins of self care and 15-20 mins of relaxation before settling down to sleep. Wind yourself down slowly.
Lie to your children if necessary. Feel free to warn them that 'The Early Bird' threatened you with no wifi for a month if you didn't all switch to day mode. - Call me. I do a fantastic Early Bird impression. *squawk* (terrifying).
Believe in why you want to do it. Look at the benefits above and BELIEVE in them for your family.
Ask for help if you're struggling. I'm here. I'm just a call or a message away. If it's tough, give me a nudge and I'll do all I can to help.
Most important point! Do NOT Day Nap during this process. - It's tough. It's worse than Boot Camp. It's harder than being hungover on a boat. But dont give in. Just one single Day Nap brings ultimate danger to your midst and imminent failure to your mission.
To succeed you will need to be strong. You will need to fight your family's wishes and your own inner callings "bed... bed... it's only chuffin 6am...I hate Emma fricking Watson...I need my bed..." etc.
You're amazing. Give it 28 days. Keep a diary of it. Please do! A video diary would be even better. Night Owl is so OUT. Nocturnal Early Bird is IN and you can grab a piece of that.