Thursday, March 17, 2011

changing from owl to lark: can it be done?


Alarm sounds. Middle finger hits snooze button. Sigh. Roll over. Repeat.

As my schedule gets busier (a good thing, right?), I find my lifelong night-owl ways severely challenged. My workday usually ends at 9:30pm, so it feels great to have at least a few hours to wind down before bedtime. And, after that, there's the favorite pastime of reading in bed, and, next thing you know, it's 2am!

Arising at 7am or earlier doesn't seem to work too well after all of that. Yes, it can be done, but not with a song in my heart. However, the rest of my world starts its day early, and I need to keep up.

So, for others of my ilk who may be experiencing similar challenges, here are a couple of resources:
Reset your body clock from Shape magazine
Do larks repress owls? from economist Robin Hanson's blog. Fun and interesting, but with much conflicting research.

Best tip so far, especially as it's now spring: Get out of bed immediately as the alarm sounds, open the blinds, and get some in-your-face sunlight.

But the real obstacle just might be my resistance to retiring early. There's a rebellious teenager inside of me who's throwing a fit because she doesn't like her bedtime. Yet, I know that my owlish nature will make the next day so much more stressful by getting a late start.

Bonus paragraph, apropros of almost nothing (from an eight-year-old Guardian story about shiftwork):
"Researchers following the metabolic rates of hibernating bats realised that the metabolic day-night rhythms of the inactive animals kept going even without time cues and regardless of temperature. Had the bat's rhythm been slowed down by cooling, it would have been assigned to some simple chemical cycle. The observation that it kept its own time regardless of environmental conditions suggested that there was an elaborate biological clock at work."

"Metabolic rates of hibernating bats" has such a lovely ring to it. Should be in a Cole Porter tune.

Solutions to my night-owl dilemma, anyone? Yoga teachers and personal trainers with early-morning appointments: How do you do it? Yogis, please share your wisdom. In the meanwhile, I'll be hanging upside down in my cave.

(Photo accompanying this post is a supermoon or lunar perigee. Extreme supermoon to rise this Saturday, expected to appear about 30% larger than a full moon at other times. A lunar perigee is when the Moon is closest to Earth during its monthly orbit. For a spectacular sight, watch from the lakefront as the moon rises this Saturday at 7:25pm Chicago time.)

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