My family will tell you, quite emphatically, that I am NOT a morning person. My Mum and brother used to draw straws in the mornings when I was a teenager over who was going to brave my wrath and wake me up. A friend recently bought me a pair of pyjamas with the moniker ‘Do I LOOK like a morning person’. My husband got a job as a postie so that he only has to deal with morning me on Sundays and Bank Holidays. Even my team at work know it’s probably best not to ask me too many questions before 11am as I’m not performing at my best. Suffice to say I have always been like this and lucky for me I have understanding friends and family, and a job where I don’t have to be in work until 10am.
However recently I have been worrying about my aversion to mornings. Recent reports suggest early risers not only live longer, but tend to be happier and slimmer too. I’m generally a happy person (except in the mornings) so it’s the other 2 things I’m interested. Who doesn’t want to live longer. And could this be the key to me losing weight? I’m not convinced as the article is very vague on why early birds are slimmer (maybe because they have time for breakfast) but I’m willing to try anything. So I decided to start an experiment to turn myself from a night owl to an early bird.
Firstly, how hard is it going to be? This article suggests that only about 10% of the population are early birds, whilst 20% are night owls. The rest are, apparently, happy with either and can adjust depending on what their life/job/family demands. I hope I’m one of the rest. So I started to look into how I go about changing my habits. There is a common myth that is takes 21 days, or 28 days to change or form a a habit and that if you miss a day you have to start aagin. However this article presents research that shows it can take anything from 18 to 245 days to form a new habit, depending on the habit and the person. Great. The good news is the median is 66 days and it doesn’t matter if you mis the odd day.
I then started looking for tips on how to stop pressing the snooze button and start jumping out of bed. It is AMAZING how many articles and blogs there are this on the internet. Seriously – do a search! I found this one the most useful, so here’s my plan of attack.
1) Start by setting the alarm half an hour earlier (7.30am instead of 8am) for the 1st week (or 2) until I feel comfortable. Then a week at 7.15am, then 7am and finally 6.45am – this is the time my hubby leaves for work so I’m working on getting him to bring me up a cuppa before he goes to help me…Remember I don’t have to leave for work until 8.50 (9.45 on some days) so that will give me an extra 2 hours each and every morning.
2) Move the alarm away from the bed. I (like most people I suppose) use my phone as my alarm, which I keep next to the bed making it easy to snooze. I’ve moved it to the other side of the room, so I have to actually get out of bed to turn it off.
3) Change my alarm tone every 2 weeks. Apparently this means you don’t start to hate it! I woke up this morning to the iphones ‘Piano Riff’. I might have to bite the bullet and pay for some bearable tones.
4) Make the bed as soon as I’m up so I’m not tempted to climb back in.
5) Have a goal – something I’m going to achieve in the extra time. This morning I went for a short, slow run (2.1m 25 mins) – they will get longer as I get up earlier. Tomorrow I plan to change and wash all the bedding, and tidy up my garden pots. Oh, my life is so rocknroll.
6) Have breakfast at home. I normally grab a slice of toast at work. This morning I had some scrambled eggs and tomato with my morning cuppa – far healthier than plastic white bread smothered in lurpak.
7) Make sure I don’t lay in more than an hour later at the weekends as this can throw the pattern out completely apparently.
8) Perhaps most importantly – go to bed earlier. I often sit watching TV and surfing the net til gone midnight. No more – I’ll be carrying myself off to bed at the same time as hubby to get into the early moring habit so helllllo 10pm bedtime!
I’m feeling vey positive about this – my goal is to get to the point where I’m doing all my runs in the morning, so that come race days the early start doesn’t have a negative impact on my performance. Wish me luck!