I am not a morning person. I have the utmost respect and admiration for morning people — those amazing individuals who can get up at 5 a.m., walk the dog, read the newspaper, answer their e-mails and post a few pictures on Facebook, then complete 30 minutes of vigorous exercise and still be nice to their kids when the little dears roll out of bed 10 minutes before the school bus arrives.
Me? I’m right there with the kids, dragging my sorry self out of a cozy warm bed at the last possible minute.
I may set my alarm for 6:10 (because 6 a.m. is way too early), but that doesn’t mean I actually get up at 6:10. There’s a time-honored ritual that must be observed first. My foggy brain does a series of mental calculations that always reach the same conclusion — I don’t have to get up quite yet. If I braid my hair in the car on the way to work, I can stay in bed for two extra minutes. Cold cereal takes three minutes less to serve than oatmeal — one more round for the snooze alarm.
I have every getting-ready activity carefully timed out to maximize my time in bed. But if there’s an orange juice spill at breakfast, all is lost. One unforeseen event, and I’m late for work.
It’s not that I’m lazy, mind you. It’s just hard to get up at six when I go to bed at midnight or later the night before. A girl’s gotta sleep sometime!
I wasn’t always such a night owl. I remember my roommates’ shock the very first time I closed down the library at college. It was a rite of passage — an initiation into the pseudo-intellectual world of earnest college life where students “study” at the library until midnight every night, and 8 a.m. classes are torture. Not much has changed in my life since then.
So what I’m wondering is, how do I un-learn those formative college lessons, and transform myself into a morning person?
I’m looking for a scientific answer — in the laws of physics, perhaps? An object in motion tends to remain in motion, and an object at rest will stay at rest, unless acted on by an external force. It takes a mighty force to propel my resting body into motion. The alarm clock doesn’t always cut it. It may wake me, but that doesn’t mean I’m actually up. You can lead a woman to wakefulness, but you can’t make her get up.
Or maybe there’s a medical cure for morning sluggishness. Hormone therapy, genetic sampling, or perhaps Underdog’s Super Energy Pill — maybe one of these methods could transform me into a morning person.
The answer might lie in nutrition — namely caffeine. I know many people who swear by their three cups of coffee in the morning.
“Don’t even look at me before I’ve had my coffee,” they moan.
Problem is, you have to be out of bed and alert enough to make the coffee before you can reap its life-giving benefits (unless you’re lucky enough to have Jeeves bringing you your coffee in bed). The mere promise of coffee is not going to convince me to get up.
Or maybe it’s an economic question. Maybe businesses should assume their civic responsibilities, and refrain from catering to night owls like me.
Before moving to Alaska, I lived in a town that had a 24-hour grocery store. What’s that all about? Do you really need to go grocery shopping at 2 a.m.? But because I could, I would often find myself picking up some groceries at midnight or later. How is that going to help me become a morning person?
Or maybe there’s a psychological answer. A few rounds of hypnosis or a spot of brainwashing might be enough to transform me into a morning person. Too bad hypnosis always begins with the words, “you are getting sleepy.”
Or maybe there are some lifestyle changes in order. What if I went to sleep earlier — maybe then I’d be able to get up earlier. Nah, that can’t be it. I’ll just have to think of something.