I’ve been realizing this lately as my sleep schedule has been shifting. I’m pretty tired at night, so I’m getting into bed by 10:30 p.m. Provided I make it through the night, I’m waking up on my own around 6 a.m. That makes sense. I know from tracking my time that I tend to settle out at around 7.5 hours/night. It’s still dark at 6 a.m., and the house is pretty cold, but I’ve had adequate sleep, and so I wake up. I can lie there if I want, and sometimes I do, thinking things through as the sun comes up, but I’m perfectly happy to get out of bed and start my day. If I were sleep-deprived, I wouldn’t be.
To be sure, there are other ways to get excited about getting up. Think about a kid on Christmas morning: even if he was up late the night before, he’s probably bounding out of bed because he’s excited to see what happened. My 5-year-old bounded out of bed earlier this week because he was so excited about another post-school playdate.
So if adequate sleep alone isn’t cutting it, another approach is to ask what would make you feel like a kid on Christmas morning. If that seems impossible, the playdate might be a better comparison. What would make you as excited as knowing you’re about to go on a really cool playdate?
Maybe it’s that you and your partner have your own “playdate” before the kids wake up. Maybe you are a big fan of breakfast food and you do it up right: bacon, baked goods, coffee. Maybe you love running or walking with a friend, or a certain exercise class, and you look forward to this as a highlight of the day. Maybe you work long hours, and early mornings are a special time you can play with your kids. Maybe you’ve managed to turn your shower into your own aromatherapy, spa-like experience. Maybe you have a creative hobby that you don’t make adequate time for otherwise. Knowing your paints or scrapbooking materials are waiting for you might be enough incentive to not hit snooze.
Or maybe you just get up, turn on some upbeat tunes and dance. You can call it exercise if you want, but it’s about beginning the day with enough joy that your bed is less inviting. Humans don’t do well with suffering long-term. When people ask me how to create a morning routine, I suggest finding something you really want to do. Otherwise, what’s the point? Extra sleep is better than slogging through.
What makes you excited to get out of bed?
In other news: I’m over at Fast Company, interviewing Working Mother editor Jennifer Owens on the downsides of working part-time. Of course, it can work in some industries, and is the right solution for some people, but as she noted, if you can get the flexibility you need while staying full time, there are reasons to do so. In my time logs, I’ve found that people on PT schedules don’t always work many fewer hours than their FT colleagues. A smart organization would set up an accountability system for this, but that’s not as prevalent as it should be.
Photo: Breakfast this morning — eggs, bacon, banana bread. Yum!