Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Night Owl or Morning Lark

I am a confirmed night owl. I like to go to bed late-ish and wake up late-ish. I have struggled with it all my life. You know the proverbs they drill in your head in school – early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy wealthy and wise. I guess that does not apply to me. I am no man. And even if I were a man, I would probably live by this credo – early to bed, early to rise means you had no fun last night.

I am glad I wasn’t born in the 1920s or the 1910s, hell even 1960s I suppose. When women had to wake up early to fetch water, clean house and cook. I would have gone insane, waking up at 5:00 am each day. Which brings me to this weird theory I have. The reason many women were generally meaner and crueler in the last century was because they woke up so early everyday. Ask a night owl to be a morning lark and you will get a real nasty lady, let me tell ya. Been there. Done that.

I have always stayed up late at night. Mostly to read books. Even with board exams looming ahead in less than a week, I stayed up at night, not to study, but to read Gone with the wind, for the second time. There is a certain thrill in staying up at night and reading or watching TV which just isn’t there when you set the alarm for 4:00 am and wake up promptly and turn the page to Scarlett O’Hara mock fainting on the couch. It just doesn’t cut it. And there are no nice shows on TV at 4:00 am either. Everybody is trying to sell you something then. From denture cleaners to geriatric cocktail rings. Positively depressing.

For what it’s worth, I have tried to change my ways. Many, many times. Only to fail miserably. I have tried waking up early in the morning, but I have always found it hard to do so without an alarm. And who wants to wake up to a shrill buzz? Not me. I have tried the clock radio but that’s no less jarring. Even the classical station. I don’t want to wake up to a crescendo. I don’t think I want to wake up at all. Not at 5:00 am, not at 6:00 am. Seven would be okay. Seven-thirty ideal. I literally loose sleep when I have to wake up early. I wake up on the hour, every hour at night to look at the glowing, green numbers on my bedside clock.Unhappy but relieved; it’s not time to get up yet. Wash, rinse, repeat till 6:00 am.

But I also would be lying if I were to deny the splendid feeling I get once I wake up early in the morning and boot. I am so fresh. No 10 o’clock slump. No 3 o’clock slump. No tried feeling at 8:30 in the evening. But I can’t do it for more than two days. Makes me nasty, generally, even if I have better energy levels. Don’t ask me why. Perhaps, despite the increased physical energy I am stressed with the prospect of going to bed early and waking up early. I can’t quite fall asleep at 9:30 pm, except when I am jetlagged at which time I hit the sack at 7:00. Every time I come home after visiting India, I make a pact with myself, to continue my natural jetlagged stage. Go to bed at 9:00 (and DVR all my favorite shows) and wake up at 5:30. The resolution lasts as long as my jetlag does and I am back to my never-go-to-bed before 11:00 pm routine.

I don’t think I am cut out to be a morning lark. I am certain they will find an “owl” gene or a “lark” gene in all of us pretty soon. My only lament at being a night owl is this. I will never be powerful and famous. Because all powerful and famous people are always early risers. Or perhaps I will go down in history as the only famous and powerful person to be a night lark. That would be cool. Although the odds are not in my favor much.


Mystic Margarita said...

I could so hug you right now! I lost count of the times my mother admonished me for staying up late before the exams, reading but not studying, mind you! And I've never ever been a morning lark and never can. Makes me tired, cranky, and in general someone to avoid like the plague.

I like to believe that it's only because I'm a night owl that I can stay up till 3 or 4 in the am and still manage to function, albeit with diminished faculties, in the morning. And who says all famous people were early risers? And if they were, it's time for change!

But I also hate the fact that Popol takes after me...I try and try but he'll never ever go to sleep before 11pm and that's if I'm lucky - can you beat that? What do they say about karma coming back to bite you in the err..ass?

Altoid said...

When I was studying I was always a night person, I would study into the wee hours of the morning. But I have this inbuilt wake up clock, however late I sleep I always wake up around my usual time which would be 6:30ish. Since I've been out of college, I am pretty much an early riser. And hence retire early as well. I find it very hard to stay awake past 10:30 and if I stay up late hours like 1am/2am , it really messes my sleep routine, hence making me cranky and moody the next day.

I find that I can get a lot of work squared away if I rise early and have been "accused" of getting 2 days worth of chores squared away by lunch time :). My favorite is Saturday mornings when by noon, I am almost done with all my weekend chores! Thats generally why when I visit people(out of town, sleepovers etc) the hosts end up cursing me cos I am usually up at the stroke of dawn and much as I try to assuage their guilt by volunteering to make my own coffee, it doesnt seem to help :D. I am also called sadistic, at times ;).

Long comment, but morning lark I am.

Girl Next Door (gnd) said...

I've been a bit of both at different points in time! As much as I loathed waking up early, felt really good too! Used to feel awesome those few crazy days when I would wake up early and cook before going to work!! All the things that can be done!
Again, nothing like an all-night chat/gossip/card-games/TV...

But given a chance, I'll prolly sleep early and wake up late :)

@Altoid - Grrrrrrr!! Envy you!!

rayshma said...

i'm nocturnal too. like one of those holiday packages - i can work for 3 nights and 4 days without sleeping. but i can't wake up early in the morngs! in fact, even if i'm awake, i sleep-walk till 10 a.m.
my clients and boss had instructions to not call me before 10.30 unless someone was dying. i managed to scare them enuf, so they obeyed all of 5 years!

now, vin's a morng person. it only means that i get b'fast in bed on weekends. so kewl na?! :0)

B o o said...

Im with you on every word of the post, sistah! Even the reading a novel bit before an exam! Some thrill, that! ;)

Mona said...

lol dottie, that's hilarious. for your sake i do hope that you're the only rich and famous person that's a night owl.
me, i'm the morning lark. i'm the kind of person that CANNOT stay up beyond 11 pm, sigh. unless ofcourse, i've discovered a book and can't stop reading.
but i love your theory on why women were meaner this past century - atleast some of them you may be right about!

karmickids said...

Soul sista. I think the reason I am a cranky fusspot now has a lot to do with the necessity to get up by six every morning if I have to leave home by eight. Eesh. I can sleep in till 9 on a good day. Never woke a day early to study. Nor, thank the Lord, did my mother ever compel me to.

Mira's mom said...

Hey, Me night owl too! Well, I don't think getting up early makes me nasty :-), but I just prefer being a late sleeper. I remember working back in India, I never took a flight before 8 am - just felt awful to venture out early in the morning. But, I spend most of the late nights watching TV, not much of reading though!

Neera said...

Hey but 7:30 am is early!!

Vinita said...

heheh.. I am a night person too. Got it from my mom.
You know the saying "early bird gets the worm"

Ours should be " Early bird gets the worm but what about the early worm?"(quote from the "MAD magazine)


DotThoughts said...

mystic: lol@popol. mis those times, na? when you could read until 3:00am nary a worry.

altoid: I don't blame the hosts :) but tell me, were you always this way? I want to be a morning person, but don't want it to be a chore. any tips? you know i think it could be because i don't much physical activirty. If I ran 2 miles everyday, I would be begging to go to bed at 9:30pm

gnd: hehehehe. trust you on saying that :) you are one step ahead, as always!

raysh: b'fast in bed by vin is soo sweet! BG is even a worse owl than me.

boo: i know. miss them good dayz.

mona: tere mooh mein ghee shakkar (or celery and lowfat dip, depening on dietary preference) pls share tips on how to be a morning person. pliss pliss.

karmic: see? my theory is right.

mira's mom: lol@flight.

neera: hugs. you think? I love ya.

Vinita: I LOVE that quote. been a while since I read MAD magazine :D:D:D:D

ddmom said...

Add one more to the nocturnal group. I am most productive from 9 - 1 in the night. Don't ask me why!
And no matter what time I sleep, I still can't wake up early. Working in Calif only adds to it. In the IT industry, you show up at work before 10:00 am, you will be looked upon as though you don't have a life outside work!!

Vinita said...

dotthoughts more reason for you to move to cali(ddmom's post)


noon said...

I am a certified night owl - have always been. KB takes after me - always goes upstairs only at 10.15 pm or so and sometimes only really sleeps at 11.00 pm. Me - 12.00 or 1.00 am! I need those one and half hours at least as my down time...
Although like you when I do get up early occasionally - I feel so good. Now I wake up by 5.30 am, feed Ranju, then really wake up by 6.45 am. Not enough sleep!

Preethi said...

Hugs!! Me a night owl too.. been there done that on the Gone with the wind.. Finished it in record time!!
But wake me early in the morning and I am grumpy all day!!

Hakuna Matata said...

ha aha...theyr called 'Goobe's in our hostel after the kannada word for 'owls'qmzv

dipali said...

Oh, I love mornings, though I'm slowly moving to the owl side, I think! I love the quiet, cool calm and freshness of a new day.....
Nights are more exciting, mornings are soothing, till the daily mad rush starts:)

DotThoughts said...

ddmom: hehhee. see i like california

vinita: you said it :D

noon:5:30 am? I feel your pain. but this too shall pass.

hakuna: welcome! I like that word :) but I take it you are not?

dipali: I thought as one got older, one became a lark. Only proves my point then.. you are gtting younger by the day :)