The Early Bird Gets The Worm and Can’t Always Hang at Night!

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earlyGoing to bed early vs. staying up late is a topic that seems to keep coming up recently. They say the early bird gets the worm, right? What I have learned so far in my life and as I age is that statement is so very accurate; it also, at least for me, means that I can rarely keep my eyes open past 9 or 9:30 p.m. and have officially turned into one of “those” people who respond to 10 p.m. texts at 5 or 6 a.m.

I can rally sometimes in the evenings, depending on the nature of the day, but often, I reach 9 p.m. and feel myself slowly shutting down like an old wind-up doll that needs a new battery. My eyes start to water, I feel kind of foggy (and froggy), and I literally can’t make decisions, fold another piece of laundry, or answer any serious questions.

Now, if I’m out and about for a special event, I tend to do better because I’m active and seem to forget I’m up past the usual time. But if I’m just at home, it’s a snoozefest just after 9. Netflix binge? No, thank you. Reading a book into the wee hours of the night? It’s somewhat tantalizing, but nope, I can’t do it. Scrolling endlessly on social media? No, thank you. The big football or basketball game? Nope, no clue about the score until the next day. Oops. And staying up until midnight on New Year’s? Forget it.

I don’t really feel like I am missing out when I go to bed at my usual time, but I also know that the night owls in my life are confused by how I can’t stay up. But all I can say is. I just can’t.

Do I ever wonder what it’s like to binge-watch Netflix until midnight or read a good book late into the hours of the night? Sure! But I guess I’m just not programmed that way, and for me, that’s ok! I have no judgment towards those who can do late-night or all-night activities, and hopefully, I’m not judged for crawling into bed as my body shuts down at the usual 9 p.m. witching hour in preparation for a 5 a.m. alarm.

I know everyone’s body is different, and we all have to do what is best for us individually based on how we feel and function. I do sometimes envy those who can dominate evening hours without any issues the next day. Yet, as much as I own the fact I’m not at all an accomplished night owl, I will say that for me, getting to bed early so I can successfully wake up early and thrive more to enjoy the day better really does have its benefits.

Waking up recharged.

For me, feeling rejuvenated when I wake up is always a bonus, and I rarely regret not pulling a late-nighter. I work out first thing, and it sets the tone for my day. Nothing gets in the way of my workout if I do it right away, and once all those endorphins start pumping from lifting weights and moving my body and having enjoyed time and laughter with my CrossFit friends, it really makes my heart happy. I can be a better person to everyone else in my personal life and career after I’ve made that time for myself and my mind and body. When I’m driving on the interstate at 5:30 a.m., drinking my pre-workout and listening to DMX and Eminem and Cardi B, I feel alive!

Avoiding brain fog.

Personally, I find that on the days after I stay up later than usual, I don’t feel as sharp or as quick to solve problems or as “on top” of things the way I do when I get better sleep and wake up early. Sometimes, I shake my head at myself if I choose to stay up an hour later to watch funny TikTok videos, do extra chores, or respond to texts or e-mails that could have been addressed in the morning. I have learned that “it,” whatever that may be, can wait. And it’s never intended to be a personal slight to anyone in my life if I can’t hang with them at night; it’s just non-negotiable self-care, y’all.

Feeling more emotionally stable.

I once labeled not getting enough sleep as being “all gas pedal and no brakes” with your emotions. Personally, that is very true. If I ever feel like I’m being triggered more emotionally than usual, or I’m viewing more situations as annoying, or I feel like I might feel more sad than usual or just cry at a random moment or TV commercial, YEP. I know I didn’t get enough sleep, and I need a nap or a snack, stat.

Appetite is more regulated.

I find I do not crave poor options when I get enough sleep. In fact, when I stick to my usual sleep schedule, I feel more in control of what I’m putting into my mouth, and I enjoy keeping everything in good balance. The random stop to Qdoba or Chipotle can be safely averted.

Being more present.

It ties in with avoiding brain fog, but I will say that waking up early makes me feel like I’m getting a positive jumpstart to the day and heading into it on top and fully aware and present to those around me, as opposed to constantly chasing deadlines or suddenly remembering things that I should have already remembered. Being present is a present to everyone around you.

Personally, I will own the fact that I can be a person who can text you at 9 p.m. and be asleep by 9:01 p.m. before you respond. And that’s ok, don’t fret; I’ll always text you right back. Meaning when this aging early bird princess awakens from her beauty sleep and sees your text at 5 a.m. I bet I’ll be feeling so good that I’ll throw in some emojis, too! Ultimately, each and every day, we all have to do what is best for us with our precious time because self-care is never selfish.

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