Waking up ruins my day


I am emphatically not a morning person. I hate waking up in the mornings. Anything less than about 12 hours sleep will see me turn into a complete bastard for at least the first 30 mins after being woken.

I’m aware that this is not a good thing, and it’s certainly not a trait I’m proud of. It has begun to metastasise into a deep sense of unhappiness in needing to have a job and keep regular hours with other people, which again is not a good thing. I’m sure there is a solution to this problem.

It probably involves going to bed before 1am, eating healthily and getting more exercise. The thing is, I like being able to stay up all night when I want to, I already eat healthily and go to the gym 3 or 4 times a week (mostly).

This clash of requirements has led me to start thinking broadly about whether I can think of creative ways to make my life happier. I’m aware that there’s things like life hacking for day-to-day problem solving and companies like IDEO and things like The Happiness Project doing things to make the world a better place on a larger scale, but I’m concerned more with the idea of improving my mood day-to-day by design; whether it’s with a system, an object, an app or an image.

Of course, there’s an argument that says I should go to bed earlier in order to get the same kind of witching hour experience in the morning at 4am rather than at night at 2am. This seems like it could be a logical swap, except for the fact that I feel alert and wonderful having been awake until 2am and I feel like a zombie and want to die when getting up at 4am. As such, I maintain that this is a problem with waking up rather than a problem with keeping odd hours.

I reckon if I can solve problems like this in such a way that I can have my all-night cake and eat it without feeling like I’ll stab the first person I see every morning, then the solutions might be of benefit to other people. Is there a way, then, that I can ease my transition into the land of the living in the morning in a way that puts me in a good mood?

Solution #1: Positive thinkinginspirational talks and productivity jargon

Short of having Tony Robbins waking me up every day, this isn’t enough of an intervention to snap me out of my morning funk. It works during that post-lunch lull later on in the day though.

Solution #2: Exercise first thing in the morning

This is the mother of all challenges: do this 7-minute bodyweight workout when you’d rather be dead. I have yet to sufficiently overcome my waking grogginess to kick-in my willpower (which is a finite resource) to kick my own ass into doing this one.

Solution #3: Happy music alarm clock

I’ve started using the Yocto clock app on my phone to give me an inspiring and feel-good start to my day by playing things from my iTunes to wake me up. So far it’s pretty good, although there’s a balance to be struck between waking up to Japandroids like I’ve been smacked in the head and The Dirty Three lulling me back to sleep.

More solutions will be added as they are tried & tested. For now, though, I rely on coffee and King Floyd.

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