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Why We Need To Stop Romanticizing The Early Bird

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The early bird catches the worm. Well, good for those who like worms. I prefer coffee and over-night oats. Or toast. Or muesli with soy milk.

I'm not a morning person and I never will be. That's because I don't want to be one. Until a few years ago, one of my major resolutions was to wake up early. Of all the things I had difficulty in being consistent with, this one topped the list. Probably because I did not see the need in it. Honestly, my days are hugely productive all thanks to my planning and routine. For all you know, trying to wake up early might actually derail this properly working system for me. I haven't been a morning person for close to 4 decades now and I'm totally happy. I'm successful, financially independent, in the best shape and phase of my life, living with the best man and the best pup in the world. I've done this without feeling the need to wake up at 4 or 5 AM.

I think there is a lot of pressure on people, women mostly, to wake up early in the morning. It almost is an unsaid rule now that you need to start the day early to look and feel good and to take care of the family. The common idea to wake up early before everyone else does is to do a certain number of things without distraction. For example, a parent needs to wake up early if they need some lone time without having the kids up and hyper around them. A home-maker needs to wake up early to have breakfast ready before the rest of the family wakes up. For those who do this, good for you. For those who don't, do not fret. There is nothing wrong with you. Just because you are choosing a different time of the day to be productive doesn't mean you are lazy. You would still be doing all of this, albeit a few hours later. It is high time we stop romanticizing the concept of the early bird. 

Let me bore you for a couple of minutes before I go ahead. If you want to ensconce yourself with a beverage, please do. You might have already heard of these two concepts, but if you haven't, here we go - Circadian rhythm and Chronotype.

Circadian rhythm is the 24-hour internal clock in our brain that regulates cycles of alertness and sleepiness by responding to the light changes in our environment. - Source

A chronotype is a person’s circadian typology or the individual differences in activity and alertness in the morning and evening. - Source

This entirely depends on your biological hardwiring, that depends on your day to day routine and conditioning of the body and mind over the years.

Growing up, we never had a fixed routine at home. We did not have specific times of going to bed, eating meals or waking up. Everything was random. Of course we woke up just in time to head to school/college/work. Honestly, nobody thought much about a routine either. I guess middle-class families don't have the luxury for that or it wasn't something that crossed our minds ever. As a child, I slept and woke-up at random hours. I was someone who preferred staying up late to study than waking up early to do the same. That's what is wired inside me. I cannot expect it to change over night. I wouldn't be entirely truthful if I said that I haven't tried being a morning person. I've tried umpteen number of times and I've failed an equal number of times. After a while, I neither had the motivation or felt the need to wake up early. This also would be one of the reasons why I'm happily childfree. Go ahead and call me selfish, I'm not going to lose sleep over it.

Thankfully, my work doesn't require me to connect at the wee hours of dawn. It definitely needs me to stay up late though and this is something I'm totally fine with. I start my work post 10.00 AM and it is more than enough for me to be up by 7 AM or even 8 AM at times. I travel to office thrice a week and this suits me. Occasionally, I do need to visit a far away office for which I need to set sail by 8 AM, and those days I'm up early. Not because I want to, because I have to. Same goes with other events, professional or personal. If it is unavoidable, I do wake up early. Would I want to do that on a daily basis? Never.

Not to gloat, I get a lot done in a day usually. Be it actual office work or household chores. I'm someone who needs to "complete" her sleep. I usually sleep late after reading for a while, as that's the only time I get to read. Still, no matter how many hours I've slept, I'll only wake up after I've completed my sleep. In other words, when I naturally awake feeling relaxed and rested. Else, I'm grumpy and exhausted throughout the day. I'm a light sleeper, so good quality sleep matters a lot to me. Next, I'm prone to migraines since childhood. Lack of sleep is a primary trigger. I'd rather sleep in and start the day later than have an unproductive day marred with pain and discomfort.

You know yourself best. Do what works for you. Your success and productivity depends on the effort you put in, irrespective of the time of the day. Don't let yourself be defined as an early bird or a night owl. Just be a free bird and do what you want to do.

My partner, on the other hand, is a morning person. So is my pup. They both have their own dynamics going on in the mornings while I'm tucked in bed, warm and cozy. While he initially didn't understand how I function, he now knows and respects it. He's super productive during the mornings while I am for the rest of the day. Together, we get a lot done and that's all that matters to us at the end of the day. We're different in our own way and we love and respect each other for that.

The same way, each one of us are wired or conditioned differently. There is nothing special about being a morning person. There is nothing special about staying up at night either. While I've heard from people and read umpteen articles on how waking up early changed peoples' lives, I do not envy them at all. They are being themselves and I'm being me. Having said that, not being a morning person doesn't mean that I hate mornings. That is a common misconception created by some uninformed balatron. I love a good sunrise, the clear blue skies and the chirping of birds. Do I need to witness it first hand everyday? No. 

Take care of your health and listen to your body. That's all one needs to do to live a good life. The articles out there claiming to make you an early bird make me cringe time and again. Routine, consistency, productivity, blah blah. Who decided that this needs to start at the crack of dawn? These articles also try to prove that you are missing out on something great or aren't successful enough if you start your day late. Don't let that get to you.

The early bird has become a mocking bird. Ignore. You do you.


  1. I hear you, Soumya. There are tons of articles and videos to turn a person in to an early riser. I am a morning person. I can’t function properly in the night. After 9 pm my brain shuts down. After 10 my body, too. I was always like this, even during my school days. I could wake up early to study or do other works, but staying up late is torturous for me. My husband, on the other hand, can’t function in the morning, but is productive in the night. We have to understand our body’s requirements and choose what is good for us, not some article’s claims.

  2. As with everything in life - You do you - is the best mantra. My mom is a late riser and I can only imagine how hard it would have been living in a joint family. Luckily my father likes to wake up early so between them they managed well - a lot like you and your husband. It was he who got us ready for school everyday. For a lot of us waking up in the morning is a necessity. My problem is that I love early mornings, but I hate the waking up part.

  3. It's how you are wired that decides if you are a morning person or no, or if you enjoy waking up early, or no. You do you is, indeed, the best mantra. At least then one can sleep in peace and wake up refreshed. :)
    The first line of your post made me chuckle. Did I tell you I love your sense of humour? :)

  4. After hitting 35, my mind these days switches off after 9 pm. :P It is funny how I used to blog till midnight and even more, and still wake up fresh. But now I need a full night sleep to even function properly the next day. I am glad the two of you have found a routine that suits each other. My husband is an early riser too and barely needs 5 hours of sleep. He is still trying to convince me to wake up early :P


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