Are you a Night Owl or a Lark? – How & Why I Changed from One to the Other

Do you know someone that simply hates mornings… prefers late late evenings? I know, hate is a strong word… one I don’t usually use. In this case though, I know several people that truly do hate mornings. Maybe you too despise those mornings when the alarm goes off, or the dogs get you up early or the kids wake up way before you have to get up. Maybe you hit the snooze 5 times wishing for just 10 more minutes of sleep.
Mornings are tough for a lot of people. I know, I used to be one of them… I was your typical night owl. Staying up until 2 or 3 am was my typical schedule. Now however, I am usually up before my alarm goes off. Today, I woke up at 3:45, meditated and did my appreciation journaling. I got out of bed today at 4:30 and started creating my day intentionally. I wake up excited about the day ahead and all that I can create in it. I also love the quietness of the mornings. The stillness of the early 4-5 am … and then the birds waking up and singing and the sun shining its rays of light on us. I absolutely LOVE mornings!!!
I used to be a NIGHT OWL … SO, I do understand … the struggle is real!!
Did you know that studies show that larks … that’s what they call us early risers … tend to be healthier and happier than night owls. The study says that early risers are healthier physically – likely because they head to bed before the nighttime snacking begins, have greater productivity, worry less/sleep more and are generally happier. Now, I know … to give credit to you night owls … you consider the late late night the same as we early birds do … sacred time. I really don’t think there is a right or a wrong here, unless of course it isn’t working for ya, and you know you need a change 🙂
Click here to see who else rises early … and why (this is really interesting)
So first off, if you are happy being a night owl … you are a happy energetic person creating the life of your dreams … and being a night owl serves you well … WOOHOO!!!!!! I think that’s great and there is no reason to change! Keep it up!!!
For me, switching from a night owl to a lark has helped me in so many ways. I am sharing this for those of you, especially you Janice (that asked me to write about this) and many of my longtime clients, that are always saying they wish they could get up earlier, but they just can’t. This article is for those of you that WANT to be a lark instead of an owl:) It’s for those that feel a bit of depression, isolation, disconnection or just plain can’t get your ass in bed early enough or out of bed early either.
So if you want to make the change … Here is what I did … and why:)
Let’s start with WHY?
Well, there were several reasons.

  1. I woke up in reaction mode. Reacting to the alarm, to being late, anxiousness, to the pressures of moment-to-moment living. The feeling of reaction in my body was very comfortable, in an uncomfortable sort of way. I wanted to create my day in a graceful and loving way; yet everyday, I would wake up to chaotic stressful energy … within myself.
  2.  I was missing time with my husband: He got up at 3am to work construction in the summer, and he went to bed by 8 … at the latest!! I went to bed at 2 or 3am and got up at 7am because my son was up. We were on opposite schedules and didn’t have to be. He couldn’t change his schedule, but I could. And, if I didn’t go to bed with him, I wouldn’t have any “special” time with him.
  3. I realized that I needed to change my nightly routine because I would sit and eat at night … bored and nervous eating. My body showed the physical signs and my mind the mental berating of myself every night and every morning. I recognized this pattern for years before I did anything about it. YEARS!!!!!!!!!
  4. I was going to bed at 3am and having to get up at 7am to get my son off to school. I was tired and bitchy and short-tempered. It wasn’t his fault … it was my responsibility.
  5. My intuition told me that I would feel better, be kinder to myself and others, be intentional and committed and proud of myself … if I would JUST DO IT!
  6. I knew that with a name like Sunny Dawn, I was destined to be an early bird 🙂 :): )

First off – I decided I wanted to get up early – It is a choice! If you want to get up, you CAN!!! You just need to commit to YOU!

Here are some of the things I did, in no particular order, to become an Early Bird. Maybe some of them they will work for you too:)

  • Create a morning ritual or routine. Many people that start their days early create the time for meditation, exercise, journal/writing, reading and even a healthy breakfast. I do the first four, but threw in breakfast, as that can be an important one for many.
  • Start slow, don’t make any major changes. Start by waking up just 20 minutes earlier than usual. Get used to that, then do another 20 minutes. Do this gradually until you get to your goal time. Waking up earlier should signal your body to fall asleep earlier as well. If you’re waking up 20 minutes earlier in the morning, you will likely fall asleep 20 minutes earlier in the evening … eventually. This doesn’t always happen right away. Be patient!
  • Put your alarm clock/phone on the other side of the room. This forces you to get up out of bed to shut it off. Mission accomplished.
  • Choose to be proactive. I can’t tell you how many mornings I woke up late, rushing around trying to get my son ready for school or feeling rushed because I didn’t have enough time to get something ready. And man the stories I told myself in my head about how no good I was … they were terrible. When you are running late, you are reactive. When you have created plenty of time, you are proactive.
  • Go to sleep earlier … even if you don’t think you’ll be able to fall asleep … and read an old fashioned book (no screens) while in bed. If you are tired, you’ll fall asleep much sooner than you think. Remember, you are training your body to a new way of living.
  • Watch the sunrise. There is something about watching a sunrise that reminds us that no matter what happens, on any day … ever … the sun will come up again. Witnessing that breaking of the dawn and the start of a whole new day … reminds you that it’s your life to create as you wish.
  • Go into the bathroom and pee … or to the kitchen and get yourself a glass of water, make a cup of coffee or tea. Move your body away from the bed. Immediately.
  • Stay on a sleep schedule – even on the weekends my friends. Let your body get into a cycle. Human beings are cyclic; it will be much easier if you will stick to a sleep cycle. Changing it on the weekends, especially in the beginning, will surely sabotage your early bird goals.
  • Do something important and use your time wisely. Don’t waste your time on Facebook or social media. Do something productive. Set your intention for the day or write in your gratitude journal. By the time 8am rolls around, you’ll have done more than most people do all day.
  • Stay Committed – Don’t listen to that head of yours when it tries to talk you out of it. Give it a 21 day chance … at least.

Whether you choose to be an early bird or a night owl … I LOVE you! If whatever you are doing isn’t working for you, just make some baby-step changes. Try out something new. Eventually you will find what works best for you … and remember … you just never know. Just because you’ve always done it one way or been this way … doesn’t mean it is best for you for now! Venture out and try new ways of being and living if what you are doing isn’t working for your highest and best good any longer.
ALL my LOVE, Sunny
PS: Are you an early bird or a night owl? Do you do any of these routines and do they work for you? Will you incorporate a few of these steps into your life? I’d love to hear. Please share in the comments below – SDJ♥ 

19 thoughts on “Are you a Night Owl or a Lark? – How & Why I Changed from One to the Other”

  1. I’ve been a nite owl my entire life. My husband was a nite owl as well, working graveyard shift. But since the recent loss of my husband I’ve realized it no longer serves me to be a nite owl. As a matter a fact, it feels like it’s 5x harder on my body than it was b4 my husband’s death earlier this year, not sure why. The transition won’t be easy, but necessary. I’m much more happy and at peace in the morning, there’s just something about the sunrise that gives me hope, again. Something I never got from sunrise b4, especially if I happen to be going to bed at that time. Thank you Sunny, you have brought light into my world again.

  2. Thank you for this timely post. I’ve been so much of what you described you used to be. My body wakes up early but I’ve been forcing myself to stay in bed, listening to the stories in my head that I don’t get enough uninterrupted sleep. Owling it doesn’t work for me anymore. So appreciate this nudge and loving support, Sunny!

  3. My husband and I were always night owls. When he died suddenly and traumatically I would retreat to my bed early and pray to dream of him. It got me into a lark pattern. I feel much more productive rising early. I do my meditation and prayer time pray for requests that come my way, do my readings and jump in the shower. Yes the evening is lovely and soft but the morning is so glorious ! I am trying to write daily of my experience with tragic, sudden loss. Thank you Sunny for writing this article. Blessings to all,

  4. I love the early morning, I meditate and write in my gratitude diary and sometimes just be still and soak in the peace and quiet of the morning, magical

  5. Carol Babineaux

    Great tips, thank you! I have been an owl my entire life (I vividly remember my mother having to literally drag me out of bed at 10:30am for afternoon kindergarten, after I had been up well past midnight playing in my room by the light of the night light!) but as an adult it causes a lot of stress for me, always running late in the mornings and never having enough time before work to do all the stuff I need to do before I leave the house. I’m that person hitting the snooze button half a dozen times. I’m ready to try the suggestions to shift my body’s schedule!

    1. Sunny Dawn Johnston

      Baby steps and before you know it you will make the shift if you feel guided to. Thank you for sharing!!

  6. I am also learning to be a lark- never knew thats what they called early risers! My middle name is Dawn so maybe a sign! 🙂 I do love a good quiet morning- I get a ton of things done I normally would not do- mostly my self care- love this article- hit home for this girl!

  7. I am an early bird, and when reading what time you get up that is matching my get up time, Sunny. Since this started happening automatically to me I have felt better, love the quiet time for starting with my meditation time, and prayers, and connecting with nature as the sun starts to rise and shine, which in summer happens much earlier. I love seeing the birds that also wake up early, and I send them love, as they are a wonderful part of nature, too. By having a schedule I work on early, which makes me smile and be happy, an then I can share my happiness with others I come into contact with later. Thank you for a wonderful reminder of why to get up early, Sunny!

  8. Thanks for the reinforcement. I’ve been an owl for a long while and made a good start transforming to a lark, then backslid. I’m off to a new start even this morning!

    1. Vicki Martinelli

      I love this article and was a Lark when I was married but became an Owl. Loved the part about eating, so true. During the evening there is darkness but in the morning the birds and nature are coming alive. I’m missing that beautiful part of waking up. This will provide me with the time I need for me!!!! Divine timing and thank you so much for this article.

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