I have a propensity and natural inclination to stay up too late. Yet I have discovered that, if I can adjust my internal clock, I feel so much more awake and rested when I go to bed super early and awaken at 4 a.m.!
Since I love to stay up late, the only thing that has been keeping me on an early schedule is the fact that I feel so much better when I get up early.
When I am on this early morning schedule, I awaken at 4 a.m. feeling mostly alert and refreshed. There is some sleepiness that disappears with coffee, but nothing like the sleep hangover I feel if I sleep a few hours later. If I awaken at 9 a.m. or 10 a.m. I feel that the whole day is gone and I don't have as much quiet "me" time. Awakening at 4 a.m., when the world is still dark and quiet, is so peaceful and sets such a good tone to the day.
I say this because, for about the past two weeks, I have slowly been going to bed later and later again. Last night I didn't go to bed until 2 a.m. By the time I awoke today, I was already feeling grouchy and out of sorts.
I have only started practicing this for the past few months, so this is a new habit for me. Because I have stayed up late most of my life, if I don't watch out, I find myself staying up a little later each night, and before I know it, I am back on a night schedule, which immediately needs to be corrected.
I really dislike the process of getting back on my early morning schedule, because it involves me purposefully going to bed two hours later each night/(24-hour period) until I have gone around the clock and my schedule is once again corrected. Although this generally takes about 8 days to accomplish, it is easier for me than trying to go backward and go to bed a little earlier each night. That's just how it works for me.
So today I am a bit annoyed with myself, realizing that I am "off" my sleep/wake cycle and need to do some work to reset it.
This isn't the most social schedule, because when I am on it, I get up at 4 a.m., and by 4 p.m. I am pretty much wiped out and do not even want to talk to anyone on the phone. At that point, I am fixing dinner and getting ready to wind down and go to sleep. I even like going to bed around 4 p.m. and getting up super early!
Since I spend 99% of my life indoors and alone (more on this in a minute), I have the time to devote to getting my sleep/wake schedule on track, but I wish I didn't allow it to get off track in the first place. If I paid more attention to those times when I am feeling stressed or anxious, I think I would better be able to keep my schedule from going awry.
I am working on my agoraphobia and social anxiety, so there are days when I might feel up for dinner with a friend or to get together with someone, but the disadvantage of this early sleep cycle is that I go to bed so early that I am asleep during what are normal social times for other people. However, the advantages to it are I feel so much better mentally, and it seems to keep me in a much better place to battle my depression. If awakening at an early hour makes me feel significantly less depressed, then I will do it! Sometimes I wish I could find a better balance, but right now I need to do what works for me.