The world is divided into two types of people: those who awaken before sunrise, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, and those who stay up late at night. One group will never understand the other, and getting such contrasting biological clocks to sync is pretty much impossible.
Though I definitely don’t fall into the Morning Person category, I have seen the behaviour first hand. These people rarely need an alarm, if at all. Regardless of bedtime, their eyes will still open automatically at some vulgar hour like 5 a.m. or something, while everyone else is in a deep R.E.M. cycle. They will get up, shower, roam around the house, make coffee, and maybe even breakfast. Some of them even tidy up or – if you can imagine – go jogging or to the gym. All this before most of us have even stirred.
They will tell you they get their best work done in the morning, when their head is clear and their ideas fresh. They sign up for the 8 a.m. workout classes and agree to the 7:30 a.m. dentist appointments. They will be the only ones in the grocery store when it opens in the morning, and they claim “the day is half over” at 11 a.m.
The early birds are the ones who will spot deer darting across lawns before the workday traffic starts, and they’ll see the morning paper mistakenly being thrown into the ditch rather than the driveway, and they know, if only based on lights turning on, who among their neighbours is also an early bird.
I will never understand any of what I just wrote, but I know these people exist. I’ve been friends with them, I’ve been related to them, I’ve lived with them, and I may have even married one of them. Everyone has their own reasons for being an early riser, but I’m told it has to do with an internal clock, and is often made more appealing by the quiet solitude of those early hours, when a person can be alone and at peace.
But here’s the thing: not everyone is on that schedule. Most people, best I can tell, prefer to sleep in when they can, and will get downright balky when discussing the prospect of getting up early when they don’t absolutely have to. Personally, I do some of my best sleeping in the early hours of the morning, and when awakened before my time by needless prattling around the house – well, let’s just say you’ll end up being subjected to the exact opposite of morning person-type behaviour.
Night owls tend to be quite confounded by morning people, and are very sensitive to the arrogance which usually accompanies getting most of the day’s errands done while the world sleeps. To someone who loves nothing more than being in bed, the level of productivity of an early riser is not something we want rubbed in our face. Yes, Linda, you finished all your gardening before I even breached the doorway of my bedroom, you don’t get a prize for making me feel lazy.
After all, those early risers are nodding off after the evening news and rarely game for a late dinner and movie. They don’t get to enjoy the hard-earned, “all the kids are finally gone to bed” relaxation time, because they chose to take it on the other end. And I bet some of them don’t even know who Jimmy Fallon is, let alone James Corden.
I just recently hooked up the FitBit I got for Christmas, and perhaps even more interesting to me than the daily step count stats on its display is the information it records about my sleeping habits. It tells me what time I went to bed the night before, what time I woke up, how many times I woke up during the night, and even how many times my sleep became restless (I have no idea what kind of bionic, futuristic sensors are capable of measuring these things via a computer chip in a wristwatch, but it’s too much for me to even conceive, so I just don’t think about it).
What it tells me, daily, is that I get an amount of sleep that definitely doesn’t feel like enough but that an early riser would say is plenty. I guess, like conversations about the thermostat or the TV remote, the argument will never be settled.