Day 15- Let’s talk about the unfortunate 4 AM club

Day 14 was mired in household chores, literature review (for work) and contemplation. I went to bed early (i.e. 01:00 AM rather than 03:00 AM) and hoped to wake early.

I did wake up earlier than usual today. 06:00 AM is much later than my pre- COVID 04:00AM start, but the past couple of weeks have been “off”. I wanted to have the luxury of not setting an alarm. My natural clock wakes me up at 08:30 AM, always has. And I fight it every darned day of my life, by trying to kick myself out of bed at a god- awful hour such at 04:00 AM. It is the bane of my existence, but I must endure it if I harbour any hopes of having a productive day.

I am often asked how I accomplish this seeming impossible task. To go against the grain of my most basic nature. The easiest answer would be – make it a habit. Of course it is easier said than done. Even after all these years of waking early, any number of factors can throw my morning routine off. A late night, a sick child, rainy or cold mornings, spousal discouragement, a presentation to prepare, travel or just pure fatigue. And deviating from the habit for even a couple of days can make it much harder to get back on track.

I have always kept my phone away from the bedside. Not particularly due to fears of radiation exposure, no; when the alarm rings I want it to be far enough to make me get out of bed. ( For the chronic snoozers of alarms -try one of these https://alar.my or Alarm Clock for Heavy Sleepers. There are several similar apps out there.)

Getting up and brushing your teeth is step 1 to winning the sleep battle. Second is not going back to bed after your morning cuppa. For that I have gotten into the habit of changing into my workout gear as soon as possible. There have been days when I have woken up too early, taken a cup of tea to the couch and fallen asleep there. But I am yet to fall asleep so in my workout attire.

Minimising the number of steps I need to take to get to this point is critical. Therefore, my clothes and bag are laid out the previous night. This seems to help. And once I’m out of the door, there is no looking back of course. So that is all. My secret. I don’t think of it as a long sequence for the day. The aim when hitting the sack at night is singular. Get my arse of bed and into the loo. Period. The rest then falls into place from there on.

Getting home after training in the morning. Getting ready (almost) before the kids wake up. Prep the progeny for school. Get to work. Yada yada yada. The rest of the day is self- scheduled. And falling asleep as early as possible at night is also taken care of. Many nights, I end up passing out mid sentence during story time. I’m that knackered. All that sevofluorane exposure in the OR must also help.

Like I mentioned before, I despise this 4 AM business. I do it out of compulsion. Compulsion to training. And on days that I’m truly miserable, I give in. I sleep. And on other days I thank heavens that the days when the alarm rang at 03:00 AM or even 02:45 AM (residency +3 yr old + 3 months old+ pumping + pre- rounds )are behind me!

 

Till next time,

J

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