I'm a night person, or as like to call it, a person. I've never met a snooze button I didn't like. I've never gone to the gym before work. And I've never watched a morning show. Still, I'm forced to live—and work—with normal, more diurnal people.
Sleep preferences are partially inherited. Scientists attribute severe night-owlism to a genetic mutation that affects one's circadian rhythm. And it's obvious that my dad gave me my late-night leanings, in addition to blue eyes and ears that stick out. My mom, on the other hand, is an early-riser who can easily function on five hours of sleep. Give her six, and she'll paint your living room and decoupage a piece of furniture after she gets off work. The good news is that a night owl can change his or her habits and dress up like an early bird. Here's how I do it every day:
1) Wake up earlier than "on time."
I hate waking up early, thus I wake up earlier than I have to. It sounds like some sleepytime masochism, but it works. If I wake up at the last possible minute, I feel disoriented all day. Also, I forget to wash all the crust out of my eyes. I set three (or sometimes four!) alarms each morning to slowly rouse/annoy me. This way, I have at least a half-hour to myself before I have to ride the subway to work. And I get out all the eye crispies... usually.
2) Work can wait, caffeinate!
I officially start my day by drinking iced green tea. I usually do it once I'm dressed and sitting at my desk, plotting the day. Occasionally, I caffeinate during my morning subway ride. Most importantly, I do it before seriously interacting with anyone. (You're welcome.) Around 2:00 p.m., I also drink a second green tea. If I miss the early afternoon window, I don't let myself drink more caffeine. (Getting up early means struggling every night to go to bed at a decent time. My ideal bed time: Midnight or 1 a.m.)
3) Snack well and often.
When, not if, I get tired throughout the day, I eat healthy snacks. I've always got fruit and water nearby, and I also love these thin pretzel chips that I tell myself are vegetables.