Ah, Sunday night. Time to catch some z’s before another action-packed week. Hang on a minute, I hear you say, since when was 6pm night? It’s even light at that time now!

Alas, dear reader, the evening comes round mighty quickly when you get up at 5am.

Now before you reach for the tissues and start weeping over the sorry state that is my sleep routine, I have to admit that I get up at 5am by choice. Teachers are famously early risers, and to get into work for 7 (and yes, somehow I do have enough work to make that seem necessary) I need to be up around 6. The extra hour is my choice. I like to think of it as a buffer with which I acclimatise to the day ahead, indulge in a little gentle exercise and spend some time staring at the ceiling pondering life’s big questions (if the exercise is yoga, which it usually is, I sometimes manage all three simultaneously).

But that’s not all. There’s a sadistic pleasure to setting an alarm for 5am. A sense of prestige that comes with denying yourself what others enjoy freely. I wake. It’s dark. It’s cold. My world is blurry (can I get an ‘amen’ glasses wearers?). The rest of the house is fast asleep (assuming they manage to sleep through me bumbling round in the shower – it’s too early for hand-eye coordination which means 9 times out of 10 the shower gel goes crashing to the bathroom floor at some point). People think rising at this time is madness, but it hasn’t always been this way.

At some point in life, probably around the age 16 mark, everything you thought you knew about life turns on its head. Not wanting to wear a coat outside because it’s uncool (seriously what was that about?) becomes a desperation to own the woolliest coat in the village; pretending not to know your parents in public is swapped for counting the days to come home for the holidays and be back home ballers; feeling inexplicably awkward when asked to call someone up becomes – nope, hang on, that one’s, er, still in tact.

Anyway, with reference to today’s post, getting up at 6am to watch cartoons/play Sims/have a private disco in the living room is exchanged for a deep yearning for an extra minute in bed while Mum and Dad do their best to drive you from your duvet with the lethal combination of hair-drying and vacuuming. And you know what? It’s just not worth it. The amount I achieve between 8 and 10 on a Saturday morning is equivalent to what I get done in the rest of the weekend put together. It’s much harder to carpe diem if you don’t even get started til lunchtime.

All this I try to remember smugly as I begin to nod off at my friend’s birthday party this weekend. Merrily drinking cocktails made with a gin mixer (an unfortunate misunderstanding brought to our awareness the next morning) had done away with the last few alert cells in my body and my brain was having none of it. By midnight I was tucked up in bed well before the rest of the party-goers. I write this sitting on a cool seven and a half hours sleep, comfortably within sleep experts’* recommendations. I feel rested, contented, replenished. But do I feel smug? No. 5am it is then.



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