Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Being a Night Owl

I’m a night owl.  I wish I wasn’t because my dear hubby (PWM) is a morning person.  But, alas, I’m a night owl.  It’s genetic.  My mother is a night owl, too.  She doesn’t like mornings, and she does her best work at night.  I would get up in the morning sometimes to find the house completely clean and the furniture rearranged.  Now she works 3rd shift as an intensive care unit nurse – a clear case of putting her power to use for good.

I tried to be a morning person in college.  I even signed up for 7:30 classes.  I just slept through them.  Most of the time, though, I was in the classroom.  I’m optimistic.  I really tried.

In medical school, you don’t have any choice on the whole morning or night person thing.  Rounds are obscenely early in the morning, but we had so much studying to do that we couldn’t go to bed until really late at night.  In other words, sleep deprivation was the order of the day.

Things weren’t much better when I was in practice.  My colleagues were, for the most part, early risers, apparently.  They seemed to like to schedule meetings for first thing in the morning and did not understand my desire to sleep as late as possible.  At least, when I was practicing medicine, I could get enough sleep – except when a baby decided to make an appearance since the vast majority refused to be born during office hours.

Now that I can schedule my own hours, I definitely get enough sleep since sleep deprivation is a major migraine trigger.  I also, though, can indulge my night owl tendencies.  Notice that I said “indulge” as if being a night owl is somehow bad.  Even though I can be quite productive in the late hours of the night, there is this stigma about it.  People who are really serious about life, do things in the morning, like work out, have devotions, etc.

Jon Acuff on Stuff Christians Like did a post on this topic called “Assuming God is a morning person and satan is a night owl”.  First, go read his post because it is really funny and he’s a better writer than I am.

OK, now we can continue.  Have you been told serious Christians always have their devotional time in the morning?  I have. The idea is that having your quiet time or devotional time starts your day off right and gets you in the right frame of mind.  This is a great idea, but for those of us who don’t “do” mornings, it’s hard to stay awake and focused enough to do a devotional time.  It also locks us into a specific time frame before the rest of the day starts.  And, honestly, for us night owls, we’re just foggy first thing in the morning. 

That’s how I’m wired.  I tolerate mornings and start to function well sometime after lunch.  PWM is the opposite – he gets up alert and ready to go, but is ready for bed by about 10pm.  But it’s good that God made people like me, because it’s the night owls of the world who work third shift.  It’s part of the amazing variety that is the human race! 

The way I see it, God is awake all the time.  When I meet with God is between me and God.  I like using my prayer beads and breviary so that I have fixed times to pray throughout the day (since we are told to pray without ceasing), but my main time with the Lord is at the end of the day.  This is when I really can relax and think.  This is when I do most of my blog writing.  I also read my Bible and meditate on what God is telling me.  I spend a lot of time telling God what’s on my mind and trying to quiet my mind to listen toe what He’s saying to me.  And it keeps me from rearranging the furniture.

What about you?  Are you a morning person or a night owl?  Are you in a place in your life when you can live out your tendencies or are you having to conform to others’ schedules (like if you have kids in school)?  How does that work for you? 

1 comment:

Diane said...

I agree with you. As the years have flown by I like to stay up later and later at night. My 10 yr old daughter is also a night owl. Loves to sleep late in the morning.
Good thing we homeschool, she would never make it as a public school kid.