Can a night person become a morning person?

For the last year, I have been waking up early, well before the time I need to leave for work. This may not seem like a very big deal, but for me, it is.

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For the first fifty years of my life, I considered myself to be a “night person”. Platitudes about early birds and worms were never enough to convince me that there was any merit to waking up early. But even if I could have been convinced, I was physically unable to wake up early because I always went to bed too late. That was the main problem.

I went to bed too late because I could never stop doing what I was doing. Whatever it is that I was doing, I wanted to keep doing. I have come to understand this part of my character as my internal addict. I also refer to it as my innate inertia. Newton’s First Law (Inertia) says that objects in motion stay in motion unless acted on by an external force. If I was doing something – watching TV, working on something, reading a book, it didn’t matter what it was – I wanted to do that forever. And I could not find a way to get myself to stop doing whatever that was and go to bed.

This resulted in me staying up until very unreasonable times, always past midnight. So, if I had to be at work by 8:00 am, there was never a chance that I would get eight hours of sleep.

What changed for me is that I have been reckoning with that “inner addict” who is never satisfied over the past year. Where does that lack of satiety come from? And how does it serve me?

I don’t know where it comes from and it does not serve me well under most circumstances. Sometimes, my inertia can be like a superpower that will get me to start and complete massive projects in one sitting (literally, without getting up), but other times it will glue me to my phone or Netflix for more hours than I care to admit.

For the past year, however, I have been learning as much as I can about addiction. Two things brought me to this point:

1. The understanding that I am addicted to food (yes, that’s a thing)

2. A late night (2 am) internet search for “help for food addiction” on August 12, 2021

Getting my addiction under control has had an enormous impact on the rest of my life. I was looking for a solution to help me stop eating addictively, and I ended up finding out a lot more about myself and what makes me tick. And it has helped me to become a “morning person” without even really trying. Now, I love my mornings, and don’t want to go back to a life of late nights and feeling terrible every morning.

Possible, and enjoyable, even for an avowed night owl