Friday, July 3, 2009


i am not a morning person.

i have never been a morning person. as a child insomniac, i read all night with a flashlight, so my mother wouldn't catch me. when she did she'd take away the flashlight and tell me to go to sleep. instead, i'd lie, sleepless, in bed for a while. then i'd go raid the refrigeration.

fear was a big part of the problem. the night terrified me. i thought there was a man under my bed, Hitler hid in my closet, and some maniac lurked outside the window.

food comforted me, but not entirely.

i wouldn't fall asleep until the sun came up -- then i felt safe. needless to say,i was less than perky when it was time for school, and i'd get ready late, miss the bus and beg to stay home from school. (i hated school. with my chubby exterior, frizzy hair and braces AND very cruel classmates, school was hell.)

my sleep (or lack of sleep) habits stayed with me. in high school, my single mother dated strange men and stayed out all night. sometimes, she'd sleepover at her boyfriends several nights in a row.

those nights loomed long. i'd try not to move off the couch, so i could watch all around for attackers. the upstairs was off limits, god knows what waited up there.

i stayed up all night and ate. and ate. and ate.

in college, anorexia, then compulsive eating took over. i don't remember sleeping. although financially strapped, i paid for cable, just so i'd have company all night. by morning, i was vaguely comatose. a fat zombie.

sophomore year of college i gained 60 or so pounds, through eating and not sleeping. finally, i dropped out of college and kind of dropped out in general for a few years.

this pattern became my life. in my twenties and thirties, i starved myself down to nothing until bulimia hit me hard. binging and purging ruled my nights.

morning's became the major nemesis. after long nights of no sleep, i dreaded each and every daylight. going to work proved an excruciating experience. i had two major jobs during those years, each wanting me there by 8 am. day after day, i floated excuses for why i was late. or i'd drag in, barely able to talk, focus or think. day after day, i felt like shit.

i still fight this fight. i'm taking trazedone for sleep (or else i won't) and wake up (if you can call it that) in that old state of zombie-ness. it takes hours to feel semi-normal. my current job is fairly flexible and most of the time i can work from home. many of my clients are on the west coast, so it's useless to contact them before noon here in new jersey.

but we do travel a lot and have early meetings. what a struggle. each morning is frightening and unpleasant. my usual traveling companion, my brother, could run a marathon before my alarm even goes off. even when it's REALLY early.

my boyfriend also bounces out of bed, full of vim and vigor. morning's his favorite time for everything, from chores to long conversations about important topics. all before coffee.
on days off, he wants to get up with the sun and head to the beach. aargh. it's just painful. it hurts.

i long to be a morning person. someone who gets up, heads to the gym, eats a heathly breakfast, reads The New York Times and gets to work before nine, when i'm, in truth, still groggily trying to open my eyes.

it kind of cuts a life in half -- officially waking up at noon. and what if i get a "real" job again. and showing up for lunch doesn't cut it?

still, i'm not a morning person.


  1. I am not a morning person. It takes great effort to get up early (before 8am is early in my mind). Recently I have been making the effort to be in bed by 10.30 pm and then up at 7.30am. It is a forced routine. Early rising is alien to me, always has been. It takes effort to get up early. Once up I am bright and happy at least.

    My son sleeps with the light on - the whole room is lit up or he cannot sleep, he gets scared. But he indicated he is ready for a lamp beside his bed now. He also watches a dvd to go to sleep. He really struggles to just go to sleep naturally. He is getting better.

    You really have had a tough time of it. No wonder you have had problems for so long. Sleep problems do your head in. No sleep and the brain just goes crazy. Still, you are better now than you were. That is the what is important. It is something I think you will ALWAYS have to work on.

    Sophia Loren said that the the key to maintaining her looks was to stay in bed until she was ready to get out. I agree.

  2. I too am really not a morning person! I had childhood insomnia too - I had a flash light and a pile of books under my bed :D but luckily for me it wore off.... it must be horrible :(... I know from having babies, less than 5 hours sleep and you're a jabbering wreck for the rest of the day....and when you get less than 5 every night for months...holy crap... I just can't do it. That's my idea of hell!

    I think men are a lot better at getting less sleep - I don't know why! My husband took over night times, and he stayed so much more alert! *shrugs* It's always him dragging me out of bed when I have to be up before 8...!!

    Don't worry about 'proper' jobs until you absolutely have to! (I'm not!!! Heehee!!)

  3. PS, funnily enough I named Sophia my daughter after Sophia Loren (I named mine Sophia Erin :D ) and my word, that girl loves her sleeps! :D

  4. Have you considered getting a night job in order to do what your body naturally wants to do? It sounds as if you've struggled with this your entire life, and that's very sad. As a child I was afraid of nearly everything, except the dark. My sister and I were put to bed very early, and that accounted for our sleeplessness, but once it got dark, we slept. Maybe because we had each other for comfort. I'm so sad about how terrified you were as a child, and it didn't sound as if your mother helped you at all with your insecurities, she just let them go until they were deeply ingrained in your psyche. I'm so sorry. This was very sad to read.

    In spite of it all, you are a beautiful, highly intelligent, functional, competent woman. I really admire you.

    I'm not a morning person either. God help the person that talks to me before I've had my coffee.

  5. I'm not either. I just wrote about this very same thing on my blog a couple of days ago! I completely understand.

  6. Ha-Ha ... I just absolutely LOVE mornings ...

    typically I'll find myself waking up to the chirps and whimsical whistle of the little birdies of the forest ... sometimes it seems as if they're in harmonious concert as they complement the soft symphonic-like sounds of the windchimes swaying in the breeze below our deck

    ... I lie still, and continue to enjoy the moment ... cherishing this brief time I soak in the still of the peacefulness, placidity and quietude as I hear no sound from planes, trains, nor minivan moms ... there is unbroken peace, quiet, and serenity again, and it has arrived with daybreak ...

    ... this morning was especially good as I am fortunate to awake without special need, and because of that I pray thanks to God ...

    but here's why I really love mornings ...

    ...... it's ...... waking up next to the most wonderful, the most beautiful and the absolute sexiest woman (she's my fantasy gal) in the entire world ...

    ahhhhhhhhh yes ... my mornings will always be GREAT and will continue this way as long as every day has me waking up above-ground .... not below .... and as long as that continues I pray thanks to God - everyday.


  7. linda: i could stay in bed all day - dozing, reading, watching terrible TV. i must become a glamorous movie star and get that opportunity. i would enjoy a daily massage, healthy meals cooked by my five star chef, access to the most interesting people. yes, now all i need is an Italian accent, huge boobs, and a history of affairs with Marcello Mastroanni. i must get to work.

    re: your son. my nephew was incredibly fearful until he was about eleven. at 18, he is leader of the pack. i guess they really do grow out of things.

    Abi; my boyfriend is nothing less than energetic on any amount of sleep. sometimes, he has to work thru the night and the next day, he's ready to go. i'd die. good for you for finding a great use for your hubbies need for less sleep. choppy sleep is grotesque.

    and good for glamorous little sophia erin and her movie star sleep. may she maintain that ability!

    karen; i try very hard to find night job opportunities. it's harder than i thought. right now, i'm pretty lucky. i can work at home much of the time, so i try as best i can not to do too much too early. i'm also working nights this summer, dealing with our west coast clients.

    thank you for your caring comments. it's so nice to have that support and understanding - the kind we didn't get as kids. hope you are well, well, well.

    Harriet; as soon as i finish responding to comments, i'm off to read your blog. it's always comforting to know there are others out there who "feel my pain". but i wish we could all just sleep!

    anonymous: thank you for this glorious ode to morning. you make it sound dreamy. what a beautiful way to approach each day -- thankful for each moment; content and sure in God's love.

    honey, who is this sexy fantasy gal you wake up with? i'm tossing and turning you're hanging out with some beautiful woman?

    you make my life better, you make me better and i forgive for falling asleep easily and waking up four hours later, jumping out of bed and re-paving the driveway.

    i love you!