Tuesday, 21 May 2013


Every time I wake up at 5 am before a 6 am yoga class, I swear to every deity you could possibly believe in that I will never get used to rising so early.  I’m sure everyone with small children or a shift job will scoff at me as pathetic and feeble, but as someone who until recently had been the usual 40 hour week, 9-5 sort, getting used to getting up so ridiculously early has been a real challenge.  I’ve been taking four 6 am classes a week at the moment and now I feel like I’ve been awake for about four years.  Finding practical solutions to get me over this hurdle has been a real kick in the teeth of my hard fixed insomniac habits, but I’m getting there…

Go to bed early, no Mad Men
When I’m getting up at 5 am, I try to get to bed by 9.30 pm in the hope I may possible be at least resting comfortably if not asleep by 10 o’clock.  Stimulating your brain with tv, the computer, your ipod etc is not an effective way to achieve this goal.  I’m the worst for this, watching the latest episode of my favourite tv in bed or trawling through the internet as I procrastinate before sleep.  Guaranteed, I won’t be able to sleep when I turn off the light.  Read instead or listen to an audio book.   

Prepare the night before
If I have to leave the house at 5.25 am for a class on the other side of town, I would rather sleep a few minutes longer than stumble around the house in the dark looking for my favourite Lululemon sweater.  Get everything you need together before you go to bed.  Put your keys, wallet, water bottle, any snacks, notebooks etc you may need together by the front door so you can simply stumble out of bed, wash your face, get dressed, and head out the door, all in as little time as I possible. 

Never snooze
Hitting the snooze button on your alarm is the worst idea in the world.  Not only is there the chance of accidentally turning the alarm off altogether, you also mess up your brain by settling into a light sleep and I don’t know about you, but that makes me feel worse.  I never leave enough time to snooze because I know I’ll take advantage of it and it will all be downhill from there.

Embrace Caffeine
I know a number of yogis who avoid caffeine because they abstain from all stimulants.  I am not one of those yogis.  In fact, at the crack of dawn when it’s still dark, a hot cup of instant coffee with a little bit of honey and milk is probably the only thing that stops me from crashing my car on the way to work.  Caffeine increases dopamine levels, improves cognitive function and is a rich source of antioxidants.  A cup of coffee or two a day has also been linked to a decreased risk of Alzheimer’s.  So I’m embracing my morning coffee (or two), as long as I keep it in moderation. 

Don’t be afraid to nap
I have never been a day napper.  You know when I’m really sick because that used to be the only time I ever slept during the day.  It actually makes me feel revolting when I wake up. Unfortunately, when you teach two classes from 6 am, and then another two in the evening, you have to be practical and embrace the daytime nap.  I come home, get straight back into bed six hours after I vacated it, and fall asleep almost immediately.  Bliss.

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