Turning normal sleeping cycles upside down helped this bestselling writer recover her energy
“Why don’t you go to sleep when normal people do?” This is a question asked of me on countless occasions. The last time was in a radio interview and I was about to give my usual self-deprecating comments about the joys of not being normal, when I took a breath and replied, “Because I don’t want to.” It really is that simple. Going to bed at 5pm and getting up just after midnight suits me. I enjoy the peace and quiet. My productivity levels soar. It’s just a shame other people find it so difficult to accept. I’m not entirely sure why. I do exactly what everyone else does, I just do it about seven hours earlier. Around the time most of the country is pouring milk on their Weetabix, I’m chopping garlic and frying mushrooms for my lunch. As you’re settling down with a glass of wine and a film, I’ve long since gone to bed. A week of keeping to the same pattern and it became my new routine.
The day always begins with a 1am breakfast before a long walk with my dog, then I start my working day. Working from home makes it all too easy to creep into the world of permanent loungewear, so I try to make the effort and dress as if I were going out to an office. It can feel strange, switching on my computer and settling down to write in the dark, but it doesn’t seem long before the rest of the world wakes up. My office looks out over the town and I see lights appear as the new day begins. I break for lunch around 8am, then go back to my desk. One rule is no napping! I still get an afternoon dip, like everyone else, but it usually happens mid-morning and a quick snack does the trick. If I give in, my sleeping pattern becomes even more erratic. Another thing I have to be strict with is reading emails after my day is over. When everyone else is at their desk chatting away, it’s tempting to join in so, around 2pm, I shut down all the tech, read for a couple of hours, then go to bed.