I am not a  morning person. If you're like anything like me, there is no worse feeling than the one where you're lying in bed knowing you have no choice but to get up but wanting nothing more than to sleep another 10, 20, 30 minutes. And yet here you are. Stuck. The morning is coming at you like a freight train, and you have no choice but to suffer through it.

The problem, of course, is that I'm a  night owl. I do my best work and my best thinking in the wee hours when the house is quiet and pitch black. Unfortunately, the world has yet to rearrange itself to suit my needs. I usually have to be awake at the crack of dawn no matter what for kids and work or some combination of the two.

Here are some easy things you can do to reduce your morning suffering if you've gotten minimal sleep and it's entirely your own fault:

1) Morning-proof the night before. Pack your lunch and/or your kids' lunches the night before. Shower the night before. Pick out clothes the night before and have them in a convenient spot waiting for you. Have breakfast options available that are quick, nutritious, and require as little cognitive energy as possible to prepare. Doing these things allows you to extract every possible nanosecond of sleep that exists before you absolutely must be wherever it is you need to be.

2) Choose two nights out of your week and force yourself to go to bed by 11 PM. 11 is an early bedtime for night owls. That's what time it is as I'm writing this and I am in no way planning to go to bed anytime soon. But see, sleep is a law of averages. If you're routinely depriving yourself, those chickens are coming home to roost at some point and you will function poorly. You need to pay your dues, and getting that full 7-8 hours (assuming you wake up between 6 and 7 AM) on selected nights will buy you the energy to stay up later on the other nights.

3) Work your connections. If you're a parent, you know what I'm talking about. Bargain with every ounce of your strength to get your partner to get up with the kids or, if you're childless, to perform any other morning rituals that can be outsourced. This buys me more precious minutes of extra sleep in the morning than I care to admit, but there it is. The key here is following through on your end of the bargain. So mornings aren't your thing -- maybe trash duty or laundry or food shopping isn't theirs. Tradesies. Single people, you may not be able to fully enjoy the utility of this tip, but take heart in the fact that you also don't have to deal with another human being's BS. You still come out ahead here.

4) Create flexibility in your schedule. This could anything from being your own boss to freelancing to simply negotiating nontraditional hours with your employer. I know a guy who doesn't show up for work until 10:30 AM, but he works well into the evenings. If you're doing great work, smart companies will be totally okay with this.

5) Move more throughout the day. Yeah, sorry, this is yet another variation on the age-old wellness mantra that exercise fixes everything. Unfortunately for those of us who hate it, it actually does. When I exercise regularly I find myself happily jumping out of bed in the morning because I have successfully tricked my body into having energy, no matter how late I was up the night before.

 

Published on: Mar 31, 2016
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