Internal Alarm Clock: Learning to deal with my body’s natural wake-up call

I’m lying in bed, watching and listening to the ceiling fan whirl overhead in an otherwise silent room. It’s a Saturday morning and it’s before 7 a.m. I have nowhere I need to be and nothing I need to do. And yet, here I am awake with zero possibility of falling back asleep.

In my younger days, I would have still been fast asleep dreaming of sugar plums or kicking the game winning field goal in the Super Bowl or rescuing Princess Leia from Jabba the Hutt. Now, I’m staring at the ceiling and wondering what kind of pain it’d be to have to paint it if I ever saw the need.

I’m not an old man by any means. Thirty-two years young and counting, God willing. I have my aches and pains, a side effect from playing 10 years of football, but I’m mostly healthy. So, why is it that I’m awake at such an early time when I’m not methodically making myself somewhat presentable for work like a programmed robot or a trained chimp?

I’ve come to the conclusion that my body has an internal alarm clock incapable of being shut off. My body has become used to getting up at a certain time for work five-sevenths of the week that it’s become habitual to prematurely depart dreamland for reality land.

But it goes deeper than just biological clocks and habits. There have been occasions in the past — like going on vacation and needing to catch an early flight — where I’ve set my phone’s alarm to wake me up at 4 a.m. And yet even before the alarm had a chance to do its duty, I’d be wide awake in a dark room ready to spring from bed at the first musical note from the ringtone.

Do I have the ability to forgo using actual alarm clocks henceforth, and resort to my body’s natural awakening mechanism? I would never have the gumption to test that theory, for the first time I would attempt such an experiment, I’d be three hours late to work and have a Case of the Mondays.

As a man whose glass is perpetually half full, I can see a bright side to this current dilemma. If I should be so blessed to have kids in the future, being awake at this hour is conducive to quality time spent eating Lucky Charms and watching Saturday morning cartoons … which isn’t all that different from what I do now. But with a kid, I won’t get as many sideways glances.

I’m not sure why I’m always awake at such an early hour — I know, I know. Some people reading this are probably thinking, “The six o’clock hour? I’m up way before that!” I don’t know if it’s because my body’s sleep tank is full and refuses to accept any more sleep. Or if it’s because once my brain activates for the day, there’s too much swirling up there to shut it off. Or maybe it’s because it gives me a golden opportunity in the midst of my on-the-go lifestyle to do something productive (like write this blog).

Whatever the reason for my late-to-bed, early-to-rise routine, I’m learning to take it in stride and make the most of it.

Ryan Glab
Ryan Glab
A Christian, conservative man seeking an open mic and a stage in the crowded, clamorous barroom of life. Fear God, love Jesus, and always seek truth.