Musicians, I think, are notorious for working late and sleeping in. I used to be in this crowd. I loved getting to a piano around 8 PM and having the rest of the night ahead of me, without any commitments to anyone, where I could practice. I felt 'the muse' late at night, I felt inspired. It was harmless if I wasted 45 minutes with friends talking in the hallways outside our practice rooms because I could always just practice later.
As I expanded on in my Friday post, I reached a crisis point where I couldn't manage to get my practicing in if I tried to work late.
I don't know much of the science behind it, but I do feel like I think better in the morning, even though I would have sworn several years ago the opposite. As I think back now, the last five years have easily been the most productive of my life, musically, and most positive of my life personally. Perhaps I felt inspired working late in years past, but that doesn't mean that the work I actually did was any good.
I've told enough friends, colleagues and students about my love of mornings to know that most people will still reject the idea. They aren't morning people, you see.
I'm very much of the opinion that anyone can become morning people. Here's how I did it.
We're very familiar as a society about sleep cycles, but we don't think about our awake cycles. When we're awake, our bodies go through natural cycles of energy. I always get tired around 1 or 2 PM, regardless of how much sleep I got the night before. I get through it by either working (I do well if I'm teaching during this time), or I take a quick cat nap (10 minutes with about 5 minutes snoozing after my alarm is enough for my brain to shut down, without getting into too deep a sleep). Either way, I catch a second wind and have a long productive period through the rest of the day.
The trick to being a morning person is to always be a morning person. Sleeping in is the worst thing we can do for our productivities and scheduling. I've yet to have anyone tell me where their internal battery is located, you know, the one you have "catch up on sleep" for. Unless your body needs healing, in which case sleep is the best state your body can do that in, do not sleep in (more than an hour or so).
We also usually don't accommodate our sleep cycles when we're trying to get up. In my doctoral work, when my workload was so heavy that I had to cut out sleep time, I was able to be very successful if I slept 6 hours a night. I would feel worse in the morning if I slept 7. The reason is that we will feel much better waking up if we wake up during the lighter part of a cycle. Since our cycles work in about 90 minute increments, you ought to wake yourself up after 3 hours of sleep, or 4.5, or 6, or 7.5. I've adapted to well with this strategy that I still only sleep about 6 hours every night.
The biggest thing is consistency. Go to sleep and wake up at the same time, and you'll be surprised at how quickly you become a 'morning person'. Give yourself a few weeks of following these simple rules and I bet you'll be a morning person in no time. Please let me know if it works for you!
"Modern performers seem to regard their performances as texts rather than acts, and to prepare for them with the same goal as present-day textual editors: to clear away accretions. Not that this is not a laudable and necessary step; but what is an ultimate step for an editor should be only a first step for a performer, as the very temporal relationship between the functions of editing and performing already suggests." -Richard Taruskin, Text and Act