Everyone knows that fatigue is — or, perhaps was — my biggest demon. It has affected my life so acutely that I’ve had to transform the way I live and work to accommodate and beat it.
I want to be a morning person. I love slow mornings. I love taking the time I need to exercise, go outside, write down my goals and affirmations, and meditate — all of the things that help me feel good. I have a routine, but the anxiety of falling behind constantly lurks in the back of my mind because I can’t wake up early enough. It’s never quite the experience I envisioned.
I have battled with waking up for years. I first noticed when I was in my late teens and early 20s. By the time I was running my first business, it felt like I’d been hit by something heavy during the night. My body felt like lead, and the effort it took to move my legs seemed impossible to overcome.
I didn’t have much choice in the battle. I’d snooze my alarm while half asleep without realizing it. Waking up was so painful that most mornings I would cry.
This went on for years, and the impact never seemed to lessen. I left my business because I couldn’t keep up, and moved to a “real” job where they could fire me if I was late.
My boyfriend would wake me in the mornings by opening all the curtains and making green tea. He would leave it by my bedside so the scent would alert me that it was morning. Then he would gently (and repeatedly) wake me, wrap me in a blanket, and coax me into the living room. There, I could drink my tea in the morning light, signaling to my body that it was time to wake up. Often, I would be on the verge of tears.
But I refused to give up. I just kept trying. Every day I would set my alarm to the time I wanted to wake, and every day I would hit snooze over and over again. I’d wake up feeling as sleep-deprived as the previous day.
I desperately wanted to change. I was certain that if I could wake up earlier, the other things I was struggling with would fall into place. It felt like the missing piece of the puzzle. I would hear entrepreneurs talk about their miracle mornings and think it felt wrong and abnormal for my body. I was jealous. I wanted to be that person.
What I didn’t realize was that I was slowly — very slowly — becoming an earlier riser. It was taking years, but I was developing a routine that was training me to wake up.
Don’t get me wrong. I do not believe in sleep deprivation. As someone who suffers from insomnia and knows the effects of acute fatigue, I don’t think you should be an early riser if it’s to your detriment. (Check out Dr. Matthew Walker and his discoveries on genetics and sleep.) If your body needs to sleep until midday for you to be able to cope with this disease, do what feels right for you.
I wasn’t training myself to wake up earlier and survive on less sleep. I’ve been working on balancing my hormones so that I sleep better. I’ve been working on time management so that I can go to bed earlier and sleep longer. I’ve found that I feel my best with about 10 hours of sleep. I’ve been trying to get at least eight.
I still have a long way to go toward improving my energy in the mornings, and my progress was put to the test recently by the Last 90 Days challenge. But I’m now waking up at 6:30, sometimes even earlier. Most days, it happens naturally. My body is waking up before my alarm, and you know what’s even crazier? I feel OK. Sometimes even good.
I was skeptical that I could reach this place. But I kept going because I instinctively knew that I could be that person. Perhaps it is possible for me to be a morning person after all, even with endometriosis.
Note: Endometriosis News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Endometriosis News or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to endometriosis.