Lim: Dance to the rhythm

I am perhaps the only person who likes to wake up early while on vacation yet likes to wake up late the rest of the year.I’m not a morning person. It takes a while for me to warm up. I don’t schedule morning appointments unless I have to. I don’t even want people talking to me in the morning unless it’s necessary—at least, not before I’ve had my coffee which is after my first meal of the day at 11:30 in the morning.I’m an owl, not a lark. I like to work at night and sleep in the morning.I normally start work at one in the afternoon and work all the way till the following morning. I do my meetings and errands in the early afternoons. The rest of my waking hours are spent at my desk.But as I find desk work to be physically debilitating, I like to take breaks to run or to do work that requires me to be physically active.My brain somehow works even better after dinner and often goes on overdrive at the stroke of midnight. I have to set an alarm to physically remove myself from my desk by two in the morning. Of course, more often than not, I ignore the alarms. I don’t know why I even bother to set them up.It’s a very rare occurrence when I am in bed by midnight. Yes. Rarer than a blue moon.No matter how tired I am, a switch somehow turns on without fail at night and my brain acquires the ability to hyperfocus. But it’s not just my brain, it’s my body, too. I often get up from my desk between 10-11 in the evening to work out for an hour. Or more when I’m more hyped up than usual.The temperature is cooler in the evenings and so is my head.I know. It’s stranger than fiction. But my body moves to the rhythm of a different circadian clock.So, while I advocate living a healthy lifestyle, I confess I don’t follow what the health gurus say—that we should be snoozing by 10 in the evening. Unless I’m feeling unwell, that’s not likely to happen.I’ve tried many times to change my circadian clock but it just gave me so much anxiety that I just gave up. I felt that trying so hard to be a lark when I was an owl was doing me more harm than good.I think you should just do what works for you. And what works for me is just getting 7-8 hours of sleep daily.I’m not saying I’ll always be on this circadian clock. But being in this hive of activity in the evening when everyone else is asleep just works so well for me that it will take a while to rewire my brain.For now, I am not prepared to abandon my nocturnal lifestyle.But why do I change while on vacation? Well, as I don’t work during the evenings when on vacation, it’s not a chore to wake up early in the mornings. I’m a lark on vacation, an owl, the rest of the year.I dance to the beat of a different circadian rhythm—my own. So should you.