I’m a night owl — how can I adjust to a new job with early hours?

It’s the Thursday “ask the readers” question. A reader writes:

I am very much a night owl (the best job I ever had for my sleep schedule was bartending). One silver lining of our company switching to remote work has been that I have been able to sleep in much later than the old days. (And to be clear, I’m not looking to hear what I should have been doing the last couple of years. Much as I’d love to be someone who wakes up naturally at 6 am to work out, that’s not my reality.)

That said, I’ve accepted a position on a new team that is mostly east-coast-based, while I am west coast, and I will soon need to be bright-eyed and bushy-tailed earlier than my current routine AND I’d like to make a good impression my first few weeks and not be dragging myself through the day on endless cups of caffeine. (I am also an eight hours-plus per night lady.)

I’m wondering if any of your readers have tips to share about adjusting their sleep schedules for a new role. I used to have to be at a desk at 8:30 sharp (or risk being fired), so I know I can do it. But that was 15 years ago and I know this is going to be really hard (perimenopause fatigue is real).

Readers, do you have advice?

{ 477 comments… read them below }

  1. DisneyChannelThis*

    Don’t make any drastic changes. Shift in increments of 15min, (ie bed 15min earlier and up 15min earlier).

    Sunset clock at night and sunrise alarm in morning is helpful for me as well

    1. Person from the Resume*

      Start now, work gradually to the new bed/wake up time, and stick to the new sleep schedule even on weekends and holidays for months until your body has really adjusted to the change.

      1. ursula*

        So, I had to make an adjustment similar to what LW is talking about (with a similar sleep cycle to them) and while there was zero chance I was going to be fully getting up at 6am or whatever on weekends and holidays, I got a lot of benefit from still letting my alarm go off at that same time, even if I just did a tiny task (used the washroom; fed the dog; or just turned off the alarm) and then went back to sleep until 1030. It really did get my body used to surfacing from sleep at that same time every day, and it has made everything else easier.

          1. Lexie*

            I cannot wake up early without a reason. I went through a period of unemployment and tried sticking to something resembling my previous work schedule and I would shut my alarm off with no recollection of hearing it. So I stopped trying to wake up earlier than my natural wake up time because I afraid I’d get so used to screening out the alarm and wouldn’t wake up when I needed to.

            1. Azure Jane Lunatic*

              I have to use a new or little-used alarm tone when I have to wake up for something important. (Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome here.)

          2. Hokey Puck*

            Lots of things are highly recommended, but…are hard to be motivated to do.

            I personally wake up kind of early on weekends because I don’t have to DO anything. I can get up, sit on my couch, enjoy myself. It’s the getting up to then have to work.

            I was a competitive swimmer and rower all through my youth and college. I am DONE getting up a second earlier than I ever have to again though, so if I can just lay around, then I am ok.

            Also, I like to be up late at night.
            Anyway, all this to say, easier said than done. I try to go to bed at a reasonable time every single night and fail…every single night.

          3. But what to call me?*

            Experts can recommend that all they want, but when work required me to get up at 5:30 am every weekday and nothing short of drugging myself would convince my brain that anything before 11-12 pm was bedtime, nothing on earth could have convinced me to also get up at 5:30 am on the weekends rather than get a couple of full nights of sleep per week. In high school and college it was even more extreme, because my teenage brain was very sure sleep could not occur before 2-4 am.

            I am, however, perfectly happy to consistently, naturally, wake up at 8-ish every day now that I have the luxury to do so.

            (Not grumping at you, just at the experts who continue to insist we should all become morning people even if our personal experience with our own bodies says otherwise.)

            1. Nocturnal*

              Same! When I had to be on set at 4:30am for days at a time, I still couldn’t fall asleep before midnight. I just ended up chronically sleep deprived until we went back to normal hours or I had a day off.

            2. Lexie*

              There was a time I got more sleep if I stayed up till 2 than if I went to bed at midnight. If I went to bed early I’d lay there for hours (I once went to work on 12 minutes of sleep) but if I stayed up till 2 I’d usually be asleep in half an hour.

            3. Candace*

              This! I have tried to become a morning person. I’m not. I end up getting little sleep during the week, and sleeping most of Saturday.

          4. M*

            *Some* experts. Those that actually do sleep studies tend to be way more mixed on how achievable that is for people whose body clocks don’t match the sleep patterns they’re having to follow.

            For me, if I’m having to be consistently up before 7am, after about three days my body starts acting as if I’m jetlagged – I go irresistibly unconscious at about 5pm, wake up wide awake at 1am, can’t get back to sleep, and am *still* useless at 7am. When I was last working with a commute that required it, I literally just slept 80% of the weekend to stop my body shutting down.

            Lots of people have more flexible body clocks than that, but for some of us, no amount of routine makes it better – and it can even make it *worse*.

            That’s not to say there’s nothing that will help – a consistent pattern of melatonin and valerian at the right time of night, no caffeine after the early afternoon, meal prep on weekends to reduce how much *has* to be done during the week. But for some people, you’ve just got to treat it as if you’re constantly treating jetlag, not adjusting to a new natural rhythm.

            1. Michelle*

              I am a night owl too. I have been struggling with two part-time jobs for several months now: evening shifts, morning meetings, afternoons.
              I will no longer be working evenings as of next week and will need to adjust my miserable sleep schedule. Thank goodness that we are already getting more hours of sunlight.
              I appreciate the tips.

        1. Ostrich Herder*

          I second this approach! In my experience, you don’t have to actually get up and start your day, but doing something small before laying down again is helpful.

          I also recommend adding good to your mornings, and subtracting bad. For me, this was splurging a little on some nice tea to start the day, and keeping good quick breakfast foods on hand so I have something to look forward to. I also realized that I tend to just lay in bed on my phone instead of actually getting up. So now I toss my phone in my work bag after I turn off my alarm, so I’m up and getting ready rather than doomscrolling in bed.

          1. Gust of wind*

            I also think that getting up for a short while at the workday time is better, than setting the alarm clock later on weekends. But my personal experience is, that for me, getting up and actually starting my day, at a similar time helps me a lot more with keeping a consistent sleep schedule during the work week. Especially because it helps a lot more with keeping my bed time consistent.

          2. Hannah Lee*

            Seconding adding good to your morning.

            I am not naturally a morning person, but I found creating a routine that has nothing to do with the “getting ready for work” part of the morning has made it much easier to get up when my alarm goes off, because there’s something nice for me in it.

            2 splurges – 1) a Nespresso Mini machine with frother and 2) nice loose leaf tea in a few different varieties so that when my alarm goes off and I wake up, I spend a minute deciding whether I’m in the mood for latte/coffee or tea and then get up and go make it. Then I spend some time enjoying it, lately by candlelight because winter + dark.

            Also, right now I’m working through The Artist’s Way, so first thing in the morning, when I’m having tea or coffee, I’m also spending 20 minutes or so doing “Morning Pages” (where you write 3 pages longhand of whatever is on your mind and also keeps me off my phone, email when I first wake up.)

            When that’s done, I’m able to shift into “get ready for work mode” with my brain somewhat coming online.

            I’ve been trying to insert daily exercise in between “Hot Beverage/Morning Pages” and “Get Ready for Work” but that would require me getting up even earlier and, you know, moving, and that’s just been too big a lift in January, February.

        2. Csethiro Ceredin*

          I like the idea of waking at the planned time even on weekends and even if you don’t actually get up.

          Another night owl here – I have been totally unable to sleep before midnight since my 20s (mid 40s now) and my natural sleep hours are around 2am to 9am. No matter how “recommended” it is, I just can’t see myself getting up early on the few days I don’t have to. But after years of habit I do now wake up at 7 (my weekday time) on weekends – I just look at the time and go back to sleep. It makes weekdays much easier now that my body at least is used to waking up then, if not enthusiastic about actually getting up.

          Counterintuitively, I also found that getting up a little before I really need to is actually better – slightly more puttering around time helps me not feel jangled in the mornings. And I have clothes laid out, breakfast ready to go, and so on, so Morning Me has the smoothest ride possible.

      2. CutenessCentral*

        I too am a night owl in a bright and early bird world. Gradually shift your sleep patterns. Begin going to bed a little earlier, getting up a little earlier until you’ve reached the time you need to be up for your new position. Keep the pattern up on weekends, too. Once you’ve firmly established your new sleep pattern you can relax it on the weekend, but NOT the night before the start of your work week.

        1. HappyPenguin*

          This really helps. I’m a night owl AND an early bird, and work best starting at 6A-ish. I have to be so intentional about an earlier bedtime because it doesn’t come naturally.

          1. Tau*

            I realised at some point in my twenties that I was, in fact, an early bird. The problem is that just because you know in theory that you are at your happiest and most productive if you have a 10pm-6am sleep schedule doesn’t mean it’s any easier to get to bed before 2am in practice… especially if you’re prone to revenge bedtime procrastination. I’m probably going to try out some of the tips from this comments section to get me back to where I should by rights be already. /o\

    2. Hlao-roo*

      Yes, I do this for the switch to daylight saving time in the spring. I’ll start about a week before the time change so I can have two nights at each 15min increment. The letter-writer might not have time for that, depending on how much they need to adjust their sleep schedule and when their new job starts.

    3. Juicebox Hero*

      Agreed, trying to drastically change your bedtime will just result in you laying there awake and aggravated and then being in zombie mode in the mornings. Something that was very important for me was to keep the same bedtime and wakeup times even on weekends and days off, at least until my system adjusted completely to the new schedule (about 6 mos in my case) otherwise I’d have to start all over.

      I kind of live by rituals so having a nighttime routine to clue my brain in that it was going to be sleepy time soon helped me, too: half an hour before bed I’d put on my jammies, brush my teeth, turn down the covers and fluff up the pillows, and read something banal until bedtime.

      I never used melatonin but my sister swears by it.

      1. WeirdChemist*

        Yes, setting specific rituals before bed really helped me! I’m naturally an early bird, but struggled with insomnia (of the can’t ever fall asleep variety) for a long time. While I was really struggling to get things in line, I kept a pretty specific schedule on eating dinner, showering, shutting off electronics, drinking a cup of tea, brushing teeth, etc. I had to be pretty strict with it for about 1-2 months (including weekends) before it stuck, but now I can be a lot more flexible in the evenings and still fall asleep pretty easily. If I ever get off track, I use melatonin as a “reset”, but I don’t find it helpful as a nightly thing

      2. Azure Jane Lunatic*

        A friend and my sleep neurologist both told me the same thing about melatonin: take 1/2 a milligram (500 micrograms) some hours before bed, which mimics the natural function with brains that can make it according to a diurnal schedule. My sleep neurologist elaborated that large doses are certainly effective, like a sledgehammer is effective, but can lead to a rebound effect where you’re wide awake in the middle of the night.

        After Trader Joe’s stopped carrying their 500 microgram dose, I’ve had to order it from Amazon.

    4. Jennifer*

      I agree with this. If they start doing it soon, and stick with it, they can be well adjusted by the time the job starts. Also, I warn against melatonin. It can help at first but eventually it makes it harder to sleep when you develop a tolerance for it. Try other healthy sleep tips like meditation/sound machine/no screens after a certain hour/etc if you are having trouble falling asleep. Marijuana or CBD can also be helpful in small doses.

    5. Miss Fisher*

      I had one of those clocks and it did not make a difference. I slept right through the light coming on up until the actual alarm went off. This is a problem for late sleepers, the sun coming up doesnt always do the trick.

      There are alarm clocks out there on wheels that physically force you to get up and chase it to turn off. There are also those bed shaker alarms that work well for heavy sleepers.

      1. COHikerGirl*

        Clocky is “random” and moves. My brain figured out the Clocky pattern and just blocked it out. Clocky, in multiple occasions, ran around the room blaring for over 20 minutes and I heard exactly nothing.

        My brain likes to defeat alarm clocks. It’s bested literally everything I’ve tried! Except dogs. I wake up for dogs.

        1. Usurper Cranberries*

          I’ve been seriously considering training my dog to pester me when my alarm goes off…

          1. But what to call me?*

            The only training my dog required for that was her noticing that the alarm means it’s time for me to get out of bed and feed her :)

      2. Hastily Blessed Fritos*

        The light isn’t necessarily intended to fully rouse you, it’s meant to edge you into lighter sleep so you wake up quicker and easier.

    6. Kristi*

      I’ve read that if your schedule allows it, shifting your bedtime 30 minutes -later- every night, until you work around to 8 hours before your preferred wake-up time, is more effective than shifting it earlier.

      1. Mianaai*

        I’ve done this a couple of times and it was far more effective than shifting earlier, personally (although it took much longer). I’ve also found more luck, when having to make a sudden change, with the technique of not sleeping at all the night before the shift, and staying awake until the new bedtime the night of the shift. E.g. waking up at 2pm or whatever the old normal was on Saturday night, then staying awake until 10pm or whatever the new bedtime is on Sunday. Extremely unpleasant, but effective. These tips brought to you from someone highly nocturnal (I was even nocturnal as a toddler…) who unfortunately had to take many 8am classes in university.

        1. CL*

          The approach of not sleeping the night before has always been my method to tackling major jetlag when travelling internationally.

        2. Jaydee*

          Same. I’m very nocturnal, and it will take weeks to adjust from like a 12am – 8am sleep schedule to a 9pm – 5am sleep schedule (which would be the adjustment going from east coast to west coast times) if you do it in 15 minute increments.

          Either pull an all-nighter or spend a couple nights staying up so late that you only get 3-5 hours of sleep each night (I find this easier than an all-nighter as I get older). Get yourself good and tired and then go to bed an hour or two before your “new” bedtime. You wake up at your new wake up time feeling surprisingly refreshed considering it’s so dang early! Because you just got 10 hours of hard sleep. Then stick to your new bedtime and you’ll acclimate to the new wake-up time.

        3. ThatOtherClare*

          I also use the skip a night, pseudo jet-lag style approach. My biggest tip would be pick the approach that sounds most suited to you and commit. Learn from my mistakes. Don’t try to mix and match or you’ll end up feeling worse instead of better.

      2. But what to call me?*

        That’s definitely my preferred method. The only way I can get myself to go to sleep earlier is to wake up early enough to be sleep deprived, but shifting my bedtime and wakeup time later is easy (or was, until I got a dog who relies on me for breakfast in the morning and doesn’t believe me that it’s not wakeup time yet).

    7. Grumpy Elder Millennial*

      I love my sunrise alarm. I’m also a bit of a night owl, though not as much as the LW. I wasn’t convinced, but decided to try it, and I’m never going back.

      1. FricketyFrack*

        Same. I now routinely wake up naturally before the alarm goes off, and it makes winter mornings a lot easier. My dog also helps – she knows the light coming on means it’s almost time to get up, so she’ll come looking for love, which is a much nicer thing to wake up to than loud noises.

        1. allathian*

          Yep, same thing for me. My sunrise alarm starts getting brighter 30 minutes before my alarm goes off and I usually wake up within 15 minutes, well before the alarm sounds. If I’m sleep-deprived enough that I wake up to the alarm, my whole day is basically ruined already.

          I was a late starter after college and worked the evening shift (4-9 pm) at an outbound call center for a couple years, and the schedule meant that if I got a call at 8.59 pm my shift continued until it was over. The work was fairly fast-paced and I ran on adrenaline for much of it, which meant that calming down after work took a while. I was usually at home by 11 when I’d take a shower (thankfully the neighbors in my building were understanding of my schedule) and then I’d eat a midnight snack, but I was rarely in bed before 2 am and rarely up before 9 am. I was also employed as a translator on a 0-hour contract, but there wasn’t enough work for me to pay my rent just with that, but it did let me gain enough experience that I was able to get my first FT job as a translator.

          Adjusting to a normal office schedule (typically 8-4.30 here with an hour off for lunch) did take some time because I kept working at the call center until my new job started with only one weekend in between. Thankfully my first day started at 9, but I was so nervous and excited that I barely slept a wink that night. At the time we had core hours 9-3 so I was able to ease into my new job by getting in at 9 for the first few weeks. It also helped that my coworker was an extreme night owl, so until I’d been trained enough that I could do things on my own, there was really no point in getting to work before she did (our boss had limited understanding of our job and because she’d never worked as a translator, she couldn’t help with the actual work or give any feedback on my work).

          It took a while for me to get used to going to bed before midnight, but because I was extra tired from learning so much at my new job, it was easier than I feared.

          That said, I’m a morning person by nature, I can’t remember having much trouble getting up in the morning even as a teenager. During the workweek my alarm rings at 6, I’m usually up by 5.45. I do like to ease into my day, though, so I’m usually at my desk working by 7.30 at the latest if I’m working remotely or 8.30 if I go to the office.

    8. NotAnotherManager!*

      This is what we do with our kids the last month of summer to get them back onto the school schedule. It gradually adjusts their sleep schedule back to the school year hours.

      We also try to practice good sleep hygiene – putting devices down at least an hour before bed time, using beds only for sleeping, natural light spectrum lamp for the kid who is more strongly affected by it. It’s a little bit of experimenting to find what works best for each person.

    9. Sally Forth*

      I was going to suggest a sunrise alarm as well. My husband hated it but I found it really made a difference on dark winter mornings.

    10. Roland*

      Plus one hundred for sunrise alarm clock. Made such a huge difference in my life. It’s difficult for me to commit to going to bed earlier, but my sunrise alarm clock just makes me feel so much more alert in the morning regardless.

    11. ariel*

      Agree with this advice. I also wonder if the Timeshifter app, meant to help you adjust to a new time zone, would help in telling you when to have caffeine/when to try to go to sleep. I also found that I need something to do (take a walk, take a shower, whatever) so that when my alarm goes off, I know what I’m meant to be doing. OP, if you don’t want to invest in a sunrise alarm, I use smart bulbs in my room so that they go off and turn on when I know I’m meant to be awake and asleep, and a main light in my living room also turns off when it’s time to get ready for bed (this is as close as I can get to someone telling me I need to go to bed, and I find the cues helpful).

    12. Quinalla*

      Agreed with slowly shifting your schedule. This won’t magically make you a morning person (it is real that some folks are better in the morning, some at night and some in between) but it will make it so you can be reasonably awake.

      Black out curtains if you are going to have to go to bed when it is still light out. Turn on lights in the morning to help you wake up if not light out yet.

      Exercise daily if you can (if you can’t, as much as you can), even just walking, to help you be able to fall asleep.

      If you haven’t discussed medication options for peri with your do, highly recommend it, it’s been a life saver for me!

    13. Loreli*

      Another night owl here. I feel your pain!
      Set your alarm 20 minutes earlier every day until you reach the time you need to get up. Going to bed early first will not work- you’ll just lie awake and not fall asleep.
      The technique of going to bed an hour later each night and waking up later until you walk your schedule totally around is more effective but takes many days, which you might not have.
      Ferber’s book Solve Your Child’s Sleep Problems” has some very interesting info about sleep research, sleep disorders, etc that I found useful for my own sleep patterns and occasional problems (and please no comments or feedback about your opinions on Ferber’s method, which is NOT “cry it out”, BTW.) Ferber even talks about thing as like why you wake up if you accidentally push your pillow on the floor while sound asleep. So just read the whole book!

      After you reset your sleep pattern, it’s important to keep the schedule Ben on the weekends . It’s easy to slip to a later bedtime on Friday night and even later on Saturday, but then Monday morning is horrendous and you spend the rest of the week trying to get your early schedule back.
      Daylight savings switch is always awful.

  2. A. Nonymous*

    Honestly? I would have recommended not taking a job with east coasters when you’re a west coast night owl. You’re trying to shove a square peg into a round hole — go find the hole that works for you instead. If this is a problem you need to partly solve it yourself by not choosing jobs that won’t work with your sleep schedule.

    1. Petty_Boop*

      Well, that seems a bit harsh. Also the LW has ALREADY accepted the position so … this isn’t very helpful and it doesn’t answer the question the LW asked which was for suggestions and tips on adjusting his/her body rhythms to meet the demands of the new job. Not everyone has the luxury of just turning down any job that doesn’t fit their preferred sleep schedule when bills need to be paid.

    2. Angela Zeigler*

      I hate to agree, but I found the same thing- I’d spend 2+months on getting used to a new, earlier schedule for work. But all it took to completely revert to my natural schedule was a late Friday night getting lost on Youtube. It’s a constant battle, and sometimes your body really does have a natural schedule it’s pushing for at all times.

      1. Starbuck*

        Yeah, it’s harsh and not super helpful at this point but unfortunately it’s true for me as well. Whatever tips and tricks in the thread – sure, I’ve tried most of it when there were times I needed to be up early. But whether or not I was able to get up in time for the workday, it was never not miserable. Short of going to a doctor and maybe getting diagnosed and medicated for something, none of these practices make it enjoyable or sustainable in the long term for everyone.

    3. Fluffy Fish*

      There are endless reasons why someone would need/want to take a job that doesn’t align well with their sleep schedule

      This is not helpful.

    4. don'tbeadork*

      That would have been good advice BEFORE OP took the job but it’s past praying for now. Fortunately for them it is possible for most people to adjust sleep schedules so now the question is how to do that?

      Assuming there is a several day gap between the end of one job and the start of the new, the 15 minute adjustment pattern might be the kindest adjustment pattern. If not, take your weekend and pretend you’ve gone to Europe and have to adjust to jet lag. Put yourself to bed early and make yourself get up on time to do your normal morning routine so you’ll be ready by work start time. It’ll be tough, but they’re probably sort of expecting you to be a bit groggy the first few days anyway. If you can power nap, do that during your (scheduled?) breaks (but set yourself an alarm just in case) while you catch up on the sleep you missed.

    5. 1-800-BrownCow*

      I disagree, I’m also a night owl but my job, my life, and especially having kids, have all required me to change my patterns and sleep habits. Trust me, there’s a lot of early shift workers out there that are self-proclaimed night owls and they managed to make it work. I don’t love it, but I’ve gotten used to it and don’t mind too much being an early morning person anymore. That said, I don’t think you’ll ever find me waking up extra early to exercise, meditate, or enjoy a cup of coffee before I begin my morning routine. I still roll out of bed with just barely enough time to get myself ready for work, so it takes some effort. But I’ve been doing it 20 years and have managed to survive (even with the perimenopause fatigue I deal with these days, so I can understand that particular aspect LW is dealing with as well).

      1. SimonTheGreyWarden*

        Yeah, having a kid stopped all that pretty quick. I used to be a “stay up till 1, get up at 6 because I have to” person for a while, but after I had my son….I am in bed by 9:30 and I FEEL IT if I’m not. Still gotta be up by 6, still never going to be a morning person, probably going to revert as soon as my son is a teenager and staying up all night….but forcing myself to go to bed when he did when he was tiny helped make this transition all the easier.

    6. Properlike*

      For next time, I’d have to agree. I’m one of those for whom a 6am wake-up, no matter what, will NEVER be anything but deeply unpleasant. One big reason I’m no longer a classroom teacher, and in no hurry to return.

      Circadian rhythms are real, man.

    7. nekosan*

      Honestly, I have to agree. Maybe it depends on how much of a night owl you really are – there are a number of people in the comments who seem to have been able to adjust to an early bird schedule. Me, I can be on a early schedule for years upon years and never adjust. I used to use 3-4 alarm clocks scattered throughout my room to force myself to wake up. When I got up, I would be drifting asleep constantly for the first hours. When it was time to go to bed, I would lie there wide awake in the dark for hours and hours before falling asleep.
      If you are the type of person who can actually adjust, you may have some luck. If you have been a strong inveterate night owl your entire life, it may not work.
      Good luck!

      1. A. Nonymous*

        Yeah, I’m puzzled by the pushback on my comment. A fish is never going to be happy doing a job best suited for a bird, and you’re not helping the fish by telling them otherwise.

        1. Petty_Boop*

          You’re also not helping the fish by telling him to quit a job he’s already accepted and is going to have to stick out until he can find one in the water.

        2. Fluffy Fish*

          Because the fish already knows they aren’t suited to this schedule, have had other jobs that did work with their schedule, and still accepted the job.

          Meaning the fish had their reasons.

          OP is asking for help specifically to ease the transition – telling them they shouldn’t have taken the job doesn’t answer their question.

        3. sleep bot*

          I think people may be perceiving your comment as being negative about a situation the OP is already in and can’t change right away, but I think’s probably helpful for them to keep in mind. This might just not work for them long-term, and it’s OK if it doesn’t.

          I am a lifelong quasi-night owl and just switched from starting work at 7 a.m. to starting at 9 a.m., and the difference has been huge. I spent about two years rigorously trying to get myself to bed before 11 (or even before midnight, or before 1, or before 2…) and failing.

          I tried moving my bedtime back a few minutes at a time. I tried progressive muscle relaxation and various meditative techniques. I tried getting more exercise at different times of the day. I tried staying up all night hoping to “reset” my clock the next day. I tried getting into bed at 9 p.m. (I would lie awake, going slowly insane, or I would end up reading for four or five or six hours. I highly recommend the second! But not, like, as a sleep strategy). I tried (legal) drugs.

          None of it worked—and I don’t just mean it wasn’t sustainable in the long term. It literally never, ever worked. The best I ever did was to fall asleep around 11-ish, which would have been great, except that it never happened more than once every couple of weeks, and that was while I was undergoing chemotherapy.

          Ultimately, the only thing that has ever actually helped me get more sleep is waking up later.

          It’s not the happiest advice to give; our culture absolutely rewards being an early riser and looks askance at those who wake up later, and the OP already has this job. It seems like a lot of people here have been able to switch their internal clocks, which is awesome, and I hope the OP is one of them. But if not, I think it’s really useful to keep in mind that if they find a new job with a different schedule, this problem will go away.

          Before I started the new schedule, I started worrying that I would just shift my whole sleep schedule forward two hours; if I’m waking up at 8:30 instead of 6:30, won’t I just end up going to bed at 4?

          Nope! I still go to bed at 1 or 2, but now I get around 6 or 7 hours of sleep instead of 4 or 5.

          1. trust me I'm a PhD*

            That and we’re never JUST talking to OPs here –– we’re also talking to anybody else who reads this blog. So OP has taken this job, but perhaps someone else who is a night owl needs the “ehhhhh maybe don’t do that” advice.

            1. Fluffy Fish*

              sure – that’s absolutely valid to say, after providing the advice OP asked for, ultimately you may have to decide it’s not for you. But we can say that about any poster in any job situation.

              that doesnt change OP’s situation at the moment and doesnt answer the specific question they asked.

          2. Lellow*

            I was a teacher for 5 years and the schedule was miserable and exhausting the whole time. I was never able to adapt. I tried SO hard.

          3. Nocturnally anon*

            I feel this in the very depths of my soul. My body is so firmly wedded to its 2am-9/10am sleep schedule that it’s just been a miserable fight with the rest of society ever since I was about 11. The terror of sleeping through alarms (which happened multiple times, in college and at my first two jobs) and my frustration at never being able to fall asleep before midnight (unless I was so extremely exhausted it bordered on illness) drove me so batty that I actually sought out and kept a job in a role I disliked and wasn’t well suited to. Just so that I could have a noon to nine PM workday! And that actually kept my body really happy for a few years! Until the work stress caught up and flattened me mentally, of course. Now I’m doubly burned out, but it’s been a great incentive to stick to my insistence on wholly remote work with zero travel (although I used to love the travel, unfortunately that screws with my sleep even worse).

            It turns out that without a concrete externally-imposed reason to get up before noon several days in a row, I will become fully nocturnal in under a week. I don’t even like it, but my body insists. In grad school I started signing up for midday volunteer opportunities out of sheer self-preservation. I deliberately scheduled appointments at 10 or 11 am whenever possible, just to make sure I could sleep naturally but still see daylight.

            I cannot be conscious any earlier than 7 AM without feeling physically sick and wobbly for the rest of the day. I have to be able to set several different alarms starting at 7:30 in order to pry myself out of bed before 8:30. There’s pretty much no other way I can keep a literal 9-5 job and actually function before noon. I know because I tried and failed, over and over, for years. Something always fell through, and it was usually my body sabotaging me by turning off the alarms without even waking up – *even if the clock was across the room*. (This only stopped happening when I got my first smartphone, and immediately filled the alarm app with different sounds so that one of them eventually broke through the fog. Now I rotate them often.) As you can imagine, my roommates and flatmates looooved my morning routine. :/

            All of this is to say – sometimes there’s just no motivation to be had other than remaining employed, or not pissing off a roommate. These days I console myself by purchasing the fanciest ceremonial-grade powdered matcha I can get as my morning caffeine allowance. At least that way I try to ooze in an upright direction just a few minutes faster, to give it the respectful enjoyment it deserves.

            1. Azure Jane Lunatic*

              I had a job that required me to be up at nearly opposite my natural night owl schedule, for just over a year. It destroyed me. It took about 6 months to become functional again after the position ended, and during that year some of my important health numbers went in extremely alarming directions.

    8. AMH*

      Adding onto the dissent: I am a deep night owl who left on my own will go to bed sometime between 2-3am; I now work a job that has me waking up at between 4-5am. The first month was rough but it is totally doable to adjust. It doesn’t change my basic nature. If I’m on vacation or what have you, I’ll stay up as late as I ever did, but I have no problem returning to my routine after a week.

    9. amoeba*

      I think it really depends on how extreme of an owl you are. Yes, there are people for whom getting up early would basically amount to a constant battle, fatigue, etc. And for those, yes, choosing a job that makes it easier is probably a really high priority for quality of life.
      There are also plenty of us who, left to our own devices, are clearly owls – I’d never decide to get up earlier than I have to! I don’t like going to bed before midnight and if I have a choice, I’ll end up sleeping like 2-8 a.m.! But we can and do adapt.
      The LW has successfully worked on that kind of schedule before, so seems like she’s in the second group and knows that. She’s just looking for ways to make the transition easier.

    10. Moira's Rose's Garden*

      It’s not a one size fits all, though! Some people can adjust fine, and do it long term. Some people’s circadian rhythms & sleep/wake cycles seem to be less amenable to alteration than others. Sometimes the needed adjustment is just too far different from a person’s body clock workings to make sense to do.

      I’ve been able to make many many adjustments over the years, but nothing that has permanently changed me into a morning person. I learned early on that if it requires an 8a or earlier start regularly, I’m going to STRUGGLE long term. So now that’s a “keep looking” flag. I can *function* on a day that starts before 6a. But I feel much better and more productive on a day that starts at 7:30a, & my “natural” preference (judging by those longer periods when I’ve been able to unplug from scheduled gattadoos) is more like 9:30a.

      LW, IME it makes sense to figure out how much you can adapt and how much you need to have firm boundaries on. Chronic fatigue and sleep deprivation are no bueno for health or happiness, so if that’s happening after trying to adjust to a schedule out of whack with your own, it’s not going to be sustainable. At that point, look for a role with a more flexible or later schedule.

      Also, in case this is running in the background: Being unable or unwilling to function early in the day does NOT make you “lazy”(& people who need to be in bed by 10p aren’t “light-weights” either). Those judgey assumption are really common in US culture. Life’s a tapestry, humans have amazing variability, vive la différence!

      1. Banana Pyjamas*

        “LW, IME it makes sense to figure out how much you can adapt and how much you need to have firm boundaries on. Chronic fatigue and sleep deprivation are no bueno for health or happiness, so if that’s happening after trying to adjust to a schedule out of whack with your own, it’s not going to be sustainable. At that point, look for a role with a more flexible or later schedule.”

        I agree that should be an important take away from the conversation. Note weather your feeling poorly in the mornings consistently. Are you constantly tired? Brain fog? Any of these are good reason to leave by the end of the probation period.

    11. Cold Snap*

      I agree, I have a job only one time zone ahead of me; it’s been 2.5 years and I still struggle to get up and going on time. There’s no negotiating with your circadian rhythm. I wish you luck!

    12. WestsideStory*

      Speaking as someone who has regularly worked on the East Coast for West Coast employers and also regularly worked on the East Coast for European-based employers, it can be done. I hate hate hate getting up early but this can be accomplished.

      What worked for me:
      1) having a solid morning routine (get up feed dog make coffee turn on radio news eat a light continental-style breakfast) that transformed me into a cognitive human at 6AM. Note this is similar to the night-time routine mentioned elsewhere here.
      2) I was able to gradually wean the folks in the other time zone to set meetings and calls later in their day. This can only be done once you’ve established you are a reliable and responsive colleague – it can take some time but it can be done.

      It really depends on the amount of face time the job requires – and the OP won’t really know that until they are in the job.

      1. WestsideStory*

        Amending to add: I’ve also worked on WEST coast for East Coast employers. Remote work has been out there for a good long while, in some industries.

      2. allathian*

        I’ve said this before, but I know someone who has a reversed schedule, he’s in Finland at UTC +2 and his employer is international so he’s officially employed here, but his team is in California and he works Pacific Time (UTC -8) hours. He starts work at around 6 pm our time and often works through the night if he has to.

    13. Delayed Sleep Phaser*

      I’m with you on this one, but that’s because I am one of those night owls whose circadian rhythm absolutely does not budge. Eventually, I got diagnosed with Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome – I just cannot fall asleep before midnight.

      Of course, I had jobs where I had to be in office at 8, and it was miserable for me. Always tired, nearly falling asleep driving, the whole nine yards. WFH helps, as does my current start time of 9. I can get sleep when my body will cooperate, and that has made a huge difference!

      OP may be like me, just absolutely miserable and always failing at keeping early hours. Sunrise alarm clocks (I have one), going to bed earlier, melatonin, calming supplements, reducing blue light in the evening, nothing worked.

      Or, OP may be like my spouse, who is also a night owl but can shift his schedule by going to bed earlier. He has no problem driving early in the morning and staying functional. Two night owls, one is flexible and the other is not.

      The point here is figuring out which kind of night owl you are is actually important. Tips and tricks are good to try, but they may still not be effective, and that’s not always cuz “you must be doing it wrong”. Sometimes it’s inflexible personal biology. people are all different.

      1. nekosan*

        Oh gosh, the struggle to stay awake while driving in the mornings. I do not miss that. (COVID normalized working from home, so I do that for a few hours until I’m awake enough to operate heavy machinery.)

        Conversely, I’ve never had issues with jetlag. I guess I’m so accustomed to forcing myself awake that it’s no real issue to adapt to whatever time change (4, 8, 12, 16 hours – doesn’t matter, it’s all moot to me). With the sad reality that within a small handful of days I’m back to “night owl” at the new location.

        1. Delayed Sleep Phaser*

          Interesting about the jet lag for you – I’ve been through serious jet lag so many times, and part of what made it clear to the sleep doctor that I have DSPT was my lived experience that not even substantial jet lag could reset my clock. I always shift back to a bedtime after midnight, within days.

      2. Banana Pyjamas*

        Yes! Also how flexible can you be? How flexible can your employer be? You might be surprised how much just a 30 minute late start can benefit you if you’re a less flexible night who truly has to force the schedule.

        1. Delayed Sleep Phaser*

          I was at my old job when I was diagnosed, and they let me start at 10 instead of 8 or 9. I started the latest, but it made such a huge difference in my mental state and cognition that I vowed never to wake up before 7:30 again! It was frequently inconvenient (many of my colleagues started at 7) but it worked well enough for awhile.

          Now I’m at a job that’s just ok, but has even more flexibility and is remote. Whenever I complain about the job, my spouse reminds me that I’m mostly here for the flexibility around my sleep issues, and I simmer down :)

      3. But what to call me?*

        Delayed sleep phase syndrome is a thing???
        This might explain some things.
        (Otherwise known as “Ha! I knew I wasn’t just making it up!”)

        1. Delayed Sleep Phaser*

          Yes!! It’s absolutely a thing! I had to do an overnight sleep study to get the diagnosis, but I didn’t know it was a thing until I did. Absolutely worth it. Changed my life.

      4. Modesty Poncho*

        I think this is a really good point. I never…honestly considered this before. This is part of why the sleep hygiene advice can be so irritating, if you’ve tried all of it and none of it worked. I may have believed that no one can actually adjust, because I really can’t. Likewise, people who can adjust easily or with some effort after a few weeks, may believe that I haven’t tried or it would have worked.

        This is. Kind of giving me a lot to think about. Speaking as someone who left office work behind because of this issue. I have never been so happy and rested as I am now that I freelance and I can work 11-6.

        1. Delayed Sleep Phaser*

          Yes! All the sleep hygiene advice is SO irritating when you follow it and still “can’t manage” to get up. We bought a programmable coffee pot and I couldn’t wake up enough to register that there was hot coffee already waiting for me. If that doesn’t do it, nothing will…

    14. Baroness Schraeder*

      This is harsh, but it’s true for me too. I’m in my mid 40s and will no longer consider a job that requires me to be awake before 8am. I have ADHD and probable delayed sleep phase disorder, so in terms of quality of life it’s just not worth it to me, whatever they’re paying.
      At the moment I have a >1hr commute if I attempt to travel during peak traffic. It is significantly easier for me to wait until the traffic dies down and aim to be in the office at 10, and I’m very very fortunate to have a boss that understands and allows me that flexibility. Occasionally we have 9am team meetings which I will either pull out all the stops to get to in person, or attend remotely before I leave for the office.
      The trade-off for me (because there’s always a trade-off) is that I’m frequently working late in the evenings at home, but I don’t mind because my husband does the same and we both get our work done a lot faster when there isn’t an office full of people to distract us!

    15. Tydust*

      For the right job, even a night owl can make the adjustment. I went from working for myself consulting, to leaving my house at 5:15am for a brutal 1.5 hour commute. It made me HAPPY to get into the car (as hard as the hour before that was!) and I was HAPPY when I got to work. I loved what I did. Then after 5 years, I couldn’t take it anymore. The commutes felt longer and the mornings weren’t as joyful. So I found something better. Boss said “We’re just all surprised you made it this long!” And I took a job with east coast hours… but it feels like a vacation without the commute. Alarms still go off at 4:30 but I watch TV and get myself awake. at my 5:15 alarm I start thinking about work, maybe look at my email on my phone (management, otherwise it would be silly to work ‘before’ work). At 5:45, get dressed and make coffee and sit down at the desk for the first meeting of the day usually about 6:20.

      Now I definitely can’t sleep past 7am no matter if I’m on vacation or was up all night at a concert. I get through those concert nights with energy drinks and adrenaline. But aside from that, I’m fully happy with my new sleep schedule.

    16. David*

      As one of those inflexible night owls, I’m glad that you brought this up. I mean, sure, the suggestion that it wasn’t a great idea to take this job isn’t of any immediate use to the letter writer, but it did prompt a discussion which shows that some people are immune to all the schedule-shifting tricks in the world, and based on that the actionable advice for LW is to be aware of the possibility that, if they’re one of those people, they simply might not be able to make this work in the long term. Or even if they can, they’ll be primed to pay attention to how hard it is for them to work on an earlier schedule. That will be really useful information for them to have when evaluating whether they want to stay in this job after several months, or whether to take any particular new job, whenever they next get the opportunity.

      I wanted to highlight this because it’s what I did: in my past couple job searches I made it a priority to ask about flexible working hours, and eliminate or deprioritize any job where I would be required to be on the clock early.

    1. Person from the Resume*

      I have a Phillips Sunrise Alarm Clock. I love it. My body is very much affected by light in the room and I do wake up when it gets bright whether from the sun light slipping in past the blinds or this alarm clock.

      Also if your room gets outside light during the evening/night, I’d get some room darkening curtains to block that so that you have a better chance of sleeping in the dark until your alarm clock starts to brighten your room.

      1. Person from the Resume*

        It’s basically this one; although, mine is now over 10 years old.


        I have it set to start brightening 20-30 minutes (I cannot remember) before wake up time. It gradually brightens and I will often wake up see that it’s getting light and know the alarm will go off soon. I use bird sounds for the alarm and I will pretty much wake up at the very low volume bird sounds because I am gradually awakening as the room gets brighter.

        1. Willow Pillow*

          I have one of those too and I love it – I was lucky enough to spend the month of September traveling a few years back, and the shift in daylight as I returned to my high-latitude city was rough.

          I’ve had an issue the last few months though – I took in my late mother’s cat who doesn’t like the early-morning light and tries to turn if off by batting at it! Oh well, the days are getting longer…

        2. Gretta Swathmore*

          I have this one too. I do have to have another clock radio across the room though. I’ve always been at least a two alarm person (sometimes 3!). Have to have one that is annoying that makes me get out of bed. But I really like that the first one is light and soft bird songs!

      2. RegBarclay*

        +1 to the sunrise alarm clock. It helps me feel more awake when I wake up, as opposed to the alarm jarring me out of a dead sleep (which is when I hit snooze five times…)

        1. HC*

          Yes! The light doesn’t wake me, but does help me feel more awake when the alarm goes off. I also like the gentle transition for my eyes- rather than going dark to bright, the low light helps my eyes adjust.

      3. ursula*

        Switching to one of these lamps made a bigger improvement in my sleep cycle and ability to feel rested than anything else I’ve ever tried. Can’t recommend this enough.

      4. Seal*

        Seconding the sunrise alarm clock. I live in the Upper Midwest where the sun doesn’t come up until 8am in the dead of winter, so this was a game changer. Much easier to get up when it’s light in the morning (even artificial light).

      5. many bells down*

        My spouse is a big technology geek and he’s set up Hue lights to gradually come on when it’s time to get up. I’m a person with an excellent internal clock and even I find them super helpful in the winter when the sun isn’t up at 7am.

        1. General von Klinkerhoffen*

          Similar here.

          They’re also useful for “sunset” to make you sleepier at your chosen bedtime.

          It isn’t even necessarily that the light wakes you up, but that if you happen to stir and it’s already light you’re less likely to allow yourself to go fully back to sleep; if you wake up and it’s still dark you don’t have to check the time before rolling over and going honk shoo.

          1. Always Sleepy in the Morning*

            This has been the case for me, and it still helps. It’s always my alarm that wakes me up, not the sunrise lamp, but I’ve found that by the time my alarm goes off, I’m somehow not in as deep of a sleep as I was in the before-lamp time. Others may not have that experience, but it’s helpful for me (and I am also not someone who will ever be able to get up at 6 AM and be alert and ready for the day).

        2. RainyDay*

          Most of our house is on Hue. I was a little iffy on home automation but MAN is it nice to come down to a lit living room and kitchen when it’s 6:30am and like the dead of night outside.

      6. Mianaai*

        I loved my Philips Sunrise clock for years although I now no longer use it (I’ve essentially made my bedroom a Sunrise clock, described below). Other light manipulation things that I’ve found helpful:
        – Smart blackout blinds, automated to raise about 5-10 minutes before the alarm goes off. I’ve found that they help intensify the difference between sleep-time and wake-time light levels, and the noise works as a less-jarring pre-alarm for me.
        – My bedroom is now entirely filled with smart lights – depending on the system, the out-of-box or third-party apps often have ways to create complex custom automations (Philips Hue with iConnectHue has worked well for me but there are *many* options). I’ve set up automations that mimic the dawn light sequence of the Sunrise clock with an additional dim purple-to-red “pre-dawn” sequence… but they activate in the whole room rather than a single lamp now.
        – I set the bedroom smart lights to red during bedtime prep/reading in bed/etc; initially I just did this to not mess up my night vision if I have to go poke around elsewhere in the house, but it also seems to help with winding down my brain at least a little

        1. Azure Jane Lunatic*

          Our automations do a sunset in the living room and additionally turn off the living room screens at that point, while turning on the bedroom lamps at 1% and red. So if you want to keep watching sports or playing clicky-games after that, you absolutely can turn them back on, but you’ve got to take that additional step. (Home Assistant running on a dedicated Raspberry Pi, and a now-discontinued infrared universal remote puck that we have mounted on the ceiling.) It’s cut down amazingly on my partner’s unscheduled late nights.

      7. LCH*

        i have this too. it will work best in a fully dark room. also, it has a birds setting which is annoying, but works. works less well if you have real life birds that like to start doing their thing at 4am.

    2. FakeGreenDress*

      Seconding the sun lamp idea. I’m a night owl who made exactly the same move and have found managing circadian cues very helpful. My sunrise-simulating alarm clock is one of my most treasured possessions, especially in the winter. You need to get one that gets properly bright (they aren’t cheap). I also minimize light later at night, avoid caffeine after noon and try to eat at the “correct” times. Basically, the same tricks I use for jet lag.

    3. T. Wanderer*

      Seconding! I also worked East Coast hours from the West Coast, and the sunlamp was the only possible way I could do it.

    4. LingNerd*

      A sunrise alarm clock helps me so much, especially in the winter! My body does not want to wake up before the sun. It also doesn’t like waking up more than an hour after the sun either, unfortunately, so summer can be equally challenging

    5. commensally*

      +1 to changing your light cycles. I am a “night owl” – except if I’m on a long camping trip with no artificial light, at which point I transition very rapidly to being a dusk-to-dawn person (while the “morning people” around me were taking advantage of vacation to stay up late and sleep in.)

      For me morning light or sun lamps don’t do much, but any kind of white light in the evening has a huge and immediately apparent change in my ability to get to sleep. Unless I’m very sleep-deprived, I can’t get to sleep until I’ve had over an hour without white light – which means if I’m turning off the lights at bedtime I’m either staying up until I am very sleep-deprived, or going to bed when I’m not sleepy and tossing and turning for hours.

      Shifting to a strictly-enforced warm-light only regime after 9 PM helped me tremendously. It doesn’t require a huge amount of home automation, either – you can buy red (or LED color-shifting) light bulbs, and all the rooms where I spend time in the evenings have both lamps with red bulbs and lamps with white ones; I switch every evening after I feed the cat. That + red-light filters on my screens fixed a lifetime sleep problem very quickly. (Even as a child – my parents had set my bed up so a streetlight shone on me all night!)

  3. SJPxo*

    I get up super early to look after my horse before work (5am) and honestly, the more you just stick to early mornings the easier it becomes and your body clock adjusts.

    And this is from a former night owl that now struggles to keep awake past 10pm

    1. Keeley Jones, The Independent Wonan*

      This is what I was going to say. It will be an adjustment at first but then it just becomes your rhythm. I’ve been working starting at 7am for years now and even on the weekends, I cannot sleep past 6 am. I have learned to really like it.

      I went out with friends to a 90’s throwback concert a few weeks ago, and I was so happy when it ended at 10:30pm so I was still home at a reasonable hour!

    2. Viki*

      That’s really the trick. I work Eastern while in Pacific and have a start time of 5am (8am). You just suffer through it for a few weeks and then your body adjusts. And then you never get to sleep in

    3. Over Analyst*

      I also used to be a night owl but when I started a job years ago with a tough commute I adjusted my hours to beat rush hour. It took time to get used to but I agree that if you stay consistent it gets easier.
      Exercise first thing in the morning really helps, though I completely understand if that’s not doable (waking up even EARLIER?!?) Trying to maintain somewhat of a similar schedule on weekends is good too. Maybe “sleeping in” until only 8 instead of 11.
      I also am strict with caffeine. No coffee after 2 PM for me, and no soda after 5.

    4. Beth*

      Yep. I married a morning person, and not long after that had to shift to a much earlier schedule or face killer commute trauma. Now my most productive time is during morning hours.

      Do NOT try to shuttle back and forth between morning hours during the week and night-owl on weekends and vacations.

      DO make sure you get lots of sleep in the days just before you start on the new schedule. DO stick to it like glue for the first weeks.

      DO put lots of thought into your sleep hygiene, esecially for the first six months. DO be nice to yourself within the new parameters.

  4. used to be a tester*

    Is there any way you can be the ‘after-hours/on-call’ queen? So you stay up late so that you can touch base with the team at a meeting that’s first thing in the morning for them, then go to bed. You then start work towards the end of their day, handling all the urgent stuff they weren’t able to get to, or working on items that don’t need collaboration.

    1. ZSD*

      I like this suggestion! My husband made a similar (but reversed) argument when we were living in California but then I got a new job on the East Coast. He arranged to go full-time telework (long before Covid) and argued that by working East Coast hours, he could take care of all the problems that had arisen overnight, and have them resolved before anyone else came in to work.
      I realize you probably won’t be able to negotiate starting *three* hours later than the rest of your team, but maybe you could start 1.5 hours later and then have the advantage of staying available for 1.5 hours after everyone else is done for the day.

      1. Pauli*

        I’m on an East Coast-based team who has one West Coast member. They start 2 hours later than the rest of us (we start at 8am EST, they join at 10am EST/7am PST) and take care of lingering EOD business and West Coast clients. While it’s still early for them, at least they’re not starting at 5!

      2. UncleFrank*

        This comment was so weird to read because my husband did the same thing when we moved for my job right before covid. It’s been working really well for his team — he’s still there!

    2. TPS reporter*

      we have a similar setup on my team with majority east coast and a few in other time zones.

      some important meetings have to happen during early easy coast hours but otherwise we are flexible.

      I know this can’t happen for all job types but do hope it can for OP.

    3. Anonpls*

      I also advocate for this suggestion! I’ve worked on global teams for awhile, and it’s nice to be able to rely on someone who’s on super early in Europe all the way to someone on late Pacific time. I would also say be super clear with your manager on their expectations and how you can both fit in with the culture and make it realistic for you. My husband works a rotating second and first shift job every 2 weeks, and what works for him is strict routine to help adjust to going to bed late one week and then quickly waking up early the next week. That’s not for everyone (definitely not me), but if you love a routine it could work!

    4. I Have RBF*

      I worked for an East coast company for a while, and my manager was in Arizona and I am in California. The East coast “All Hands” meetings started at 6 am my time. I worked West coast hours – 9 am to 6 pm – most days, but would get up early to make the important, show the flag, client meetings once a quarter. This was fine, and it gave us longer coverage – 7 am East coast time to 6 pm West coast (9 pm East coast).

    5. theletter*

      I think this is also a grand idea if the team you work with tends to get end-of-day/end-of-week work ‘dumps’. If you have east coast members teammates who want to end their day at 5PM or even 4:30, but they keep getting big By-End-Of-Day assignments around 4PM, you could set up hand-off procedures so that they can end their day at a reasonable time and let you finish it during a time period that’s reasonable to you. Win Win Win!

    6. trebond98*

      Yes to this if it’s possible. I don’t teach 8am classes but I am always willing to teach at night. When I was working a regular job my hours were 10-6. I will work weekends if it means I don’t have to get up in the morning.

  5. Gentle Reader*

    You might want to try melatonin to help you adjust to going to bed earlier. Take a small dose half an hour before you want to go to bed.

    1. Justme, The OG*

      Just a note, that repeated doses of melatonin make your body stop producing it naturally. And there are some weird side effects like vivid creepy dreams.

      1. ThatGirl*

        There can be, but it’s fine to use in small doses for things like this. I personally haven’t found my dreams to be any stranger than usual most nights I’ve taken it. The key really is only a few mg, like 1-3 at most.

        1. Justme, The OG*

          Then you’re lucky if you haven’t had the vivid dreams. Personally, I really wouldn’t want to chance creepy dreams impacting my ability to sleep before work when it’s already going to be an issue due to sleep cycle.

          1. ThatGirl*

            Obviously, side effects can vary. Your experience is valid, so is mine :) It’s a suggestion, nobody is going to go to the poster’s house and shove meltatonin down their throat.

          2. Minimal Pear*

            I had the dreams and they were REALLY bad–graphic zombie apocalypse-type dreams, although the surviving humans were the worst. Anyway! In my case, it was happening because I was taking the melatonin on top of an antidepressant I was on for nerve pain, which was really messing with my sleep.

        2. Skippy*

          Supplements are unregulated. Many of the melatonin samples tested have twice or ten times as much as the label says.

      2. KG*

        That’s not true, it’s a wives tale. It is a natural hormone that your body makes when it gets dark out. The body doesn’t stop making it just because you took a supplement for a few days. And while I’m on the other side, I take this nightly- I don’t have scary weird dreams or anything else. Every single person is unique and different and so are their responses to any substance, but melatonin is recommended for short term uses like this.

        1. Sleepy Times For Me*

          Yeah, this has been debunked. I also take it nightly in higher doses than many and while yes, I do sometimes get vivid dreams, I stay asleep during them and feel far better rested than I did before I started taking it. It’s not out of line for someone to suggest it for this purpose. The LW can do their own research (lol) and see if it’s something they’d like to try.

      3. Clisby*

        Another possibility is that it won’t have any effect at all. I’ve tried it twice for sleep problems, and – nothing. Nothing bad, nothing good. It might as well have been a sugar tablet.

        1. SimonTheGreyWarden*

          Unfortunately this. My husband doesn’t respond to it, not even in higher doses. I can take half a 3mg pill and not have any dreams I remember (or if I do remember, they are good ones) and get good sleep.

      4. Modesty Poncho*

        I’ve never had this side effect. I take melatonin nightly, because it’s the difference between falling asleep within 30 minutes of turning the light out, or 90. It’s not supposed to be habit forming but it works so damn well that I’m not willing to go without it anymore.

    2. londonedit*

      Melatonin is prescription-only in the UK, just FYI for any British readers who might be tempted. Not sure which circumstances doctors are happy to prescribe it for.

      1. Gozer (she/her)*

        I’ve been to the doctors a lot here in the UK for sleep issues and they’ve never prescribed me it. I honestly don’t know anybody who has.

      2. 1-800-BrownCow*

        Melatonin is a hormone and the only hormone that can be bought OTC in the U.S. And it’s sold as a supplement, like vitamins, so it’s not regulated by the FDA like medicine is. So you can think you’re taking a 5mg dose per the bottle but the actual amount could be drastically different. It’s not too concerning however, too much melatonin can also cause sleep issues as well, so with it not being regulated, you really don’t know if you’re under or over dosing for your needs.

        It’s also not recommended to give to kids/teens, even though they sell melatonin gummies specifically for children (in the U.S.). Regardless, it’s not smart to mess with children’s hormones without doctor supervision.

      3. Media Monkey*

        it’s one of my “oh you’re going to the US on holiday? Can you pick me up some” products! I don’t take it often but when i do it’s a godsend!

    3. JB (not in Houston)*

      Try to go outside or get sunshine before work in the morning. Also, if you are a caffeine drinker, don’t drink it before 9 or 9:30* in the morning, and don’t drink it in the noon hour or in the evening. It disrupts your body’s internal clock and makes it harder to wake up in the mornings.

      *I am guessing you can probably drink it earlier if you wake up earlier. I think the key is to be awake for 1.5-2 hours to give your body time to wake up naturally.

      It won’t be easy, though. When I quit drinking coffee first thing in the morning, I wanted to cry every morning for several weeks. The next year I quit coffee for a year, and it was hard but much easier than giving up the first-thing-in-the-morning coffee.

      1. JB (not in Houston)*

        I meant to start my comment with “Also.” I agree with a very small dose of melatonin, at least for a short period of time, just to try and slowly move your bedtime up.

        I am not a night owl *or* a morning person, so I have tried so many things to be a more awake, alert person in the mornings. You have my sympathy, OP. Good luck.

      2. WeirdChemist*

        If they’re trying to clock in for east-coast hours on the west coast, then it might still be dark out before work :/
        But if the timing works out I think it might help! Or maybe taking a 15 min mid-morning break to go outside for a bit.

        Also to add to the melatonin discussion, I personally find it helpful only as a “reset button” for 1-2 nights max, after that it really messes with me. For some reason I feel more tired after sleeping for 8hrs on melatonin than 4-5 hours with my occasional insomnia???

        1. JB (not in Houston)*

          Yeah, I can take it for more 1-2 days, but I find it most helpful to take it for relatively short periods of time, just to get my body used to going to sleep earlier. I know people who take it every night, but for most people, that’s probably not a good idea

    4. BBB*

      melatonin gave me horrific nightmares. zero outta ten. do not recommend lol
      everyone is different but those side effects are very real and for me, not at all worth the ‘benefits’.

    5. Newt*

      Definitely do a small dose! (Like 1-3 mg, which is typically sold as a children’s dose OTC in the US). A lot of the problems people report are from taking a larger dose than necessary, when a little boost is all it takes.

    6. Prof*

      I advise testing out melatonin on a day it doesn’t matter if you’re not awake much- any dose that has even minimal impact on my sleep leaves me a melatonin hangover the next day, I’m too tired all day. I can’t use it as a result

    7. Usurper Cranberries*

      But test it well before your new job if you try it – melatonin makes me sleepy to the point that I can’t wake up in the morning.

  6. Salsa Your Face*

    When you adjust, keep your new schedule on the weekends–don’t use it as an opportunity to stay up late and sleep in. Otherwise you’ll have to adjust every week and Mondays will always be brutal.

    1. Eldritch Office Worker*

      This is the hardest thing for me. I want to sleep forever on weekends and I know I’ll kick myself later.

    2. Dust Bunny*

      Agreed. I’m not much of a napper but it turns out one of my cats really wants me to take a nap with her on Sunday afternoons, so I end up napping, anyway. But I still get up early.

    3. Violet Fox*

      This exactly! If you don’t keep or at least roughly keep your schedule on the weekend, you’ll be essentially jet lagged on Monday morning.

      What I would look at in general is actually guides for dealing with jet lag and how to adjust your schedule since what you are doing is essentially the same thing.

      The other thing — set a bed time alarm as well as a wake up alarm. My phone has a setting that can do this, but it’s a good idea for that reminder of needing to go to sleep, or starting whatever wind down/sleep hygiene routine you need.

    4. Sherm*

      Yes. Our society values “sleeping in on the weekends” so much that it can feel like you’re giving up something huge. But — if you are waking up rested and refreshed each morning, then what’s really so special about “sleeping in”?

      1. AMH*

        Eh. I sleep in at least one weekend day (although sleeping in these days is “anything past 8.” It’s definitely not best practice, but I LOVE sleep. I love the feeling of waking up and going back to sleep to wake up with no alarm. It is a special part of my routine.

        But for OP, I would try to stick to the schedule for a long while to truly adjust, speaking from experience. It took me about 3 months before I felt fully adjusted to bed by 8:30 at the latest and up sometime around 4:30, and another few months before I built back in a lie in morning.

      2. watermelon fruitcake*

        I’m not sure it’s that “our society values sleeping in on weekends” so much as people are exhausted all week, largely because of work obligations (and everything tangentially related to that), and weekends are the only opportunity to actually wake up naturally, when your body’s need for sleep and the regeneration thereof is fully met.

    5. Also-ADHD*

      This was the key for me (though I sleep in till 8ish on weekends instead of 6:30) — never sleeping that much later. When I was sleeping till 10/11 on weekends, it was too hard to adjust to early. When I had to wake at 5:30 for my old job, weekends were around 7am “sleeping in” and now they’re a bit later because my remote job is a bit later start as well. Still early as I become a morning person and now handle the “early handoffs from EU time zones” because I’m up anyway. I’m living proof there’s hope: I used to struggle to get up at 9am and choose jobs because of it until one that started at 7 (onsite—hence 5:30) was too good to pass up. Now I’m a permanent morning person!

    6. allathian*

      For night owls, the temptation to stay up late because you don’t have to go to work the next morning may prove very difficult to resist.

      I’m a morning person so I wake up before 6 during the week and I’m usually in bed and reading by 9.30. Reading a paper book is the only way I can apply the “no screens for at least 30 minutes before bed” advice.

      Even when I don’t have to work the next day, I generally go to bed before 11 pm and I’m up, even without setting an alarm, by 8 am at the latest. If I’m not, it’s because I’ve had an exceptionally bad night (occasional insomnia) or I’m sick.

      I have trouble staying up late and I haven’t celebrated NYE for years, except to get up and watch the fireworks at midnight. I’m usually back in bed by a quarter past, and so far I’ve managed to fall asleep in spite of the noise, and blackout curtains certainly help.

      If you find yourself sleeping in on weekends even when you go to bed at the same time as you do during the week, you’re probably not getting enough sleep during the week.

  7. Colleen*

    It could be helpful to find a friend or family member who also has to wake up super early and commit to texting/calling each other at a certain time every morning – my best friend and I will occasionally do this when her shifts screw up her sleep schedule, and having to be awake enough to fulfill a commitment can help!

    1. Dragonfly7*

      I think this is a great idea. I am naturally a night owl, and having an external commitment is the best thing to keep me at a consistent early wake-up time.

  8. Amber Rose*

    As someone who regularly slept until the clock switched to PM, I once took a job that required me to be out of bed by 4:30 am. I just didn’t sleep Saturday night before my first week. On Sunday I was ready for bed by 8pm, and when I woke up at 5 I was tired and cranky but not like. Dying.

    I didn’t last at that job very long though. Crack of dawn mornings are not for me. But every job since then where I have to get up around 6:30 for an 8 start feels like sleeping in. :D

  9. Alton Brown's Evil Twin*

    Don’t make the mistake of thinking that your sleep schedule, eating schedule, and work schedule have to all align. Especially if you’re working from home.

    There’s nothing wrong with having your breakfast 2 hours into your work shift. Making that one change for myself has been a life-changer, because I would be nauseous if I had to eat my breakfast at 7:30.

    1. Ama*

      This is a good point! Even when I was going into an office five days a week, I would take my coffee and breakfast with me (I don’t like a big breakfast so it was a granola bar or something similar that came individually packaged and I could just grab one as I left), as I just can’t really eat breakfast before about 10 am, no matter how early I get up.

      In a similar vein, it’s also okay to try to have a schedule for when you do certain types of work. I try not to schedule meetings in the first half hour I’m working because I find having that half hour to read email and set my priorities for the day makes a huge difference in how rushed and stressed I feel by 5 pm. I tend to save really detailed work requiring lots of focus for after lunch because I’m just more awake by then (and I will block out my time on my calendar if it’s time sensitive). And yes, that means lots of my meetings are between 9:30 and 1 pm but that’s fine.

      1. allathian*

        I’m a morning person, and I do my best work in the morning, but even so I like to ease into my day by reading my email and Teams convos/channels first before doing anything else, as it generally doesn’t take longer than about 15 minutes. It helps that I’m not inundated by messages. I do my best work between 7 and 11 (when I generally go to lunch), and I’m generally useless for anything that requires deep focus after 2 pm, unless I’m working to a very tight deadline and then coffee and adrenaline help me push through it. I generally get a second wind around 5 pm, especially if I take a nap in the afternoon. So sometimes I take a 20-minute nap at 2, putter around at home doing chores, etc. and continue working at around 5 pm if I really have to. But it only works if my husband’s traveling on business. But on the days I go to the office, I usually leave at 3 to avoid the worst of the rush hour, and if necessary continue working when I get home.

        I can handle meetings even when I’m not at my best, so I vastly prefer afternoon meetings. A meeting in the morning feels like it’s wasting my best work focus.

        I also need my breakfast at around 6 am. Or rather, I need my coffee but my stomach doesn’t like coffee when it’s empty so I’ll eat my sandwiches as well.

    2. Smithy*

      This is such a good call. I’m in the flip side where I’m US East Coast and have a lot of West Coast colleagues – and to make matters even harder we often get a lot of calls with the other hemisphere. So while I occasionally have 6am calls – our West Coast team regularly has them.

      I don’t know any of us that eat before those calls, but some of us will or won’t have tea/coffee during those meetings. If I have nothing else after that call, I may work out, eat breakfast, and then start the rest of my day officially. But on days when meetings are like 6am/8am – I still will likely avoid breakfast until 9am or so.

      What works for other people to maintain the sleep/work/eating schedule is most likely very different. But I do think that just being aware of how food helps/hurts energy levels with an early morning work schedule is really helpful.

    3. Mianaai*

      I also second this – if I have to go in to the office, I get breakfast there or bring something like a prepackaged protein smoothie and fruit or something similarly easy to pack. If I’m working at home, I usually shower and make myself brunch after several hours of work.

    4. Peanut Hamper*

      I completely agree. My brain wakes up far before my stomach. I can manage a cup of coffee at 7:00, but breakfast can wait for an hour or two.

    5. Brain the Brian*

      Doctors drive me crazy on this point. Multiple of them have insisted that I *must* eat as the first thing I do when I get out of bed, and that if I’m not hungry then, my body is just lying to me. And I’m like… what?

      1. Allonge*

        Thats… some bad doctors, there. Wtf.

        I get up early no problem, can sleep in ok in the weekends, and still need at least an hour, preferably more, before I eat in either case. I mean, sure, on a rare occasion it’s not an issue to eat earlier!

        1. Peanut Hamper*

          Agreed. I can wake up whenever and feel absolutely starved, but if I put food in my stomach before I’ve been fully awake for an hour, then it’s just not going to end well.

          Listen to your stomach! It’s the boss when it comes to food.

      2. ThatOtherClare*

        That’s a sign that you’re healthier than your doctors. For people with unstable blood sugar they can wake up extremely low and feeling truly awful. Those are the people who feel they must eat straight away (I’m one, no judgement). Your doctors were just projecting that on you. People with stable blood sugar eat when they get around to it, and shifting meal times is no big deal.

        You know yourself. Listen to doctors, but what they tell is is one data point, not the whole model. You may assign it the appropriate weighting and proceed accordingly.

      3. Katie Impact*

        Back when I had a job with a 100% strict, must-be-in-at-these-hours-no-matter-what schedule, I tried forcing myself to eat first thing in the morning even if I wasn’t hungry, and the result was that I couldn’t keep the food down. I stopped trying pretty fast.

    6. Cyndi*

      I always eat breakfast at work, partly because I’m not hungry first thing but mainly because it’s one less task I have to worry about on my own time. I wear minimal makeup and do that on the train.

      Unfortunately I’ve found that the most effective approach is to treat Morning Cyndi, the person I am between the alarm going off and when I go out the front door, as a separate person who’s out to get me and needs to be out-strategized. Morning Cyndi can’t be trusted with anything that doesn’t absolutely have to happen in that window: basic hygiene, putting pre-selected clothes on, taking the dog out. It’s a grim worldview but it’s what works.

      1. Minimal Pear*

        I feel you, morning Pear is a “glassbowl” who doesn’t care about early morning appointments, cancellation fees, etc etc.

        1. Cyndi*

          Morning Cyndi doesn’t want any nice little treats to motivate her out of bed. She can’t be bought, bullied, reasoned or negotiated with. She just wants to watch the world burn.

      2. Azure Jane Lunatic*

        Yes, Morning Azz can just about manage to roll out of bed, shove on the outfit of the day, grab a pre-loaded bag, and shamble to the bus stop. There is still a checklist on the window by the front door from when I was working my frightful morning job, reminding me that my bus pass and headphones were not optional.

        (I brushed my teeth and had breakfast at work, and showered at night.)

    7. another Hero*

      You can also split your sleep if it works for you – a lot of people working in pastry do a long nap after work and then go to bed after an evening. It depends on your life commitments, of course – sleeping through dinner with the kids to stay up until 3 probably isn’t the move. but if you work, like, 5-1 or 6-2 and don’t have children coming home from school, a little time for daytime errands and then a nap before dinner can be super practical, accommodate spending the evenings with people but also nighttimes to yourself, and might feel less like fighting your body, since you’d only be sleeping right after work (when you got up early and presumably the workday tires you out too) and when your circadian rhythms don’t hate. I’m definitely not saying (or at all in a position to say) that this is the way for OP – only try it if it feels like it might be good for you! But personally split sleeping was not the worst (or the most antisocial) sleep schedule I’ve ever had. Also tbh I think it’s a little more forgiving of the desire to sleep in sometimes.

      1. commensally*

        +1 There’s studies that have shown that for most people, two four-hour sleeps or one six and one two works just as well as one 8-hour. If all you need to do is be up for an early meeting and your work is flexible otherwise, you could even get up for the meeting and do your second sleep immediately after.

        1. I Have RBF*

          I have been taking a two hour nap every evening, because I can’t get to sleep before 1:30 am and I get up at 8 am. It works, and I usually wake up shortly before my alarm. So I sleep 7 pm to 9 pm, then 2 am to 8 am. I’ve tried staying up then sleeping 8 hours, but I end up waking up in the middle of the night and losing that sleep time. The big thing for me is to listen to my body and sleep when I’m tired.

          I also take stuff at night to make sure I get to sleep and stay asleep, because I have chronic insomnia, and if I don’t I’m always tired but never get more than around five hours of sleep in a day.

          If I go off all my sleep aids, and forgo alarm clocks, my sleep cycle is erratic, and shifts to something like going to bed at 5 am and sleeping until 2 pm, with three potty breaks during sleep. This is not compatible with Western society.

    8. Banana Pyjamas*

      Alternatively, I have found a protein shake helps with nausea, but literally anything solid worsens it. I would have a protein shake on the way, and then eat solids on my first break or lunch, whenever the nausea fully eased. Chia and flax are… an acquired taste, but they can really help with nausea. They actually create a protective barrier in the stomach.

  10. The Ginger Ginger*

    At least for a while, don’t sleep in, even on your days off. Get up and go to bed at the same time every day, work or not. It’ll help your body get into a rhythm. It sucks. As a fellow night owl, early mornings are never easy. But setting up that rhythm makes it bearable.

    1. Shoryl*

      I’m also a night owl, and if I had to work any earlier than I do, I would have to nap after work. so that’s my suggestion, if napping is an option, you can then maybe sleep less at night but still get the rest you need.

  11. Lady_Lessa*

    I would also recommend that once you find a good way to be bright eyed and bushy tailed early, that you keep the same or very similar schedule on weekends. That way your system adjusts and stays adjusted.

  12. ThatGirl*

    I went from working second shift (3-midnight) to working not just first shift but an early one, roughly 7:30 to 3:30.

    So, my advice: start getting up at a consistent time and going to bed at a consistent time as soon as possible. You can adjust those a little bit at a time if needed, but start that new routine.

    Practice good sleep hygiene – take a half an hour or so before bed to not look at screens, maybe take a low dose of melatonin to signal to your body that it’s time to get sleepy, stretch or meditate or whatever helps you relax.

    In the morning, get some sunlight/bright light as soon as you can; have coffee (but only 1-2 cups) and a breakfast with some protein. Take stretch/walk around breaks and drink lots of water.

    1. Roscoe da Cat*

      I will add to this:
      — have a set routine for going to bed
      –slowly darken your home as you do it (my to bed routine takes 25 minutes and by the end of it, I only have a weak light by my bed on)
      –get up when the alarm goes off (and I would echo a sunrise alarm clock especially one that gets very bright since you like afternoons)
      These three things have helped me but they all take awhile to work.

    2. Cold Snap*

      To any hiring managers reading, I highly recommend emphasizing start times if they’re before 9am (or whatever is standard in your industry) in the applicant’s time zone. I always make sure to do this, and have gotten good feedback from applicants on it.

      It’s a major quality of life issue, as OP has demonstrated, so make sure people have that info so they can make an informed choice, and you can ultimately have more successful hires.

  13. Dust Bunny*

    You just do it.

    I’m a natural night owl but I’ve gotten up at 5:00 for years because it’s worth it to me to keep this job (job I really need but also a job I really like, with a really great employer). I’m not hungry that early so I bring breakfast with me to eat when I get to work, so I can look forward to that. I appreciate my commute as time to adjust to being awake; on days I take the bus I get to walk a little bit more to wake myself up, but things aren’t busy yet so I still don’t have to interact with people, mostly. Early mornings are just extensions of late nights, anyway.

    I often put my clothes out and pack lunches the night before so I don’t have to make decisions or do any extra tasks when I’m still not really up to speed. That also helps me leave on time.

    I never hit the snooze button. Ever. Just rip the band-aid off and get out of bed.

    1. Dust Bunny*

      Even on weekends I get up at 5:00 because I have cats and They Must Be Fed. I can go back to bed, but I still get up at the same time initially.

    2. RedinSC*

      The getting things ready the night before is super helpful for me. It makes my morning routine very easy, I can just get up and go.

      I also shower before bed, not in the AM, which again, just allows me to get up and go.

      1. Dust Bunny*

        I have a history of being unrealistic about how easily I can find things I’ll need for school/work, and that has backfired on me enough times that I finally learned to find them the evening before when I have more time. Definitely helpful. I shower at night, too. I can’t sleep if my feet, especially, aren’t clean, but it’s also good wind-down time and a good mental break between Daytime Me and Nighttime Me.

        There are two buses I can take and still get to work in a reasonable time range, but there is a woman who rides the later one whom I cannot stand (noisy chronic complainer), which gives me extra incentive to get my hiney out of bed so I can get the earlier bus. Whatever it takes, right?

      2. Daisy-dog*

        When I need to get up early, I shower in the early evening to make sure my hair dries before bed. And I will sometimes even fix my hair in the evening, so I only need to do a tiny bit of fidgeting with my hair in the morning. (I once knew someone who said she’d do her make-up too, but it would be fully smudged if I did that!)

        1. Cyndi*

          I assume everyone who says they’re styling their hair the night before and sleeping on it is some kind of witch.

          1. Dust Bunny*

            Mine is fine, soft, and limp. It won’t style, anyway, so I can pretty much just do a little bit of combing and it looks as good as it’s ever going to look. If I want a real style I’d have to get a wig.

          2. Daisy-dog*

            My hair is fairly low maintenance. I blow-dry it straight, so I can brush it out in the morning. It works 80% of the time with minor fixes.

        2. Dust Bunny*

          My hair is wash-and-wear and my workplace’s grooming expectations are modest, so I can pretty much pat things into place and that’s good enough (I don’t wear makeup). Thank goodness.

          1. allathian*

            Me too. I grew out my hair during the pandemic, and the only “styling” it gets is that I wear it in a ponytail. My office has a casual dress code and ponytails are fine. Even my boss who also has long hair often has one. I also don’t wear makeup anymore.

            I generally shower about an hour before I go to bed, and keep my hair in a terrycloth towel “turban” to dry. I brush it while it’s still damp and go to bed with another terrycloth towel on my pillow. I do have a hair dryer but I haven’t used it for years and my hair thanks me for it.

    3. Midwestern Teapot Creator*

      This! Have everything easily set up in the morning really helps my husband who is also a night owl.

      I would also encourage you to have something to look forward too – maybe buying some fancy coffee or having your favorite breakfast pastry on deck for your first week or so. Having something to look forward too is really helpful!

      1. Daisy-dog*

        Yes! I once had to go into work earlier for a few weeks. And the train schedule meant it was even earlier, so I treated myself to breakfast out every day in the first week.

    4. Ally McBeal*

      I never ever hit the snooze button either. Apparently you and I are part of a very small minority there because every coworker I’ve said that to looks at me in shock. But I figured I wasn’t getting quality sleep in 7-minute increments, so ripping the band-aid off was better.

      That said, I have a fun ritual for my first day of freedom after leaving a job (when I was in school it was the first day of summer break): I set my alarm for the usual time, then when it goes off the next morning I turn it off, give my clock the middle finger, and go back to sleep. Bliss.

    5. Cubicles and Chimeras*

      This is it.

      I like to now joke that I am a morning person and a night person but not an afternoon person. I’m up at 5 am at the latest, sometimes not always functionally, but I can drag myself to the shower and get on from there. I time myself to wake up in the shower, because that’s one of the things that make me functional.

      I too prep my lunches and breakfasts, I know what I’m going to wear the night before even for when I’m WFH. I eat breakfast at 9 am because I’m just not hungry for anything but coffee until then. I time my day to have a pick me up in the afternoon because I Cannot Function then. 9 days out of 10 I get under 7 hours sleep because I cannot fathom going to bed before 10, but my body has adjusted to that, and when it doesn’t, naps. Naps are the absolute best as an adult.

      Biggest thing is: If you wake up a half hour or an hour before your alarm, just get up. Do not try to catch that extra bit of sleep, that lies the way of madness (and crankiness).

      But it is also worth after you settle into your job, seeing if you need to be on the shift you’re on, or if something else might fit both you and the team better.

      1. Dust Bunny*

        So apparently you and I are the same person. I can’t really sleep before 10 but I just make it work, and I usually have snack mid-afternoon (something I look forward to) because midday to mid-afternoon is my worst time.

    6. amoeba*

      What really works for me as a former chronic snoozer, weirdly, is not getting up straight after the alarm – or rather, getting up, getting a coffee and maybe even a snack, and going back to drink it sitting in bed while reading something nice, browsing, AAM, or whatever for 15-20 mins.
      I know it’s basically the opposite of the advice one gets elsewhere, but for me it’s just somehow much less… brutal? I actually look forward to those 15 minutes, so I’m not tempted to keep snoozing. And once I’m sitting in bed with coffee, the temptation for that is gone, anyway.

      I do need one 10 min snooze to start with though, because if the alarm goes off in one of my deep sleep phases, it’s basically all I can do to hit “snooze” and turn over. Getting up straight would be absolutely brutal, after the 10 mins of lighter sleep/dozing, I’m usually fine.

      So, for me:
      – One hour before leaving time: alarm goes off, snooze once (10 mins)
      – Second alarm, go get coffee and possibly overnight oats if I wasn’t lazy the night before. I might even prepare the coffee grounds in the machine so I only need to hit a button!
      – Sit on my cushion throne in bed with coffee and possibly food, reading for 15-20 mins
      – 25-30 mins before departure: shower, dress, pack things (I don’t need much and hate preparing stuff the night before…), out the door.

      If I have to get up a lot earlier than usual (early train or whatever), I might only get up 45 mins before leaving – but I always leave time for the one snooze and at least a quick coffee in bed, because I really hate leaving without them.

  14. J*

    Also a major night owl. For me the main hurdle is actually going to bed early enough–my brain is really on later in the evenings, so I struggle with shutting things down and calling it a night. I set alarms on my phone starting around 9 to remind myself to start my evening routine (and stop scrolling or other time suck activities).

    1. RedinSC*

      This^^^. I’ve also gotten some sleep meditations that I listen to when I first go to bed, and that calms my mind enough to fall asleep

    2. Stacy Fakename*

      I was looking for a comment along these lines. People talk a lot about getting up, but I’ve found that if I put the majority of my effort into going to bed, I naturally wake up after 7-8 hours.

      For me, I need to be physically tired enough to fall asleep, so I try to make sure I’ve gotten at least some movement in. I also keep the lights low in the evenings and make sure they’re warm-toned (no bright overhead lights, and I specifically have a lamp with a pink lampshade). Also the standard advice about putting your phone down, avoiding screens, etc. I need stimulation, so I usually put on a podcast or an audiobook so I can have entertainment without a screen.

      The key (at least for me) is to start doing all this BEFORE you’re tired. It takes mental energy to break patterns, to remember to put down your phone, turn down the lights, etc, so you have to start doing all this while you’ve still got willpower. If I wait until I’m actually tired, I’m much more likely to just keep scrolling because I can’t work up the strength to get off the couch.

      1. Cyndi*

        It takes mental energy to break patterns, to remember to put down your phone, turn down the lights, etc, so you have to start doing all this while you’ve still got willpower.

        This is very true. I don’t like it! But it’s true.

      2. Delightful Daisy*

        That last point is so true! I am also a night owl who comes from a long line of them. I have a job that requires me to wake earlier that I want and now sleeping in is 8:00 a.m. I’ve slowly adjusted but lately I have been drifting into later and later bedtimes.

        I find for myself, doing the meal prep and choosing my clothes the night before helps. Good luck, OP! There are a lot of great tips here and I hope you find something easily that works for you.

    3. amoeba*

      My problem is also that I just… don’t like going to bed early! Like, ideally, it would probably be after midnight for me – for a normal workday, between 11 and 12 is fine, and I can go as early as in bed, reading by 10. But I just kind of feel cheated of my free time if I go to bed earlier than that. Like, my preferred dinner time is after 8 p.m. (no, I’m not in the US, haha), I have hobbies that have me coming home 10ist a few days a week, I like going out and meeting friends in the evening… for me, finishing work earlier and having free time at, say, 4, isn’t the same. All my social life happens in the evenings!

      But yeah, sleeping 11-6 or whatever works alright. Just much earlier than that would probably not be feasible for my lifestyle, although I have many colleagues who happily chose that life (we have flex time and people really start whenever they want between, say, 6 and 9.30…)

      1. Katara's side braids*

        Exactly this! We have to do what we have to do, but I really resent having to shut my brain down right as it’s getting into its prime functional hours.

  15. Optimus*

    I am a night owl too. I don’t know whether this will help you, it probably depends on the person, but I found that light hitting my eyes helps me wake up better than anything else. Three years ago I bought a Phillips wake-up light. It comes on very dimly 30 minutes before the time I want to be up, and it gradually gets brighter until it’s officially wake-up time. The first thing I do then is grab my phone and do a little routine – I read AAM, do the NYT Wordle, do NYT Connections, NYT mini crossword, then read Carolyn Hax. By then, the brain activity and blue light have helped wake me up. It’s a gentle on-ramp to being awake.

      1. Audrey Puffins*

        Mini Crossword, Connections, Wordle, Daily Crossword, AAM here. (And, because of timezones, sometimes my morning routine includes yesterday’s Vertex too.)

      2. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

        Yup. Wake up at the first alarm, do daily challenges for my solitaire, water-drop, and sudoku games, a duolingo lesson, and AAM, and then read until the second alarm.

      3. Random Bystander*

        Add in Worldle (it’s a geography based, but similar principle to Wordle .. there’s now 7 stages, guessing the country based on outline, then naming the capital, identifying the neighboring countries, identifying the flag and currency, getting the 4 most populous cities in order–that’s a drag and drop, identifying the languages used and how to say “my name is” in each, and then the area of the country. I am learning a lot while forcing my brain into awake mode.

    1. another Hero*

      +1 as someone who has worked many pre-dawn shifts (and not miserably), light makes it all much easier.

    2. Toxic Workplace Survivor*

      I’m loving the wake-up light too! I’m a sleep mask person and resisted the idea of a wake-up light for years, even after someone gifted me one, because my eyes are shaded in bed.

      This winter had been gloomy enough and mornings were awful enough (night owl) that I pulled it out of the cupboard and gave it a go. I find even though it isn’t “waking me up” with the light since I’m masked, it’s still helpful to have my room lit so that when my other two alarms start going off, I realize it’s definitely morning.

    3. Porch Gal*

      Yup! Wordle, Connections and the Mini in the morning. Keyword and Quote of the Day (Washington Post), along with AAM and Caroline Hax at lunch.

  16. t-vex*

    Fellow night owl here. If I just roll out of bed and start the day my brain is still cloaked in fog even if my eyes are open. Schedule yourself something where you *have* to be out of the house by a specific time before your workday, like scheduling a coffee pickup or getting to spin class or a meeting a friend for a walk. It means getting up even earlier but if for me, once I’ve moved my body and accomplished something I’m much more mentally alert.

    1. Morning Fog*

      I was coming to say something similar. Because I’m not a morning person, I tend to be groggy in the mornings, even if I’ve made sure to go to bed at a reasonable time. If I’m scheduled to teach an early morning class, I need to schedule myself extra time to really get into gear. Exercising in the morning has been a part of gearing up at some points of my career. Now, I sit at the table and work on learning Spanish for half an hour as I drink a cup of coffee. As with t-vex, it means getting up even earlier, but that time is essential if I’m going to be ready to go when the work day starts.

  17. Sunny*

    The only thing that’s worked for me – as a reformed night owl who’s also no spring chicken anymore – was one of those sunrise alarms and just adjusting it back by about 5 minutes every few days. Took some time but I’ve been fairly consistent for a few years now.

    I’m someone who used to sleep through every alarm ever – I could walk across the room and hit snooze without waking – and the sunrise thing was the only thing that did it. I still don’t quite “hear” the alarm part of it but the light seems to have made all the difference.

  18. Olive*

    Prepare your morning routine as much as possible the night before so that you don’t have to be making a lot of decisions while drowsy. For example, pick out your clothes and set out your coffee mug and any breakfast foods/dishes before you go to bed. This won’t necessarily make you bright-eyed by 8:30, but it will decrease the likelihood that you already feel overwhelmed starting the day.

    1. Panicked*

      This is really key for me. I’m a morning person, but I still hate getting out of bed. I do as much as possible in the evening so I can get my day started right. I lay out my clothes, prep my coffee, make my lunch, tidy up the house, and lay everything out so all I need to do is hygiene and get out the door. With a night owl, that routine can help the morning go more smoothly AND give their brain a cue to start settling down.

      1. Early Bird Doesn't Always Want the Worm*

        Same here — I prep as much as I can the night before. Just because I wake early doesn’t mean I’m ready to think and work early. Some other ideas:
        – quick burst of movement to get going
        – showers help me wake up but you could also just look screen-ready for first thing meetings and then take time to get ready more later. Everything doesn’t have to be done and ready by 8:30 am eastern time
        – I also like the idea of having a schedule that starts a little later than east coast but goes later into west coast. Does the company have “core hours” when everyone has to work? Are you the only person not on the East coast?
        – I’m also a big fan of the daytime nap. I had been sleeping too much for awhile and it just made me feel worse, but a quicker nap (for me in bed up to an hour but not asleep the whole time) helps a lot.

        1. Not that other person you didn't like*

          This is what I came here to say. Because I WFH, when I have early meetings (which isn’t all the time, thank goodness, but is occasionally “ready and presenting at 5am”) I give myself as much sleep time as possible. Does this mean I occasionally finish my call with my hair in a bun and then go brush my teeth and clean up?… yes. yes it does. Also on those very early days, I will absolutely shut down at 2pm and go have a nap.

          I also think the OP should consider that while the first few weeks might be the time to make a good impression, with a lot of jobs a gentle, “could we schedule that meeting a bit later?” or “I’m going to flex one hour to the PM, so I’m happy to have that document reviewed / presentation completed for when you get in tomorrow morning” kind of vibe will be fine as you settle into the job.

      2. theletter*

        Same! I also try to do set up as much as I can before I start my wind-down process. Setting up for the morning too late in the evening can be disruptive.

    2. I went to school with only 1 Jennifer*

      The clothes! I’m a morning person, but right now I have to get out of the house earlier than I prefer (and I don’t really have leeway since I’m heading to public transit). I find that I can make the “what to wear” decisions in half the time or less the night before. And that gives me time to sit down while I drink that important cup of coffee, which pleases the cats.

  19. silly little public health worker*

    some thoughts from someone who had to ~make the transition~

    yes, do this in increments – but you may not have time to do it in increments it sounds like.

    create resistance to sleeping in. things you can do include:
    – setting an alarm clock – not your phone – and putting it on the other side of the room
    – if you have a pet and this schedule change is likely to be permanent…start feeding them earlier. they will help wake you up. i have dogs, this was a thing that genuinely forced me out of bed earlier in the mornings, and it was also a necessity because i had to leave my house earlier
    – if you have a coffee maker that does this, put your coffee on auto-brew so it’s ready and tastes good whenever you wake up and will taste burnt if you sleep in too long
    – if you have blackout curtains…no you don’t

    create things that also make it easier to get up in the morning
    – lay your clothes out the night before. seriously, it’s cliche but it works
    – simplify your morning routine to the bare minimum so that you look Fine Enough. you’re working from home, people do not care as much how dressed up you are
    – create, if you can, a bedtime ritual that pre-signals to your body that it’s sleeping time now, and also step that back earlier and earlier. like, i might always drink a chamomile tea before going to sleep. and then i might do my skincare ritual. and then i put on my clothes. there’s some behavioral psych around having an order of things that tells your body it’s time to close up shop

    i hope any of that is helpful!

    1. ThatGirl*

      I know it’s a figure of speech, but when I hear/read people say “lay your clothes out” I think…where? I can’t lay them on the bed, I’m sleeping there! :)

      But yes, having an outfit ready to go front and center in your closet can definitely help.

      1. Ally McBeal*

        That’s what the Clothing Chair is for! I read an article recently referencing the Clothing Chair and realized I’ve never had an original thought in my life. If you don’t have space for a chair or bench in your bedroom, you could use the top of your dresser or any another flat surface – my current Clothing Chair is just the corner of my bed that my cat doesn’t sleep on.

      2. Banana Pyjamas*

        My aunt batched her kids outfits for the whole week in a hanging shoe organizer. It didn’t matter which compartment they took their clothes from, they just had to take everything from one compartment.

    2. sleeper inner*

      Ditto the second half of this especially. I switched to being an evening shower-er (still prefer morning but the extra sleep is worth it), and I prep my meals so I don’t have to slam together a sandwich while running out the door. Obviously tweak to whatever will impact your routine most, but I’d encourage you to be creative about what you can reschedule from mornings. Any little extra task I can do in the evening or on a weekend is worth it for the sweet sweet sleep.

    3. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      adjust the pets, yes! My dogs generally keep to my morning-person schedule, so if I’m traveling and my not-morning-person husband is the one taking care of things on the home front, they roust him out of bed for breakfast and morning outs by 7:30am (I actually get up at 6:30, they go outside then and don’t get breakfast til 8) and start giving him the “it’s bedtime” glares at 9pm (I read in bed til 10). And whoever is feeding them dinner, they KNOW when it is 5:30pm on the dot.

  20. HannahS*

    My sibling uses a combination of careful sleep hygiene, melatonin, and a SAD lamp to help regulate their circadian rhythm. Similarly, they’re really a night owl in a field where being at a place at a certain time of morning is really not negotiable.

    1. Betty*

      Agreed about sleep hygiene being important to actually be able to fall asleep earlier– white noise machine (*technically not “white” but that’s what most people call them), blackout curtains or sleep mask, avoiding screens before bed, consistent bedtime and wind-down routine.

    2. Lluviata*


      Out of all of these, the key for me is bright light as soon as possible when I wake up. That alone keeps my body on a particular wake schedule, which sets my sleep clock too. But if you have trouble falling asleep, YMMV.

      I have a SAD lamp from Amazon (Circadian Optics Light Therapy Lamp – UV-Free LED Happy Mood Lamps with 10,000 Lux) and I sit in front of it for 5-10 minutes while I’m drinking my coffee. You could also take a walk outside if the sun is up but I find that putting on shoes and getting out the door is too much of a barrier when I’ve just woken up, so the SAD lamp works better for me.

    3. BlueSwimmer*

      I’m also a night owl naturally who is a teacher who absolutely has to leave for work by 6:30. I use all these strategies, minus the melatonin. I also go outside with my dogs right when I wake up and take deep breaths of fresh air, which really helps me. In the morning once I am at work, I am able to get outside a few times through the morning to have sunlight hit my eyes, which is really helpful for sleep cycles and my mood.

      I follow the exact same routine every morning and I set alarms for each phase of my morning to keep me on track. Like 10 minutes to feed dogs, 15 minutes for teeth, hair, and face, etc. I shower, dry my hair, lay out my clothes, and prep my breakfast and lunch and coffee the night before.

      Everything people here have said about sticking with your wakeup time is great advice, no matter how long it takes you to get to sleep and how bad it feels to wake up. I allow myself a few weeks of sleeping later in the summer break but start forcing myself to wake up by 15 minute increments about 3 weeks before school starts to get back on track. On the weekends I get up at the same time but sometimes take a nap later in the day.

      Something else that works for me is actually waking up a bit earlier than I really need to so that I can relax and have coffee, pet my dogs, and watch 10 minutes of whatever soothing TV I am currently into before I start getting ready. It gives me something to look forward to and makes being awake feel less brutal and more cozy.

    4. Becky*

      Absolutely have to second a SAD lamp and a sleep hygiene routine. Using a SAD lamp for 20 mins a morning when I’m adjusting to time changes, schedule changes, a semester where I suddenly have a super early class to teach, helps my brain rewire. Getting to sleep that early was a bigger challenge for me to get into a routine. I used to listen to the same playlist or audiobook (one I’d read before) to train my brain to associate that with sleep. And I just would try to not get defeated when I didn’t fall asleep right away because that only made it worse. It’s definitely a process, but one you can accomplish. It’s all about finding the right combination of strategies.

  21. Jonathan MacKay*

    I’ve been surprised how much the quality of my pillow affects my sleep and level of rest when I awake.

    1. Banana Pyjamas*

      Yes! We bought new pillows last Saturday, and my husband and I feel like brand new people. DKNY pillows are surprisingly wonderful, and $20 for a two pack at Marshall’s. We’re side sleepers btw.

  22. Ann Onymous*

    Try to go to bed and get up at the same time every day – even on weekends while you’re still adjusting. I’m also a bit of a night owl who sometimes struggles to fall asleep early enough to get a good night’s sleep and get to work on time. Having a consistent pre-bed routine helps me wind down at the end of the day and signal my brain that it’s sleepy time.

  23. Falling Diphthong*

    Food can be a strong biochemical cue that it is waking up or shutting down time, so as you shift your schedule shift your meals along with it.

    Also consider some sort of brief exercise–a 10 minute walk or stretching routine. I find even when I drag myself to do it, on days I skip it I’m much more tired.

    1. Daisy-dog*

      Yes, I’ve added a 15-20 minute walk to my morning routine just because I felt grumpy every single day – no matter what was happening or how good I slept.

    2. borealis*

      Just be aware that whether exercise leaves you feeling more energised or more mentally exhausted depends on individual quirks of genetics. I can’t exercise in the morning, it makes me incapable of focusing or thinking straight for at least a couple of hours afterwards, and tends to make me more irritable as well. (Exercise has long-term benefits for cardiac health and strength and balance etc, but unfortunately not everyone gets the short-term benefits that are often touted as universal.)

      That being said, it’s something that is worth trying, unless you already know that it won’t make you feel less tired.

  24. SarahKay*

    Firstly lots of sympathy – I’m also a perimenopausal night owl and in my previous site I didn’t have to be there until just before ten am; with a 25 minute commute I didn’t have to get out of bed much before nine. (Even better, the Site Leader was also a night owl so often arrived even after me!)
    On my current site I have to be there for 8:30, and it’s a longer commute so I’m now getting up just before seven and it’s hard going.
    I manage by being ruthless about getting to bed by 10.30 as often as possible, and sticking to that at the weekends too. I have two ‘go to bed’ alarms set – in a soothing alarm tone rather than a Wake! Up! tone – and a sleep tracking app which shows me the trends of how much sleep I’ve been getting and how late I went to sleep.
    I also have all my electronics set to change to a redder light at 9pm so not only am I getting less blue light but if I’m using them at the moment they change it’s a good warning to me that the evening is getting on.
    Good luck!

  25. Cookingwithclaire*

    – Shift your bedtime back slowly.
    – Stop drinking caffeine around noon.
    – Don’t use/watch any screens within 2 hours of going to bed.
    – Dim lighting 2 hours before bed.
    – Use melatonin. I’ve tried all the brands over the years and the only kind that works for me personally is GNC in the chew/gummy form, not pills. I usually take 2 gummies (suggested amount) 30 min before I want to go to sleep. Don’t take melatonin past 11pm-ish or you could get a groggy melatonin hangover.
    – When you wake up in the morning, immediately either go outside or sit in front of one of those special sun-like lamps for 15 minutes.

    My sleep doctors said I’d never be able to shift my inverted circadian rhythm much and I needed to just accept my days would begin at 10/11am earliest. While I do slip back when I don’t adhere to this, these steps have made it possible to have a job I need to get up by 7/8am for. Good luck!

    1. Peon*

      The caffeine thing jumped out at me. I know people are reluctant to give it up because it wakes you up, but it also keeps you up. My doctor says it has a half life of about 5 hours, so I cut myself off 9-10 hours before bedtime, which means 17-18 hours before I need to wake up. That’s about noon for me too.

  26. Jaunty Banana Hat I*

    Current night owl here, speaking as former teacher with a long commute/early morning where I had to get up at 5:30am every day. Sending strength, because god knows I did not have it in me to continue more than a few years in a job that made me get up early, and I hope it goes better for you.

    Shift slowly, like someone else already mentioned. Try to keep roughly the same schedule on non-work days (I hated doing this, but it IS helpful).

    Create a morning routine for yourself so you have something to look forward to when you get up, and so it’s easier to function on autopilot until you’re really awake. And create an evening routine, to make sure you go to bed with enough time to get the sleep you need.

    Don’t watch the clock in your bedroom at night. Set double alarms if you need reassurance that you’ll get up on time, but keep clocks where you can’t see them. If you wake up in the middle of the night, don’t look at the time. I’ve found that checking the time almost always leads to an anxiety spiral about needing to go back to sleep.

    1. Aerin*

      I used to have that anxiety spiral, and what helped was the Deadliest Catch episode of Mythbusters. Seriously! They showed that lying in bed awake but with your eyes closed was still refreshing, even if not as refreshing as actual sleep. All rest is good rest. That really shifted my mindset about waking up in the middle of the night, and ironically makes it much easier to fall back asleep.

      1. Mianaai*

        Yes! This is so helpful. I also personally find that resting in bed and reading (especially something comforting/familiar) is similarly restorative. Reading be a lot easier on my neurospicy brain than lying awake with my eyes closed, since my brain is prone to anxiety spirals when left to its own devices.

      2. Becky*

        Yes!! That’s where I learned that. I knew I knew that “fact” from somewhere. Absolutely helped me out of the anxiety spirals too.

      3. DrSalty*

        Oh this has been so helpful to me with sleep challenges of pregnancy and a new baby. I repeat to myself constantly, “laying quietly with my eyes closed is just as good as sleeping.” Usually I end up falling asleep anyway!

    2. amoeba*

      Hah, yes, I’ve actually always absolutely hated knowing what time it is when I wake up at night. To the point that I’ll try to keep my hand over the clock bit in case I have to look at my phone for whatever reason, or actively turn my head in the other direction if I pass the kitchen clock.
      Now, however, I live next to a church bell that tells the time. Every hour (plus 15 mins increments, but those don’t tell you which hour it is). 24 hours a day. Why? I don’t know.
      I can now sleep through it most of the time even with my window open, although that took me a few weeks. But if I do wake up, I literally cover my ears when it starts ringing because otherwise I can’t help counting. I’m sure it looks pretty funny…

  27. Cruciatus*

    You will get there, but it will take time, but the sooner you start the better! I went from 2nd shift to first shift. I felt sick in the mornings for the first 2 weeks but after a while I started to adjust. When I’m left to my own devices I do tend to be a night owl, but it’s been years now and, when I’m not fighting (probable perimenopausal) insomnia, I am in bed usually by 10, lights out by 10:30, and it’s fine. The body will adjust!

  28. Sparkles McFadden*

    I’ve found that a regular exercise routine helps establish a regular sleep schedule, even if that sleep schedule is contrary to your natural rhythm. I ended up getting up even earlier than necessary so I could exercise before going to work. That was what worked best for me (I was surprised that was the case).

    I also got everything ready the night before. I laid out my clothes and had any food I was taking with me ready etc. I had to do this because I just could not make a decision before my natural “become conscious” time. You can adjust only so much.

    1. Another Jen*

      I came here to say this: on days when I don’t exercise in some form I have a harder time falling asleep at my designated bedtime and staying asleep.

      And, for me at least, it has to be something kinda significant — I try to walk 10,000 steps/day, not because there’s good general evidence for it, but because on days when I don’t do that or an equivalent(bike ride for an hour, hour+ gym workout) it noticeably affects my sleep.

      1. amoeba*

        Yes, exercise is great – although I do find that if I do it too late in the evening, it kind of has the opposite effect because I’ll be wide awake and hyped up! Early in the evening is perfect for me (I’m sure mornings would be even better, but I just… can’t.)

        1. borealis*

          I already made this comment above, but it’s important to remember that not everyone becomes more awake / energised by exercise.

  29. Maggie*

    Adjust your meals to your desired sleep/wake schedule. It feels awkward at first but it’s more effective at shifting your brain’s perception of time than a lot of other tricks. If you use melatonin, check with your doctor, most people don’t time it or dose it correctly, treating it like a sleeping pill

  30. Kate*

    Try the Timeshift app. It’s for travel, but will help you use sunglasses, a SAD lamp, wake times, and melatonin if you like to switch your time. It worked a treat for me for US-Europe travel.

    And consistency is so key. I used to have a lot of trouble falling asleep, and then my son started a school whose day starts at 7:20 (weep) and my sleep hygiene is better than ever. Try to think of treating yourself as going to bed early, rather than sleeping in on the weekends. You got this!

  31. Bramble*

    I’ll be honest. I’m not sure you’ll ever fully adjust. I’m starting my 3rd year of working with timezones that mean I often have meetings between 6am-8am, and I just don’t function as well at that time, and its not getting any better the more I do it. I find that starting my work day that early, even when I get up at the same time I normally would (between 5:45-6am), I have increased fatigue the rest of the day.

    To help manage that I do a few things:
    1. Look for time later in the day to step away from work and recharge. Maybe take a break mid-day and then come back and work later when you may function better.
    2. Alternatively, if you’re working with the east coast and start early because of that, don’t try and work all the way to 5-6pm west coast time, end your day early.
    3. Make sure you’re realistic about evening activities. Don’t burn the candle on both ends.
    4. Designate at least one day of the week that you try and keep a little more quiet/meeting free. For me this is Friday, so I don’t go into the weekend feeling like a Zombie.

  32. Presea*

    Addressing any medical issues or lifestyle issues causing additional fatigue can be helpful. The less fatigue you have, the easier time you’ll have waking up in the morning.

    You’ve presumably already talked to a medical professional and are doing what can be done for your perimenopause, but it could still be worth revisiting or revising your current treatment options or even getting a second opinion.

    It’s also good to prioritize moving your body and eating in a way that supports your self-care – that kind of thing can get lost in the shuffle during a life transition, but it might do you well to treat it as a higher priority than work.

  33. periwinkle*

    I’m a night owl by inclination and always did my best thinking at 1am (ah, grad school days). In my previous role I was 100% WFH and as long as I was available during core hours, no problem. However, my current role is supporting a manufacturing team and we’ve been dragged back in 5 days a week. I’m at my desk at 6am because that’s the expectation here, and I’m far from being the first one here.

    There is really no magical solution here. You have to shift your sleep schedule! It was challenging at first because I was used to staying up until midnight or later. The usual sleep-inducing solutions helped – make a cozy bed environment, add white noise, drink herbal tea, and take something like melatonin or magnesium. The last one actually did the trick – I used Natural Vitality Calm. That was an accident, really, as I was already taking Calm to help with leg cramps and accidently bought the sleep version which knocked me right the hell out the first time.

    Waking up early is tough too. My alarm goes off at 4:50am. To avoid waking my spouse I wear an Apple Watch to bed and rely on the haptic alarm to tap me awake (with a backup ringing alarm just in case).

    Now I start getting sleepy around 8pm, and often wake up before the alarm.

  34. Kiki Is The Most*

    I JUST did this since November (and I, too, feel the menopause tiredness). Some things I tried/still do:

    *Put my alarm clock/phone in the other room so that when it went off, I had to physically get out of bed to turn it off.
    *changing my bedtime in increments (the heavily recommended suggestion and this helped more on weekends)
    *I stopped caffeine in the afternoons. Taking a break outside for 10 minutes with fresh air was more helpful to curb my afternoon tiredness.
    *Drinking a lot more water
    *Have my clothes ready and my coffee pot set up before I go to bed.

    I still have days that I crawl out of bed but it is getting easier 4 months into the shift.

  35. NerdyKris*

    I’m a bit of an outlier in how easy it is for me to change my schedule, but the advice I use is:
    -Start moving your wakeup time earlier over the course of a week or two, use an alarm
    -I have a real alarm clock and it’s across the room so I have to get up to shut it off. Don’t use your phone for this
    -Upon waking up, within an hour eat some protein. There’s something about that helping reset your circadian rhythm I read once.
    -Make sure you’re adjusting your evening to account for going to sleep earlier as well. Make sure you’re not drinking caffeine close to bedtime, and do something that relaxes you.
    -Try to avoid things at bedtime that keep you awake. For me it’s reading. TV I’ll fall asleep to easily, but reading will keep me alert and awake until sunrise if I don’t stop.

    1. Ashley*

      Yes – no long books the day before work because I will stay up to finish it.
      You really have to shift your night time routine as much as possible.
      Also, room darkening curtains are awesome to help get you sleepy sooner when the sun is sadly still bright (or other streetlight distractions) but you know you have a very early morning. I dream of being able to afford automatic blinds that would slowly open them in the morning.

  36. Youngin*

    My sister and I were talking about this yesterday. She struggles to make it on time to anything but she starts a new job on Monday where she will HAVE TO be on time. This advice will really be for anyone commuting, some of this might apply to working from home, but ive never done that to attest to how this would help WFH people
    I advised that she –
    1. lay out her clothes for the whole week on sunday night, including shoes. Even put them ON so you can make sure you like that way it looks.
    2. start testing quick and easy hairstyles every night and see how they look the next morning. Are you going to wear your hair down and now need to find a way to keep it neat during the night? Start figuring that out now.
    3. You need breakfast. Find a quick breakfast option you can grab and go the first week.
    4. Go through your planner the night before and make sure you know what lies in the day ahead.
    5. Check the local news in the morning for traffic and any other notices you might need like weather so you can leave earlier if need be
    6. Beta test your morning routine! If you think you’ll need to wake up at 6 to leave the house at 7, then practice! Literally run though your in home routine, time it. Sooo many people simply do not really get how long their routine takes them until they walk though it multiple times.
    7. I told her she needed to gradually wake up earlier every day. So despite this being her last weekend free, she will be up at 7am then 630 am then 6 on Sunday to prepare for 6am on Monday.
    8. DO NOT STOP TO GET BREAKFAST OR COFFEE. IDC HOW MUCH TIME YOU THINK YOU HAVE. THAT CAN BE UNPREDICTABLE. Better to get in the groove of making it at home until you are set in your routine (at least a month imo – it takes 21 days to form a habit). Treat yourself once you are accustomed to the traffic patterns for your commute and any other things that might take up time (parking, walking to your office etc)

    1. WestsideStory*

      All good advice, and something else I would like to add, it helped me in the days when I had a 2-hour commute (each way) and had to get up at 6AM to be there by 9 AM. Or had a schedule where it was fairly routine to stay 2-3 hours late at the office during peak times because job.

      I would literally plan and prep my whole week of work-affected meals (breakfast to take with, lunch bag, afternoon snack) so it was all grab-and-go in the mornings. It’s easier to stay on your game when you are having good nutrition, and not having to make those decisions when you are in the grey morning fog makes life easier. Taking my lunch also allowed me usually to go outside in the sunlight and fresh air during the lunch break sometimes.

      When I was rarely getting home before 8PM I also started to pre-prep dinners also. I’d cook three dinners on Sunday (for Sunday, Monday and Tuesday), Mr. Westside would make dinner on Wednesday, Thursday was pizza day or leftovers and Friday either date night out, or I’d make something extra nice with a good bottle of wine to celebrate making it through.

      I know that many busy people swear by prepping meals in a similar fashion. It’s a good habit to get into even if the technique is used only for one type of meal (always having the breakfast ready or that afternoon healthy snack to save you from raiding the candy bowl)

  37. LG*

    I saw a sleep psychologist because my natural sleep times were very different than what I needed! (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia–highly recommend Dr Meg Danforth at Triangle CBT-I–she does telehealth that is available in 26 PSYPACT-participating states, you can look up if you are in one!) The main things that helped me are:

    1. Either go outside for 30 minutes in the first few hours you are awake in the morning, or sit with bright light (SAD) lamp for a half hour. This tells your brain that it is awake time.
    2. Take a low-dose (1 or .5 mg) melatonin 3 hours before you plan to go to bed. Melatonin is a “sundown” hormone that tells your body you will be going to bed in a few hours.
    3. Put on blue light blocking glasses (you can get ones that are clear and don’t make things look amber) when you take your melatonin. Don’t wear blue light blocking glasses all day, you need that blue light earlier.
    4. Getting up at the same time every day. You can set an alarm when you wake up, and while you can do various things to help yourself fall asleep earlier, you ultimately cannot control when you fall asleep.
    5. When you’re trying to move to an earlier wake-up time, change it by 15 minutes earlier each day.
    6. For me, it is better to get up with my alarm (even if I am tired) and take a nap than to sleep in. If you need to nap, shorter is better, and before 3 pm.

    Good luck!!!

  38. Raeldrele*

    Change your meal times, at least during the transition stage. That helps signal to your body to adjust to a different time/schedule. Other comments suggested adjusting by 15 mins so just add in meal times.
    For me, it is easier to do changes like this doing the whole change at once and preparing for a few rough days. I also give myself a mental pep talk the night before. “Tomorrow’s going to be rough but you really want this. just get out of bed when the alarm goes and get moving.”

  39. AAM fan*

    Night owl here. What helps me is a sunrise alarm clock + taking 1-5 milligrams of melatonin 12 hours before I want to wake up. A lot of people use melatonin incorrectly (take it as they go to bed and expect it to be a sedative) as opposed to using it as a way to indicate to your brain that sleep is coming soon. So, if you have to wake up at 5 am, take it at 5 pm. (I take it at 7 pm, personally, because I wake up at 7 am on work days.)

    Also, no screen time an hour before you want to be asleep. And no alcohol on evenings when you want to wake up early. (Alcohol can make you feel sleepy but it horrible for quality of sleep.)

    Good luck!

    1. Billy Preston*

      haha there’s no just in this for a lot of people, including me. The advice people are sharing is useful.

      1. Cyndi*

        I know there are people who can Just Do everything that needs to be done, on time, every day forever. My mom is one of them. But I don’t trust those people.

  40. Megan*

    Lots of good suggestions here you can try that should help, but tbh I’m like you and have never fully adjusted to a comfortable point with morning work. Best thing I did was find jobs where I can start later and end later to fit my sleep schedule better most of the time.

  41. Betsy*

    I spent 4 weeks recently on the U.S. west coast while visiting family and working. Fortunately I didn’t need to work east coast hours, but I did need to be available much earlier than my body wanted to be awake.

    It helped that the entire household was in bed by about 8pm. Maybe you can have a bedtime buddy – when that “early to bed” person goes to bed, you do too.

    For me, lighting is really important. For future visits, I’m going to get another sunrise clock (I already have one at home) because it’s too dang hard to get up when it’s pitch black outside.

    Also, when I have a hard wake up time (if I have to catch a flight or make a meeting no matter what), I drink a big glass of water before bed. It’s easier to make yourself get up when the alarm goes off if you really need to pee.

    I also tend to NOT sleep well when I know I need to get to sleep so I can wake up early, so on those nights, I take half a Benadryl. Helps me get sleepy at night, but it’s not so much that I can’t wake up in the a.m.

    I like another commenter’s idea about not eating breakfast until your stomach is ready, regardless of what time it is.

    It also helps me to have my computer set up, my coffee ready to be turned on, and everything else as ready as possible for the morning. It might mean I can sleep 10 minutes longer or just that I’m not stumbling around in the morning trying to get everything ready for work.

    Hope some/any of this is helpful.

    1. BlueSwimmer*

      The pee alarm clock! I do this too! I drink a big glass of water before bed and it wakes me around 4:00 am. I stumble to the bathroom half asleep and am able to get back in bed and back to sleep for another hour or so, but it feels like I am getting to snooze the alarm and it makes it easier to wake up for real when my alarm goes off.

  42. cookingwithclaire*

    PS to my melatonin recommendation note, I’ve heard that using it makes your body stop producing it naturally, but I took it every night for 7 years, and when I stopped for a later-starting job, my ability to sleep was just the same as before. Not sure if that means it’s not true, or if people who naturally struggle with going to sleep at the “regular” time have much less to begin with…

  43. sookie st james*

    Major night owl here. No matter what time I go to bed/how many hours sleep I get, waking up early never feels good (if I have 10 hours sleep but wake up at 7 I’m less rested than if I have 6 hours sleep but wake up at 10… riddle me that)

    The only way I can get up early is by immediately moving around. I set a ‘warning’ alarm 15 mins before i have to be awake and then several alarms all within a few mins of the time I absolutely have to be up. Then I force myself out of bed, because any routine that involves being on my phone in bed will result in me falling back asleep. Up & use the bathroom, grab a water, or jump in place – just anything at all to shake your body and brain awake.

    Sometimes this works better if I hold myself accountable to doing something for someone else (e.g. I tell myself I have to make coffee before my bf leaves, even though he could do it himself, bc I like starting my day when he’s still around. Other ppl have mentioned feeding pets first thing too.)

    Minimise all decision making possible – if you’re like me, trying to make decisions when you’re exhausted will take up WAY more time than you think. Prep food, your bag, and even outfits the night before, decide in advance if you’re going to have a morning shower or eat breakfast at home vs at work and how long each of those things will take. And set a warning alarm/s so you’re reminded you have 15 mins before you have to leave, etc.

  44. Medium Sized Manager*

    One thing that helped me was forcing myself to get up in the morning and just be tired throughout the day. It makes it easier to fall asleep that night and get myself on a better rhythm. I’d also recommend keeping the same schedule through the weekends, no matter how tempting it is to revert. It will be a lot easier on your body to not play catchup on weekdays.

  45. Nicki Name*

    1. Solid breakfast before you start work. Something with protein.
    2. Sunlight in the morning if possible. (If you’re far enough north that it’s dark or cloudy at this time of year, I feel for you. Look into a sunrise clock if it keeps being a struggle.)
    3. Exercise if possible before starting work. Doesn’t have to be anything strenuous, just a quick walk around the block if you want. Just enough to cue your body to expect that it needs to be up doing things in the morning.

    Good luck. This sounds like it’ll be a tough adjustment at first.

    1. ThatOtherClare*

      Protein and fruit if possible. Fructose gives you a sugar hit to get going now, complex carbs in fruit (not juice) give you short to medium term energy, and protein is the real fuel that sets you up and keeps you going.

      It’s a bit like starting a fire, you need logs for the base, and kindling + a bit of paper to get you started.

      Why doesn’t sugary cereal work just as well? Humans evolved/were created (take your pick) alongside fruit, and our bodies can use the fibre and other parts of the fruit to balance out the sugar hit smoothly and effectively. Sugary cereal or extracted juice is like throwing pine needles on the fire. It will make an impressive blaze for a short time, but it won’t start the logs and you risk singeing your eyebrows for no benefit. You’d be better off just holding matches under your log/protein and waiting for it to get going.

  46. kimthree*

    +1 to all the advice for a consistent schedule. If possible, natural light in your work area also helps.
    I work for a company east of me. We have meetings starting at 7am every day. I give myself an extra hour to sleep in on weekends, any more than that makes it hard to get up on Monday. I use a UV lamp the first 30-60 minutes in the winter to help get my brain on board. I’m fortunate I don’t have to be on camera, so I can use the UV light during meetings. I also wait to eat/shower etc until later.

  47. Linda*

    I used to be a hard core night owl and worked second shift jobs to accommodate that. Then I worked a third shift job for several years and by the end of it my internal clock had shifted so drastically that now I really do get up at 5 am to work out. If the (very sensible) gradual changes suggested by the rest of the commentariat won’t work for you, try the hard reset of staying up until 8 am every day, then on the day/night before your new job “sleep in” until, say, 4 am. As long as you’re careful not to revert back to your current schedule that may be enough to trick your body into a new rhythm. Good luck!

  48. what even*

    The only thing that ever remotely helped me with this is a script for Wellbutrin and low dose Adderall.

  49. girlie_pop*

    I am also a night owl on the West Coast who works on an East Coast team, so I feel your pain! For me, it’s about consistency. I have to stay pretty consistent about going to bed at the same time and waking up at the same time, even on weekends and vacations.

    I also have a bedtime ritual that I treat as pretty sacred and don’t deviate from unless I’m going to a concert or something. I’ve basically found a combination of things that helps me wind down and tell my body I’m going to sleep.

    Avoiding my phone using the settings that automatically mute calls/texts or lock apps at a certain time helped me a lot. I also leave myself a lot of time to read (a physical book, not e-book or audiobook, and something I’m reading for fun, not work), which I know always makes me sleepy, and I use an app called Calm that has sleep stories, meditations, and ambient soundscapes that also help me avoid the racing thoughts/mental to-do list building that sometimes happens at bedtime. All this means that I start getting ready for bed at 8, but it’s the price I pay for getting good sleep and not being miserable at my 7:15 AM meetings lol.

  50. Art of the Spiel*

    Can you stay up all night at least a few days before your start date, so you can fall asleep early the next night, and get up on time? Then stick to that routine.

    For example, stay up all night Thursday night, go to bed on Friday so you have X + 1 hour of sleep (X being your optimal number of sleep hours, for me it’s 8) to get up on time Sat. You’re still in sleep deficit so either go to bed on time Sat or an hour early again, get up on time Sun. You’ll probably be able to go to bed on time Sunday night and wake up on time Monday for the new job.

  51. sofar*

    Get a dog that always wants WALKIES at 6 a.m. Just kidding (mostly).

    I’m someone who can get the “requisite” 8 hours but still finds it physically painful to be up before 10 a.m. (body pain, nausea, sheer exhaustion, literally gag reflex activated). Yes, I’ve done the sleep studies. No, I haven’t gotten any answers to why I can get 12 hours of sleep and still feel like I’m dying if I get up before 10.

    What’s actually helped:
    – Put a water bottle on your night stand. When that alarm goes of in the a.m., grab it and chug the whole thing. I think a lot of my morning pain is due to dehydration, plus the act of drinking water kind of wakes you up and gets you moving.
    – Make sure your bedroom gets natural light in the morning.
    – Coffee (but after the water chugging).

    1. Cold Snap*

      Walkies is a good idea! My pet is diabetic and requires shots every 12 hours, so I do them at 9am and 9pm, which helps keep me on schedule.

    2. Baroness Schraeder*

      I make a small thermos flask of (non-caffeinated) tea every night before bed and keep it next to my alarm. It’s still reasonably hot in the morning and I usually take the first few sips before I’ve even forced my eyelids open!

  52. Aerin*

    Sleep hygiene is critical. It’s a lot easier to wake up if you’ve gotten enough sleep. Use night mode on your devices and remove blue light from your sleep space. We’ve got Hue lights in our hangout spaces that dim and redshift at 4 and again at 8, which is a huge help.

    And don’t be afraid to talk to a doctor. All the work I’ve done on my sleep hygiene is great and necessary, but none of it quite as effective as 25mg of Trazodone.

  53. Audrey*

    I’m a natural night owl who works in an industry where I have to be up early. I also have ADHD, which can make mornings quite difficult. Here’s some things that have helped me:

    -An app called “Alarmy”. You can set it so you have to take a photo or do a math problem to turn it off. I take a photo of something on a different floor than where I sleep, so it forces me out of bed.

    -I keep a caffeine supplement near my bed. I set a normal alarm for an hour before I’m supposed to be up and take it when the alarm goes off, then my real Alarmy alarm goes off at the normal time.

    -I keep my pantry and fridge stocked with easy meals. If I need to leave, I can throw an instant noodles in my bag with minimal fuss. In an ideal world I would also lay out my clothes, but I know I won’t actually do it so I just make sure they’re organized well. I also keep a lot of things I need stocked in my desk at the office.

    -Make sure you’re not over-scheduling your after work time for the first few weeks at your new job! You want a good amount of time to re-charge, that way you’ll be less likely to do “revenge procrastination” at night that might keep you up.

    -You can do this!! After a while, you’ll find that your idea of what time is “late at night” or “early” will shift.

    -Two books I recommend: Atomic Habits by James Clear is great for morning routines, and How To Stop Worrying And Start Living by Dale Carnegie has an excellent chapter on sleep, fatigue, and insomnia that has been invaluable to me.

  54. Devious Planner*

    I have multiple lights on timers. My sunrise clock comes on starting at 5:20am, then turns on the radio at 5:30am, then I have a bedside lamp that clicks on at 5:35am.

    If you have a programmable thermostat, you should also set it so that the heat comes on at about when you need to wake up as well. I find that staying in bed becomes less appealing when I start overheating.

    I also set timers on my phone to lock any social media or time sucks after 10pm. It doesn’t totally solve the problem of staying up past my bedtime but it makes it less interesting.

  55. Owler*

    I use the vibrating alarm on my Fitbit watch (periwinkle mentioned the Apple Watch also has a haptic alarm setting). I really like it. I think after years of bad audio alarms, I just hate them. I find it so much easier to wake up to alternates like the sunrise lights and the haptic vibrations.

    My advice: Along with the other changes mentioned in this thread, consider trying other (visual, touch-based, etc) alarm options.

  56. Where did the magician park*

    when the alarm goes off take 2 no doz pills. hit the snooze. when the alarm goes off again you will be bright eyed.

    1. I'm just here for the cats!*

      coffee or other caffeine works as well. There’s a coffee nap or nap-a-latte for a reason. I wish I could find the original video but the sleep doctor had explained this but basically the brain chemicals are released when we sleep and the caffeine gives us a wake up boost to those chemicals. It takes about 30 minutes for the average person to metabolize caffeine so by taking it

    2. Billy Preston*

      Ive found some good slow release caffeine pills too, genius brand. They’re much better than no doz cause I don’t get that anxiety at first and the crash at the end.

  57. Nobby Nobbs*

    The easiest sleep schedule of my life has come from doing a manual labor job. Not gonna recommend changing your entire career path, but maybe a daily exercise regimen could tire your body out enough to convince it sleep is a good idea, in combination with some of the suggestions others have offered.

  58. MissAmandaJones*

    Drink dark cherry juice and take a magnesium supplement before bed to help you fall asleep faster.
    Also, read the most boring book you can find. For me, it was “Snobs” by Julian Fellows.

  59. Daytripper75*

    Try the Timeshifter app! I used it to prevent jet lag on a trip to Europe and I think it might help you get going in the right direction for your first few weeks.

  60. StarTrek Nutcase*

    As another night owl, I had to set two alarms – one across the room from my bed and one (loudest) in adjacent bathroom. Being forced to get and move jump-started my hated morning routine. I played my favorite music that I knew elevated my mood (Whitney Houston was best). I also made sure my morning routine was the easiest humanly possible – no looking for
    something or thinking what I needed. Finally, despite temptation, on weekends & days off, I tried to get up within 1-1.2 hrs of workweek time – otherwise my required 8 hrs sleep was hard to maintain.

    But I admit my hate for early starts was bad for my entire 45 yrs of work. Retirement means no alarms and full fledged night owl – yippee!

  61. Zee*

    Something that has helped me go to bed earlier is gradually lowering the lighting in my house. Two hours before bedtime, I go from 3 lamps to 2. One hour before bedtime, I go from 2 lamps to 1. Use soft light bulbs instead of the more white/blue ones.

    Also, blue light filter on all your electronics. I actually keep it on all the time because they hurt my eyes otherwise, but you can also set them to switch over at a certain time. When you lower the lamp lighting also lower your screen brightness.

    Avoid any brain-intensive activities within a half-hour of bed. This one is a struggle for me because I love sudoku etc. but I’ve got to put down the puzzles or my brain will never shut off.

    Lastly, I literally put an alarm on my phone that says “go to bed, Zee” as it’s so easy to get wrapped up in something and not notice the time when you’re not naturally tired already.

    And no sleeping in on the weekends! It’s soooo tempting but you must resist. I have a dog now so I have to get up at the same time every day and that has made a difference.

  62. I'm just here for the cats!*

    Is there any wigggle room for your start time or are they expecting you to be available at 8:30 EST which is 5:30 PST. I do hope they will at least allow you to have a later start time and therefore you can be the person who can take later meetings, answer emails, etc.

    Since you will be working remotely I suggest taking your lunch and having a nap. there’s been studies that a short nap (no more than 20 minutes) really helps to refresh.

  63. PDB*

    You might be OK. I used to switch between days and nights-well, swing (5p to 1am)-without any trouble and I was a real night person.

  64. BellyButton*

    I am west coast and much of my company is on the east. I do not schedule any meetings (if I can help it) for at least the first hour of my day. That way I am up, showered, and working, but I may not be totally put together that first hour. I can sort through emails, sip my coffee, and figure out my to do list. I then take a break and finish getting ready with hair and makeup. This helps me ease into, and I don’t feel as rushed.

    On days where I do have an early meeting, I tend to shower the night before so I don’t need to spend as much time getting ready. And then I remind myself about the days of commuting and how awful it was to get up at 5:30 to leave by 6:30 to drive for 1.5 hours. Then I put on my power lipstick to make myself feel strong and ready!

  65. mb*

    Be gentle with yourself and know night owl/morning lark is genetically determines. A consistent bedtime is pretty important part of sleep health. Perhaps after you are established you will have control of your schedule to schedule meetings later in your work day which may permit you to have a later arrival and later end.

  66. H3llifIknow*

    I know a lot of people have advocated baby steps, small adjustments in schedule, but I’ve found that adjusting MY sleep schedule (I often travel internationally, etc…) is really to kind of cold turkey my way through it. When I land, even if I’m exhausted, if it’s 2pm, I force myself to stay up until say 9 or 10pm so that I sleep thru the night there, even though it’s midday back home, for example. So, a week or so before starting, I’d set my alarm for 6am or whatever time you will need to, and do NOT roll over and go back to sleep. Stay up. Keep busy. Force yourself to stay awake until it’s your optimal 8 hour time spot and then go to bed. Set the alarm for the same time the next day and keep doing it. You’ll be tired for a couple of days, but you’ll adjust. Obviously, this is *MY* method and YMMV. But you know your body and how you adjust to things better than we do. I, for one, can’t do the “gradual” thing. I need to just do it until it sticks.

  67. Shauna*

    Fellow night owl here! One thing I’ve done is to complete work at night, then schedule emails to go out about 30 min after start time. This might not be super at first, but once you get into projects it is a great option for the “here’s my part, here’s what I need from you” type messages. Depending on the work culture, this can usually buy you some time in the morning and let you do your best work later in the day. Bonus is that email scheduling also gives you time to proofread/claw back errors if you’re prone to those too.

  68. LawDog*

    Is this a medical issue or a preference issue?

    If it’s a medical issue, seek an accommodation. Easy Peasy.

    If it’s a preference issue – start getting up early NOW and stick to the routine. You chose the job knowing the hours. Get to steppin’!

    1. I'm just here for the cats!*

      I think this is a rude response. The OP is asking for help with setting up a routine. People are wired diffrently and sometimes “just start getting up early” is not always realistic or helpful.

  69. Yup*

    This reminds me of teens required to start school early while research proves beyond a doubt that they do better with later starts. I wonder if you could try to see how adjusting works, and then build a plan to shift later if it doesn’t. It isn’t fair on anyone for employees to work less productively, especially if a flexible start time changes nothing in the work. Goood luck!

  70. Snailing*

    This won’t make the chance by itself but a sunrise alarm could help a lot, especially if you will now need to be waking up when it’s still very dark outside. I got one for Christmas and it has worked wonders for waking up during the winter when it’s darker later. I have mine set to gradually light up over the course of 30 minutes and then a very gentle alarm goes off. It really helps ease you into waking up versus a sudden jolt!

  71. FormerProducer*

    The whole “gradually shift your wake up time earlier in small increments” has never worked for me! When I started needing to get up at 4:30am for work, I did a hard reset on my sleep. I started taking a 5mg edible at 8pm, 20mg of melatonin at 8:30pm, in bed by 9pm, asleep (hopefully) by 9:30pm. This is not medical advice, I’m just saying what worked for me! Your mileage may vary! Loop your doctor in! It was painful but it worked. Also, I set my alarm for 4:30am every day, even if I’m not working. Even two days off will have me slipping back into my night owl ways. Good luck, I hope you find something that works for you!

    1. Boof*

      Same, I do better with the “just deal with a tired day and collapse/shift my sleep in one go” than the incremental steps thing.

      1. amoeba*

        Yeah, it happens sometimes after holiday – I generally have one day with little sleep (the Monday…), after which I’m usually more than ready for bed at 10. The rest of the week tends to be fine! LW could try that version with getting up early the day before the job starts – better to be tired on Sunday than your first day on the job, obviously.

        It also sounds like they don’t have to get up extremely early, just earlier than they’re used to (“I used to have to be at a desk at 8:30 sharp (or risk being fired), so I know I can do it.”), so setting the alarm to 7 or whatever the day before, getting through the day with 5 h of sleep and then being tired early might be doable if there’s not enough time or shifting doesn’t work for them.

  72. Ellis Bell*

    Ooh this was me. Also ADHD struggles with sleeping and getting up. These are my strategies:
    1) Countdown to bedtime that doesn’t involve screens, like an album with a set time limit while you read or take a bath
    2) Keep your bedroom cool or cold enough that you want to snuggle down into the bed. However don’t wear coverings or clothing that will overheat you.
    3) Lights to wake up. Open your curtains a smidge for natural light, sunrise alarm, smart light bulb timed to come on increasing brightness. I like gentle music to bring you out, that starts in before your alarm if you can get an Alexa routine going.
    4) Eat breakfast. It doesn’t have to be straight away, but eat breakfast sometime in the morning.

  73. HugeTractsofLand*

    I feel your pain! Drinking a glass of ice cold water will REALLY wake you up in a pinch (I used to do that on especially early days or especially tired mornings). I also have a personal tea station at work so that I can get a caffeine fix as soon as I walk in. I also echo what everyone else has said about moving your bedtime up in increments, not looking at screens (even my Kindle with the brightness turned down keeps me up), etc.. I’ll eat half of a melatonin gummy 30 minutes before bed if I’m feeling especially wired or it’s particularly important to be up early for a meeting or something.

    On the work end of things, try to angle your meetings for later in the day if at all possible, so you don’t have to be social first thing in the morning. I spent all last year with a start time of 8am, but then successfully negotiated a shift to start at 9am instead (I’m behind the scenes, I come in earlier for meetings whenever necessary, I stay later which means I catch a lot of last-minute issues, etc.).

    1. HugeTractsofLand*

      Also: I set out my clothes the night before and pre-make breakfasts so I can just grab and go (overnight oats and chia puddings are great, with cereal as backup for “oh crap, I forgot” mornings). If you’re working remotely, though, I know some people actually find their breakfast routine (making coffee, making toast) helps wake them up, so choose what works best for you.

  74. HappyMarketer*

    I’m not naturally an early morning person but my husband’s 5am alarm has pushed me into being one. It might be the least appealing sounding thing ever, but exercising in the morning is the only thing that makes me not feel like a zombie. Yesterday I turned off the alarm and went back to sleep till 8 and felt groggy all day, today I was in the gym by 7 and I’ve felt SO much better. It’s worth a go!

  75. Boof*

    Personally I have to do a combination of strict sleep hygiene when I can swing it (no daytime naps, not cramming my exercise in within 2 hrs of trying to get to sleep, no screens within an hour of bedtime, no caffeine or stimulants within 12 hrs of trying to go to sleep)
    I admit I’m really imperfect with that, especially the screens, but I can tell it makes a difference. When I’m trying to put a baby/toddler to bed and end up cuddling in the dark for half an hour or so I get WAY SLEEPIER at the “right” time than my usual, when I’d love to be watching horror movies or finishing up some work notes or whatever.
    I also just “deal with it” accept I might be tired some days if I have a late night and resolve to still wake up, caffinate, and try to get to bed at a more reasonable hour the next day. I find I can tolerate a day or two of low sleep (I probably need 8.5 hrs, but routinely have nights with around 6 hrs; if I get under 2 hrs in 24 hrs I get loopy even if I am awake) quite well
    I yoyo more than I should but eh, I probably thrive in chaos more than routine, but I do try for the routines when I can.

    1. Boof*

      Also, I don’t know how “hard” of a night owl you are. When I was a teen it was much harder, although i really wasn’t good about the screen thing either. But I HAD to take a daytime siesta at some point as a teen (think late high school/early college age) I found, and if I didn’t I just got wildly sleep deprived (like to the point where I was nearly hallucinating little things). That was also before I really read up on sleep hygiene so I don’t know how much was biologic vs how much was potentially modifiable with behaviors though.

  76. Giz's Mom*

    I’m with you, OP – my natural sleep cycle is somewhere around 3am – 11am. In addition to all the great tips above (I’m a big fan of setting everything up the night before) I would also look at your work duties and when you do them. If you have some control over your schedule, save the mindless tasks for first thing in the morning, while your gearing up. Leave the more intensive “head in the game” work for the afternoon, or whenever you’re at your peak. If you’re able to have input into your meeting schedule, do the same there.

    Best of luck – I’m right there with you.

  77. Kotow*

    Much sympathy. My biggest problem is that even if I don’t get enough sleep the night before, it’s really hard to get to bed early enough; my body truly wants to stay up until 1am even if I woke up at 5am and didn’t get a nap. The only thing that has worked on that front is taking a combination of Unisom, melatonin, clortromiton, and Benadryl (not all at once!) I find that after taking the same thing for a few days, it loses its effectiveness so I have to switch to something else. Benadryl is the worst but is effective if you take it early enough and only use it for a few days.

    The other thing is to simplify your morning routine as much as possible. Decide on your clothes the night before, pack your lunch, get something quick for breakfast, set up the coffee, etc. The less you have to do in the morning, the easier it will be.

  78. Lavender*

    I recommend taking a hot bath before bed to really relax and feel ready for sleep. I also second wearing blue light blocking glasses in the evening. Thanks!

  79. Keeping Busy*

    Maybe sleep docs would hate this… but years ago I had a summer job as a camp counselor. Had to get up early, preferred staying up late. I wound up getting up, working, coming home and taking a 2 hour nap, then eating dinner and staying up late. It worked for me!

  80. K*

    Night owl here. I echo what others have said about incremental changes as you lead into this new role. I also suggest being a little kind to yourself and allowing the occasional lunchtime catnap while you are adjusting. It doesn’t have to be a forever thing.

    Personally, the mornings (and early evenings) became an easier adjustment for me once I started working out in the mornings. I shifted (for other reasons) to a class-based workout group that charges a very small fee for late/no-shows; its very motivational to get out of bed. I leave class feeling very much awake and refreshed.. and then promptly fall asleep at a reasonable bedtime. If I don’t go to class, I try to take a brisk walk around my neighborhood during that time and I feel just as awake then too. Obviously don’t bite off more than you can chew here… just a though!

  81. kiki*

    I had success with taking a midday nap, but I understand not all people’s circadian rhythms or work schedules vibe with this. I found that the team I worked with really appreciated seeing me online by 11am ET (8am PT) for meetings and collaboration and didn’t mind so much that I was offline 4pm ET (1pm PT) and resumed for solo work later that evening. It was also a good way to make sure I got time for heads-down uninterrupted work.

  82. M2*

    The people who say to gradually switch your time are correct, gradually make it earlier and earlier. I would do more like 30 minute not 15 minute increments. Also maybe talk to your doctor about melatonin or something. I can’t take it as it gives me awful nightmares!

    I used to be you a night owl, but with work and kids now I am in bed by 9:30/10 latest and up around 6 AM. Sometimes earlier sometimes 6:30. I like to be up 30-60 minutes before kids to get stuff done or exercise or read a book. I find my body naturally wakes up earlier when I go to bed earlier.

    No screens 30-60 minutes before bed. Screens make it harder to go to sleep for many people. I read before bed and after watching TV I start my routine, take dog out, wash face, brush and floss teeth, put on pjs, read a book in bed and then slowly go to sleep. My husband has had to work crazy hours and is up late at night recently so he brings his toothbrush into another bathroom and is all ready and out of the room by the time I go to sleep.

    I also do not exercise at night! I found exercising at night hurt my slee schedule and actually when I did a boot camp exercise class I would constantly wake up in the middle of the night. Never happened before. Now I do yoga, Pilates, walk, and weight training and don’t have that issue. So maybe switch up your exercise routine. That being said if I don’t consistently exercise I also can have sleeping issues

    Also helps my kids are asleep by 7:30 and in bed by 7. Gives me 2 hours to do my own thing or get stuff done.

    For me routine is key and getting my body in the mindset of this is what we do. I even do it on weekends for the most part. Good luck

  83. AmberFox*

    The thing that honestly helps me the most in terms of being “with it” for work first thing in the morning as a “I’ll go to bed at 2 and get up at 10 if you leave me alone” night owl that has to start work at 8:30 is actually being up and dressed by about 7:30.

    Like, don’t get me wrong, sleeping in until 8:15 is the DREAM. But the reality is that if I do that, then I’m just a shambling zombie of a human being, filled with sarcasm and bad attitude, until like 10. By getting up that hour before, it gives me time to sit quietly around the house, drinking caffeine, having breakfast, playing video games, and just generally kick-starting the brain before I have to deal with anyone.

    I also have the first half hour of my work day blocked off for admin tasks that don’t require me to talk to coworkers or the general public, which is great for the days when I just… cannot brain.

    1. OneTwoThree*

      I was coming to say something very similar to this! I am not a morning person. I get up early to have a buffer from the public. My goal is to get up and move somehow with my extra time. I try to pick something that will give me a serotonin/ dopamine hit. A lot of mornings lying in bed, I think about what will be worth it for me to get up and do this AM. Sometimes, it’s prepping a yummy lunch, sometimes, it’s working out, and on the rare occasion when nothing else will work, it’s my favorite show.

  84. H.Regalis*

    I have hypersomnia, so being awake is a challenge for me quite a bit of the time.

    -Get everything you possibly can set up the night before: If you drink coffee, set the machine to be done when you wake up; set your clothes out the night before, set up breakfast, etc.
    -Avoid screens before bed; I know it’s hard, but it does make a difference
    -Consistent bedtimes, even on weekends; also hard, but it does help
    -Use a light therapy lamp in the morning
    -I take melatonin to help me fall asleep, and edibles (D8s where I am, but D9s work too, just not the 100% sativa ones) to help me stay asleep
    -If you need something to help you stay awake/wake up, Hot-Rox caffeine pills from Biotest. These things would wake the dead. You have to take them with food though, or else you’ll throw up.
    -Blackout curtains for sleeping. Basically, make your bedroom into a dark cave.
    -If you can, work out in the morning before work. It does mean getting up even earlier, but it’ll help you stay awake during the day
    -Sometimes when I feel myself dragging midway through the day, drinking coconut water helps.

    Adjusting will take some time! Take baby steps and don’t beat yourself up if it’s hard at first.

  85. Crazy Chicken Lady*

    I recently switched to working with an EU based company and I’m based on the West Coast – talk about early start days! My first meetings are often at 6 am.

    What helped me:
    – I didn’t do it gradually, I just swapped my schedule a week before starting and got all the suffering out in one go. Worked for me, doesn’t work for everyone, and it wasn’t super fun. I do better with a firm routine so I knew I’d just need to get the routine switch out of the way earlier.
    – Help yourself go to bed earlier. Melatonin helps, darken your rooms, do all the bed time stuff. Again, for me, routine was a huge help. At home now, I struggle to stay awake past 8:30 pm!
    – Set a gentle alarm (I have a mattress cover that heats up slowly and it’s the best alarm I’ve ever had) and as much as you WANT to sleep in more, give yourself more time to get functional. I needed an hour when I first started; I’m more used to it now and can be up and ready in 30 minutes.
    – speaking of…I worked hard to push back all of my meetings my first week so I had more of that “get functional” time but didn’t have to get up earlier than 5:30. I start so early I don’t shower first thing, but that would help immensely if I could.
    – Get yourself into a bright room as soon as you can after waking up, especially in winter when it’s still dark outside. I intentionally have white/bright day bulbs in my office to keep it bright and wakey-wakey. The rest of our house are more yellow/warm hued.
    – For your first meetings where it’s a struggle, take copious amounts of notes to help yourself later.

    Good luck!

  86. CLC*

    I don’t want to be a drag, but this transition can be extremely difficult and for some close to impossible. Just because you used to have an earlier schedule doesn’t mean you can do the same now—things can shift as we get older. For *some* people sleeping is what it is, morning time blindness is what it is, etc. A lot of neurodivergent folks have late circadian clocks—if this is you it might be more difficult than it might be for an NT individual. I don’t say any of this to be negative, I just want to point out that humans are different, and sometimes we just have to accept that. My best advice would be to not put pressure on yourself to go to bed early, but go to bed when you feel sleepy—don’t ignore your sleep cues. If your natural melatonin kicks in later trying to fight it will only make things worse. It’s contrary to a lot of sleep hygiene advice, but what works best for me to is to get into bed before I get natural sleep cues and read/scroll/play games/listen to podcasts in bed so that as soon as I feel tired and ready to sleep I can just roll over and do so. In other words, wait until you are tired to sleep, but don’t wait until you are tired to start your bedtime routine and get into bed. Then just get up early as necessary for work and hopefully your body will eventually adjust (if not entirely at least to a functional degree). If you decide to take melatonin supplements, try them out before you start your job—they are fine for most people but they can give you nightmares and therefore restless sleep. Other things that might help you get tired earlier are cherries/cherry juice and magnesium supplements (take a very small dose at first and gradually increase or risk GI distress the next day). In my experience blue light glasses work a little bit but not necessarily worth it, and I always found them uncomfortable to wear. Good luck—just remember to go easy on yourself, remember this transition can take time, and realize sleep is a natural biological process we can’t always control.

  87. Jane Bingley*

    Set a bedtime and stick to it even on weekends and holidays. Avoid weekend/holiday naps til your sleep schedule feels natural to you.

    1-2 hours before bedtime, turn off all screens and big/bright lights. Switch to lamps and quiet activities (a warm bath or shower, reading, crafting). Avoid exercise close to bedtime, but a gentle stretching routine can help settle you. Have your last bedtime snack at least an hour before your bedtime. Use melatonin and a warm drink (sleepytime tea is great) about 45 mins to an hour before bedtime. You don’t need a lot of melatonin, look for a 2.5mg dosage. Keep your bedroom on the cool side and use blackout curtains to get it really dark.

    In the mornings, use a sunrise alarm clock. Immediately after getting up, use a SAD lamp for about 10 minutes, then get outside rain or shine for 5-10 minutes of a brisk walk in fresh air. Even just pacing around your yard will help wake you up. Aim for a breakfast high in protein and complex carbs. Boiled eggs and whole wheat/multigrain toast, or greek yogurt and granola, or overnight oats with unsweetened peanut butter. Ditto with your morning coffee – go black or milk/cream only, or use artificial sweeteners if you need to sweeten it. You want to avoid a sugar crash at all costs.

    1. CLC*

      Off topic but I need to say I *love* how many AAM commenters have P&P/Austen related usernames. Sincerely, Charlotte Lucas Collins.

  88. Brad Deltan*

    The simplest advice I can give is to ignore any advice here and go talk to your doctor. And if necessary, get a referral to a sleep specialist.

    This is not a trivial change you are making, and it’s very easy to frame it in moralistic terms of willpower which is both cruel and unnecessary.

    If you’ve never dealt with a sleep specialist, I can only share my own experience and you can use it as a basis for how to have your own dealings with one. But a good one should be able to advise you on, most likely, a combination of (in no particular order):

    1. Some form of mental conditioning; meditation, perhaps.

    2. Lifestyle changes, such as scheduling meals and sleep times differently.

    3. Medication, both OTC and prescription, that hopefully can help “reset” your body clocks. Listen to your doctor, but I’d be skeptical of any long-term medication options specifically for SLEEP (melatonin, for example, can be a very mixed bag for people) but don’t discount the possibility you have undiagnosed ADHD (esp if you’re female; women with ADHD often are badly underdiagnosed or only diagnosed very late in life) or even more severe anxiety issues. Those often manifest in “the hamster in the wheel that won’t stop” in your brain as you lie awake, trying to sleep.

    4. Light therapy. It doesn’t work for everyone, but some people are more susceptible to light cues when it comes to sleep. Setting up proper lighting and light-blocking drapes can help. If the sunrise doesn’t cooperate when when you need to get up, most smart lightbulbs can be programmed (either alone or through something like Alexa) to turn on and gradually ramp up to full brightness over a 15 or 30 minute period. Setting this so it’ll shine brightly around your bed area can help ease the transition to wakefulness and reduce the need for lots of alarms. Note that I said CAN. This doesn’t work for everyone; your doctor can advise.

    5. Last but not least: A proper sleep study. You’d be amazed how many people don’t realize they have terrible apnea…sometimes only during certain periods of sleep (and by extension, at certain times of night) and it really screws up their sleep. For what it’s worth, my sleep study was a device I wore to bed in my own home. However, I found it was NOT comfortable and my sleep was terrible that night. The device only records the most recent night’s sleep when you activate it, so what I should’ve done was wear it to bed all week and THEN run the recorder. Oh well.

    Doctors will vary, but if your study reveals apnea, the go-to device is CPAP. I have found this industry to have as many quacks and snake oil salesmen as legit operations, and they’re hard to tell apart. (I had AdaptHealth and I’d burn every office they have to ground if I could) Even a lot of the legit businesses can be pretty predatory. I would recommend avoiding any “auto pay” signups, don’t give out phone numbers/emails you can’t later control (e.g. block annoying sales calls) and if you can, buy your supplies on Amazon if you can afford the slightly higher cost of not going through your insurance.

    I also have found CPAP to be of limited help. The masks don’t stay on my face unless I cinch it down uncomfortably tight. If I loosen it at all, they often leak (I have a neatly-trimmed but full beard, which doesn’t help) and the leaks wake me up. Worse, when the CPAP *does* work and I sleep well? I have discovered that apparently my brain only has hideous nightmares all night long; I merely haven’t been remembering them for 30+ years because of lousy sleep due to apnea. Obviously YMMV.

    So yes, my experience with CPAP has not been good. HOWEVER, I personally know two other people who have had VERY positive experiences with CPAP. And certainly there are lots of public stories about people who have good experiences, too. So don’t put too much stock in my one experience. You’ll need to experiment to find out what works for you. FWIW, I found that the internet is totally flooded with nonsense on the topic (there are so, so many websites devoted to CPAP conspiracies) so it’s impossible to find any useful reviews or help online. You really have to talk to your doctor about it. Or doctorS; never a bad idea to get a second opinion.

    1. DSPS2*

      I second this whole comment so hard. Sleep is incredibly important for your health–don’t “just” brute-force your way into a schedule that does not work for your brain/body.

  89. JSPA*

    When I last had to travel through multiple time zones, I set myself up on a split sleep schedule ahead of time, and found I was comfortable on it, longer-term. Similar might work for you? Especially if connecting earlier with the east coast team is an option?

    For me, e.g. it looks like awake and functional (with a cup or two of coffee) ~5 am to 9 AM; deep nap 9:30 to ~1 PM; awake and functional 1:30 to 6 PM; nap 8 PM to 10 PM; up and functional 10:30-11:30; asleep ~midnight to 4 AM.

    That would put you on an east coast schedule for the start of their day, and also have you up for your own best hours, and also to bed “early” (but without the requirement to stay asleep for long, to have enough sleep).

    The early morning feels more like a late night, and the morning nap feels like the first sleep of the night.

    It’s probably not great for REM sleep, but it patches together enough sleep hours.

  90. AnnaK*

    We would use candles for dinner during lockdown. It’s magical ! the dimmed light makes you sleepy at 10 pm

  91. 8 hours or bust*

    As someone with a varying schedule, but with shifts that start as early as 4am, the manta sleep mask has been a life changer for me. I used sleep masks before, but this one truly is a miracle worker. I know what time I have to go to bed in order to get my full 8 hours (which I also need), but the hardest part would sometimes be falling asleep. This mask is so comfortable, usually stays in place, and is better at the blackout than any other one I’ve tried. Even if I don’t fall asleep immediately, if I’m diligent about keeping it on (even if I open my eyes underneath, where it’s still dark), I usually can fall asleep.pretty quickly, and I usually also sleep.much more soundly. Highly recommend!!


  92. colorguard*

    I had a role some years ago where my schedule often changed radically every few months and I have a really strong internal clock that likes to be on the same schedule. Several of these have been said above, but here are my tips:
    – Keep your schedule the same as much as possible on the weekends. It really does make Mondays (or whatever the first day of your workweek is) less painful.
    – Use eye masks and blackout curtains in the summer months to get to sleep when it’s not yet dark.
    – Set an alarm on your phone for when you need to start your bedtime routine (and don’t ignore it, which is the hard part).
    – Turn on the light and make yourself sit up as soon as the alarm goes off so you don’t fall back asleep. If you can build in 5-10 minutes for a walk around the block or some energizing yoga (sun salutations, etc.) and do that first thing, that also helps.
    – Try and avoid blue light during the last couple of hours before bed.
    – Detach names of meals from times of day. When I started at 5 a.m. and most of my coworkers started between 9 and 10, I was eating my second meal of the day at the start of their day and after a couple of months they just got used to me saying I was getting lunch when the cafeteria was still serving breakfast foods.

  93. Please buy me candy*

    Physically exhaust yourself. Do something hard immediately after work so that when your new bedtime comes you’re actually tired. Swimming works for me.

    1. CLC*

      For some physiological reason, swimming– even just casually paddling around–is very good at making humans tired/sleepy. Unfortunately it’s a difficult thing to have access to and work into a schedule. Other physical activity I find actually makes it harder to sleep (I’m ADHD so this is my experience but may be different for other types of brains). For me I get so much dopamine and adrenaline from it (even if I do it in the morning) my brain just keeps running. It does make me *tired*, but makes me less able to *sleep*.

  94. Honoria Lucasta*

    I’m afraid there are already too many comments for this to benefit OP, but perhaps another commenter will see it: I have a similar sleep schedule by nature, and the best advice I ever took was to literally jump when you first get out of bed in the morning. I hate that it works so well. Why couldn’t giving myself a little treat work better? But the jumping is better than a treat. All I do is a dumb little hop and my day ends up being a better one.

    The advice came from a Harvard psychologist who has a podcast about working better, and one of his very early episodes was “11 reasons to jump out of bed in the morning.” The basic principle is that you face a challenge very first thing in your day, you embrace that challenge, and you engage it, and all of that sets your brain up to continue embracing/engaging challenge all day long.

    I don’t feel better right after the jump, but the day just goes more smoothly and I can tell that it helped.

  95. Anon For This One*

    There’s some good advice here. Definitely take it slow and steady.

    I sat down and thought about my own morning routine a few years ago and realized something that has made a big difference for me. Maybe it will help you, too:

    Getting up earlier wasn’t itself any more unpleasant than getting up later. What made weekdays so sucky was the rushing from the moment I awoke, sometimes mid-dream. So I started setting an alarm for 8 hours after bedtime and half an hour before I had to actually get up. That half hour in the morning allows for a slower transition from sleep to wake and makes the morning more pleasant. Some mornings I spend that half hour dozing and others I spend it reading “Letters From an American” or something similar. The cats come and hang out and we watch the birds for a bit. Then the rest of the morning is just. . . better.

  96. BBB*

    adjust in small increments, I like 15 minutes every few days/a week until you reach your desired wake up time. be sure to adjust your bed time accordingly as well! and don’t underestimate the importance of sleep hygiene. dimming the lights, turning off the TV, putting your phone away and just give your brain time to power down a bit before bed. I respond really well to routine so having a set bedtime routine helps my mind and body switch over to ‘oh, we are sleeping now’.
    physically activity and getting outside during the day is also helpful for your body/hormones/whatever to naturally sync up with the sun better. also, as sad as it is, naps are not always your friend. I’ve had much better success only allowing myself to sleep at bedtime.
    I also swear by my sunrise light up alarm clock. in the winter especially, but anytime you are waking up before the sun, it is so helpful to have that slowly brightening light and it’s a much more gentle wake up than the blare of an alarm.
    and maybe an unpopular opinion, but I will absolutely use an otc sleep aid as needed if my schedule gets majorly out of wack for some reason, forcing myself to bed earlier so I don’t screw up my hard-earned wake up time (or if it is legal for you to do so, a weed gummy always gives me the best sleep of my entire life but milage may vary here lol)

    1. anon.*

      i take a low dose gummy nightly in order to fall asleep. if i need to get up earlier on a particular day, i take the gummy earlier in the evening. it usually works best for me to take 45min-1 hr before i want to try to fall asleep.

  97. anywhere but here*

    This isn’t exactly an answer to the question about sleep schedule adjustment (which I think has been and will be well-covered by the commentariet), but do you know if longer term it would be possible to adjust your hours to something that fits you better? If you’ll be fine once you finish adjusting, that’s great! If you’ll be struggle-bussing at the schedule no matter how long it’s been since the change occurred, though, it may be worth it to try to find a better schedule long-term than to deal with constant low-grade misery due to a shit schedule (ask me how I know.) That could mean knocking it out of the park so they let you make your own hours, or it could be changing jobs after a few years (which isn’t a bad idea anyway). Maybe the sleep schedule isn’t as big of a deal to you as I am treating it, which is great, but if it is a big deal, I cannot recommend enough not staying more than a few years somewhere the schedule makes you miserable.

    1. Cyndi*

      Yeah, I’m not offering advice today because I don’t have much positive to say–I worked a 7a-3:30p schedule for three years and never adjusted no matter what I tried. There was a big boost to my mental health when I finally had an 8am and eventually 9am start time, which didn’t surprise me–but I had been sick to my stomach first thing in the morning every morning for years and I WAS very startled when that also went away.

  98. Zweisatz*

    If you don’t get to your goal wakup time as quickly as you want, make sure to get a multiple of 1.5 hours of sleep. That is approximately one human sleep cycle. Which means it can be worse to force yourself to get up after 3.75 hours instead of 3 hours because you will experience less deep sleep after 3 hours.
    (Yes it’s helpful to have an understanding of how quickly you fall asleep to do this.)

  99. morethantired*

    Tips from a narcoleptic who has to be very good about sleep hygiene.
    – No caffeine after 12pm
    – No calories for 2 hours before bed
    – Block blue light as much as possible
    – No screens for an hour before bed
    – Sunset/sunrise lamp alarm clock
    – Establish a bedtime routine/ritual and stick to it
    – Shift your sleep schedule slowly in 15 minute increments

    You will need to do this for a few months before your brain gets used to the rhythm. After you start getting sleepy or wakeful on schedule more naturally, you have the freedom to occasionally deviate from the above. But keep a journal or notes on your phone to see how deviating affects your wakefulness or sleep quality. You might find, for example, eating late doesn’t matter as much as screens, etc.

    If you try all of that and you still struggle, try to get tested for a sleep disorder. Or if your mind still races at night, it could also be untreated anxiety issues.

  100. Heffalump*

    Wide Awake at 3:00 A.M. by Choice or by Chance? by Richard M. Coleman, ISBN 978-0716717966, has some good ideas.

  101. summerofdiscontent*

    I would also add to make sure you’re drinking plenty of water as opposed to tons of coffee or caffeine. When you’re feeling tired, it’s really easy to go COFFEECOFFEECOFFEE all day, but I’ve found that it doesn’t always serve me in the long run. When your body is tired (and I’m speaking as someone who has struggled with insomnia in the past), I find it’s more helpful for me to focus less on caffeine and more on hydrating, healthy eating, etc. I also swear by a chamomile tea and whiskey combo in the evenings when I want to wind down :)

  102. monana*

    I think this is unique to me, but the thing that worked for me is the opposite of the usual advice – making the change all at once, and treating it like jetlag (sucks for a week, but I’ll get there). I also set two alarms, 30 minutes apart – and get up when the second one goes off. This stops me from abusing the sleep function on my alarm. On weekends, my alarms go off at the second time, but I don’t have to get out of bed. It’s only been a few months, but it seems to be working for me. having never been a napper, I also now often take naps after work (or late afternoon, if i’m really struggling).

  103. cp*

    I have a job that regularly, but not routinely, requires very early mornings, and I am Not A Morning Person. Here’s my go to techniques:

    -Sunrise lamp is great. I have phillips hue lights that I use throughout my house and I also like having the lights be on in the livingroom and kitchen when I walk out of the bedroom.

    -If I tried to randomly go to bed at 9PM to get up at 4PM I’d never fall asleep. I go to sleep on the early edge of my usual window, but also I dont go to bed if I’m not tired. I’ll lay awake in bed far longer that it would have taken me to get tired with my normal routine.

    -Workking out in the morning is also never going to happen for me. But a 10 min walk can help immensely with the “awake not just out of bed” feeling.

    -Real breakfast. I use a Hamilton Beach breakfast sandwich maker to make a real hot fresh breakfast every day, and that especially includes early ones.

    -You’re on the west coast :) Depending on how you tolerate cannabis that can be a VERY helpful tool for getting to sleep earlier.

    -I can adjust my sleep schedule once I exhaust myself and am playing catch up, but not really proactively. Your milage may vary, but in general, expect it to suck a little at first.

    1. cp*

      “-If I tried to randomly go to bed at 9PM to get up at 4PM I’d never fall asleep. I go to sleep on the early edge of my usual window, but also I dont go to bed if I’m not tired. I’ll lay awake in bed far longer that it would have taken me to get tired with my normal routine. ”

      that should be 9PM to wake up at 4AM :)

  104. Sylvia*

    I recently shifted my schedule so that I am at work 90 minutes earlier and it definitely took some adjustment. I’ve always used the sunrise clock, and that helps. For me though, it matters more of what I do the night before. It’s so hard to make myself go to sleep early. I came to the following routine through trial and error:
    – no caffeine after 1 pm
    – 2 hours before bedtime – get everything ready for the next day (make lunch, shower, get everything together, choose what to wear, medication, set coffee maker for the next morning, portion out dog food, etc.) Some of this stuff can be done while making dinner.
    – 1 hour before bedtime – get in bed and read for an hour
    – Bedtime – I’m not strict about what time I turn off the lights, but I do check in with myself. If I’m still wide awake, I’ll do deep breathing or a meditation.
    I set my alarm for an hour and 15 minutes before I need to leave the house. The following morning, even if I’ve had terrible sleep, I tell myself that everything is ready to go and there’s no reason that I can’t get out the door in an hour. It usually works, unless I wake up with allergies or pain.

    If I have time in the morning, I also play the free games on the New York Times app to wake up my brain, like Wordle and the mini-Crossword.

  105. Dinwar*

    It’s worth questioning the assumption that you need to be up early. I work with a night owl out West (I’m in a Gulf Coast state), and I just don’t call him until after lunch. As long as your deadlines are on a scale of weeks, rather than hours, asynchronous schedules are fine. And there are far fewer jobs that make this impossible than most managers seem to think. Honestly, asynchronous schedules are a cost of doing business across time zones, and ultimately it’s management’s problem to find a solution that works. Very, very, very rarely is the best option “You’ll work when we do and you’ll like it.” You absolutely have grounds to push back here, at least to some extent.

  106. Jake*

    I immediately had to start a job that required me to leave my apartment by 4:50 am every morning, after living for years where I’d normally wake up around 8-9.

    It was all about being super strict. I went to bed at the exact same time every single night, whether I was tired or not. I did not sleep well for a week, but eventually, I was SO tired all the time from not sleeping that I would just pass out. It was 3 weeks of absolute misery and being exhausted all the time, even after I started not sleeping great, but eventually, the exhaustion would win out and force me to sleep. After 3-4 weeks of that, it just became the new normal, and I was getting 8 hours a night of sleep. Cheating during the weekend is an absolute killer, so I recommend going at least a month straight with no cheating.

  107. Dancing Otter*

    I’m going against the crowd, here.
    If I can drag myself out of bed into the shower etc. at the new time ONCE, no matter how little sleep that means, I WILL be tired enough to go to sleep early that night.
    That will not be a fun day, and I will still need a loud alarm for the next several mornings, but it’s like jumping into the pool versus easing in inch by shivering inch.

  108. Tech Writer Tucker*

    Have you considered moving to Europe or eastern Africa so that you’re on the right side of the timeshift?

    On a more serious note, I’m a big fan of my sunlight clock. Turns out I’m a light-based organism: my mood and energy levels are heavily dependent on how much ambient sunlight I’ve gotten during the day.

  109. LabRat*

    I’m a natural night owl too and I had to do this when I got a job that started at 5am. I’m an insomniac whose doctor has known this for ages; I asked for a month-long scrip of something that doesn’t leave you groggy in the morning and got it. I went to bed at exactly the same time every work night with the aid of the med for a month, and got up at exactly the same time every work morning. A month of this was enough I no longer needed the extra chemical help, and though I spent a few months on a later schedule I was able to shift again to a new job with a 6am start time without pain.

    The most important thing for me has been the hard and fast bedtime. I am in bed in a dark room with no TV and no phone use or other distraction by 9pm every work night, no exceptions ever. If I need meds (I go through cycles of whether I do), I’ve taken them by 8:30 at the latest.

  110. Calyx*

    I’m in exactly the same boat. West coast, working for east coast company. 100% WFH. Four years in, and despite many 8 am or even 7 am meetings, I love the job.

    Down side: My sleep schedule sucks and I’ve gained weight.

    How I’ve compensated:
    Prep breakfast on a tray the night before. Tea things laid out, fruit for smoothie in a container in the freezer, bowl for granola laid ready with a spoon next to it.

    I do not go on camera for early meetings. I’ve never announced this to anyone, I just don’t do it. My photo looks professional.

    I used Teams’ Avatar feature to make a very creditable avatar. It really does work. I even use it with customers.

    Afternoon naps. Lots of sleep on weekends.

    Getting up to walk around the house or do 5 minutes of tap dancing.

    Good luck.

  111. Michelle Smith*

    My medical issues mean that I am also not a morning person. My brain and body are wired to sleep starting at about 8 am. Some of the things that help me:

    – I get my caffeine from an energy drink that has L-theanine and green tea derived caffeine. I find it helps me crash less.
    – I have a medical condition that necessitated consulting with a dietician. I changed my habits (e.g., eating breakfast every day, without exception, replacing my daily lunch pasta salads with higher protein “pasta” made from beans, etc.) so that I don’t need a nap every day at 2 pm anymore.
    – I got the RoutineFlow app on my phone so I can go through the morning routine without worrying that I forgot something. Similarly, I have a checklist on my door for days I need to work in office and I run through it every single time so that I don’t forget my work phone or access badge or whatever and have to come back home.
    – I got a cat. He wakes me up and stares at me until I get up. If I feed him and go back to lay down, he will stare at me while I lay down until I get up. He’s not actually judging me, but because I feel like he is, it helps me get up.
    – I take copious notes, especially in boring meetings. It forces me to try and focus through the fog and has an added bonus of allowing me to remember what was said later on by rereading the notes (because let’s be honest, if the meeting is before 8 am, I am not going to remember details).
    – I am considerate of my coworkers and they are considerate of me. I work and live on the east coast. When I have meetings with people in other time zones (several times a month), I offer to schedule them at times that are convenient for them. For the person who doesn’t mind 7 am meetings, I am okay to have a 10 am recurring meeting with. For another person who is not a morning person, I don’t propose times before noon eastern. They’re outside my agency, so it’s not like we all have the same core hours or anything, but I care about others so I think about time zones anyway. Your coworkers and/or clients may be similar.
    – I have one meeting once a month at an absurdly early time. It was a recurring meeting set up before I joined my employer so I have to just deal with it. On those days, I give myself extra self care. Caffeinated bev in my favorite glass. Hot breakfast. Extra comfy pants (it’s a Zoom meeting). That kind of thing. And I flex my hours on those days to log off an hour early, so it has turned into something to look forward to.
    – I have alarms. Many, many, many alarms. Including an alarm at 9 pm to remind me that I need to start getting ready for bed, even though I’m finally starting to perk up and enjoy my evening.
    – I take medication and/or edibles to allow me to go to sleep against my body’s normal rhythm and I take it right at my 9 pm alarm so that I have the best possible chance of being able to fall asleep by 10:30 or so.

  112. Celeste*

    Card carrying night person here! I went from second shift to first shift cold turkey in my late forties. The trick for me is discipline. When the alarm goes off, I HAVE to get up, no snoozing. I allow enough time to have breakfast, spend a little time on the internet, drink my coffee, etc before I have to get ready for work. That helps me ease into my day and not be stressed out. Or murderous. It also means limiting how much I sleep in on my downtime so I don’t revert to my vampiric ways and mess everything up.

  113. EastCoastNightOwl*

    I wonder if it absolutely has to be a requirement that you’re in the office at the same time as everyone else. I’ve got multiple clients who are on the opposite coast from me; we make the time difference work to our advantage. I’m on the east coast side; my west coast clients will ask me to do something and it’s often done by the time they get into the office the next day because I’m just way ahead of them. We schedule meetings right after my lunch break, which is first thing in the day for them. You might be able to leverage the lag.

  114. Rebecca*

    I’m unsure how closely this applies to your situation, but here goes.

    Depending on how your team works – unless the job description states explicitly you need to work east coast hours – it’s more up to the company/your team to accept they are a global/national firm with people who work a full work day on different schedules.

    My company is based on the east coast; we have colleagues in the UK and on the west coast so we have a lot of meetings at 11 am eastern. That’s just…how it works. I know my West Coast crew will still be working when I eat dinner, and the European folks will email me while I’m snoring.

    We schedule Slacks and emails to maintain some normalcy, but otherwise, everyone just sort of deals with it.

    However, if you’re the outlier or required to work East Coast hours…then the 15-minute incremental adjustments and sunrise clock are very good recommendations!

    1. Storm in a teacup*

      Half my team are west coast and the rest of us are UK based.
      They start at 7 (mostly zoom but if we see they’ve travelled into the office already we give extra grace) but then they’re usually finishing by 3.
      We start a little later than normal – around 10 for me or 11-12 for my boss who does later calls.
      I usually finish around 6 so I have a few hours overlap with the Americans.

  115. Maisonneuve*

    Night owl here too and sadly don’t have good bedtime advice. Being strict on your bedtime… if I’m good at it for 3 nights, the 4th is insomnia laden. Not looking at electronics or tv right to bedtime does help me.
    That said, give yourself a bit of a break from wanting to be all bright eyed and bushy tailed at the start of the day until you get a routine. Your colleagues will probably get it. I had a bunch of west coast colleagues on my east cost team. They unfortunately had to work our core hours meaning they started at 6. We all had sympathy for them and understood if they asked to push back a meeting.
    Good luck!

  116. MoreCoffee*

    I in academia and my morning schedule tends to shift every semester. I am also NOT a morning person. I’ve learned that some of what works for others, doesn’t for me:

    *I don’t make the shift in increments – I just jump into it. It’s miserable for a week but trying to make a gradual change has never worked for me.

    *My goal is to be awake when I walk into the classroom – so for you that would be when you sit at the desk. (This is opposite my colleagues who get up early, eat breakfast slowly, and then are awake before they get to campus.)

    My morning routine is very efficient – get up, dressed, quick breakfast, coffee made, commute, walk into classroom drinking my coffee. At that point, I need to “be on” so simply I am – I often fake and that helps me finish waking up.

    I shower before bed. Because I commute and have a toddler, I do have an extra 30 minutes built in – so if I arrive early, I sit at my desk dealing with small things until class time.

  117. Autumn leaves*

    I suggest using a light lamp very early in the morning. One that’s good for seasonal affective disorder. it will help you start your day and help to reset your internal rhythm

  118. Lacey*

    My sister used an app to help her develop a sleep routine that worked for her new schedule. I can’t remember the name, but I’m sure it would turn up quickly in an internet search.

    I’m also a night owl and I can’t always make myself go to bed as early as I should, but I do find that’s what helps. That and coffee.

    1. Cyndi*

      I’d be curious about the name if you can remember it! It’s not a big deal, I just like playing with productivity type apps even if I don’t wind up using them long term, but Googling a few variations on “sleep routine creation app” has so far turned up a ton of sleep aid apps that mostly don’t sound like what you’re describing.

  119. DrSalty*

    This remote work, right? Do as much as possible the night before so you can get up 15 min before having to sign on. The true perk of remote work. Make it so you can brush your teeth, change your clothes, put on a pot of coffee, and get to work. Whatever the absolute bare minimum morning routine can be. I think your best bet is to try to sleep as late as possible.

  120. Telephone Sanitizer, Third Class*

    Yikes, EST hours on a PST life sounds awful. I used to be a night owl but now I go to bed around 10 or 11 and get up at 7/7:30, or 8/8:30 on weekends. Before I got a remote job sometimes I’d have to get up at 5:30 to be able to watch a new episode of something before I got spoiled and still catch the bus. Getting up sucks but I enjoy being awake early-ish in the morning.

    I wish I had advice for making the change.

  121. Morgan Proctor*

    In my experience, you can’t. I spent 1.5 years at a job that had a start time of 8am. I never fully adjusted. I always felt awful, even after 8 hours of sleep.

    I fixed it by getting a different job.

    This is simply the way of the world for those of us who are most productive late at night. It sucks!

  122. Vi*

    Another option, although this might sound kind of crazy and I don’t know if it would really work, would be to go to bed right after work. If you’re working East Coast 9a-5p = West Coast 6a-2p, you could go to bed at West Coast 3pm, for example, and sleep until 11pm every day, assuming you don’t have other weekday obligations that require you to be awake during daylight hours. You could shift forward a couple hours occasionally if you needed to do afternoon errands. Then you’d get lots of waking time during your best/preferred (overnight) hours and should still be plenty awake during the second half of your waking hours for work. (Even better if you can do East Coast 8a-4p/West Coast 5a-1p.)

    The advice above to get a sleep study is also good, though!

  123. Lady Kelvin*

    When we first moved to Hawaii my partner was still working for an east coast job and so that meant east coast hours. Half the year he started at 3am and the other half at 4am. To try to be on a similar schedule, I worked 6:30-3 at my local job. What worked for us was to accept that we operated on a different schedule than others. We just shifted our day by several hours, instead of 6pm dinner we ate at 4:30, we went to bed at 8pm and left events, etc. early to make sure we got to bed on time. It was sometimes annoying when our friends would go out and we’d decline, but it made it through. That lasted 3 years before my husband found a local job and we had kids, which required us to be on a daycare schedule not the early schedule. I will admit, I liked the early schedule even though I am also a night owl. Being done so early meant we took a beach walk every day after work or after dinner as a wind down before bed.

  124. night owl with a 5am start*

    the worst (and hardest part) isn’t getting up early, it’s the fact you need to go to bed early. you need to be really, really strict about making sure you’re getting your full 8 hours, and that can mean making your peace with being the kind of person that goes to bed at 9pm.

    it’s so easy to slip up, and you need to be SO STRICT.

  125. Ann O'Nemity*

    I’ve had luck with shocking my system by waking up way earlier for a week and then easing back. I discovered this approach by accident when I took an international vacation before starting a new job. The first few days were rough – jet lag is real, especially when you go east by 5 time zones! But it was super easy to come home and start getting up at 5 am every day.

  126. DJ Abbott*

    I’m an afternoon person, I do much better after lunch. I do office work. I did much better in the morning after I started eating a bigger breakfast with plenty of protein. I make a sandwich with toast, nut butter, and shredded chicken or cut-up pork.

    Solidarity to all us non-morning people! We have value. And a lot more fun at night. :)

  127. Kaleidoscope*

    I’ve seen lots of things about how to wake up and consistency which I agree with. It putting my two cents in for having a consistent “goodnight routine”. Starting now do the same things before going to sleep, brush your teeth, comfy clothes, no screens, read a book/say your thankful things/pet your dog. It makes it so much easier to put yourself to bed earlier if your body starts learning to expect rest after a routine.

  128. adk*

    From what I understand from all the Sleep Experts, it’s all about the mornings. Wake up at the same time every day including weekends. Look outside first thing, look at the blue sky (or the gray sky as the case may be), and get the morning light into your eyeballs. If possible go outside and breathe the morning air and get sunlight on your face and arms (vitamin D, baby!)
    And go to sleep 8 hours before you have to be awake. Maybe start a slow down routine an hour before you’re supposed to be sleeping. Make sure your room is cold and your bed is warm. Make sure you have good blackout curtains, no weird lights on clocks or chargers in your room, and a sleep mask. Create a bedtime routine for yourself where you make a cup of herbal tea or take a warm shower, get into bed and read (no blue light screens), or do a bedtime meditation. It’s all about consistency and making sure you do the routine 7 days a week, not just on “school nights”.
    While I still don’t consider myself a true Morning Person, having a routine has definitely helped me get my 8+ hours of sleep every night along with being ungrumpy every morning.

  129. Garblesnark*

    I am not a doctor and not qualified to give you medical advice of any kind, but I started taking the supplement l-methylfolate (a lot of people including me don’t have enough [?] of a gene [?] and this supplement makes your body do the thing [?] the gene would normally do [?] if you had it [?] with regular folate [which is in food]; recall that I am not a doctor; I get it online from a company called Thorne) to help with my depression and it made waking up on time for things much easier very quickly. Start with a small amount or you will spend an alarming amount of time in the bathroom at first, if you go for this.

    You will likely have to be very fastidious about not just going to bed on time but also having a predictable bedtime routine. I’ve found it very helpful to use guided meditations like progressive relaxation. I can set them for up to an hour and if I fall asleep midway through, that’s a good thing! Eventually, I reached a point of being able to do the exercise myself to go to sleep, but still return to the recorded guided meditation on rough nights.

    Don’t make yourself eat before you’re ready. I take a nap on my lunch break during early remote jobs in addition to snacking at my desk.

    Last thing, there is a benefit to honesty! As long as you’re lighthearted about it, in most workplaces it’s fine to say, “I’m not that much of an early bird – could we have this meeting in the afternoon?” or “I do my best work after lunch, let’s meet then!”

  130. Ook*

    I’ve always sorted out clothes and lunches and travel so I can just get up and go- the hour commute helps me shift my brain from functional zombie to office mode fairly easily.

    The most effective thing I ever did to help me start and stay on an early waking schedule was a pet. During the furloughing and lockdown I borrowed my housemates dog, and took her for a walk every morning, back by nine.

    Now I have a cat, and breakfast for her is at seven am sharp. If I show no signs of moving by six thirty, she wakes me. A paw shoved in the nostril or ear or a gentler nip is right effective, even in winter!

  131. e271828*

    Feed your cat at your preferred wakeup time two to three days in a row. You will never oversleep again.

      1. Steggy Saurus*

        The Monday after DST begins is my official worst day of the year. I usually just take off that day and suffer through the next two weeks until the sun is around again by my wake up time. I am Permanent Standard Time all the way!

  132. Leslie Hell Knope*

    Look up advice on how to deal with jet lag, since it’s the same basic principle, and see what might work best for you. I’ve used the Jet Lag Rooster, a sleep calculator to help prevent jet lag. A friend tried fasting (as described in the Harvard Health article, “Resetting your circadian clock to minimize jet lag”) when travelling to New Zealand from the East Coast and reported being 100% well rested on arrival (granted, he was in his 20s, a time of magical metabolism and physiological resilience). I’m eager to try it but haven’t been hopped many time zones lately. Good luck on the new job!

  133. Nonanon*

    My partner transitioned to night shifts and this is what he found helpful when adjusting his sleep schedule:
    1. Keep everything as consistent as possible. If you get up at 7am and go to sleep at 9pm on days you work, do it on days you don’t.
    2. Melatonin WHEN needed; I believe he did “nightly” the first week or so but has since transitioned off to “as needed” (eg if he has a drs appt or something where he needs to adjust his sleep schedule, he’ll take a melatonin to help get to sleep earlier). PLEASE consult with a medical provider; it’s an OTC product but it’s still a drug.

  134. Nat20*

    I actually disagree with the advice to change in small increments, to me that’s going to be really hard to stick to. If you’re changing your sleep schedule by small amounts it may feel a little better in the moment, but it’ll take a lot longer to get used to, and I just feel like it’d be so easy to have your progress come crashing down with just one slightly-later-than-intended night or one missed alarm since it’s not that different from what you’re used to.

    As far as waking up earlier there’s a lot of ways of going about that, but I’d at least recommend NOT snoozing; get up with the first alarm. When you wake up briefly and go back to sleep, it actually makes it harder to wake up again rather than easier, and that difficulty compounds with each snooze. (Pretty sure there’s been research on this phenomenon; I can certainly attest to it.) As miserable as it feels, getting up with the first alarm will be easier than dozing for a while. Plus, in my experience anyway, the cold-turkey approach to changing sleep schedules sucks but gets you used to it faster. But also don’t get up any earlier than the minimum you need to just get ready, which is even less for remote work.

    Also, I learned this from working at a hotel and talking to people who did night audit shifts: when you have to drastically switch your sleep schedule, don’t go to sleep right after the new shift ends! Even if you’re exhausted, and even if you didn’t get much sleep the night before, resist the nap urge. If you can make it through the first shitty few days forcing yourself to have a few hours of wind-down time after work and staying up until the new normal bed time, you’ll probably fall asleep at that time immediately because, again, you’re exhausted. That’ll more quickly get your body used to that bedtime and the new wake-up time too.

    1. Nat20*

      (For what it’s worth, I do think naps can be great. I just mean for that inital adjustment period it’ll likely help train your body to a new schedule to avoid them for a while.)

  135. Storm in a teacup*

    Same boat as you. I am a night owl who needs her sleep and peri menopause is playing havoc.
    Afternoon naps are your friend. Just make sure you set an alarm so no more than 25 minutes at a time.

  136. shamwow*

    I am also very much a night owl (with diagnosed delayed sleep phase syndrome), and the only thing that worked for me was medication.

    I did have a sleep doctor who recommended what was essentially sleep deprivation – get up at the same time every day, no naps, and if I can’t sleep at night, get up and do something (no screens, listen to an audiobook or read a physical book) until I could. It actually just made the problem worse, and I ended up without sleep for months.

    Went to a different doctor, and went through a few different medications before finding one that worked consistently. There are some that keep you awake and alert in the morning, while others work on getting you to sleep at night. It’s going to depend a lot on brain chemistry.

    I do have rituals that help (no caffeine after 3pm, consistent exercise, listening to an audiobook as I fall asleep with an automatic shut-off helps me keep my brain from waking me up with brilliant and ill-timed ideas or anxiety spirals). But for me this was a medical problem and required a medical solution. (Though really the issue is that humans are all different and we’ve built a society around a schedule that only works for some – but I can’t fix that).

    1. Steggy Saurus*

      Hello fellow delayed sleep phase person! Yep, finally giving in and getting a prescription was the right choice for me too. I have my one cup of tea around 10 am, and no significant caffeine after that. I also accepted that I might as well nap because my brain is going to wake up at 10 pm no matter what I do anyway, so why make myself miserable?

    2. Azure Jane Lunatic*

      Did we have the same sleep doctor? Mine had DSPS himself, and I felt so lucky, until the point in the appointment where he trotted out that piece of advice. Unfortunately, I’d already established to my own satisfaction that sleep deprivation (even one night of extra sleep deprivation on top of my chronic load) exacerbates my depression, let’s say. Badly. So in the interests of not dying, I found a new doctor.

      That particular program of amazingly lousy advice, to keep sleep-depriving yourself and gaslighting yourself into thinking you can drive and function on little to no sleep, is also known as CBT-i, according to a psychiatrist friend of mine. Different from regular CBT.

  137. LJSleeper*

    I am a night owl who needs a lot of sleep and feel your pain. You can try to be good about going to bed on weeknights at a reasonable hour, but you can merely adjust your schedule a few hours, not become a morning person. I highly recommend naps. I will never get as much sleep as I want or need waking up for work, so I plan to nap for a couple hours after work every day I can. It supplements my sleep so I’m not as exhausted. For some people, this would ruin their sleep at bedtime, but not me! Naps are good and cool, not indulgent. I am 40 years old and this is how I have figured out a way to function in morning-based capitalism.

  138. KG*

    Okay, I have to add this because it’s is funny, but didn’t Taylor Swift recently say “jet lag is a choice?”

    Start going to bed earlier, switch to decaf at noon and probably try to cut caffeine out if you can even imagine that. Do one lifestyle change at a time, though. Don’t make it brutal on your self. Drink black tea to ease the transition and then go sober at work. You’ll be able to sleep at reasonable hours if you believe can sleep then. Being a night owl is a choice and a mindset. I know this is dumb, but I was a night owl. For medical reasons, I had to cut everything out and I did. I’m fine now, but I realized how much I needed caffeine to be alive and how much of a jerk I was if I didn’t have it. I can wake up whenever and get right to it after a glass of water. And I can also sleep given a cozy blanket, eye mask and thirty minutes alone.

    1. Azure Jane Lunatic*

      This does not apply with Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome, FWIW, which is a medical condition and cannot be decaffeinated or mindsetted out of existence. But it can take a concerted attempt to shift your sleep schedule in order to figure out whether it’s a mindset/lifestyle or a medical condition in any given person.

      I’m not trying to jump on you here, but no, I did not choose to have this problem and I would be substantially happier, healthier, and richer if all it took to adjust my own personal sleep schedule was to abstain from caffeine and “practice good sleep hygiene”.

  139. Ladycrim*

    I’m also a night owl who had an earlier then usual work schedule for a few months. I found it very helpful to set a “Go to bed” alarm on my phone in the evening.

  140. bunniferous*

    Light is your friend! I you can get into morning Light outside for 15 minutes that’s ideal, but Light boxes can help. also try not to sleep in on weekends.

  141. ILoveLllamas*

    I would also recommend that as many prep things you can do the night before will help — have coffee ready to go, clothes laid out — any mundane chore that can be queued up is just one less thing you have to think about when your groggy brain is trying to function in the morning.

  142. Coverage Associate*

    Seconding keeping the same schedule on weekends.

    I couldn’t find a sunrise clock that I could program to do what I wanted it to, so I finally just got a therapy light and an old fashioned timer to plug it into. It was helpful when I had to get up before sunrise.

    Also, I sleep in a sleep mask, but just having the light as soon as it comes off is helpful.

  143. Jules the 3rd*

    Can you go full night owl, work 3am – noon (6am – 3pm East Coast time), sleep 4pm – 12am? That leaves you 4 hrs of daytime for errands / appts / wind down from work. It is hard on your social life, tho.

    I am usually an early bird but I have a mix in my family, and I think some of them would thrive on this schedule. Whatever you do, try to schedule yourself an extra hour or two to sleep. I went from 7/night to 9/night when my perimenopause started, and the ‘when I am sleepy’ time started to vary a lot.

  144. Oh January*

    I’m a staunch night owl (found out in 2020 that if left to its own devices, my body’s preferred hours of sleep: 5am-2pm) who then went into teaching. Great job, me.

    Consistency is key, but in the beginning when I was trying to set the habit:
    1) melatonin about an hour before I wanted to start getting sleepy
    2) having “treat” breakfast available. a grocery store danish will absolutely coax me out of bed earlier than my usual energy bar.

  145. Orv*

    After trying many different things, I’ve been unable to avoid the situation where I just steadily build up more and more sleep debt until I have to declare sleep bankruptcy and take a sick day to catch up. I hope you figure out something that works better for you.

  146. no one talks about peri-menopause*

    Because you specifically mentioned the bone-tired exhaustion of peri-menopause, I want to comment on that piece of it. I was struggling at work in the afternoon with being so tired I could barely function and I was taking so many naps after work. I talked to my doctor about these and other annoying symptoms and she put me on an estrogen patch. LW, it has been life-changing. I’m no longer so tired I could deep sleep at any moment. Some of my brain fog has improved. Work is much easier to navigate. It won’t solve the main issue of your circadian rhythm, but may help you out. Good luck. Peri-menopause is no joke.

  147. Karma is My Boyfriend and so is Travis Kelce*

    1. If you think you have poor quality sleep, get a sleep study. The results of that, and implementing anything recommended will be life changing.
    2. Ask if there’s core hours you are required to be on. Maybe they like 10-2, so you wouldn’t have to sign on until, well unfortunately 6am your time.
    2.5. Maybe they don’t expect you to work their hours?
    2.75. Maybe you only have to work their hours for a certain amount of time?
    3. Get, and use, a sunrise alarm clock! Implement a “SAD” lamp right away in the morning if needed.
    4. Obviously, try as much as possible to maintain a consistent sleep schedule. Do not sleep in on weekends, etc.
    5. You got this!!!

    1. fine-tipped pen aficionado*

      I would add to your #1 that you should talk to your PCP and explore all the potential causes of poor sleep. A sleep study is one investigation, but there are lots of causes a sleep study won’t uncover. My PCP had me do a blood test before sending me for a sleep study which is how I found out my thyroid is messed up.

  148. CeciBee*

    Some ideas, which may or may not work for you:
    – When I would prepare for night shifts, I’d tell myself it was a different time than what was on the clock. But I’m a night owl, so a much smaller struggle than what you’ll face.
    – Try adding naps in the evening (not everyone can nap, I know)
    – Don’t deviate more than 30 minutes from your weekday wake-up time even on weekends
    – If you feel like you could be a happy and responsible pet owner (if you aren’t already), a pet can do wonders for keeping you on a schedule. My dogs bark at me if I stay up too late (no more herding dogs for me), and the threat of pee on the floor is a *great* motivator to get out of bed. I’ve lived with cats before too, and they had definite opinions about when I got out of bed. Being cute, they are harder to resent than a job when they dictate your schedule. That shift in mindset may not make the process easier, but at least more enjoyable.

    1. Azure Jane Lunatic*

      My partner’s cat is extremely helpful. Not only does she yell for breakfast, she understands alarm clocks. (Now that her overactive thyroid is fixed, at least!) She will sit on my partner and wait for their phone alarm to go off, and only then start yelling and pawing. When they roll over and go back to sleep, she waits for the next snooze cycle to be done before she resumes the yell. It’s fascinating to watch.

  149. Sally*

    Make sure you wake up and go to bed at the same time on weekends! If you sleep in on weekends you will then get a jet lag feeling on Monday morning when you try to wake up early.

  150. Hastily Blessed Fritos*

    This is based both on dealing with international travel and with shifting to/from night schedules when I was an observational astronomer.

    Go slowly. Figure out where you want to end up, how much time you have to be able to end up there a few days before you start the new job (you definitely don’t want to still be adjusting when you start), and divide it evenly. If this means you only need to shift by 15 minutes a day, great; hopefully it’s not more than an hour a night, which is about what most people can adjust to for jet lag. Every day, including weekends, go to sleep and get up earlier by that amount until you’re adjusted.

    Once you’re there, don’t let yourself sleep more than an hour later than your usual wake-up time on weekends. It’s not worth the jetlag to readjust Monday morning.

    Reduce exposure to blue light in the evenings – there are apps that can automatically adjust the white balance of your screens to do this.

    Morning light is literally the One Weird Trick to hack your circadian rhythm. During times of the year when you need to be awake before natural sunrise, a sun lamp in your bedroom, set to slowly brighten starting 30 min before your alarm, will help convince your system that it’s morning now. Natural light – leave the blinds cracked – is even better if it’s available.

    Melatonin in the evenings is less of a slam-dunk but it works for a lot of people and may be especially useful during the adjustment period.

    Good luck!

  151. CSRoadWarrior*

    It’s kind of timely you brought this up, because my boyfriend and I are both night owls as well and we recently had a conversation about this. Luckily, for my boyfriend, he works in a warehouse where he works rotating shifts between early afternoons and evenings so that makes it easier for him. As for me, I am in a typical white collar job were I have to start at 8am, and some days I just don’t want to get out of bed.

    Here is what works for me. Since I need at least 7 hours of sleep and I work from home. Going to bed at midnight or even 1am would suffice. Of course, you may or may not stay up that late. Some days, I do go to bed a little earlier. In your case, I would start adjusting gradually. Like start adjusting 10 minutes earlier each time you get used to it until you find an ideal time that works for your new schedule. Don’t just suddenly go to bed 3 hours earlier and wake up 3 hours earlier. It will likely throw your body off. Your body needs time to adjust its internal clock.

    I do understand the struggle is real for us night owls, though. Just know you are not alone. I make do at my job, but it still not ideal.

  152. ChipDust*

    I’m a former night shift RN who then took a M-F day shift job.

    —protecting your sleep becomes job #1. Practice good sleep hygiene, room darkening drapes, no screens.

    —start incrementally as others have suggested.

    —I personally use no caffeine and found once I got restorative sleep, I had plenty of energy into my 60s.

  153. fine-tipped pen aficionado*

    First of all the way we attach moral value to when and how much you sleep is completely wild.

    Second, standing in solidarity because my natural wake up time is 3am which was great when I was in retail stocking and recreation (early morning swimmers are a serious bunch) but decidedly does not work with a 9-5.

    When I was transitioning, staying up past my bedtime left me exhausted 100% of the time and I could not get up in the morning even at my normal time. The most helpful thing for me has been to get up every morning, take my meds, and go directly to the gym.

    It’s not about the gym itself or even exercise. It helps because it’s a little but of structure with a really low barrier to entry. I only do exercises that feel nice or are a good time (mostly stretching but the rowing machine and ab coaster things are pretty fun) and I don’t count reps or do any kind of tracking or allow myself to attach any moral value to it. The second you do that it becomes another chore or responsibility to avoid when you feel like shit.

    That said, I usually get into the exercise stuff after I’ve been there a bit and using that energy every day makes it easier to stabilize my sleep schedule.

    Everyone is different and this might not even be an accessible option for you, but it really has made me feel better and helped me to sleep when I needed to and have fewer afternoon crashes. Good luck, my friend!

  154. Night owl -transatlantic*

    I’m to commiserate with nocturnal folk! I moved to Europe and work remotely for a EST job and it is the best thing that has ever happened for my quality of life

  155. Higgs Bison*

    Keep a schedule similar to your weeknight schedule on the weekend. It doesn’t need to be exactly the same, but it’s a lot easier on your mind and body to go to bed and get up at around the same time every day than to jump back and forth 4 hours between weeknight and weekend times.

    Also, I tend to do best doing some prep the night before (pack lunch, shower, etc), but still having a morning routine beyond just rolling out of bed and getting in the car. Reading the midnight AAM post or watching the latest episode of my favorite late night tv show while I have breakfast helps me wake up to face the day.

    Source: I’m someone who prefers a sleep schedule of 1-9am or so but stumbled into a field dominated by 7am start times. Plus a commute. Plus I don’t like coffee. Early starts aren’t my favorite part of the job, but I’ve kept it up for several years so far.

  156. Sleep*

    Having a consistent wake-up time is probably the most helpful- so no sleeping in on weekends, as that messes up the wake-ups.

    I know someone who puts his alarm clock on the other side of his room and sits in a kind of comfy chair after turning it off, and that helps him a lot. It needs to be only kind of comfy, or else he’d just fall back asleep in the chair, but not too uncomfy or else he’d hop back in bed.

  157. Killer Queen*

    I am the exact same way – a night owl and I also need 8+ hours of sleep to function. I just started a new job where I need to be at my desk at 8 (part of my job is answering phones, so I really do need to be here) from a job where I used to be able to go in whenever I wanted between the hours of 7-9:30. I did start going to bed earlier which has helped but I started taking the First Day Women’s Supercharge vitamin and it has actually given me more energy and has made it easier for me to get out of bed. Which is a miracle for me lol. I was skeptical but willing to try and it actually helps. I promise this comment isn’t a paid ad lol, but thought I might as well mention it if it could help anyone else :)

  158. Cedrus Libani*

    I am blue light sensitive. Without intervention, and given that I’m a nerd who spends a lot of time looking at a screen, my natural “day” is roughly 28 hours long. This is…an issue.

    Friend, have you heard the good news about melatonin? Seriously, it changed my life. Be aware that most drugstore brands contain way too much of the stuff; I use 0.3 mg, plenty for a large adult. You’ll most likely have to order this online. It’s better than grabbing a 5 mg bottle from the supermarket and then wondering why you feel vaguely hungover the next morning.

    For a few years, I went the all-natural route, putting on blue-light blocking glasses about 90 minutes before my target bedtime. That works too, but taking a pill is just so easy.

    There’s also the option to lean in. I’m on the West Coast and I’m still not a morning person, but the East Coast office doesn’t complain, because I’m the one taking meetings during Asia’s work hours. It’s fair, because they’re the ones dealing with Europe’s work hours (usually first thing in the morning EST, when I’m still asleep or would very much prefer to be). See if you can make your chronotype work in your favor rather than fighting it.

  159. BikeWalkBarb*

    Riffing with no personal experience in having to stay in an uncomfortable time zone all the time, but maybe this would help–

    Before going on an international trip I did some research on how to adjust as quickly as possible to the new time zone. Advice I read based on some research in rats and some anecdata from people who travel a lot was to reset your stomach clock. Your eating and hunger cycle is doing some of the work of telling you when to be awake, when to sleep.

    The advice for the traveler was to do a fast of at least 12 hours before travel (I think 15 was supposed to work even better), setting yourself up to eat breakfast at the time that’s right for the time zone you’re going to. You’ve just reset your stomach clock.

    Worked like a charm for me going from Seattle to Copenhagen. I was the only ungroggy one in a cohort of people on a study tour. Try this and switch your mealtimes to eat breakfast/lunch/dinner at the same time as your colleagues and see what happens.

    I have a brother-in-law who worked for the post office and had to be at work at 3 a.m. and this aligns with what I observed of his general work/eating pattern. He was eating at different times from the rest of the family–came home for his lunch break that was their breakfast. He was nodding off ready for bed at 8 p.m. every night.

  160. TG*

    I’m the same type – a night owl. I’d recommend altering your sleep time and being consistent about it. If you’re really tired try to take a midday nap when you’d normally be having lunch – block it in your calendar so you can get a solid block of 45-60 minutes of rest. But try to alter it and then stick to it for a true shift in your habit. Also wind down an hour before sleep – quiet, don’t eat or do computer stuff.

  161. Awyndela*

    I have this problem (night owl in an early bird kind of role), and I saw a sleep specialist a few years ago who recommended I take a micro dose (1 mg) of melatonin 3-4 hours before bed. This doesn’t make me sleepy, but I am much brighter in the morning and have less trouble waking up.

    There is some data now showing that melatonin may have cognitive side effects (previously it was thought to be pretty benign), but this has been associated with much higher doses (5-10 mg+), so I am continuing to use it as of now.

    I have also tried a sun lamp first thing in the morning (I turn it on while I am drinking tea in bed and reading so it is a nice ritual), and I do think this helped, but I don’t have time to do it anymore sadly.

    I have tried alarm lamps that gradually lower lights in the evening and raise them in the morning. Very mixed results (worked when I was having to get up at 5am but now that I am getting up at 7, I don’t notice much of a difference).

    I only had time to read a few threads, so apologies if this is redundant!

  162. Steggy Saurus*

    I am a night owl in my late 40s who had worked a day job for 20ish years. I have never really adjusted. That’s partly physical and partly my unwillingness to give up the full brainpower that kicks in drive 10 pm every night: I have never been able to feel that in the morning.

    About l0 years ago, after a decade of taking Benadryl every night, I finally gave in and asked my doctor for a prescription sleeping pill. This may be a last resort for you, but honestly, it was the right decision for me. I just need something to make me fall asleep before 3 am. I’ve been taking the same (lowest) dose the entire 10 years. I wake up as awake as I can be getting up before 10 am with no drugged out hangover from Benadryl or melatonin. It’s such a relief.

    Other habits I’ve embraced: when working from home I shower the night before so I can start early and have time for a nap after work. I eat breakfast when my stomach can handle it, usually around 10 am. I try not to have meetings that require serious brainpower before 10 either. Good luck to you.

  163. SG*

    My boyfriend is a complete night owl — his natural body clock skews 100% nocturnal — and he has worked the past year at 7am-4pm job for which he wake ups at 6am. What works for him is that he usually sleeps in two segments. He usually sleep 4-6 hrs in the evening (like from 6pm – 1opm, or even later), and then wakes up and until 3am or so, and sleeps a few more hours before getting up for work.
    Look up “biphasic sleep” online — some evidence has suggested that humans are actually meant to sleep in two segments like this!

  164. Mmm.*

    Obligatory not a doctor, just someone with a messed up sleep/wake schedule that makes mornings miserable…

    To fall asleep earlier so you can get your full 8 hours, try a SMALL dose of melatonin and a healthy dose of magnesium. Take them maybe an hour before you plan to fall asleep. Magnesium helps with all sorts of stuff including, and melatonin is simply for sleep.

    The nice thing is that neither of these are medications in the true sense, so you can fairly easily stop using them (though I don’t know why people aren’t always taking magnesium. Game changer). Once you’re in a better rhythm, you don’t have to worry about weaning yourself off melatonin.

    As someone with a sleep disorder who was told this nonstop for years, it pains me to say this, but go on a walk right when you wake up if it’s safe to do so. I’m not an exercise fanatic and will gladly tell you even 10 minutes can help. It gets your body and brain moving.

    Schedule doctor appointments first thing in the morning so you have to get up, no excuses.

    Finally, leave your house with your work computer if you can. Coffee shops can make you feel like you have to be on top of things. Library meeting/study rooms are good for taking meetings. I don’t mean to do this daily, but switching it up can help with the wakefulness.

  165. Dee*

    West coast girlie with East coast clients – here’s what helps:

    Shower at night and just splash water on your face to wake up in the morning.

    Magnesium L Threonate does gang busters combating that perimenopause fatigue

    Don’t get to work before 930 eastern. They can live with the half hour of flex time. When I was in NY offices no one seemed to get in before 10 anyway.

    Eat lunch at your own lunchtime. Protect the time by blocking your calendar.

    Do not work late. And by late I mean do not work from 6 to 6. If your colleagues end their day at 3 PM pacific then so do you.

    Get used to early dinner. The upside is it’s much easier to get reservations at the hotspots.

  166. David*

    Almost everyone else is offering tips to change your sleep schedule, which is great, but you could also consider the possibility of shifting your work schedule. It may or may not be realistic for you, but if you do have the flexibility to do stuff like this, it can make your life quite a bit easier. Here are some ideas:

    Within the time during which you’re awake, there’s going to be a part of the day at which you’re most alert. I suspect that for most night owls, that time is later in the day – for me it’s the evening hours. (It may change as you shift your sleep schedule.) Whatever it is for you, find out and see if you can arrange your daily schedule so that you put the tasks requiring the most concentration during those hours where you’re best prepared to focus. And other tasks, things like data entry, filling out forms, replying to emails, or other mindless busy work, can slot into times where you’re more tired and less alert. Personally, I reserve the first hour or so of every day for catching up on emails and Slack messages, unless I have a meeting during that time, and I find it to be a good way to ease into things.

    Sometimes interactions with other people can have an invigorating effect. Other times they can practically put you to sleep. Depending on which (if either) applies to you, you can establish a preference for having meetings early in your work day or later in the day.

    This won’t apply if you’re fully remote, but otherwise you might be able to get some flexibility in when you work from the office vs working from home. E.g. my current job lets me work from home in the morning and come into the office just before lunch, so I don’t have to worry about commuting in the morning, or even about being presentable unless I have meetings.

    And, as you get used to your organization’s culture, see if you can suss out how your manager and coworkers feel about schedule flexibility. If you get the sense that they might be willing to accommodate a later schedule for you, or at least that they wouldn’t react badly to you asking, give it a shot! They might be fine with you working a generally later schedule. (Obviously this doesn’t apply if your job is time-sensitive, e.g. if you have to provide coverage for something during certain hours.)

  167. Craig*

    best thing to do is adjust breakfast time. it’s been sicentifcally proven that it resets your body clock. do you have a spouse who can make you breakfast in bed or a takeaway/cafe you can get breakfast from for a week? try not to eat after 6pm and go to bed around 9/10 with an hour for reading/knitting or other non screen activities put your phone on silent and your before bed. also consider getting a daylight alarm clock they are awesome.

  168. Madame Arcati*

    You may be doing all or any of these but for what it’s worth here are my tips

    Maximise time to sleep (and minimise early morning stress) by being as ready as humanly possible, to shave down the time you need between waking and getting to work. I lay out all my clothes, every single thing down to knickers and hair grips (and if I wore makeup to work I’d have a little row of products waiting on my dressing table), so no decisions, not hunting for something or discovering too late your jumper has egg on it. I do this when I get home from/finish work the night before, not at bedtime when it’s easy not to bother.
    Embrace the routine as this will be more efficient and save time. I remind myself when the alarm goes off that I will feel fine once I am up and showered, so shower is my first thing. If you need coffee have your mug ready and the kettle or machine filled and ready to switch on. If poss, make it in a thermo mug etc to go saving time at home and/or time en route picking up a takeaway one (cheaper too).
    I find an alarm that starts quiet and gets louder much better than being shocked awake which I feel gets the day off on the wrong foot. And I don’t like it! I like the iPhone one that sounds like birdsong.
    The other thing that wakes me up is the risk walk to the station – could you build in even a few minutes to get you going and blow away the cobwebs? If you drive, even parking in the furthest corner of the car park might help if you think of it as a mini power walk.
    I feel it helps if you act like you are up and the day has started rather than dragging your feet, metaphorically. Fake it till you make it type thing.

    Another tip is, set a reminder to go to bed just as you do an alarm to wake up. If you have to be up at six and need eight hours, get your phone to dingle at you at five to ten. It’s so easy to be reading or watching tv or pootling around on the internet and suddenly it’s midnight.

    1. Azure Jane Lunatic*

      I found out that my executive function goes to bed before the rest of me does, so when I need to have an early morning, I need to get my ducks in a row not just before bedtime, but as early as possible in the evening. So I needed to have dinner, set up my clothes and bag for the morning, take my shower, and brush my teeth before sitting down to catch up on the internet. Sometimes it was revenge bedtime procrastination, but sometimes it was just that I knew I’d need to do all those things that required a working brain and just couldn’t face doing it, just one more blog post. So getting it out of the way so all I had to do was refill my water bottle and climb into bed was crucial. Plus a bedtime reminder alarm, ideally one that couldn’t wake me up by accident if I’d managed to get to bed early. I settled on a calendar appointment that would make noise on the computer and pop a notification on my phone, but wouldn’t make noise if my phone had already been plugged in for the night.

  169. theletter*

    The thing that helped me change was early morning exercise commitments on Sunday. I couldn’t force myself to get up for work early on Monday, but doing something for ME on Sunday overode the Urge To Sleep In. Sunday evenings were a little jetlaggy so I’d just prepare whatever I could for the work week before falling asleep early. Then I’d wake up refreshed and ready on Monday morning!

    A big part of this is that the classes were really good but also really expensive, and had to be prepaid. The thought of losing money can be very motivational.

  170. Tired lady*

    I do everything I can the night before. Lay out my clothes, pack my food(in your case meal prep), i even choose what I’m doing for my hair and shower at night!

    I get up in the morning, start the coffee, take the dogs out, brush hair and teeth, get dressed and roll! Bed to door in 20!

  171. Junior Dev (no longer Junior)*

    Hi, former night owl here. I’m sure some of the change in me was just getting older, but it also made a huge difference to get diagnosed and treated for sleep apnea. So if you’re able to get an appointment with a sleep clinic I would. If you are someone who will sleep through multiple alarms, I recommend getting checked out even more—it’s not a character flaw, it’s often a sign of a health problem. Even if you turn out to have no medical problems they can give you advice on adapting.

    The advice they gave me when I needed to sleep earlier for work was to take 0.5 to 1mg of melatonin 2 to 4 hours before I went to bed. Most people take it as a “sleeping pill” by taking a much higher dose less than an hour before bed; that’s not the most effective way to use it, and can cause side effects like nightmares.

    I also find that exercising sometime during the day (anytime earlier than that 2-hour period before bed) helps regulate my sleep patterns a lot better so I actually feel tired at bedtime.

    Look up all the standard advice about sleep hygiene and keeping a restful sleep environment.

    Lastly—in addition to your normal alarm clock, set one for about 20 minutes before you absolutely need to be online or it’s late. That has given me enough time to log on without rushing if I’m still eating breakfast at that point, and it means if I sleep through my first alarm I still will be up in time for work.

  172. Chillafrix*

    There’s a lot of evidence that people cannot change whether they are at night owl or a morning person, that it’s genetic.

    I have the opposite problem of you, I’m a morning person and go to bed early, and wake up very early.

    I used to have a job where socializing late into the night was crucial for keeping up my sales numbers. This usually happened at conferences either in town or out of town. So I didn’t have to stay up late all the time, just during the conferences.

    So I would start adjusting about a week before the conference. I got blackout curtains for my bedroom so no light could come in in the morning.

    I started staying up 30 minutes to an hour later every night, depending on how much later I had to be when the conference started. I closed my black out curtains at night, so the light didn’t wake me up in the morning. I had a clock with a green back light so I could see the time even in the dark, without seeing something bright. If I woke up earlier than I was supposed to, where I didn’t get enough sleep (I try to get eight hours sleep), I would close my eyes, make myself stay in bed, and meditate until it was time to get up.

    This usually worked well enough for me to be awake late at night at the conferences.

    You could try the opposite, which I have also had to do when I was going to a time zone far to the west of me.

    Go to bed half an hour earlier every night. Get the black out curtains so there’s no light in your room when you go to sleep. Stay in bed, no phone, no light, no activity, no sound (get earplugs), just closed eyes and meditating, until you fall asleep. Then set your alarm and get up 30 minutes earlier than normal. This works for me, the earlier I was getting up, the earlier I wanted to sleep that night because I needed the sleep.

    It’s not fun, but I hope it works for you. You could also try a sleep aid like melatonin or something, or even chamomile tea. Good luck.

  173. MJ*

    I have been in a similar situation ever since my boss mandated 7:45 daily standups in a formerly flexible-start department. Something that’s helped me get in bed is to do my whole nighttime routine a few hours earlier than I need to. Shower, feed the cat, etc around 8 pm and then just do whatever I normally do in the evenings, except in my pajamas already. That way, the minute I feel drowsy, there’s no “hurdles” between me and just going straight to bed.

  174. LL*

    At my current job, I also had to make a drastic change – waking up at 5:30am in order to commute and be on-time at 8am. It’s hell. I know all the tips: gradually changing your sleep times, keeping a consistent schedule on days off, use blackout curtains, wind down earlier, don’t use your phone in bed, etc. I do none of the tips. I just can’t. I’m a night owl through and through. All those little adjustments to the schedule don’t make a difference to me. If I’m not allowed to be up til all hours, slowly weaning myself to a morning schedule is just as miserable for me as suddenly changing my schedule. So I cold turkey switched my schedule when my new job started – and I curse the world in the mornings at 5:30am during the week. I’m immediately back to night-owl on Friday nights through the weekend, consequences be damned.

  175. A_Jessica*

    Once you adjust to the new schedule, keep the same schedule even on your time off.

    This’ll make work days easier.

  176. Festively Dressed Earl*

    Because I already take maintenance medications that have the side effect of wakefulness, I have them in a pill box next to my bed with a glass of water. I set my alarm 30 minutes before I actually need to get up, take my meds, and snooze for 20-30 minutes while they kick in. When my second alarm goes off, I can hit the ground running.

    The other thing I’ve found helpful is to block off 30-60 minutes right before bed as reading time, with a physical book. It serves the dual purpose of keeping me away from screens and gives my brain something to latch on to while I’m falling asleep.

  177. Fellow Night Owl*

    I once learned from a sleep specialist that we start cueing our body for sleep many hours prior to sleep so the more routined you can be, the better. Be super intentional about when you cut off caffeine (it’s 1pm for me on an 11pm bedtime) and have a really consistent bedtime routine no matter the day. Pay careful attention to screen usage before bed too. (She recommends no screens an hour before sleep) Good luck!

  178. Starry Motley*

    IDK if this will help you, but it did wonders for me. I have a naturally delayed sleep phase due to ADHD, and even on my preferred schedule I struggled with insomnia. A sleep mask (the soft, fitted kind that blocks out all light without pressing too forcefully) with built-in headphones completely fixed my sleep and allowed me to choose a new schedule (6:15 am wakeup time). I listen to audiobooks (ones I’ve read so I don’t get too invested in seeing what happens next), but other options include white noise, music, meditation tracks, etc. The mask blocks out light so I’m no longer looking at every blinking LED and reflected streetlight, and the noise drowns out cars/cats/other folks sleeping/various random night noises of all kinds. Plus it gives my brain something to do that’s not so engaging I can’t fall asleep, but not so boring that I get antsy. And I can use it in a shared bed without bothering my partner! I’ve been well-rested for a year now and it’s soooooo amazing what a difference it makes.

    1. Azure Jane Lunatic*

      I’ve got ADHD as well as DSPS! I use cozy mysteries from a series I’ve read before, which are slightly formulaic in that the heroine is in peril at about 90% of the audiobook. This is perfect because that way I can start the next book at night and save the peril for the morning. The series is long enough now that it takes me over 6 months to wrap around back to the beginning.

  179. Daddio7*

    Better for your health to find a job that starts closer to your natural waking time. I got a job where I had to get up at 4 AM. It was a four day week job so on the weekends I would sleep in and then stay up to midnight. I would than have to get up on Monday morning with four or less hours of sleep. I started waking up at 2 am and not be able to go back to sleep. That wreaked my health and had to quit work entirely. Even without working I was never able to get well and after two years went on disability. I was 56.

  180. Adardame*

    The last time I had to make a schedule adjustment for work, I started about a week early getting up at the time I planned and going for a brisk walk outside. It worked all right.

  181. Debbie*

    I heartily recommend the sunrise lamp by Philips. It’s hard to set, (I have to refer to a YouTube video every time I change the settings) but it is a game changer for me. It gradually gets brighter and brighter, mimicking the sunrise.

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