Jayne Dawson: I want to be a lark or an owl, but I’m more of a budgie

All the best people are up before dawn.
All the best people are up before dawn.
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I disappoint myself in many ways. Here’s one: I am not a lark.

You know, a lark; an early bird, an up-with-the-sun kind of a person.

I must be an owl, then, right? The kind who lights up as the sun goes down. Nah, wrong. I’m not one of those either, I don’t inhabit the romantic, small hours, I don’t burn the midnight anything.

I’m average. Just - deep sigh - average. I rise at an unremarkable hour and I lay me down at an equally unremarkable hour. What kind of bird does that make me? Maybe a domestic budgie, they like to keep temperate hours.

What can I tell you to make me sound more interesting? Nothing. I have trouble getting off to sleep these days, but I don’t get up and do something interesting, I just lay there stolidly, and eventually sleep comes.

Oh okay, I sometimes try a bit of psychic left nostril breathing when sleep eludes me. Relax, everyone, it’s just a yoga thing, meant to calm the chattering mind. Who knows if it works? I end up asleep somehow.

But, basically, my body clock is B.O.R.I.N.G.

I long to be a definite type, but as in so many other ways, I’m not. I mean, ask me what colour my eyes are? Go on, ask me.

The answer is I DON’T KNOW. Sort of wishy-washy dishwater. Nothing definite. Was ever a woman so cursed?

Which is why I am so interested in whether others are at a more extreme point on the owl/lark spectrum.

To find out without giving away my desperate interest, I try to sneak in casual questions.

“Are you reading anything good?” I’ll say. “Do you do your reading in bed?” I’ll say

“What time do you usually turn in?” I’ll say, getting to the question I wanted answered all along. Aha.

Now I only have to discover what time the alarm goes off, and I will know whether I am dealing with someone like myself, or one of those more interesting people.

It’s best to be an early-riser, seems to be the consensus. You can’t really be a high-flyer without being cross-legged and meditating at 5am, in the gym at 6am, and power-walking to the office at 7am.

Fashion supremo Anna Wintour is in this gang, as you might expect, and so Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, who actually rises at 3.45 am, which is still night.

An ability to throw back the duvet at an ungodly hour is prized but it’s okay to be an owl if you are a creative.

People who create great art, fantastic novels are allowed, nay expected, to do that work in the eerie hours, when more mundane folks are sleeping.

I suspect that some of them, probably a lot of them, will do this amazing work in, basically, office hours. But they won’t want to be too free with that information. It doesn’t sound as exciting to say you created a masterpiece between the hours of nine and five, with an hour off for lunch.

For those who want to move their day forward so they can join life’s winners, there are books that explain how to do it, but often they are very American in tone - come on, you know what I mean.

There is a lot of writing down your reasons to be grateful, a lot of stuff about living the life you truly want.

Thinking positive thoughts and visualising your dream seem to come into proceedings quite a lot.

Plus, you need to tell yourself, quite firmly and frequently, that you don’t need eight hours sleep because you feel just peachy on four.

Actually I think I might have something to add to the conversation here. As well as writing, visualising, thinking, being thankful etc, it probably helps to set a loud alarm for early, put it across the room, and don’t get back into bed once you have switched it off. And don’t sink to the floor where you stand, either.

With that one stagger across the bedroom, you have become a lark.

Naturally, I have never actually done this. I am taking the other route - I am continuing to disappoint myself.

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