From Night Owl to Early Bird; How That Extra Hour is Life-Changing


From Night Owl to Early Bird; How That Extra Hour is Life-Changing

Like so many mothers out there, I often fantasize about the time in life where we were able to drift into a gentle, uninterrupted snooze. A time before said snooze was interrupted by the screams associated with a diaper able to decimate a HAZMAT suit. 

You learn early on that the world of sleep looks different as a mother. We carefully walk a tightrope of exhaustion, promising ourselves we will “go to bed earlier”, only to arrive at the moment when our kids are down and we stare nervously into an abyss of laundry, dishes, projects, hungry husbands, and a living room that looks like a Fischer-Price landmine. 

From Night Owl to Early Bird; How That Extra Hour is Life-Changing

That being said… I’m going to say something that isn’t going to be very popular, but it’s a game-changer. 

You need to wake up sister, literally. You need to wake up at least one hour earlier, for you. Not for anyone else. 

Now before you sharpen your pitchforks and have me put on a terrorist watch list, let me explain. 

I am, by all accounts, a night owl. By the time I actually do fall asleep, I become the human equivalent of a hibernating bear (For the record, I weigh slightly less). I LOVE sleep. I spent most of my twenties “just a few minutes behind” because I clung desperately to every last minute I had in bed, convinced I was pretty enough to get ready in twenty minutes. (For the record, I need every bit of an hour to get ready if I want to avoid looking like a plague victim). 

I know mornings can be horrific for some people, myself included for the better part of my life.  Then, I was introduced to a fact that fundamentally changed the way my days operate. 

Did you know if you wake up one hour earlier, five days a week, you will get back ELEVEN FULL DAYS in a year?  If you wake up two hours earlier, you get TWENTY-TWO DAYS back to be productive (or not productive, depending on how you choose to use your time). 

Mind. Blown. 

From Night Owl to Early Bird; How That Extra Hour is Life-Changing“What could I do with that extra hour” I wondered, convinced I would be angry all day, devastated I hadn’t spent that extra hour in bed. I decided to try it anyhow. The numbers were too intriguing not to. 

To my surprise, my mornings slowly began to transform when I began waking earlier. I had more time to relax, to have a cup of coffee and begin the day without the chaos of trying to get a house ready. I had a moment to exercise, and to eat something that fueled my body. It’s amazing how easy it is to avoid a sugar coma when you give yourself a little time in the morning.

Other benefits I’ve seen so far:

  • My day starts off on the right foot. When I’m up earlier, I feel prepared and calm, and equally important, not rushed. It literally sets the tone for the rest of my day. I’m overall more pleasant and present.
  • I have a precious minute to myself. We all know how few and far between those are, these days. Take a minute. Stay a while longer in the shower. Read a book. Watch TV. Do nothing. Whatever it is… do it for you. You’ll be better for it.
  • I take better care of myself. I feel and look better when I have time to exercise and eat well. It also doesn’t hurt that I actually have time now to put on eyeliner. Let’s be real… I need all the help I can get. 
  • I’m more productive. I get a head start on the day. Whether it’s getting a head start on the news, or work emails, or a great book, I feel ahead of the game before I even walk out the door. Coming from a girl who’s walked out of the house with her dress on backwards more than once, this is big.
  • I put myself as a priority. I’ve spoken about this issue often, but I am a total believer in “you can’t pour from an empty cup” philosophy. It’s so important to take care of yourself. Having more time does that

While I’ll always be a night owl at heart, the extra time I’ve given myself in the morning has made me a better mother, wife, friend, and coworker. It wasn’t easy at first, but I slowly moved back my wake time earlier and earlier, and now I’m all in. The night owl is up with the sun, and loving every quiet minute of it.  So, how can you spend your extra hour? Give us your best morning tips and tricks below. 

Keep up the good work moms. No matter when you wake up, you’re spectacular.

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Charleston native Whitney Williams McDuff has devoted her life to being the best daughter, sister, friend, wife, coworker, leader, and now mother she can be. She graduated from USC with a double degree in Public Relations and Psychology, partially because she’s fascinated by the nature of people, and partially because it set her free from the claws of a monstrous statistics course that she was eager to avoid. (Hey, sometimes the truth isn’t always pretty). Her career spans across the world of sales, marketing, and public relations, thriving in a realm where building relationships was the key to the contentment kingdom. Her passions include writing, reading, painting, her piano and guitar, interesting conversation, film, her pug Bee, and a great glass wine. Ok, glasses. She and her husband Jimmy are expecting their first child, Baby Holbrook, this summer, so wine bottles have been left on the shelf for now. Her blog, No Wine for Nine, began when Whitney became fed up with the pressure to be flawless and knew that laughter and sharing her stories with her girlfriends was essential to making it through this thing called Motherhood.  Her hope is that her blog is a cherished place for any woman who longs for an escape from the stress of perfection, because she believes that true magic lies in the imperfections and hilarity of everyday life. Still trying to navigate Babies R’ Us. Biggest fears include spiders and mis-posting on a mom-swap site.


  1. I battle this daily… My husband is a chef and tends to keep later hours… as did I before baby. It’s not everyday, but when I do it, I love having a little extra time. Now to go to bed earlier so that I don’t feel like a zombie by the end of the day…

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