How to be a morning person by Tim Samuels
A BIT ABOUT ME
I am a BBC and National Geographic documentary maker and broadcaster and started the All Hail Kale podcast because I wanted to professionalise my love of whole foods. The podcast is really about having as many experts as you possibly can and one thing I’ve researched is how to be a morning person – so enjoy.
OWLS OF DERISION
You have a genetic disposition to be a lark or an owl; the technical term is polymorphism period 3 gene, which basically means some people are wired for the morning and some for the night. On an evolutionary level, if you’re a hunter-gatherer and didn’t want to get mauled by an animal at any time of the day, it’s good to have people awake at different times. You are literally fighting your brain and body’s wiring.
I’ve tried to schedule appointments for the morning (knowing I absolutely have to make them) and tried going to bed earlier, but they’ve made zero difference. I quietly resigned myself to the fact I’m not a morning person. Back in the days when I worked in news, the breakfast shift was absolute torture. People were bouncing and chatting and I could barely grunt. The idea of talking at 5am broke my spirit, but when I did Newsnight, I was much happier and more awake.
Our genes and brain are linked and more flexible than we thought. Because of epigenetics, genes can be switched on and o and can potentially rewire the brain. Allied to the fact the brain is a lot more plastic than we thought, it opens up the idea we don’t have to resign ourselves to being the way we are because of our genes; there’s room for change.
When you look at your phone, it’s probably rewiring you in a negative way, making us more superficial and less capable of thought. When you watch TV, try to stop scrolling through your phone. Even if it’s in the room, the brain is more active. Mindfulness has an impact on the brain.
I’ve visited Brainworks, a company that o ers neuro-feedback and can help rewire your brain to be in a better state. A scan of mine tells me I over- worry and it does this throughout the night. With Brainworks, I retrained it using a cap with sensors attached. I then watched a video which I controlled via the power of thought. It’s essentially an extreme form of meditation; if you meditate regularly you can change your brain patterns and rewire it.