Are you an early riser or a night owl? | BBC Radio Solent's Alun Newman

The funniest verbal slap in the face I’ve had this week was in a local pub where I’d met up with a couple of friends I see every few months.

By Alun Newman
Monday, 21st March 2022, 8:03 pm
Updated Monday, 21st March 2022, 8:03 pm
Alun Newman is an early riser
Alun Newman is an early riser

As we were chatting in our ‘booth’ an acquaintance of the group happened to wander past and stopped to say hello.

They were, by happy chance, a listener to my BBC Radio Solent Breakfast Show.

Never one to shy away from even low-level attention, I was more than happy to chat.

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However, they threw in a comment that I thought was intriguing.

As they were leaving they said: ‘You’re younger than you sound.’

What?! Is that a slur? Sounds like a slur?

I did the only thing I’ve been trained to do in this situation. I laughed.

I laughed and thanked them for the comment. I inquired no further.

All this caused great banter at the table. Fortunately, coming from a large family, I’m well drilled in banter acceptance techniques.

I tried to explain that the reason could be the hours I do and when people listen in (terrible excuse, insecure). The job I have requires an early start. This, I think, naturally separates people into two groups.

There are morning people and night owls.

The morning people love nothing more than the silence of mooching around before sunrise.

I have recently invested in a larger ‘double-walled’ coffee pot to keep the caffeine flowing throughout the start of the day.

One of the great things about starting your day off early is that you can get loads done without any interruption.

By far the best part of being an early bird is telling other people.

When you meet someone who’s starting work at nine it requires all the self-control of a Zen master not to let them know how long you’ve been up.

Most early risers will have some stock phrases and will remind people that ‘it’s the best part of the day’ .

All early birds think they’re right and some look down on those who can’t seem to swing their legs out from under the warm duvet.

Night owls are a different breed.

I don’t know how they do it but they can fill hour after hour in the evening with stuff.

They don’t seem to yawn or stretch. It’s as if they have a completely different internal wiring structure. Morning people may look down on the night owls but the problem is the night owls don’t care.

They’re a bit rogue. They are hard to pin down. There’s a slight swagger to their existence.

I appreciate that the middle ground is probably those with a more balanced routine but where’s the fun in that? A report out last week looked at the health and memory of any 'worker' who has a rotating shift pattern.

Two weeks of nights, two weeks of earlies and two weeks lates, you know the pattern.

This is an unmitigated disaster according to the new study.

You’ll struggle with weight gain, sleep and memory.

There was very little benefit apart from the money (which is a big benefit).

With all that’s going on in the world at the moment, it’s easy to get lost in an overload of news and feelings of anxiety.

Routine, whatever sort, must be a bonus? We can stand down a little though.

A different report published in the Lancet, looking at the number of steps you do (those who obsess over this issue need to know that it’s really not interesting).

It turns out that about 7,000 steps a day at high speed is the perfect way to exercise.

According to the article, you can go to 20,000 but you won’t live any longer for the extra effort.

Although you would have seen more of where you live. Either that or you’ve needlessly worn out the stair carpet.


Do not take any notice of what follows.

I have an old car. It’s a mini. Not an original. They’re now worth a fortune. Mine is about 11 years old. I recently attempted to add my daughter to the insurance. The insurer said the excess would be £800! The car is worth about £1,000.

Aside from that, it’s really my shuttle to work. There are no buses or trains when I go in, I’m not Bradley Wiggins enough to cycle and if I ran into work I’d have to run back the minute I got there simply to start running again when I got home. The Mini it is.

Recently, and at this point I point a finger of blame at potholes, a warning light has come on. This car has more lights that ping on, than a fruit machine.

It has lights to remind you to get a service, to change your brake fluid, to have a winter check, to change pollen filters. It should have lights to tell you when it’s bin day.

A while ago a more concerning light came on. My daughter asked why a yellow tap was lit up on the dashboard. It was the Engine Management light. Never a great light. Off to the garage it went.

They plugged in a gadget that I’m not allowed to buy. They checked the component with a well-trained and quite expensive wiggle of the connector and it was done.

A little later (two weeks) I hit another pothole and ‘ping’ it’s back. To the garage I go and the mechanic says ‘just wait, it might turn itself off?’ I wait, I drive, I wait, I drive. Then, the God of Cars smiles down on me. Four weeks later it switches itself off! Now I’m too scared to drive it. Nirvana.

A message from the editor, Mark Waldron.

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