Matt Galloway, who wakes up every weekday morning at 3 a.m. to host CBC Toronto’s Metro Morning radio show, discusses the pain and pleasure of rising before the sun, and how not to nod off at a dinner party:
“Every day I wake up two minutes before my alarm, which is set for 3 a.m. I’m hard-wired for early. Even in university, when I probably should have been up all night, I would much rather get up at 6 or 7 a.m., when nobody else was awake—there were fewer distractions and I could actually get stuff done.
“Of course, if I didn’t go on the air at 5:30 for work, I wouldn’t get up quite as early as I do.
“Being on this shift, there’s a crazy discipline you have to stick to. You really have to be deliberate about going to bed early. I’m asleep by the time the Raptors games start, and when there’s an election, I go to bed before the results are announced. It’s especially hard in the summer, when it’s broad daylight and beautiful, and people are out in the street.
“People say, “Well, you could just stay up one night.” If you do that, you fall behind really quickly, and you’re just wasted by the end of the week.
“Over time, though, you do grow accustomed to the hours.
“I run every day and bike to work, which gives me that boost of energy. I try not to nap, but on Fridays I usually have to, just so I’m not nodding off at 9 o’clock at a dinner party.
“I really notice [the effects of the odd hours] coming back from vacation. It’s amazing because I live like a normal human being for a week. But readjusting after that is awful. It takes about three days to get back on schedule—it’s not easy.
“It helps if you can appreciate the morning. The city is totally still. There is birdsong, and that’s it—there’s nothing else going on. If you can find the beauty in that, then it’s worth getting up.”