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This night owl would love to be a lark. The things I could do before midmorning …

Rise and shine! Something I have never said in my life, except perhaps to a one-night stand, to give them a hint. In the language of lifestyle magazines, wellbeing websites and, well, nature: are you a night owl or an early-morning lark?

I am a night owl, though that is usually under the duress of insomnia. Rather than lying in the dark and fretting about how little sleep I am going to get, and how tired this will make me the next day, I try to get up and do something productive (I use the word very loosely). If I had the ability to change myself in this particular regard (believe me, I have tried many things, at much expense to my finances and dignity), I would choose to be a lark.

It’s not that I don’t sometimes quite like to have the world to myself in the tiny hours of the morning, although it doesn’t feel that way as much now that we are globally connected and I can hear the latest idiocy Trump has spouted before the UK awakes. (I have also written before about my night bus jaunts.)

And I would never aim to be as irritating as the Silicon Valley tech bros, who claim to run marathons and cure certain cancers and then, and only then, settle down for their first coffee at 7am. But it would be nice to have a chunk of achievement under one’s belt by my midmorning banana. It would be nice to peel it with a greater sense of satisfaction, reflecting on a to-do list that isn’t quite as long.

I’m loth to go too much into the science of rapid-eye movement and 90-minute sleep cycles, lest I sound like an app or those printouts the GP hands you, received with disappointment – even though you know the addiction stats on sleeping pills. We are in agreement that the modern normal of being brutally woken by an alarm, having our sleep pick-pocketed and emptied and scattered all over the bedroom floor, isn’t great.

Which leads me to the smug delectation of waking up naturally. Not, you understand, waking before the alarm and knowing one hasn’t had enough sleep and that it’s too close to the set time to do anything about it; but waking up naturally and feeling refreshed. Feeling that the day will be a good one, because the brain’s engine has kicked into gear with a full tank of gas. It is a sort of small miracle, and I have yet to discover a better way to start the day; this smug boost, this gentle blessing. This brief sojourn as an early bird; pumped to catch each and every worm.

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