With the recent round of daylight savings time ending I found myself with a bit of a problem. I wake up at 5:30am naturally, but with the time change I was now getting up at 4:30am… that’s really early. Too early. I mean, I enjoy some quiet time in the morning but no one needs quite that much. This new 4:30 wake up time was seriously effecting my work and family time as I was exhausted earlier in the day and felt behind on sleep. On top of this I have a total inability to sleep in so even on weekends I was still getting up too early.
As a bit of back story I spent my summers in high school working on a farm. Often times in the summer I’d be getting up at 3:30 or 4am in order to get to work on time. This was stressful since I was usually doing this on my own. The stress of being late must have seeped into my subconscious because I never seemed able to shake it after all those summers. Nowadays I do set an alarm, but often times I am up well before it goes off. For example if I set my alarm for 6:30am I’m usually up at 5:30 checking the time, then I doze till a few minutes before my alarm goes off. All this being said this weekend I managed to hack my body to sleep in until 8am and here’s how I managed to pull that off.
Quite simply, I removed the alarm clock from my bedside table. I had no idea how often I woke up in the night to check the time. With my alarm clock gone, I did have an initial shot of panic about what time it was, but I just told myself that it wasn’t time to get up. I suspect my subconscious mind was stressing over not being able to sleep in, even though I know I need that extra sleep. If I woke up at 5:30 I’d start doing the math of how much I slept, how much more I wish I could sleep and then I’d start checking the clock and getting annoyed that I was up at such an early hour. Then, with all this brain activity I was wide awake. By removing the clock I deprived my mind of that ability to measure my sleep.
Another unexpected benefit of removing my clock is that my bedroom is actually a touch darker now as well. I never noticed that the glow of my alarm clock was right in my face, like a glowing billboard on a dark street. This can’t have been helpful.
I am not sure if I should put back my alarm clock during the work week so I think i’ll do a little experiment and see what happens if I don’t. I always use my iPhone alarm anyway so my alarm clock is superfluous anyway. It’s just a matter of how much do I trust my phone to wake me up? I guess I’ll see what happens and report back at some point with that and a few other tips I’ll try to get a better night sleep.
On a final note, as a bit of irony, this post was really difficult to write because normally I am up a few hours before my family giving my lots of quiet time to think… this morning because I slept in I had to put on my headphones to drown out of the distractions. Funny that I chose this morning to start writing again 🙂