"Whether you wake up from SWS (Slow Wave Sleep, or deep sleep) or just have a hard time getting up, you can’t trust yourself to be rational at this time. Self-discipline does not work in a cognitive fog. If you have the habit of pressing the snooze button in the morning, it’s not because you lack self-discipline. It’s because even if you did have self-discipline, the self-discipline wouldn’t work in your unconscious fog.
Upon waking up you rely heavily on habits and automation. Spend a few minutes during the day to program proper wake-up habits into your psychology’s auto-pilot system. The procedure:
1. Start by following your bedtime routine – brush teeth, put on pajamas, etc.
2. Lay down in bed, set alarm for 5 minutes later.
3. Relax, pretend to fall asleep.
4. When the alarm goes off, immediately sit up, turn it off, take in a deep
breath, then jump out of bed.
5. Walk out of the bedroom.
6. Repeat this a few times for the next few days.
If you do this correctly, you brain will be trained to follow a routine upon hearing the alarm. You’ll wake up on auto pilot, no matter how tired you are. Works eerily well. Kinda scares me to realize our brains thrive on automation, and not so much on things like... you know... free will and self-discipline."
You can find it here, if you are interested: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=1953834
I did this every morning in high school. It also helps to immediately take a shower. I never understood why my peers would just go back to sleep and I didn't, but I suspect this is why.
If it’s taking you more than five minutes to fall asleep each night, you aren’t sleepy enough.
If you simply go to bed when you’re sleepy and then get up at a fixed time, you’ll cure your insomnia.
If you want to impress people by pulling out big words, at least pull them out in appropriate situations.
To get completely exhausted, my cycles would look really, really strange. Or would have to include alcohol on a daily basis.
Never mind that I never have gotten a really good explanation why I should become a consistent early riser. Most people just cite external social effects that are mostly true if you stay up late, too. Or just don't apply at all (wife, company culture, deadlines, meetings etc.). Quite the contrary, if you're in Europe and have to communicate with people in the US, working late has advantages of its own.
So generally I'm not losing any sleep about not being an early riser.
It's possible to have insomnia while still being someone who needs a sleeping pattern than a large part of the business world adheres to.
When I was about 28 I did an experiment. For one week I'd set my alarm for 6am and get up straight away. After a week I was used to it and kept doing it. It turns out I'm a morning person! I get my best work done straight out of the shower between 6:30 and 9am. I can fit an entire days work into that space.
Headaches and cold are gone too.
(I'm 38 now).
Maybe you actually were a night person at 25 and naturally changed to a morning person as you got older.
Another problem is that you’re assuming you need the same
number of hours of sleep every night, which is a false
assumption. Your sleep needs vary from day to day.
It's so important, because it's deceptively easy to get a complex about sleep times: "Oh God. I'm only going to get 6 hours of sleep tonight! Noooo!" Well... for many (me included) it's not such a giant catastrophe if you don't do it all the time. Owning that, both intellectually & emotionally, is a pretty big deal.
When I began reading I assumed this was coming from a person who has not really suffered insomnia. Real insomnia (chronic sleep deprivation) is very hard to deal with. It's not like trying to go to sleep when you're not tired. It's like being so tired that your brain is "buzzed" and your body cannot fall sleep... you just continually get more and more tired stretching you thinner and thinner. It is absolute torture.
Describing it as going to bed when you aren't sleepy is almost insulting. Thankfully in my case it's relatively rare, but I've seen enough to know that chronic insomnia can't be far from living hell.
I was never a morning person before either and I always had tremendous difficulty waking up. Part of the problem is that I knew as soon as I got up I had to start getting ready for work. By waking up long before I need to get ready, I actually have something to look forward to every day, some nice relaxing time reading, having breakfast, etc. This has been the most important factor in making it work and making it a truly positive change.
If I'm woken by an alarm clock when I'm on my own it's very easy for me to hit snooze / turn it off and go back to bed without fully waking up.
When my girlfriend gets up in the morning I'm usually wide awake as I'll have had a conversation etc... and then it's easy to stop myself going back to sleep.
 as opposed to working for myself where I can get up any time I please
About the 'longer than 5 minutes to fall asleep'; I have noticed, most of my life, that when it takes me longer than instant to fall asleep, I won't be asleep for many hours. So for me, the author makes a lot of sense. When I go to bed when I'm not completely ready to fall asleep, I can do whatever (assume sleeping position, close eyes, relax, whatever) just to be wide awake 2 hours later. So I have two modes; fall asleep instantly, or read a book for 3 hours. The latter usually turns into reading a book completely and sleeping too little.
So i'm trying this method now and see where it leads me. Thanks for the post.
From now on, I'm going to try this:
- Brush my teeth, floss, etc. a couple of hours before the predicted bed-time. This will have the bonus effect of reducing needless midnight snacking.
- Shower in the mornings.
There is something liberating about being able to just "go to bed" without dreading the logistics.
Not sure if I'll bother with the fixed wakeup time, too.
This is all a slow return to normalcy after a new kid.
Another trick I use it to put my alarm (my iphone) across the room. If you have to get up to turn it off, then you're more likely to stay awake.
Also he notes later in his sleep logs that being a vegan and having absolutely ZERO caffiene are what make his system possible. If you have any caffiene at all, his system wont work.
The "get up at a fixed time" is the best way I've found to deal with this, but the problem is I am definitely below normal functioning on some days. Driving when sleep deprived is probably a similar risk to driving drunk, so there are times when waking up at 0546 after going to bed at 0400 means the best course of action is to take a taxi, work from home on tasks where you can't break things, or just take the day off to play games.
I normally have pretty bad insomnia (the idea of falling asleep in 5 minutes sounds hilariously far-fetched to me). And I really do go to bed when I'm sleepy. It just doesn't happen.
If you're on the 5 AM - 2 PM thing, an easy way to force yourself into a normal cycle (or at least the way that always works for me) is to do an all nighter and go to bed at 10 PM or so the next day. Just for god's sake remember to set an alarm ;-)
In college, I once climbed out of my loft, walked over to my desk, turned off my alarm, climbed back into bed, went back to sleep, and didn't remember doing so when I woke up.
It plays hell with the social life though and I found that it isn't worth it in the long run.
Surprisingly effective. Also encourages development of other positive character traits.