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How do I get myself out of bed in the morning?

By nybbles 2017-09-18 07:44:43.821Z2017-09-20 08:30:04.829Z

I find that I often wake up at a decent time, but don't get out of bed immediately. This results in me falling asleep again for another hour. This process might repeat itself once or twice, resulting in anywhere from 1 to 3 hours of extra unnecessary sleep, when I could've been getting things done.

This doesn't happen if I need to wake up to be somewhere - it's only because I have a flexible schedule.

How can one break this habit?

This page is mostly a copy of this pm.stackexchange.com question, license: CC BY-SA 3.0.

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  • 34 replies

There are 34 replies. Estimated reading time: 20 minutes

  1. E
    Eugenio Perea 2017-09-18 07:47:56.851Z2017-09-18 09:52:08.937Z

    After reading this article by Steve Pavlina (his early stuff is really good) and experimenting a bit, I consistently wake up at 5 AM by programming only one task into my head: Get up from the bed and GO.

    I forbid myself from having any other thoughts when I wake up, because I know I'll convince myself -with very strong, logical and solid arguments- to go back to sleep, and then I'll wake up 90 minutes later, having failed, and angry at myself. I'll just silently repeat "Get up and go, get up and go, get up and go." until I'm safe.

    So, the alarm goes off, I turn it off, I get up and I walk out of the room. All within ten seconds. My workout clothes and keys are waiting by the front door, so by the time I'm changing I'm already into the groove. Only then can I finally allow myself to think about other things (the workout itself, Facebook, family stuff, etc.) because there is no risk of me going back.


    Details (by @KajMagnus) from Pavlina's How to Get Up Right Away When Your Alarm Goes Off:
    Repeat this exercise a few times a day, until bouncing-up becomes a reflex whenever you hear your alarm clock:

    Go to your bedroom, ... darken the room ... put on your pajamas. ... Set your alarm for a few minutes ahead. Lie down ... close your eyes ... Imagine it’s early in the morning ... zone out
    Now when your alarm goes off, turn it off as fast as you can. ... sit up ... stand up ... proceed to do the very next action you’d like to do upon waking. For me it’s getting dressed.

    This exercise is going to take half an hour? each day during a week (?). But throughout the rest of the year, you might save 9 x 40-hours working weeks (assuming you otherwise oversleep 1 hour each day).

    1. DDan H 2017-09-19 03:28:59.172Z

      This article helped me as well. One of his suggestions seems crazy, but it works. Actually practice getting out of bed the night before so you'll do it as soon as you wake up. You want it to be automatic.

      1. SShreevatsaR 2017-09-19 03:40:14.187Z

        Pavlina has an even more relevant (though very strange) article: How to Get Up Right Away When Your Alarm Goes Off. He recommends practising getting out of bed immediately after the alarm going off, including doing this practice in broad daylight when you're not actually asleep. He says "This is going to sound really stupid, but it works."

        1. K@KajMagnus2017-09-19 04:16:25.487Z

          I updated the answer with that info.

        2. EEugenio Perea 2017-09-19 03:34:10.256Z

          I sleep for 6 hours at night, from 23:00 to 05:00, in accordance to the 90-minute increments sleep advice that's all over the web. I also take a 20 minute nap after lunch. It works for me, but it does take some control of your schedule.

          1. BBryan Matthews 2017-09-19 03:30:02.337Z

            Excellent article. I haven't tried this yet, but one thing I thought of is not allowing myself to use the snooze at all (possibly getting an alarm without one). So, when the alarm goes off go through the motions that he describes to wake up your body, all the while the alarm is beeping prompting you to wake up already. I also like the idea of planning to do something you really want to do. I usually shower first thing in the morning, but I don't really enjoy showering that much, so I'll have to think of something else.

            1. TTushar Joshi 2017-09-19 03:30:56.408Z

              Many thanks for the article link. It sounds practical and may work for me. I have been searching for a solution since so many days and this site has helped me get one good answer which is tried by many.

              1. BBernard Vander Beken 2017-09-19 03:32:07.568Z

                Unfortunately for me, the advice in the article worked. However, I would only advice it to people who can get to bed early enough most of the time. It turned out to be very difficult to undo the automatic wake up if you want to, eg because you need more sleep.

                1. MMichael Brown 2017-09-19 03:36:37.301Z

                  Read this quite a while ago...I think this blog was also where I first learned about multi-phasic sleeping.

                  1. DDaniel Pendergast 2017-09-19 03:38:41.402Z

                    +1 Works for me! In fact, it's the only thing that works.

                    1. MMedorator 2017-09-19 03:42:01.306Z

                      I had read Pavlina's articles before but they didn't help me. However your approach to crowd the mind with Get up and go, get up and go, get up and go seems effective (for me). I'll report back in a month in case it works. Everything else has failed me so far.

                    2. T2
                      The StackExchange Community 2017-09-18 07:54:56.328Z

                      This is what I do almost every single day:

                      • Sleep earlier

                        Waking up refreshed is the best way to combat oversleeping, because you won't actually go back to bed and sleep

                      • Look forward to the morning

                        Make a scrumptious breakfast or submit an answer on StackExchange, and look forward to all the rep you will gain (heheheh)

                      • Use 2 Alarms

                        Place one really far away from you and another one nearer to you. This will prevent you from subconsciously snoozing your alarm clock.

                      • Use someone's help

                        Get someone to do something to you (etc. splash some water onto your face, using a bright torchlight and shining at at your face)

                      • Have an iPhone/Android Phone?

                        Try using [Sleep Cycle Alarm Clock][1] (iOS, $0.99) or [Smart Alarm Clock][2] (Android, donationware). The makers claim that they will wake you at your lightest point of sleep bla bla bla, but there are quite a few rave reviews about them.

                      • Don't close your curtains

                        The sun can wake you up. But if you are paranoid about your privacy, then don't do it.

                      • Make sure it is quiet

                        Sleep in a quiet area and close your windows. You wouldn't want to get waken up by some random hooligan shouting in the middle of the night waking you up.

                      • **Move your clock 10 or 5 minutes forward **

                        This never failed me before. Waking up thinking that I would be late will always make me very awake. Put a clock (not alarm clock) somewhere where you can and set it so it would be 10-20 mins or more, and make sure you actually follow that timing.

                      • No alcohol or sex before sleeping

                        Alcohol or sexual intercourse with an orgasm release endorphins which will make you too much relaxed thus making you want to sleep more. Instead you can have sexual intercourse during the day.

                      Trust me. It works :)
                      [1]: http://www.sleepcycle.com/
                      [2]: http://www.smart-alarm-clock.com/

                      1. R
                        Renan 2017-09-18 07:50:27.160Z

                        I had the same problem a few weeks ago. I usually felt very tired in the morning and when I didn't have anything urgent to do I saw myself sleeping for too long.

                        3 weeks method

                        It's said if you want to estabilish a routine for yourself, 3 weeks is the minimum time you have to repeat a given habit in order to make it feel natural.

                        My sleeping problem was solved by using the 3 weeks method. The cellphone allarm was set to remind me I had to sleep everyday at 10pm in order to get the body used to it. For the first 2 weeks it was very hard to sleep at that time but after trying several methods of relaxation, I eventually felt drowzy when it was close to 10pm.

                        Results

                        It feels great to use only a few minutes to fall asleep instead of roll over the bed for hours. I never thought it would be so easy to wake up in the morning like it was just a regular nap.

                        1. Jjrdioko 2017-09-19 03:59:09.851Z

                          Do you have any references for the "3 weeks method"?

                          1. RRenan 2017-09-19 03:59:52.509Z

                            I'm not sure which approach you're looking for but you can look up "21 days routine" and choose whatever suits you better.

                            1. Jjrdioko 2017-09-19 04:00:37.371Z

                              Found this while searching, just sharing it here

                        2. Some disagree with this:
                          H
                          HedgeMage 2017-09-18 07:49:12.549Z

                          I find that in these situations I'm usually fine once I actually get up and moving. So, here's what works for me:

                          • I make sure to get enough, high-quality sleep.
                          • I eat protein before bed. (Waking up with low blood sugar is not a good experience.)
                          • I schedule something I really look forward to first thing in the morning so I feel deep down that there's a good reason not to stay snuggled in bed.
                          • I have a small child who invariably pounces if I'm not up early enough.
                          1. Aalex p 2017-09-19 03:47:46.082Z

                            Protein has nothing to do with blood sugar - the only time protein starts getting converted for energy is when you've depleted fats and complex carbs. Proteins are not carbs. Protein might have an effect but I'm quite confident it wouldn't change blood sugar levels.

                            1. Rrptwsthi 2017-09-19 03:57:48.723Z

                              +1 for I have a small child who invariably pounces if I'm not up early enough — Seems like i too need one :D

                              1. JJóhann 2017-09-19 03:45:52.324Z

                                I've also found that having something to look forward to gets me out everytime. Using that strategy I've been able to get out of bed, even if I haven't had enough sleep (though I wouldn't recommend skipping sleep for any reason).

                                1. SStephen Melvin 2017-09-19 03:49:20.087Z

                                  Eating within two hours of going to bed is a horrible thing to do to yourself. By eating then laying down, you are just asking for Laryngopharyngeal Reflux. Don't eat or drink anything within three hours of bedtime.

                                  1. MMax 2017-09-19 03:52:45.184Z

                                    Any references to point to about protein before bed? I'm curious.

                                    1. JJase 2017-09-19 03:55:03.667Z

                                      Is there any published research behind this protein before bed strategy?

                                    2. R2
                                      Robby Slaughter 2017-09-18 07:56:32.897Z

                                      Have you tried accountability? Find a partner who wants to wake up at the same time, and agree to try and call each other as close to the hour as possible. (6:00am or 6:01am). You may want to continue these calls every 15 minutes until you are both committed to being up and running.

                                      1. T
                                        Todd Williamson 2017-09-18 07:51:41.065Z

                                        Simple trick that works for me - put the alarm clock on the other side of the room, preferably in a high place. This forces me to get out of the warmth of the bed to turn the thing off. Getting up out of the bed also usually causes me to need to use the washroom. Once that starts going my brain kicks on somewhat. Having the snooze button RIGHT THERE is a dangerous temptation.

                                        1. D2Dave James Miller 2017-09-19 04:03:28.576Z

                                          I found this works well for a while - but once I get used to it I can half-consciously turn it off and stumble back to bed! At that point I usually move it to another place in the room, and it works again for a while.

                                          1. ZZoltán Schmidt 2017-09-19 04:06:08.233Z

                                            Agree, sadly it's not 100% effective. I got even my phone charger in the other end of the room, yet I turn it out and go back sleeping quite often.

                                        2. B
                                          Blowski 2017-09-18 07:58:11.008Z

                                          Snooze is your enemy! Disable the snooze function on your alarm clock and then you don't trust yourself to wake up again.

                                          If you are able to wake up for specific things, then give yourself specific things to do - make appointments with friends, etc.

                                          1. N
                                            newuser 2017-09-18 07:59:24.821Z

                                            One thing you could try is to plan an important task on the mornings when you think this might be a problem. For instance, if you have pets you could intentionally not feed them the night before you're afraid of sleeping in as an incentive to get out of bed the next morning.

                                            If you're anything like me once you're up you're up for the rest of the day, it often just takes the initial willpower.

                                            1. JJonathan 2017-09-19 04:10:47.510Z

                                              I completely agree with the last statement. I have found that having to meet with someone early in the morning or getting out for a run/bike ride usually helps. Alternatively just getting into a shower or having a glass of water have helped me get up and going.

                                            2. T
                                              Tom Wijsman 2017-09-19 03:17:28.846Z

                                              Here are some tips that could be of benefit to you:

                                              1. Sleep earlier

                                                If you can't get awake, you might not be catching enough sleep.
                                                Get to bed earlier one or two hours earlier to see whether this helps you wake up more properly. Make sure you don't take in food the hour before you go to sleep as this can keep you awake in bed, also don't use your bed for other things than sleeping. Well, there is one exception... :)

                                                Check whether you might have a light Circadian Rhythm Sleep Disorder and try to read up on it.

                                              2. Sleep well

                                                Check that your sleep environment is fine: Noise, temperature, light and your bed make a difference.

                                                My nightly habit is to open up the valves of my roof windows to have fresh air during the night...

                                              3. Get a proper alarm at a proper place

                                                1. Set an alarm before you have to wake up and make it repeat every X minutes.

                                                  This will ensure that even if you fall asleep again the first time you will be awake when you have to, having it repeat will make sure that you don't sleep for another Y hours.

                                                2. Place the alarm out of reach, so that you literally have to stand up and walk to it to turn it off.

                                              4. Force yourself to get out of bed

                                                Try to stay awake, perhaps set up some music and get busy. (Breakfast, coffee, ...)

                                                You should be able to do this given that you can sleep earlier and well...

                                              1. A
                                                AlexD 2017-09-19 03:19:29.404Z

                                                Hunger could help to bring yourself out of bed, so trick is to stop eating 12–16 hours before you want to be awake. Following excerpt from this article:

                                                Researchers at Harvard Medical School
                                                and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical
                                                Center in Boston have now pinpointed a
                                                second clock that is set by the
                                                availability of food. Their study,
                                                published today in the journal
                                                Science, is based on research on mice.
                                                But they believe all mammals,
                                                including humans, possess an internal
                                                food clock, too.

                                                Clifford Saper, the senior author of
                                                the study, said this second clock
                                                probably takes over when food is
                                                scarce. It may have evolved to make
                                                sure mammals don't go to sleep when
                                                they should be foraging for food to
                                                stay alive.

                                                1. O
                                                  Ola Eldøy 2017-09-19 03:21:58.834Z

                                                  A really loud alarm clock worked well for me. But I had to place it so that I had to physically get out of bed in order to switch it off.

                                                  1. S
                                                    Saša Šijak 2017-09-19 03:27:05.569Z

                                                    I have an alarm set on my smartphone far away from may bed, so I must get out of bed to turn it of because I use annoying waking sounds. Also, with some apps you can set easy math problems that you need to solve in order to turn off the alarm, very effective!