Early last year i was going through a phase where i simply could not wake up. We all go through it from time to time. Previous to this phase i was waking up at 5AM every day. I knew i needed my mornings back but no matter what i tried nothing was working.
The most common thing people try is multiple alarms and the snooze functionality. With this method, your basically telling your brain that it is alright to ignore the first couple alarms because number three will go off ensuring you’re not late for work! I tried this method and it also did not work. So, what does work?
Step 1: Blackout Shades the Night Before
Our life in the 21st century has loads of artificial light. Those of us that live in cities or even close to a street light have to deal with this light shining in. Blackout shades will help block all of this unwanted light that is preventing you from a good night sleep.
Step 2: Light on a Switch
This is the big one! Put a light on a switch and place it across the room. Now, set the switch set to turn on at whatever time you wish to wake up. This simple idea really works, especially if you do step #1. These days my light wakes me up consistently before my phone alarm even goes off!
Step 3: Phone across the room using your favorite songs as Alarms
Do not sleep with your phone next to you or with in “grabbing” distance. Their are many reasons for this. The first is it will be harder for you to fall asleep if you are looking at your phone. The light from your phone really messes with your brain! The second reason is that in the morning you will be temped to press snooze over and over and over and over.
Now i also say to use your favorite song(s) as the alarm. I am not sure why more people don’t think of this. Who in the hell wants to hear the crappy alarm sounds they program in our devices? Some of these are so horrible they instantly put you back to sleep.
Step 4: Sense of Control and Motivation
Of course, the last and maybe the most important step is to know why you need to get up. I had a clear reason for getting up at 5AM. It was so i had time to meditate and read. These are two very important habits to me that i did not have the willpower to do after a long day of running my businesses. Why are you trying to get up at a certain time? Do you really need to? Unless you have a list of things engraved in your brain than you probably will not be able to do it – despite steps 1 through 3. In the book Smarter Faster Better by Charles Duhigg, the concept of having a sense of control to increase motivation is at the forefront.