You hit snooze one time. Another. Then again. Suddenly, you find yourself rushing around trying to get ready as quickly as possible because you're late for work. It happens to all of us occasionally, but if you have a dangerous "snooze habit" there are tricks you can use to get your butt out of bed when you hear that first alarm.
Title photo remixed from Eli Duke
Find An Alarm Clock That Actually Works For You
We all wake up a little differently. The difference between getting up with the first sound of your alarm and hitting snooze often depends on what you hear first thing in the morning.
We've mentioned several extreme alarm clocks before, including, an Android alarm that forces you get up and scan items, an iPhone alarm you have to shake to turn off, and a DIY clock that sheds money when you hit snooze. If you seriously struggle with getting up, these solutions might work.
The alternate approach is to try and nail down your sleep pattern and wake up at an optimal time. We've covered a few ways to use tech to calculate your sleep habits; a key part of that strategy is using a built-in alarm clock function to wake you at the most optimal time. You can do this inexpensively with Sleep Cycle for iOS or SleepBot Tracker for Android. Each of these apps will attempt to wake you up at the best time in your sleep cycle, which is often earlier than you originally set the alarm for.
Since I have a varying schedule each day of the week, I pick a different song to wake up to each day. For instance, Tuesdays get a 5:00 am alarm with The Rolling Stones' 'Ruby Tuesday', while Friday gets Europe's 'The Final Countdown'. I pick a song that will wake me up and help me quickly figure out what day of the week it is. You can pick any songs you like, and it's easy to create a ringtone for your smartphone that can be used as an alarm.
Alter Your Environment
Sometimes even the best alarm clock in the world can't force you out of bed in the morning. In that case, it's time to start changing your physical environment. Most of us are familiar with the trick of placing your alarm clock on the other side of the room so you have to get out of bed to turn it off. That's a good start, but you can refine it, as blogger Vincent Cheung suggests:
Put one alarm clock on your nightstand, the other across the room. Set the clocks to be as close to the same time as possible (you want them to be in sync). Then, set the alarm clock on your nightstand to go off at, let's say, 6:30am, if that is when you need to get up. I set that one to use the radio, and make sure it is loud enough to wake me up, but not too loud (I am married, and don't want to wake my wife on purpose). The second alarm clock on the dresser is set to go off one minute later, but set on that dreadful buzzer.
Get rid of the temptation to treat your bed like anything other than a recharging station. You won't need books by your bed. You won't need fancy pillows (unless your doctor says you must). Your bed is a place to help you get from wake to wake in as little time as possible with optimum rest. If you're young like me the mattress won't be such a big deal. If you're over 40 you'll want to make sure you've got a good mattress though.
All the tricks in the world aren't going to make waking up at 5:00am easy right off the bat. To achieve that, you'll need to train. Photo by Chad Skeers.
Train, Train And Train Some More
Let's be clear here: you can't go from sleeping in until 11 every day to happily waking up while it's dark. You'll need to train and practise. That means resetting your inner clock slowly over time. The New York Times explains:
To start, move up your wake-up time by 20 minutes a day. If you regularly rise at 8 a.m., but really want to get moving at 6 a.m., set the alarm for 7:40 on Monday. The next day, set it for 7:20 and so on. Then, after you wake up, don't linger in bed. Hit yourself with light. In theory, you'll gradually get sleepy about 20 minutes earlier each night, and you can facilitate the transition by avoiding extra light exposure from computers or televisions as you near bedtime.
Take it slow if you're changing your schedule to an earlier wake time, and it'll come more naturally to you.
Once you're trained to wake up early, you can make your mornings less chaotic, be productive, and create a routine that works for you. Of course, if all else fails, the classic trick of drinking a large glass of water right before bed always works for those occasional early mornings.