Will my sunrise alarm clock ever work for me? And other tips on regulating my sleeping schedule?
So I have a ton of trouble with sleep:
- Insomnia, which alternates between not being able to fall asleep at all and waking up an hour or two after falling asleep at night
- Excessive daytime sleepiness, which makes it nearly impossible not to nap, which then throws off my whole schedule
- Complete inability to wake up in the morning, regardless of how much sleep I've gotten the night before
To that last end, I asked for (and received) this guy
for the holidays this year. I've tried every manner of super loud alarm clock placed across the room, multiple alarms, etc.--all of which I eventually end up sleeping through completely after using for a couple of weeks. So I decided to go a different direction and use an alarm based on light rather than noise to see if that worked.
Except in the four days I've used it, I've failed to be awakened at all by it (even the beeping noise it makes at the end of the "sunrise"). Twice it's been set to a time prior to the actual sunrise (6:45), and twice after (7:45). I slept with the shades drawn for the "after", but it didn't seem to matter, as neither scenario was successful.
My sleep hygiene throughout my life has been spectacularly poor, and while I'm really working at getting that under control, I'm wondering if my habits have 'ruined' me from ever successfully using a sunrise clock. Specifically, light has never prevented me from sleeping--in addition to frequent afternoon naps, I have been known to fall asleep at night with all of the lights on (and have since childhood). I also live in New York City, so it is never completely dark in my bedroom, even with the shades drawn.
The past few weeks I've seriously been cleaning up my act--no daytime naps, no caffeine except tea in the mornings, reducing external sources of stress, making my bed more comfortable (and not spending non-sleeping time in it), trying to go to bed at a specific time each night. While I haven't been perfect, the past few nights when I've used this clock I've been pretty meticulous with a specific bedtime routine and ample time to wind down from computer/television use and though I fell asleep more easily than I normally do (ok, I did take a Benadryl last night), I'm still sleeping straight through the alarm.
So, people with sunrise alarm clocks: did they work right away for you? Is this just a question of my body taking its time to adjust to my new habits? Or will this clock never reliably wake me up because of so many years of sleeping with the lights on?
(Additional, possibly relevant information: I don't have sleep apnea, and while actually getting out of bed is easier in the summer when it's bright and warm out, my sleeping through alarms is pretty consistent year-round and doesn't really change based on what I'm getting up for
--i.e., getting up for work, getting up for an exam, getting up to catch a flight, getting up to go have fun at the beach--are all complete struggles.)