Help me wake up
May 27, 2009 8:34 AM   Subscribe

I have a tough time waking up in the morning and it is making my wife crazy! How do I wake up before my wife while disturbing her as little as possible?

I need to wake up before my (very light-sleeping) wife almost every morning. I have never been good at waking up to an alarm the first time it goes off. I quite often hit the snooze button without knowing. It is as if I am subconsciously doing it. I want to be able to get up the first time it buzzes. Can anyone help with some ideas? Anyone in a similar situation?

Extra internet points if you can help me get up without an alarm clock at all.

Please help, for the sake of my marriage!
posted by cmar618 to Human Relations (25 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: This question of mine might have some information that might be helpful.
posted by kbanas at 8:37 AM on May 27, 2009

Having a coffee pot with a timer gave me a little something to look forward to every morning. I set it to begin brewing 5 minutes before I woke up. By the time my alarm went off, I could smell the aroma. I jumped out of bed, Riverdanced to the pot, and poured myself a steaming cup of heaven. Oh wait, that was a Folger's commercial. Think of a way to reward yourself for getting up. Tea, coffee, 5 minutes in one of those foot massaging machines, or whatever.
posted by HotPatatta at 8:46 AM on May 27, 2009 [5 favorites]

Seriously? You're not going to like this answer: Go to bed earlier, and don't drink caffeine or alcohol in the 4 hours or so before bed-time. Try to wake up at the same time every day, or within an hour of it. I find that I usually wake up before my alarm even goes off, thus being able to judge whether or not I need more sleep and set my alarm clock accordingly.

I know it really sucks, but it's the only way to get out of bed alertly in the morning. I can't quite do it without an alarm clock, but I bought this progressive alarm clock that starts out very quiet and slowly gets louder - it's much less of a harsh awakening for me and it doesn't wake up my spouse at all (who is admittedly a heavy sleeper but never fails to wake up at his jarring alarm clock).

There are no tricks or tools that will convince your body that you've had enough sleep, save for getting enough sleep.
posted by muddgirl at 8:47 AM on May 27, 2009

I am a big believer that anyone can get up at a reasonable time in the morning; most of us just choose not to.

Let's assume that you are not doing things that actually do make it hard to wake up - not staying up too late, not drinking too much, not suffering from sleep apnea or narcolepsy, not a growing teenager. If you are, fix those things (except if you are a teen, then sleep more).

So if you are relatively healthy and capable of getting up on time, you need to commit yourself to doing so. Remember that those 10-30 minutes of rolling around in bed hitting the snooze button feel pretty good, but its not necessary after sleeping a full night's sleep. Lots of things you could do feel good. So create a little ritual for yourself in the morning. When the alarm rings, count "1,2,3" and put your feet on the floor, drink a sip of water, and briskly walk to the bathroom. Or do whatever makes sense to you to get out of bed, yell "cowabunga" or something. .

If you do this with consistency and regularity you'll start waking up five minutes before your alarm, which you can then throw out, and make your wife happy.
posted by RajahKing at 8:52 AM on May 27, 2009

I agree, this is a choice you're making, you might want to spend some time looking at why that might be.

Also, move the alarm clock across the room so you have to get out of bed to turn it off, if you then go back to bed you are CLEARLY making a choice to do so...
posted by HuronBob at 8:55 AM on May 27, 2009 [1 favorite]

We can't stand the jarring effect of an alarm, so we have a timer attached to a lamp. When the light goes on, we know it's time to get up. It's more pleasant for the other person to sleep through than a raucous buzzer.

Going to bed early enough that it's easy to get up in the morning is essential, too, as others have said. Most people live all the time with a significant sleep debt for no particular reason.
posted by Ery at 9:04 AM on May 27, 2009 [1 favorite]

Drink a glass or two of water before you go to sleep.
posted by Hermes32 at 9:13 AM on May 27, 2009 [1 favorite]

Seconding "go to bed earlier."
posted by Theloupgarou at 9:26 AM on May 27, 2009

My bread machine beeps five times when it is finished. One day I set it wrong and it went off about 10 minutes before our alarm did. It was far enough away that the beeps weren't very loud, but seems to have woken us up just enough so that when the alarm went off we were ready to wake up. I've rarely felt that good upon waking, but haven't tried to replicate it yet. I'm just noting it as something to try.
posted by jwells at 9:38 AM on May 27, 2009

Seconding "Drink a glass or two of water before you go to sleep.", nothing like waking up and having to pee to get you up and out of bed for a moment. I don't believe the wake up at same time and go to bed at same time thing. I'm pretty random in sleep schedule, my eyes open about 6 hours after I went to bed, don't even have to look at the clock, haven't used an alarm in years (except when I have a meeting or a flight or something).
posted by zengargoyle at 9:41 AM on May 27, 2009

Get a sleeptracker, it's an alarm that's worn like a watch, can be set to vibrate instead of beep, and that senses your movement and can therefore wake you up when you're more ready to wake up (at the latest at the time that you have to get up or however you set it). It's mainly marketed for the latter purpose, but it's main advantage for your situation is really that it only wakes up the person that carries it (unless you use the beep function).
posted by meijusa at 9:50 AM on May 27, 2009 [2 favorites]

What about leaving the curtains or blinds open a little ( or a lot) and letting the light wake you? I find that because its dark, that makes it a little more pleasurable to stay in bed. Maybe close them for your wife after you get up. But it all depends on the time it gets light where you are.

Or get your neighbor a barking dog. Or better yet, take my %@&$*%^ neighbor's dogs!
posted by Taurid at 10:08 AM on May 27, 2009

Get an alarm clock that doesn't have a snooze button.
posted by zeoslap at 10:35 AM on May 27, 2009

Best answer: I solved this problem by putting the alarm clock across the room. The clock is now closer to the bathroom than to the bedroom, and I think that helps some, too.
posted by wryly at 11:08 AM on May 27, 2009

As the wife of someone who does this (turn off the alarm in their sleep, always snooze at least once), I'm going to have to suggest against moving the alarm clock to the other side of the room. Yes, that will help you get up, but will not help you with your goal of not waking up your wife. In fact, nothing probably will, but an alarm clock going off for 5-10 min while you wake up enough to make it to the other side of the room is (if your wife is anything like me) way more annoying that whatever she has to go through now with the snoozing. In fact, I had to take the alarm clock away from my husband because even with it right next to him, he let it go off for so long it annoyed me and I'd almost end up throttling him every morning to get him to turn it off. So now, I have the alarm. When it goes off for him (he almost always has to get up first), I turn it off and give him a poke to wake him up, actually I let him snooze the ten minutes the first time and when it goes off the second time I note that it is the second time it's gone off and make him get up. I can do all this quickly enough to not really wake me up that much and be able to go back to sleep until I have to get up. And now he often gets up on his own after the first alarm without me having to poke him.

So yeah, no alarm clock across the room unless your wife approves of it.
posted by katers890 at 11:27 AM on May 27, 2009

Best answer: Alas, the "you choose to do this" answers above are pretty much nonsense. I have a similar problem, and in my case, the grogginess I feel after any amount of sleep is so difficult to shake that the only thing that can overcome it is the terror of oversleeping and missing school/work/whatever. Maybe that's not what happens to you, but it kind of sounds like it.

The only thing that worked for me was to set the alarm clock for the last possible minute, so that when it goes off, there's no time buffer and I know I have to get up immediately or else face the consequences of being late. I also put the clock across the room so that I have to get out of bed to turn it off. It sounds lame, but it does make it easier. I also gave up all non-essential morning activities, because I would just end up converting them to snooze. It's nice to say to oneself "I should get up an hour earlier and have a decent breakfast and be less rushed", but for such heavy sleepers, that's pure fantasy. Having to stand up to shut the clock off, and knowing that I must get started on my morning routine immediately with no time to lose have greatly ameliorated my oversleeping problems for the last couple of years. Doesn't work on weekends, unfortunately.

You could also have your wife give you a good kick when the alarm goes off (if it wakes her). Nothing like being startled to get the blood flowing in the morning.

(on preview: if, as katers890 suggests, your problem is that you sleep through the buzz of the alarm itself, then you had better put your wife in charge of the clock. If that's not possible, then mefi-mail me and together we will design and patent the wrist-worn alarm clock that gives the wearer progressively stronger electric shocks.)
posted by Maximian at 11:31 AM on May 27, 2009 [2 favorites]

Vibratey alarm. Either a wrist one like meijusa mentioned or one that goes under your pillow. (Just Google for them.)

I used to sleep with someone who did the "one alarm clock across the room, another across the house" and I found it just as annoying as the "hit snooze a dozen times" method. Go to bed earlier.
posted by Ookseer at 11:46 AM on May 27, 2009

Seriously? You're not going to like this answer: Go to bed earlier, and don't drink caffeine or alcohol in the 4 hours or so before bed-time. Try to wake up at the same time every day, or within an hour of it. I find that I usually wake up before my alarm even goes off, thus being able to judge whether or not I need more sleep and set my alarm clock accordingly.
posted by muddgirl at 10:47 AM on May 27

I'm going to have to disagree with this as this does not work for everyone (me). I'm the kind of person that can get by comfortably on 6-7 hours a night, but I can also sleep for 14hrs every single night if given the chance.

I'm going to second the suggestions of the sleeptracker and also suggest the Progression Alarm Clock that wakes you up with light rather than a buzzer.
posted by tdreyer at 12:28 PM on May 27, 2009

I want to counterpoint Katers890's suggestion, I am the wife in this situation, and when I am closer to the alarm clock, I turn it off... before it wakes him up... and then we both sleep in, which is cozy, but not really conducive to making it to work on time.
I'll be watching this thread with interest though, because man do I want to kill him in the mornings when he lets the alarm ring over and over and over. I'm not really a morning person.
posted by purpletangerine at 12:31 PM on May 27, 2009 [1 favorite]

but I can also sleep for 14hrs every single night if given the chance.

Fourteen hours of straight-through, uninterrupted sleep? Or is it more like 7 hours of straight-through sleep, followed by a period where you are essentially dozing, waking up briefly every 45 or 90 minutes or so as you come to the light part of the sleep cycle? If it is the former then you are a sleep champion!

The reason a sleep schedule, with an invarying go-to-bed and wake-up time, is so important is because it trains your body to time the lightest part of your sleep cycle to the time you're going to wake up. As I said above, I find that I often awake a few minutes before my alarm, as I am in the lightest part of my cycle anyway. It has little to do with the amount of sleep (as long as you're getting enough to stave off a sleep debt) and more to do with the timing. I think the progressive wake-up time really helps this as well - at least this article at Talking Science seems to back up the idea that a gradual awakening such as the one provided by a progressive clock (or the old-fashioned snooze alarm) is more effective than an abrupt one.
posted by muddgirl at 12:58 PM on May 27, 2009

I use the alarm on my cell phone, set to vibrate, placed under my pillow. It doesn't seem to affect my SO at all. Careful, though, with abusing the snooze alarm. I've let myself spiral into 2 hours of snoozing more than a few times in my life (end of the semester in college, usually), and it's incredibly painful to reset that pattern back to just 1 or 2 snoozes.
posted by messylissa at 1:03 PM on May 27, 2009

I had the same problem all my life. I started going to bed earlier. It took some fits and starts, but eventually I wake up without an alarm clock almost every day. And happily.

The naysayers can rationalize all they want, but we are designed to wake up when we've had enough sleep. We can use that, or fight it.
posted by gjc at 7:24 PM on May 27, 2009 [1 favorite]

I have this or something similar, and it starts the music off slowly and gets progressively louder. By default it just randomly chooses a song, but if you select something and pause it before you go to bed, it will play that (and subsequent songs on the playlist). I have a playlist of light classical music to wake up to. This may only help in that at least it's not a #$%^ing buzzer but your wife could very well get used to whatever song you pick and be able to sleep right through it.
posted by katybird at 9:55 AM on May 28, 2009

Response by poster: Thanks for all the comments and suggestions. Last night I placed my alarm clock on my dresser so I had to get out of bed to shut it off. I worked out well this morning except for one problem. I didn't move the switch on the back to "off" all the way and it went off 5 mins later while I was brushing my teeth. My mistake = stopping for flowers on the way home.

Being a geek, I would love nothing more than a sleeptracker watch but cannot justify the cost right now. If the alarm across the room does not work out I will try a vibrating alarm under my pillow.

Thanks again for all the responses.
posted by cmar618 at 10:10 AM on May 28, 2009

I can vouch for the waking-up powers of this vibrating alarm clock that's not too expensive.

From what I've read, couples like this because it's fairly quiet if you only use the vibrating feature (the alarm is wicked loud).

The only downside is that it's wired, so you can only move the alarm clock so far away (although they do sell 15ft long extension cords)
posted by carpyful at 12:25 AM on May 31, 2009

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