Getting Up for Nothing
May 12, 2005 9:08 PM   Subscribe

School's out and I haven't got a job yet, but I want to get myself into the habit of getting up early...

I'm in grad school, which for the past year has meant that I haven't had to keep a regular 9 to 5 schedule. I'm in the process of looking for a full-time job, and I want to be ready for it when I get one.

Not being much of a morning person, what can I do to convince/motivate myself to get up? Sometimes my boyfriend will wake me up before he heads off to work, but I usually roll over and sleep an hour or so longer.
posted by ArsncHeart to Grab Bag (17 answers total)
I always try to do what you want to do, and it never works. But once whatever I need to get up for starts, I get up. I say, enjoy your sleep while you can :-D
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 9:10 PM on May 12, 2005 [1 favorite]

I agree with TPS on this one: why torture yourself before you have to?

Not being a morning person myself, I occasionally have to employ the following methods (sometimes they even work, if used in combination):

1. Program coffeemaker the night before so that I awaken to the delicious aroma of fresh java;

2. Place loud, annoying alarm clock where I can't reach it from bed (i.e. completely across the room);

3. Agree to meet a friend (e.g. to workout, or for coffee) in the morning at a fixed time.

It's a powerful 3-way combo: caffeine addiction, adrenaline-fueled rage, and guilt. I call it my "nuclear option."

I have found more positive methods, like setting goals for myself or making a daily schedule, not particularly effective.

I'd wish you good luck, but I can't really support this whole "getting up early" enterprise...
posted by Urban Hermit at 9:44 PM on May 12, 2005

I used to hate getting up in the mornings. I still do. I had all these tricks to get up, including some of the ones set above. The solution that finally worked for me was 1) loud annoying alarm, like loud radio static and 2) not allowing myself to hit the snooze or go back to sleep.

Basically, you have to figure out what defensive mechanisms you are using to stay in bed - for me it was "5 more minutes of sleep that will turn in to half an hour" - and fight them any way you can.

Or, realize that it won't ultimately matter, and enjoy your sleep while you can.
posted by muddgirl at 9:52 PM on May 12, 2005

I agree with setting your alarm clock and placing it across the room. Since I've done that, I've never accidently gone back to sleep, even when I have to wake up at some ungodly hour. However, I think waking up to music can be just as effective as waking up to static, and a lot more pleasant. I made a CD of pure rockin songs (Back in Black, Helter Skelter, the like) to put in my alarm radio, and waking up to them is really energizing.
posted by apple scruff at 10:08 PM on May 12, 2005

i've done a great job of being able to sleep through an entire cd of music that i can't get to in the mornings, so make sure your wakeup cd is significantly annoying.
posted by fishfucker at 10:21 PM on May 12, 2005

Best answer: 1) Open the curtain/shades the night before to maximize morning sunlight
2) Alarm clock across room
3) Go to bed early
4) Lay clothes out night before (seeing my clothes laid out is positive reinforcement that it's a work day)
5) Drink a glass of water poured from pitcher (odd but simple task that gets me away from the bed and turns on some basic body functions)
posted by junesix at 10:36 PM on May 12, 2005

I came in here to give you my advice that took me from slacker to early riser in no time flat, only to see that junesix laid them all out, in the same order as I was going to. I don't know if june6 made it clear though, I usually drink the water BEFORE I go to sleep, so that I have to go when I get up.
posted by BuddhaInABucket at 10:42 PM on May 12, 2005

so that I have to go when I get up
that sounds like torture

here's my idea that i don't know why doesn't already exist:
at some calculated time before you go to bed, take a time-release caffeine pill that kicks in exactly 8 hrs after you swallow it. in fact, throw in some endorphin and serotonin-releasing compounds too. getting up should be a walk in the park
posted by foraneagle2 at 11:49 PM on May 12, 2005

Best answer: Before you go to sleep make an ambitious list of things you want to accomplish the next day? Hit the library, plant those bulbs, clean out the garage... For me, knowing I have something to get done gets me outta bed. Getting out of bed for nothing is a weak competitor to grabbing a few more winks.

Does your boyfriend have breakfast before he goes? You guys could have breakfast together every morning. Just be sure to get dressed first so you're ready to leave at the same time he is.
posted by blueberry at 12:01 AM on May 13, 2005

Make the most of the "sleep in's", but if you must motivate yourself, think about how you would like to spend your day the night before and plan your activities.

As a side thought, clothes, make up, the net and the gorgeous city of Sydney all motivate me in the morning.
posted by Chimp at 3:11 AM on May 13, 2005

Best answer: What everyone else said, but I also have an (unusual) habit which works -really- well for me. Today I forgot to set it up and I felt way groggier coming into the office.

For almost ten years now, I've set my alarm clock (across the room) for an hour before I have to wake up. I then wake, walk over, and reset it for the proper time. That last hour then becomes (usually) one of those wonderful in-between sleep, low-level dreaming, languorous, feels-like-a-long-time dozes, and when it's -really- time to get up, it's much, much easier.

You do, mind you, have to have enough of a head when you wake up that you remember to reset the alarm. (I do, so long as it's across the room. But I've met morning-zombies for whom it certainly wouldn't work.)
posted by Marquis at 3:58 AM on May 13, 2005

I find that having a scary boss means that I'm never late for work. And in the weekends I sleep the morning away...
posted by gaspode at 4:22 AM on May 13, 2005

The loud annoying alarm etc of course, but try to make an appointment for 8 or 9 in the morning, whether it be playing tennis, meeting a friend, blah blah. There's nothing like the fact of having to LEAVE the house to get you up and at it - otherwise you risk waking up but sitting around unshowered & drinking coffee for a couple of hours (like I do on Sundays) which isn't the same as a get-up-for-work routine at all.
posted by dublinemma at 4:34 AM on May 13, 2005

Getting up should -- literally -- be a walk in the park. That's how I converted myself into a morning person, at any rate. If you get up insanely early, get out and get some fresh air. Take an early morning constitutional to get the blood flowing... Once you start doing that (and getting a good solid 8 hr night's sleep), you start to find your rhythm.

Keeping a consistent schedule is important, too, for sleep hygiene reasons.
posted by ph00dz at 4:48 AM on May 13, 2005

If you take a multivitamin (or want to start doing so), I've found that taking it right before I go to bed makes me sleep better and wake up with a LOT more energy. The mornings when I'm repeatedly hitting the Snooze button are now invariably the mornings after I've forgotten to take my vitamin.

As an added benefit, it also helps reduce hangovers.
posted by occhiblu at 10:39 AM on May 13, 2005

Get sunlight for 30-45 minutes at the exact same time every morning. The problem is the human circadian rhythm is usually something like 24 hours 15 minutes, not exactly 24 hours. Unless you are exposed to bright light regularly, you'll tend to shift forward 15 minutes or so every day, which really adds up as weeks go by. Indoor light, or sunlight through a window, is not enough to do it--it needs to be direct sunlight, or one of those light boxes you can buy. (But use sunscreen so you don't trade your sleep problems for skin cancer.) After a couple weeks you should be out like a light 8 hours before the time you get up. Just don't force yourself to stay awake later because you're involved in something interesting.

IMO, this is all about biology. Basically, you will sleep when your circadian rhythm tells you to. You can force yourself not to using tricks, "motivation", alarms, etc., but you will just wind up sleep deprived and feeling much worse than you have to. (The majority of people in our society are sleep deprived and think it's normal.)
posted by mcguirk at 10:42 AM on May 13, 2005

I don't know if june6 made it clear though, I usually drink the water BEFORE I go to sleep, so that I have to go when I get up.

Actually I drink water in the morning and not at night. If I drink before going to bed, I'll have to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night.

Drinking water in the morning is my substitute for morning coffee. Something about the actions of carefully pouring water into a glass and slowly drinking it while thinking about the day ahead helps wake up my brain and body. YMMV.
posted by junesix at 6:37 PM on May 13, 2005

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