How to get up when you wake up
June 30, 2014 9:57 AM   Subscribe

My mother is trying a number of tactics to help with debilitating chronic migraines (occurring multiple times weekly). She's been told that getting out of bed immediately on waking has reduced the occurrence of migraines in some other sufferers. This is proving a difficult thing to implement. Hive, how would you motivate yourself to get out of your cosy cosy bed?

She's working with her GP and has been referred to a headache clinic, and at the moment is trying to see if there's any folk remedies that might make a difference. She's taking a feverfew supplement.

She usually gets up before 7.30, so this isn't a case of major sleep pattern changes. What she wants to be able to do is to get up whenever she wakes in the morning- be it 5.30 or 7. No snoozing, or going back to sleep. She currently will stay in bed to around 7.30 even if she wakes up earlier. She works from home and has no routine that requires her to get up at a specific time. She's up for changing bed times (usually goes to bed around 10.30). She's not the best sleeper, but does have the opportunity to nap during the day without any detrimental effects on the migraine situation.

We've bounced round some positive reinforcement ideas, even a star chart, but the problem is that she loves her bed and it's hard to come up with something that she could give herself that would be more reinforcing than staying in it.

Is anyone good at opening their eyes and bounding out of bed of a morning and could help her out?
posted by mymbleth to Health & Fitness (20 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
I'm not great at this, but I find putting the alarm clock out of arm's reach is a good tactic - if you have to leave bed to turn off the alarm, you'll be less motivated to stay in bed.
posted by schroedingersgirl at 10:01 AM on June 30, 2014 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Oh, note: She would rather not set an alarm, because her waking patterns are irregular and she doesn't want to consistently set an alarm for e.g. 5.30, on the chance that she might sleep through til 7.
posted by mymbleth at 10:04 AM on June 30, 2014

Bright lights in the room (leaving the curtains open) might help her feel more energized and refreshed when she wakes up, which might help. So might an automatic coffeemaker if she's a coffee drinker. For me, the thought of tea is sometimes the only thing that makes me drag myself out of bed.
posted by you're a kitty! at 10:06 AM on June 30, 2014 [1 favorite]

Morning routine -- for me, there has to be a very detailed plan in mind so it becomes absolutely second nature. Get up, take meds, take shower, make coffee, whatever it is.
posted by jeffjon at 10:09 AM on June 30, 2014 [3 favorites]

I find it easiest to get up when I have something fun/productive to do. Like, on Wednesdays I get up as soon as I wake up because I have my favorite podcast all queued up and I listen to it while I do some housecleaning/organizing. I know getting up to clean the house might not seem fun to most people. But it's a really good podcast!
posted by mskyle at 10:10 AM on June 30, 2014

Best answer: I understand her problem - I wake up pretty randomly between 5 and 8, and I sure as hell don't want to get out of bed at 5 either.

But - just for now? Just to see if it works for like a month? Because migraines suck? This is a bootstraps situation, I think.

She can certainly use a reward system - special TV show, podcast, breakfast item, etc - if she finds that motivational, but 5am is still stupid 5am so the primary driver here has to be desire.
posted by Lyn Never at 10:13 AM on June 30, 2014 [1 favorite]

I have a really loud gurgling kettle that shouts out to me! Misspony!!!!! Coffee awaits!!!!!
posted by misspony at 10:20 AM on June 30, 2014

Best answer: I had to do this for a while as part of a sleep restriction protocol, so it was extra fun because I was severely sleep deprived on top of it. Some possibilities:

Make a super-inviting spot elsewhere in the house, so she can look forward to eating breakfast while watching the birds, snuggling up on the couch to read, or whatever she’s most likely to be able to look forward to in the morning.

Alternatively, exercise first thing; this might help her feel extra motivated to do something to improve her health.

Find a diner/ coffeehouse she would enjoy going to first thing every morning. Or a delicious food waiting for her at home if she prefers not to go out; in my case, fresh-squeezed orange juice is special enough to get me out of bed.

Make the bed less comfortable; not all night, but maybe even if she can’t motivate herself to get up, she will be able to motivate herself to push off all the covers, which would make her WANT to get up.

Bath/ shower/ hot tub with new products?

In my case, force of will was all that worked, knowing that what I was doing was important to potentially solve a serious health problem. But I did let go everything else that required willpower during that period, splurged on treats, etc.
posted by metasarah at 11:12 AM on June 30, 2014 [4 favorites]

Sometimes I write myself notes and stick them on the wall about why I want to get up. Large letters, short message: Get Up Now And Take A Walk. You Know You'll Feel Better If You Do! GET UP NOW! NOW NOW NOW!
posted by BoscosMom at 11:41 AM on June 30, 2014

I've seen advice elsewhere of drinking a glass of water before going to bed: the bladder pressure in the morning is highly effective at getting one out of bed. (That is, unless your body's like mine, as I usually have to get up three hours after going to bed if I do this.)
posted by telophase at 12:01 PM on June 30, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: She could try moving. Often the reason it is hard to get out of bed when you are just awake is because you are only half awake and only seconds away from falling asleep again. Moving helps to shake the sleepiness off. Sometimes it can be too much of an effort to override the muscle relaxation and fully stand up, but you can lie in bed and peddle an imaginary bicycle or hold your arm up in the air. These things can help make the sleepy brain chemicals back down a bit.

Having something wonderful to look forward to when you get out of bed is a great motivator. If she is wondering what she is going to do before she starts doing her boring daily work or has nothing more exciting than making her usual tea and toast to look forward to she has no incentive to start it now over starting it two hours later after some more sleep. So get something that will be a treat. Fresh blueberries for breakfast, or special time on the porch with the birds, or the next installment on that cliffhanger web comic could be interesting enough to give her that surge of oomph she needs.
posted by Jane the Brown at 12:47 PM on June 30, 2014 [1 favorite]

Probably a bit over the top but how about a pet to care for? I never get lie-ins with two dogs excited to start the day!
posted by Middlemarch at 12:47 PM on June 30, 2014 [1 favorite]

Yeah but with the pets, watch out for cats. They may want breakfast but they also wield astonishing power as Snooze Enablers. When they're napping with you their fur secretes sleepydust.
posted by feral_goldfish at 1:02 PM on June 30, 2014 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Thanks everyone! I will pass these ideas on.

She already has a dog and two cats, but they like their lie-ins too- the dog is usually the last up!
posted by mymbleth at 1:13 PM on June 30, 2014

My technique - I have the lamp in my room on a timer set to go off somewhat before the radio goes off, and finally my iPhone goes off. Then I do child's pose in the bed until my pets insist that that's enough.
posted by mmiddle at 1:16 PM on June 30, 2014

Best answer: I saw this on the green somewhere awhile ago and it's really helped me: upon waking just sit up in bed for a few minutes. It's so simple but it really makes getting up a little less jarring.
posted by floweredfish at 2:11 PM on June 30, 2014 [3 favorites]

Reading other peoples answers, I wonder if she could try plugging in a coffee/tea maker on her bedside table and hit the button when she wakes up. The button will signal total commitment to the enterprise of getting up and by the time she comes out of the bathroom coffee/tea is waiting. If she uses cream she can put a little ice chest in her room and have the ritual of filling it every night as a further commitment to getting up, or she can have one of those little dorm room fridges. Maybe with a pretty tray on top with interesting sugars, honey, flavorings, maybe a bud vase with a flower.
posted by BoscosMom at 3:01 PM on June 30, 2014 [4 favorites]

While ill and trying to get my brain working again and unable to make my body/self do much of anything, I found that taking co-q-10 upon waking helped me wake up and get up within about thirty minutes of taking it. It is the co-enzyme of melatonin (which puts the brain to sleep) and helps chemically wake up the brain. It does not have the same kind of side effects you see with things like caffeine. A lot of people are deficient in it, especially as they get older. So this might actually be good for her.

She could keep a bottle of co-q-10 on the nightstand and a glass of water and take one upon waking and see if that causes her to be more likely to physically get up within a few minutes.
posted by Michele in California at 4:24 PM on June 30, 2014

I have a coffee pot with an insulated metal carafe and a timer. Knowing that coffee awaits helps me get my butt out of bed. The carafe keeps it warm.
posted by theora55 at 5:01 PM on June 30, 2014

Practice during the day -

1. Pick the alarm of choice.
2. Lay down in bed for a few minutes and let the alarm ring.
3. Immediately get up
4. Have a routine for a few minutes after getting up: brushing teeth, putting on a robe, coffee, etc.

Repeat multiple times for a few days. I'm a multiple hour snoozer - this worked like a charm when I tried it.
posted by 7life at 9:37 AM on July 1, 2014

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