CBT reco in toronto for waking up in the morning?
August 31, 2019 4:32 PM   Subscribe

I want to be able to wake up in the morning. Over years I've tried many suggestions and methods, including in every askme, to achieve that goal with no success (if I put an alarm clock on the opposite side of my room I can assure you I will get up, turn it off, and go straight back to bed with no problem for days on end). I don't have any particular issue with going to sleep, it's the getting up to be on time for work/to keep appointments/to just start my day. I'm willing to invest the time and resources to try something like CBT but I'm not sure where to start and how to find a place. Suggestions?
posted by scribbler to Health & Fitness (9 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Do you feel awake and you just have a hard time getting motivated to start the day, or is it that you don't feel awake enough? If you don't feel awake enough I think the only thing that can help that is getting more & better sleep. If it's not that it'll be good to clarify that so that you don't get a bunch of sleep hygiene advice you don't need.
posted by bleep at 5:03 PM on August 31, 2019

I haven’t heard of CBT for waking problems, but if I were in your shoes I might call these folkswho do CBT for insomnia and ask them if that’s A Thing: https://torontopsychologycentre.com/areas-of-focus/insomnia/

It might help if you explained more about your waking, i.e. are you depressed, do you sleep well, do you stay up late, do you sleep adequate hours, have you been checked for sleep apnea, have you had a general health work up and brought this up with your MD, etc. There are a lot of physical reasons a person might have trouble waking, including hormonal problems or circadian problems, and it would be good to rule those out.

(Also, I believe you that you’ve tried all the recs, but just in case it helps someone else, I have pretty severe delayed sleep phase disorder and got a lot of relief from a bright light visor in the morning, blue blocking glasses at night, and using the app “Alarmy” [Kiwake works too] which forces you to do puzzles and/or get up and take a photo of something in a different room of the house before it will turn the alarm off.)

I hope you find what you’re looking for!
posted by hungrytiger at 6:43 PM on August 31, 2019

Response by poster: Providing clarifications: I wake up (often on my own, w/o an alarm), and feel "awake" but then end up snoozing/sleeping without getting up for an hour (...or two). It's a different feeling compared to when I don't get enough sleep.

In the Alarmy picture-taking scenario, I get up, go take the picture, then go back to sleep. Or I literally just stuff my head under a pillow and still don't get up while the alarm goes off for an hour. Light doesn't seem to make a difference - I can easily fall asleep in daylight or with lights on.
posted by scribbler at 7:33 PM on August 31, 2019

You may have a medical condition. Not exactly what you asked for but have you considered going for a sleep study? Ask your family dr, it's covered by ohip.
posted by sid at 8:09 PM on August 31, 2019 [1 favorite]

to clarify, the alarm clock only works for me in conjunction with the other two things — because the glasses and light visor shift my circadian rhythm to be more morning-friendly, and that makes me able to respond once the alarm goes off. Prior to finding these light treatments, I was also capable of turning off many fancy alarms and returning to bed. (If you’re interested in the topic of circadian medicine, you can read more about it in a book by Michael Terman called Reset Your Inner Clock.) But if your problem is depression, apnea, hormonal issues, an abnormally long sleep need, or something else, I’m not sure if the lights would help or not.
posted by hungrytiger at 8:12 PM on August 31, 2019 [1 favorite]

If getting up to live your life is the problem, is it possible your quality of life is the problem? Therapy, for sure, but also, if possible, root out the parts of your life that make being awake painful or unpleasant. If you know you're getting up to a better life, or at least getting up to do stuff towards achieving that goal, that might be easier.
posted by Mistress at 2:58 AM on September 1, 2019 [3 favorites]

So, I haven't read every ask on this issue. But I'm wondering if you also tried this alarm clock that makes you chase it.
posted by crunchy potato at 5:39 AM on September 1, 2019 [1 favorite]

I used to and still can be often be like this. I’ll share what works for me.

The trick I’ve found is to actually decide to wake up at a certain time, not to use my alarm to wake myself up.

That is: if I set my alarm for 7:40am, because I need to wake up then, then I would always oversleep.

But if I decided that I needed to wake up at 7:40am, with the same conviction as someone buying non refundable plane tickets, then the alarm would serve to help my existing convictions.

Having written this, I feel like it might read as a minuscule difference. But the point is that with the former, I was counting on my alarm clock being loud enough to wake me up. With the latter, the alarm engaged my existing decisions to wake up.

When I make that decision, I do so lying in bed and try to really convince myself that I’ve decided on this time. I imagine the wake up time getting more solid and immovable, and invoke the memory of other solid timelines like a flight/train boarding time, a meeting appointment, a job interview time, etc. If I do it enough, then the wake up time becomes solid. In the morning, it’s easier to get up because I do it with the same urgency I do when facing these other solid/rigid timelines.

In addition, actually practicing waking up was both silly/fun and also really changed how I woke up. I highly recommend trying it.
posted by many more sunsets at 6:35 AM on September 1, 2019 [5 favorites]

I'd recommend working with a sleep doctor if possible. I went to one and talked about my insomnia and difficulty falling asleep and after listening to my issues, doing an at-home sleep study, and adding a few questions, recommended that I stay up later and sleep in more, as much as possible. I suspect having someone knowledgeable to work with you specifically would be the most helpful thing to figure out why you have trouble starting your day.
posted by Margalo Epps at 10:15 AM on September 1, 2019

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