My girlfriend, she's sleepy.
December 11, 2007 7:44 AM   Subscribe

How can I help my girlfriend wake up on time?

My girlfriend has to be to work by 8. I have to be to work by 9.

Every morning, the same demented scenario plays itself out, and I am now to the point where I would like to consider alternate scenarios which might improve the situation for everyone involved. For this, I look to you, the hive mind.

So, for the purpose of providing you with clarity about this situation, I will break down a typical morning experience and highlight the area of concern.

The night before, as we get into bed, my girlfriend will set the alarm for 6:50 the next morning, so that, in concept, she can be out the door by 7:30 and to work by 8. She also sleeps next to the alarm, while I am on the other side of the bed, against the wall.

This is where the farce begins.

By her own admission, she has never, ever, in all the time we have spent together, gotten up at 6:50. Instead, she hits the snooze button. And hits it. And hits it. And hits it. So that every 9 minutes I am jarred awake by the shrill cry of the alarm clock.

When does she actually get up? It depends. I would estimate that approximately 50% of the time, she gets out of bed at around 7:30. The rest of the time, she manages to get up around 8. Obviously, punctuality isn't really a big motivating factor for a number of reasons - she doesn't really care for her job, no one really takes note of when people arrive, etc, etc..

My big thing is, I don't have to be to work until 9, so I try to sleep until 8. The key word here is try. Instead, starting at 6:50, I wake up to the alarm, and continue to wake up every 9 minutes thereafter until she gets out of bed. If she gets up at 8, which is the same time that I try to get up every morning, this is a good hour and ten minutes of regularly interrupted sleep, and it leaves me grumpy and irritable in the morning - not to mention that we are then trying to get up and out of the door at the same time, with only a single bathroom/shower/etc.

I've tried using my brief moments of consciousness as I wake up in irritation to try to urge her out of the bed. This does not work. I've tried suggesting that she set the alarm to a time that more reasonably resembles when she might actually get up, but she doesn't like that idea because then she has no "snooze time" - she actually has to get up when the alarm goes off, instead of being able to just snooze it for a half hour or hour or so.

I mean, I dig it. The bed is warm and the house is cold and the bed is comfortable and the cold house is not and it's nice to snooze and get some extra sleep, but I don't understand why the alarm doesn't bother her as much as it bothers me - she says she doesn't even really ever know it's going off - that she snoozes it while in some sort of trance state, but it drives me crazy!

What are some strategies we might discuss for optimizing our morning?

I mean, maybe it's as simple as it's her house - her morning routine - and I need to just suck it up, but I think there has to be a better way!
posted by kbanas to Human Relations (79 answers total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
Put the alarm on the dresser or somewhere that she has to get out of bed to turn it off. This should hopefully wake her enough to not get back into bed and will only wake you up once before 8.
posted by at 7:47 AM on December 11, 2007 [2 favorites]

Seconded. Put the alarm clock on the opposite side of the room.
posted by afx237vi at 7:50 AM on December 11, 2007

She also sleeps next to the alarm

That's your problem right there. Place the alarm somewhere in the room where she actually has to get up out of bed in order to turn it off. This is the hardest part about getting up in the morning (at least for me) because once you're out of bed, standing up, you feel fine and are ready to start the day.

Or, after she falls asleep at night, re-set the alarm for 7:30 so when the alarm goes off, she panics when she sees what time it is. That kind of panic wakes you up pretty quick.
posted by pallak7 at 7:50 AM on December 11, 2007 [1 favorite]

Move the alarm clock further away from her so she has to get up to snooze it. There are a multitude of alarm clocks that can be purchased which will do annoying things, such as roll away from you or get louder each time you press snooze or just not have a snooze button.

Also you go to bed at the same time as her, maybe it would help her if you got up with her. And change the alarm from 6:50 to 7:00.
posted by poppo at 7:51 AM on December 11, 2007

I see I'm a few seconds too late. :-)
posted by pallak7 at 7:51 AM on December 11, 2007

Best answer: The first time the alarm goes off, roll over to where you are facing your girlfriend and place your foot against the top of her hip. Then proceed to push with your leg until she reaches the end of the bed and falls off onto the floor (try to hold onto the sheet and blanket to prevent them from falling off as well). She is out of her trance and able to begin preparing for the day ahead and you can go back to sleep for an hour. Win win.
posted by ND¢ at 7:52 AM on December 11, 2007 [28 favorites]

Ugh, I have three alarms. One by my bed (which is set about ahead to scare me a bit), another on my desk (which is pretty far away from the bed), and a final one I hide in a random place. It works even during finals week when I've had three hours of sleep.

My sister has a Clocky, which is pretty awesome, but it was too expensive for me to justify buying for myself.
posted by melissam at 7:54 AM on December 11, 2007

I used to be a compulsive snoozer. My parents really didn't like that and I kept missing my bus to school. There was an easy fix for that, and it wasn't placing the alarm on the other side of the room.

You know the old style alarm clocks like these? Get one. It doesn't have a snooze button and it will wake her up good.

An alternative would be a simple alarm clock without a snooze button. If she really doesn't care to get up in time for work, then either missing it a couple of times will change her mind or her boss will fix that problem right up for her.
posted by splice at 7:55 AM on December 11, 2007

Response by poster: I see the general consensus seems to be that we move the alarm clock. I will definitely discuss this with her and give it a try if it meets approval with the board of regents.
posted by kbanas at 7:56 AM on December 11, 2007

Are there other options for alarms? I had a similar problem a while back with my SO's alarm clock. He had his cell phone set to an alarm tone that I found extremely jarring. I couldn't stand it--hearing it would set me on edge immediately. After a while, I convinced him to try other alarm tones his phone had, and we finally found one that could wake him up without ruining my morning.
posted by Ms. Saint at 7:57 AM on December 11, 2007

Moving the alarm clock is the first step. If the situation does not improve, you can do what my dad used to do and start to lift the mattress from the opposite side of the sleeper. Works wonders. Might leave you fairly awake though.
posted by yerfatma at 7:59 AM on December 11, 2007

Clocky For The Win!
posted by fusinski at 7:59 AM on December 11, 2007

I used to behave this way, as a teenager with a paper route and and an alarm that went off at five. Even putting the clock on the far side of the room didn't help; I learned to walk across the room and hit the snooze button without ever becoming conscious. The only thing that changed this behavior was the day that my dad, driven to the breaking point by the recurring alarm, pounded vigorously on my bedroom door and jarred me suddenly awake. After that I associated the alarm with his potential anger, and snoozing ceased to be so pleasant.
posted by jon1270 at 8:00 AM on December 11, 2007

Best answer: It sounds like you're over at her house, not in a shared house? If so, I'd say that my general feeling about being a guest is that it's my responsibility to get up early enough to accommodate my host's morning schedule, as much as is possible, even if that morning schedule seems insane to me. If it were me, I'd get up when her alarm goes off, take an extra hour to read the paper or read Metafilter or get to work early, and let her snooze as long as she wants.
posted by occhiblu at 8:00 AM on December 11, 2007 [8 favorites]

Response by poster: Yeah, occhiblu, that's a good point. It's absolutely her house. I've been more or less living there for the better part of 2 or 3 years, but, yes, it's her house. So, that's an interesting point to consider. Maybe if we both got up at 7 or something it would help her get up, and I could catch up on some things..

Now, of course, am *I* ready to get up before I have to?

That's a whole other question..
posted by kbanas at 8:02 AM on December 11, 2007

Seconding the old-fashioned alarm clocks rock you to your very core. They are really, really loud, and the lack of a snooze really seems to work through my half-sleep twilight stage. Get two, and set them seven minutes apart. She'll be able to turn one off, get almost back into sleep and get woken up again.

Also, ND¢ has the right idea, but prepare for major grumpiness.
posted by mitzyjalapeno at 8:02 AM on December 11, 2007

Well, I think you need to re-visit the conversation about what's considerate - sure, she doesn't like not having snooze time -- but on the other side, you certainly don't like being continually woken up for an hour! Talk it out - while ultimately, it's her house, her rules, it's mighty inconsiderate of her. Maybe she gets one snooze hit for free?

Thirding the moving of the alarm clock, and suggesting a time closer to when she actually has to get up.

If she's not willing to accommodate you, then start sleeping back at your own place, and just let her know, "I'm really sorry, but I just can't deal with forty-plus minutes of the alarm going off." When she decides she's interested in having you around in the morning, she might be more amenable to compromise. Otherwise, yeah, you'll just have to suck it up.

My wife and I had this problem, and it made me positively homicidal, considering there was no other bed for me to go home to! Finally, we agreed that she'd set the alarm for when she actually had to get up. After a very short period of adjustment, we've slept blissfully together ever since.
posted by canine epigram at 8:04 AM on December 11, 2007

Hm. My previous roommate wasn't phased *at all* by having to get out of bed to snooze the alarm. In fact she used two alarms, one next to her bed and one across the room, and she would max out the snooze on *both* clocks every morning. (As far as I know she still does this, though she has since moved out.)

This is not only annoying to a roommate (luckily we were in different rooms so it didn't usually affect me) but it is *so* bad for your sleep. Sleep is very important to your health, and this f's with it immensely.

But I digress. For you two, this is an issue of respect. I get it, too: bed is awesome. This very morning, getting out of bed seemed worse than death and I stayed there an extra hour. (No alarm, though, and only dogs nearby.) But the times in my life when I *always* got out of bed on time was when another person in my room or house depended on it in some way. I wonder if you can bring it up with her this way. Explain that you don't need to get up at 6:50 each morning, and because the snooze routine begins at that time, your sleep is effectively ruined starting then.

And I *like* ND¢'s idea, but it's probably just going to piss her off. If you try this and the outcome is really win-win, PLEASE report back to us. ;) (I used to do something like this to my mom when I was a kid, and talk about wrath of God.)

The only other idea I like that's been brought up already is to get up with her. It's harder to get out of bed when there's a nice warm body that you love next to you. Your sleep is ruined at 6:50am, anyway, so just get up with her if she won't change.
posted by iguanapolitico at 8:06 AM on December 11, 2007

I've been more or less living there for the better part of 2 or 3 years, but, yes, it's her house. So, that's an interesting point to consider.

Do you actually have another place to retreat to?
posted by canine epigram at 8:08 AM on December 11, 2007

If she's that unable to get out of bed in the morning, it suggests that she's probably not getting enough sleep. Start going to bed earlier, and I bet it will make a world of difference.
posted by chrisamiller at 8:09 AM on December 11, 2007

Response by poster: Do you actually have another place to retreat to?

Yeah, I mean, I have my own place, I'm just not there a whole lot.

And it's only half the week, too. When she has her daughter (the other half the week), the whole issue is moot, because there is no force on earth that will wake you up faster than a nine year old.
posted by kbanas at 8:11 AM on December 11, 2007

Now, of course, am *I* ready to get up before I have to?

That's a whole other question..

She obviously really doesn't have to get up before 8:30, either. So if you're not willing to get up before you have to, how on earth do you think it's fair to force her to get up before she has to?
posted by occhiblu at 8:15 AM on December 11, 2007

Response by poster: But I'm not trying to force her to get up before she has to!

If she doesn't have to get up before 8:00 (not 8:30), then more power to her! I think we should just set the alarm clock for 8, then, and the problem would be solved.

Unless I don't understand what you're trying to say.
posted by kbanas at 8:17 AM on December 11, 2007

I see the general consensus seems to be that we move the alarm clock. I will definitely discuss this with her and give it a try if it meets approval with the board of regents.

From the sound of things, your girlfriend is just like me in the morning. I do the same thing to my poor wife. I can relate to the “trance” state. I hit my snooze half a dozen times and don’t even realize I’m doing it. Most of the time the noise will just work itself into a dream.

I’ve tried moving the alarm clock. It doesn’t work and it’ll only annoy you further. She’ll get up, walk over to the clock, hit the snooze and get back into bed. The result will be even more annoying as you’ll have to listen to the alarm until she gets up to hit the snooze. I’ve even done two clocks, one right near me and one across the room. Nada. It’s worth trying, I suppose, but I bet it doesn’t help.

This goes beyond “the bed is warm and I don’t want to get up to go to work”, this is an integral part of her sleep pattern and she really can’t help it. She’s not rational in the morning when that alarm goes off.

First, when you’re both awake and thinking clearly, you both need to agree to drastic measures. You need to both acknowledge that she has a problem, you’re willing to help her, and she’s willing to let you help.

Then, when you physically push her out of bed in the morning like ND suggested she’s not going to hate you for it. She might hate you at first, but she’ll get over it once she’s awake. Don’t let her back in bed.

It’s not perfect. My wife does this to me sometimes and I’ve even crawled up on the floor, grabbing whatever clothes or pillows I can find to keep me warm. It’ll wake her up faster than a warm, comfy bed will.

Good luck.
posted by bondcliff at 8:19 AM on December 11, 2007 [3 favorites]

I had a dorm roommate who was a perpetual snoozer. He always set his alarm earlier than me in the morning, even though neither of us had classes until the afternoon most of the time. Since he didn't really need to get up, he would just keep hitting snooze for hours.

Most of the advice here wouldn't have worked for him, because he was a complete zombie when he went to turn off the alarm. The alarm was across the room, and he would stumble over to it, try to turn it off, drop it on the floor, mumble, finally hit snooze, and then stumble back into his bed. Sometimes he would just completely sleep through it and the alarm would keep going until it turned off by itself.

The way we solved it was by having two different alarm noises. He would set his at a fairly low volume, with the alarm as far away from me as possible. I would set my alarm at a very high volume, and I made sure that my alarm sound was completely different than his. Eventually I learned how to sleep through his alarm and only wake up when mine went off. The only reason this worked is that I'm a pretty deep sleeper, though.
posted by burnmp3s at 8:21 AM on December 11, 2007

I sound like your girlfriend. I totally miss alarms.. in that I can completely reset them in a trance-like state. I once "snoozed" for six hours with the alarm going off every 5 minutes.. that's 72 snoozes (curiously I had very vivid dreams in each). So.. yeah, it's easy to snooze with really being aware of it for some of us. What I find odd is that it's a woman doing it. All the women I know have to be up hours in advance to get pretty for the day and tend to their hygiene. I figured it was universal for women to get up hours in advance.

My girlfriend is also a snoozer (but these take into account her being on time) and I don't notice her alarms going off, or even her getting up, talking to me, and then leaving the house making a noise the whole time. I guess you're a light sleeper! On the plus side, perhaps you should use this as an opportunity to get up earlier yourself.. I'd love to be woken up in an annoying way consistently every morning by someone else's noise.
posted by wackybrit at 8:21 AM on December 11, 2007

Best answer: You're so attacking this from the wrong end.

She's not getting up because either she's exhausted or she's waking at the deep point of her rem cycle.

Backup the time you go to bed by a 1/2 hour (or an hour) should fix this.
posted by filmgeek at 8:24 AM on December 11, 2007 [1 favorite]

Much as I find his other stuff repugnant and self-satisfied, Steve Pavlina has a good two-parter on getting up, which is pretty good. While it sounds like your girlfriend might be unwilling to give this a go, it's a good place to start. Maybe you could get up earlier?
posted by Happy Dave at 8:27 AM on December 11, 2007

Response by poster: That's another good point.

Typically, we go to bed together at 11 or so, and then, depending on whether or not we read, are intimate, etc, that might extend for another half hour or hour... so maybe we really need to look at it from another point of view. Maybe start going to bed at 10, 10:30.

I have one of those "Sleep Cycle" watches, because I'm a total nerd - the one that's supposed to wake you up by detecting when you're in the very lightest parts of your sleep cycle.. maybe we could try that, too.
posted by kbanas at 8:27 AM on December 11, 2007

Get a dawn simulator. It will wake her up slowly with light.
posted by GaelFC at 8:32 AM on December 11, 2007

I think different people snooze for different reasons. Talk with her about it. In my case, distant alarm clocks, elusive alarm clocks, multiple sonic attack alarm clocks, being pushed out of bed, even waking up and getting showered and dressed -- none of those is enough to stop me from snoozing some more. I would say that if you're capable of it (given that you're sleepy too) you might try making it actually pleasant for her to wake up and be part of the real world again. In some way that you two figure out.
posted by lullabyofbirdland at 8:33 AM on December 11, 2007 [1 favorite]

Moving the alarm clock further away will also make it quieter, and she/you might both not hear it to begin with.

If this were me personally, I would get up when she gets up. It's a lot harder to get up when there's another warm sleeping body to curl up with. When her alarm goes off and you wake up, do some stetching on the bed to keep her jostled, get up, open the blind, turn on the light, and start making coffee. If the sleep is regularly interrupted every 9 minutes, you're not gaining any quality sleep; bite the bullet and get up.

In 2.5 weeks Ms. Nobeagle will be a stay at home mom when we get the kids. She's already working on the stay at home part ;) However, when I get up in the morning she gets up wife me, and I find that makes it much easier to wake up with someone else.

Of course, you might want to double check with this ahead of time with her. She might not really want to wake up at 6:50 and plans to snooze until 7:30 and then rush out a few minutes late.
posted by nobeagle at 8:35 AM on December 11, 2007

Also, if you do try different alarms, brisk classical piano music seems to put me in a relatively decent mindset for waking up. The kind where you're sure the pianist is sitting straight up and hitting the keys with great self-satisfaction.
posted by lullabyofbirdland at 8:37 AM on December 11, 2007

I am really sympathetic to her snoozing pattern... for me, if I wake up for the first time when the alarm is going off, I am really disoriented, in the middle of a dream, and it's extremely unpleasant. The only way I can avoid that feeling is by having a small pre-wakeup that shifts me into lighter sleep for a while before getting up. I've discovered by trial-and-error that about 45 minutes of sleep after the pre-wake is optimal. So, for me, moving the alarm clock wouldn't solve the problem, because I'd be miserable.

Still, it's not necessary for anyone else to suffer too! I have an alarm clock with two alarms. I have the pre-wake set 45 minutes before my real wake. The pre-wake alarm plays a CD of pleasant music very quietly, and I shut it off without really waking up. The actual wake alarm is a typical alarm sound that gets me up. I also try to make the morning more pleasant by having the heat on a timer that makes the room fully warm by the time I have to get up. Coffee on a timer would also be really great.

Or maybe she'd consider getting a Sleeptracker wristwatch alarm? I totally want one.
posted by xo at 8:41 AM on December 11, 2007 [2 favorites]

Well, for what it's worth, if you start waking up at seven, you both ought to be equally tired by ten. It'll be easier for her to get to sleep on time if you're not wide awake until 11:30 and distracting her.

(My own experience has been that my sex life improves if I'm on the same sleep/wake cycle with my partner. There's a window between "pleasantly relaxed" and "exhausted," and it's nice if you both enter that window at the same time. If you have trouble getting yourself out of bed early, there's some extra motivation for you.)
posted by nebulawindphone at 8:41 AM on December 11, 2007

I'm big on snoozing -- I seem to get more sleep in those 9 minute increments than I do all night. That said, you may feel more open to the snooze cycle if you were in control of it -- perhaps put the alarm clock on your side of the bed?
posted by jacquilynne at 8:49 AM on December 11, 2007

I say reposition the alarm clock AND get up with her.

I don't know how it is for the two of you, but for me no matter where the alarm clock is located, getting up is a thousand times more difficult if that warm, comfortable bed has a warm, friendly, sleepy body who is all too happy to snuggle up.
posted by Anonymous at 8:50 AM on December 11, 2007

And I saw nobeagle posted almost the exact same phrasing! So you see, it's all on the level.
posted by Anonymous at 8:51 AM on December 11, 2007

Perhaps not the answer you're looking for, but you could have a baby together. My son is up by 6:30 most mornings.
posted by Caviar at 9:03 AM on December 11, 2007 [5 favorites]

ND¢ has it. It will help if you make an agreement with her that establishes this as fair play.
posted by hermitosis at 9:25 AM on December 11, 2007

My boyfriend does this. He works at a coffee shop so a lot of times this occurs at 4-5 in the morning. Obnoxious! Now I wear earplugs to bed every night and most of the time I don't wake up when his alarm goes off. Or at least if I do, I don't remember it later.
posted by slenderloris at 9:25 AM on December 11, 2007

Seconding the dawn simulator. We tried the multiple alarm clocks, the really loud one that didn't have a snooze, putting it across the room: nothing worked for my husband. Then, I got a dawn simulator to help me deal with S.A.D. Within a week, he was waking up at the same time I was, without wanting to snooze. Sure, we might lay in bed for 5 or 10 min watching the weather, but with the dawn simulator, our bodies are pretty much ready to rock 'n' roll by the time our eyes open.

The link is the cheapo one we have. It's not fancy but it does the job.
posted by tigerjade at 9:32 AM on December 11, 2007

Actually, related to what filmgeek said, I find that if I sleep for either 3 hours, 4.5 hours, 6 hours, or 7.5 hours, I can get up a lot more easily than if I wake up after other lengths of sleep. I add 30 minutes to be able to actually get to sleep, so getting up after 3.5, 5, 6.5 or 8 hours in bed is far easier than any other amounts.
posted by wackybrit at 9:35 AM on December 11, 2007

>The bed is warm and the house is cold and the bed is comfortable and the cold house is not

Try reversing this situation. Buy a programmable thermostat that raises the house temperature to a pleasantly warm level before you wake up. Then, use an electric blanket with a ten-hour automatic cut off (most have these). Turn on the electric blanket eleven hours before you want to wake up, and set your thermostat so that it'll have the room toasty when you want to jump out of bed.

Result: icy bed, warm room. Motivation to wake up and get going.
posted by Gordion Knott at 9:47 AM on December 11, 2007

If you don't care so much about her sleeping in and are more concerned about her waking you, I would recommend a vibrating alarm clock (I have this one). The difference it has made for my boyfriend and former roommates is nothing short of amazing. I am just like your girlfriend, but at least now I'm not disturbing everyone around me.

Also, this clock has a five-minute snooze window, and you can't go as "deep" back to sleep in five minutes as you can in nine.
posted by ml98tu at 9:53 AM on December 11, 2007

Honey, is that you?
Your girlfirend sounds just like me - I love bed, hate getting up in the morning, and really feel that snooze time helps me wake up. Eveen with a decent snooze, getting up is always hard. I actually do NOT recommend the clock on the other side of the room scenario - what generally happens when I do this is:
- I get up only half awake
- I fumble around with the clock, during which time I either hti snooze or turn the alarm off completely (and I'm really tno awake so I can't entirely control what I'm doing)
- I get back in bed - this is especially problematic if I've actually turned the alarm off. Sometimes I do this, wake up much later, and have no recollection of getting up earlier (roommates will tell me that in fact I did).

The good thing about my boyfriend and me is that we have to get up around the same time. He almost always manages to get up first by just a few minutes, which then makes it easier for me - not having him to snuggle up to makes staying in bed ever so slightly less appealing. So, long story short, I recommend the you getting up too option. Sorry.
posted by naoko at 10:00 AM on December 11, 2007

She probably needs to go to sleep earlier. Two ways to reset sleep cycles are melatonin at night, and using a lightbox in the morning (this is great in winter anyway, for helping with Seasonal Affective Disorder, but it's good for just a few days if you're resetting sleep cycles). You can take a dose of melatonin to help put you to sleep when you want to sleep (and not when you feel like sleeping) for a couple nights to back up your bedtime from 11 to 10 PM and kickstart that routine. Or you can use a lightbox for a half hour in the morning when you want to be up (if she wants to be up at 7, you do it then; follow the instructions on the lightbox).

It will absolutely help if you're on the same sleep schedule, and you can support each other through the morning grumpiness by establishing a quiet morning routine: making coffee, breakfast, reading email, maybe a nice warm shower together to start your day off happy and tempt you out of the nice warm bed.
posted by Melinika at 10:06 AM on December 11, 2007

What about a vibrating alarm for her to use under her pillow? Would that be easier for you to ignore than an audible one?
posted by MsMolly at 10:09 AM on December 11, 2007

Practical solution: Earplugs for you, and she wakes you up when she leaves for work.

However, can you frame the conversation with her in a way that doesn't leave her feeling defensive, as if you're calling her inconsiderate and lazy? I mean, I don't think the real problem is the practical workings of alarm clocks, it's the fact that she's ignoring your desire to sleep. That could be a passive-aggressive thing on her part, or she could just be really self-absorbed. Maybe she thinks YOU'RE lazy because you don't get up as early.

Think about using the time for something else - snuggling with her, making her breakfast. These things go a long way in softening whatever resentments i have towards my beau, and make me more likely to do nice things for him, like let him sleep.
posted by desjardins at 10:30 AM on December 11, 2007

From both sides: I'm currently spending 90% of my time at my s/o's house. Now, it's his house, his rules. This means that some mornings, I am up at 6 AM whether I like it or not. If he wants to hit "snooze" for an hour and a half (thankfully this hasn't happened yet), that's his prerogative, and if I don't like it, I know where he keeps the Nintendo.

On the other side: When my ex and I were co-habitating, he had really horrible problems getting up in the morning. I believe this was mostly caused by his inability to fall asleep at night, but whatever. The only thing that worked was to have two alarms - one in the room, and one somewhere in the house, audible from the bedroom, but not in it. Each alarm was set five minutes apart. Both alarms going on a snooze cycle AND my incessant kicking and nagging would get him out of bed within twenty minutes, as opposed to the hour+ that it took before these measures were implemented.

Hopefully your girlfriend isn't that bad, but I really recommend having two alarms set at a five minute stagger, preferably with one that she has to get up to turn off.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 10:47 AM on December 11, 2007

Can't she just change the time she goes to work? Just have her talk to her job and say that she can definitely make it in by 9. Then, set the alarm to 7:30 or whatever and the both of you get up together.
posted by parilous at 10:51 AM on December 11, 2007 [1 favorite]

Start staying at your place. Should take care of the problem quickly, because she will be anxious to get you back.
posted by Ironmouth at 10:52 AM on December 11, 2007

My suggestions:
1. Get up when she's supposed to. Lying next to you may actually be part of the motivation to stay put. Just get up. As much as you love her, use that same motivation to just get up.
2. If feasible, consider lifting her out of the bed and standing her up (I would not especially advise the sheet-tugging, hip-shoving method) or some other method requiring her to use brute muscle strength or balance as standing would.
3. Consider asking her a question that will get her mind moving. If she's a math whiz, as her what that long S-shaped line is you see in some equations is. If she's a English whiz, engage her in how much you think Shapespeare sucks, whether you do or don't.
posted by Quarter Pincher at 11:13 AM on December 11, 2007

FWIW, my snoozing, and my ex-roommate's snoozing, has nothing to do with how much sleep we're getting. I can do that after sleeping 11 hours (when I wasn't already sleep deprived at all) if it's effing freezing enough in the room and I'm in a procrastinating mood. It's more about procrastination than it is about needing more sleep. Based on my *own* experience with past roommates, I hypothesize that if you go to bed a half hour earlier, that will have no effect on how many times she hits snooze. Unless it's psychological.

I mean, unless she seriously *is* sleep deprived. I'm hugely behind getting enough sleep. So sure, examine that as well. I just find the snoozers to be procrastinating types like me, not the overworked, sleep deprived types.
posted by iguanapolitico at 11:21 AM on December 11, 2007 [1 favorite]

If it's cold in the morning when you wake up, can you set a heater to turn on maybe half an hour before she wakes up? It's a lot easier to get up when your feet won't be met by an icy floor! My heat/air unit has a remote, so often when my alarm gets up I hit the snooze and then turn on the heat. It's much easier to get up once the air has been circulating for 10 minutes.
posted by radioamy at 11:22 AM on December 11, 2007

Up until I was about 25, I was the same way, but I seem to have grown out of it now. In fact, unless I'm really, really tired, I almost always wake up a few minutes before the alarm goes off. Nowadays, if I do hit the snooze button I lay there thinking about how I'm going to have to get up in 9 minutes anyways, and just end up getting up after about 5.

Can you both go to bed an hour earlier? Maybe if she's not getting enough sleep, that explains why she has such a hard time getting up in the morning.
posted by IndigoRain at 11:34 AM on December 11, 2007

I was your girlfriend. I had an alarm on the other side of the room. I got up, walked over, hit snooze and climbed back in bed. Over and over. It wasn't just because it was cold and the bed was warm and all that...I liked climbing back into bed with my boyfriend. On the occasional morning he had to get up early, I got up with him, cuz it's no fun to snooze alone. So if you want her to get out of bed, you're going to have to lead by example. Otherwise, get over it. :-)
posted by clh at 12:02 PM on December 11, 2007

My fiance and I had this problem and I was the offender. Eventually, we reached a workable compromise. He controls the alarm clock and he sets i's for 7 am (which is probably earlier than he would like to get up, but about twenty minutes before I should get up). There's no more snoozing and I find that it's easier for me to get out of bed on time this way. Ocassionally, I end up sleeping past when I'm supposed to get up to go to the gym, but when that happens I figure I need the sleep.
posted by bananafish at 12:14 PM on December 11, 2007

But I'm not trying to force her to get up before she has to!... I think we should just set the alarm clock for 8, then, and the problem would be solved. Unless I don't understand what you're trying to say.

Really, what I'm trying to say is: Stop trying to change her behavior. You can't. You're putting yourself in a situation every morning in which you're annoyed because she's not behaving in a way you would like her to behave, whether that's setting the alarm later or getting up when it goes off or something else entirely.

But she doesn't see this is a problem; if she did, she'd change the behavior on her own. She's not. That means you can either turn it into a huge problem for her -- kicking her out of bed, pounding on the door, getting really angry, whatever -- so that she is motivated to change her behavior, or you can change your own behavior. I wouldn't recommend the former because it's likely to mess up your relationship (as well as leaving you as the Wake-Up Police, which you've said annoys you), so that leaves you the latter.

In my own life, I have found that when I'm horribly annoyed because someone else is acting in a way I don't like, it's a complete waste of time, not to mention extremely frustrating, to somehow convince them they want to change. The only times I've found solutions that work long-term are when I step back and ask myself, "Assuming this other person continues to act this way, how can I change my behavior or expectations so that their behavior no longer annoys me?" In this case, for me, that would mean taking myself completely out of the role of policing when she wakes up, how she wakes up, or whether she wakes up. I'd get up when her alarm goes off, leave the bedroom, and do something that didn't involve trying to change her behavior at all, and that left me out of the way when she's running around to get ready because she got up late (which you've said also annoys you).

All of this can certainly be combined with other people's suggestions for going to sleep earlier, getting a different alarm clock, etc. But to actually solve your annoyance, you're going to have to take yourself out of situations that annoy you.
posted by occhiblu at 12:17 PM on December 11, 2007 [2 favorites]

I agree with occhiblu. She said everything I was just about to say. For the most part, it's useless, frustrating and sometimes even destructive to try to change other people or guilt them for not changing. It's ever so much easier and ultimately more satisfying to change yourself and your own approach.

That said, it's still something you could approach together. Since you're the one who is really annoyed, the onus is on you to resolve your own annoyance. Sure, you could take what you learn from this thread, and share some of it with her. For example, what wackybrit said about feeling better with 90 minute increments of sleep is totally true of me too. Easier to wake after 7.5 hrs than after 8. Or what people have said about going to bed earlier. You could talk about these things together, as new pieces of information that might help both of you. But don't expect her to to something to fix your feelings. In the end, that's up to you.
posted by Danila at 12:46 PM on December 11, 2007

Maybe you should stop being so damned sexy.

Or perhaps your ladyfriend should do what I did and find a job she wanted to get out of bed for. Worked for me™!
posted by britain at 12:57 PM on December 11, 2007

tomorrow morning, you hit her with the birdie song. you stand over her and sing loudly:

waaay up in the sky
the little birds fly
way down in the nest
the little birds rest
with a wing on the left
and a wing on the right
the little birds sleep
all through the night.
the bright sun comes up
the dew falls away
good morning, good morning
the little birds say.

posted by bruce at 1:07 PM on December 11, 2007

I think further discussion should happen before he just throws up his hands and resigns himself to unilaterally changing himself. Certainly, he shouldn't be in the role of the wake-up police, but if his girlfriend is unwilling to entertain any attempts at compromise, that's pretty telling. The problem with always taking the "removing oneself from annoying situations" approach is that it can lead to a very constricted life, where you've implicitly given everyone else's habits priority above yours.
posted by canine epigram at 1:19 PM on December 11, 2007

I have this alarm clock, which blinks very bright light at you for a few minutes, then makes the most godawful noise, but only if you don't either hit snooze or turn it off. The light is enough to wake me up and let me enjoy the snoozing process, but my boyfriend sleeps right through it. Something like that might work for you.
posted by dizziest at 1:38 PM on December 11, 2007

Have children. You will both never sleep again.
posted by fungible at 1:51 PM on December 11, 2007

I must be the lone soul that just doesn't get the wanting to hit the snooze button repeatedly before getting up. Since she has a "guest", couldn't or shouldn't she be a little more considerate of his schedule? Just because she "has" to be a work earlier (yet never shows up on time), couldn't she simply set the alarm closer to the time she actually wants to get up so as not to disturb her BF repeatedly for a half hour or more? Is it really that hard or awful to wake up when you know you have to be somewhere at a certain time?

I'd approach this conversation more from the point of "C'mon now. You need to be up a full hour before me. Is it really fair to set the alarm so much earlier than you actually plan to get up?"

If kbanas has been around for the better part of 3 years, seems to me he should have some say in the matter. No?
posted by SoftSummerBreeze at 3:10 PM on December 11, 2007

I'm not quite as bad as your girlfriend, but what's worked for me is getting an alarm that can be programmed with two different times, and that has no snooze button. I set the alarms ten minutes apart, and after waking the first time and turning it off, I know I have exactly ten more minutes to sleep and that's it. I enjoy the hell out of those last ten half-conscious minutes, and then I'm able to resign myself to getting up.

Really, though, the real problem is that she has absolutely no reason to get up with the alarm. If she had a job where she'd be fired for not showing up at 8, then she'd damn well be getting up at 6:50 all on her own, but she just doesn't have to. As I see it, the ultimate solution would be for her to just resign herself to getting up at 8 and being late every day, or to get a new job that requires punctuality (obviously this is not a super-great solution, though).
posted by showbiz_liz at 3:25 PM on December 11, 2007

I've tried using my brief moments of consciousness as I wake up in irritation to try to urge her out of the bed. This does not work.

You're giving up too easily. Maybe staying in bed, tossing around every couple minutes when the snooze goes off is more appealing to you than actually kicking her out of bed, or getting up and staying up with her yourself.

My solution? Get a dog. Mine gets me up at 6am every day. He doesn't take no for an answer. He licks me. He kisses me. If that doesn't get me up, he stares at me pitifully. If that doesn't work, he barks. He continues until I give in.

If you can't have a dog, maybe you should be more like a dog: Totally loving, but also totally insistent that she get up.
posted by Robert Angelo at 4:25 PM on December 11, 2007

I almost thought my boyfriend wrote this at first.
I also set my alarms at 6:50 to be in work at 8am. and he doesnt have to get up until 9am.

Here's the thing:
I am diagnosed with narcolepsy.
I have never in my adulthood (i am 27) gotten up on time for more than 3 days straight.

I have anywhere from 2-5 alarm clocks... and none of them really wake me up.
I sleep on a loft bed, so the alarms are down below... which still doesn't get me out of bed.

I am not sure if your girlfriend is tired throughout the day or not or if she has any sleep disorder symptoms, but if she does, perhaps she should see her doctor.

I am still struggling with being able to wake up on time.

Here is what helps a little:

1. drinking a lot of water before i go to sleep (so i have to pee really bad in the morning)
2. having my boyfriend get out of bed and turn on the lights
3. My boyfriend blasting Sports AM radio
4. My medications
posted by KogeLiz at 8:43 PM on December 11, 2007

At 6:50, her alarm goes off and she hits snooze without waking up. You start spooning her, or move in for cuddles, or however you usually gently initiate when half-asleep. At 6:59, her alarm goes off again; this time, one of you reaches over and turns it off for good as you proceed. If you're done at 7:30, she (wide-awake now) gets up while you doze for another half-hour. If you're done at 8, you both get up; even though you didn't get your last hour of sleep, you're probably happy anyway -- and you didn't have to hear that damn alarm go off every nine minutes.

KogeLiz, I too have narcolepsy. It doesn't necessarily relate to being hard to wake, but I sometimes also have that issue (due to good old-fashioned sleep deprivation). I set one alarm for an hour before I have to get up; when that goes off, I'm definitely not awake, but since I'm conscious enough to turn the alarm off, I'm conscious enough to take the Provigil that I set out (with a bottle of water) the night before. By the time my real alarm goes off an hour later, the Provigil has kicked in and life is a lot easier.
posted by booksandlibretti at 11:42 PM on December 11, 2007

The problem is that there's truly no better sleep than when you know you should be doing something else.

I can sympathize with your predicament though. When my last girlfriend and I were staying at each other's houses all the time, I would get home from work in the morning, crawl into bed, and awaken 40 minutes later by her cell phone--hidden among the blankets and pillows--blasting the Gorillaz "Dare" every few minutes until she decided to wake up.

To this day, whenever I hear that song I convulse uncontrollably and reach for the nearest object I can use to silence the noise. Seriously, "Sambo Smash."

Since everyone has already answered the hell out of your question, let me just say that you cannot control her--it's her house, she should be able to hit the snooze button all damn day if she likes--but you can control yourself. Wake up earlier. Use earplugs. Sleep at home. Find an equally obnoxious alarm that goes off at the same time as hers but hidden in a different place everyday.

Good Luck, Brother. I feel your pain.
posted by sambosambo at 4:27 AM on December 12, 2007

Go to bed earlier (both of you!) and I agree with the people upthread that said you should both get up at 6.50 or whatever. Getting out of bed is HARD when there's a nice warm person still asleep in it. Getting up and having breakfast with said person is much nicer. You then have an extra hour in the morning to do whatever you like with (except sleep!)
posted by Lotto at 4:38 AM on December 12, 2007

I'm pretty sure I've read that the sleep you're getting while hitting snooze every ten minutes is not really giving you the benefits of sleep at all, because you never hit the proper parts of the cycle (but because you get to remember a lot of the falling asleep bits, it does feel like a lot of sleep!) Since reading that, I have tried to make a conscious decision that I would get up when the alarm went off, and started setting my alarm later. This is a struggle, because I'm also one of those people who can sleep through several alarms even while getting out of bed to turn them off, but I find that once I have mentally categorized an alarm noise as 'time to GET UP' I respond to it better, because it is a more important signal to me. I try not to set alarms that I don't have to get up for, because it just dilutes the conditioning, and it sounds like this is what she's done - an alarm noise doesn't mean anything to her.
But anyway - assuming she doesn't care about this, I think you would be helping yourself by getting up when the first alarm goes off. If you're officially waking up at 7, then you'll be able to think about when you go to bed in order to get the right amount of sleep, and you won't be conditioning yourself to her pattern of ignoring alarms.
posted by jacalata at 4:52 AM on December 12, 2007

I don't think putting the alarm clock on the other side of the room is going to help. I'm guessing that what your girlfriend wants is to steal some more sleep, and I totally get it. I do something similar, and I used to do the snooze button thing too. Now, I use a somewhat clunky piece of software (Power Controller, but I think there are others that have similar features) on my Mac, which plays songs that I select from iTunes at the desired time. I set the alarm for slightly earlier than I need to get up, and I set it to start off at zero volume, and increase slowly to a slightly more than barely audible volume. It continues to play until I turn it off. The music is not loud enough to jar me awake; I believe, though I'm not sure, that I hear the music only when I naturally enter the light sleep phase, then I can still 'snooze', without ever hitting a snooze button. Hearing the music signals my brain that it'll soon be time to get up. Even though I've set the alarm for earlier than necessary, I achieve the feeling of having stolen some sleep. Even better, I'm not jarred awake, which immediately makes me think "fuck you, I'm not getting up if you scream at me like that!" Instead I am lulled gently awake by music that I actually like! If I feel I'm going to need that extra push, as I set the alarm the night before, I'll add a traditional alarm clock set to go off at the 'last feasible time.' The music might wake you up too, sort of, but it won't be as jarring as the scream every 9 minutes.

I don't think I've been entirely lucid here, but I hope you get my drift, and I hope you'll consider giving it a try before you try kicking her out of bed!
posted by segatakai at 5:24 AM on December 12, 2007

I recommend this: Sleeptracker watch.

It should make it easier for her to get up, and it probably won't disturbe you as much either.
posted by designmartini at 9:57 AM on December 12, 2007

I may have missed it, but I can't believe no one has mentioned the most obvious win-win wake up call extant: Sex.
posted by Oudein at 11:15 AM on December 12, 2007

Yea, you missed it.
posted by jacalata at 3:24 AM on December 13, 2007

I'm like your girlfriend in that I need to wake up slowly with several snooze button breaks.

I can wake up on the first alarm if I have too, but it makes me feel nauseous and cranky. Like most people would feel if they were woken up in the middle of the night. The suggestions that you get her to wake up on the first alarm with sex amused me, because when I'm in that state, that's the last thing on my mind.

It's not so much that I need the extra period of sleep, because - as other posters have pointed out - snooze button sleep isn't particularly high quality, and it doesn't seem to be affected by how much sleep I've had. What a snooze-button period does, as far as I can make out, is simulate the gradual wake-up I get when i wake up without an alarm at all. For this reason, I suspect devices which slowly raise the light or temperature in the room would work well for me, although I've never been able to bring myself to pony up the dough for them.

When I was living with someone who couldn't handle my snooze habit, we eventually found a solution using my CD player.

I'd have the speakers on my side of the bed, the CD player would be on the far side of the room. I burned a two track CD where the first track was '4-33' by John Cage (a track which consists of nothing but silence) and the second was 'Down With the Sickness' by Disturbed, (a track which starts very quietly, builds gently and then at the end of the intro there's this loud monkey scream and this loud metal music kicks in. Any song that starts quiet then suddenly goes loud would work.)

I'd set the alarm on the CD player for 7am and use the 'go back one track' button as a snooze. The quiet intro music on my side of the bed was enough to wake me alone and the trip across the room to change the track got me awake enough to know what time it was, but not so awake I couldn't go back to sleep.

We had an agreement that if the track ever got to the monkey scream he could steal the covers and remove me from the bed by force. It never really came to that though. Once we'd worked out the right volume and distance for the CD player, it worked like a charm.
posted by the latin mouse at 9:23 AM on December 13, 2007 [3 favorites]

Ooh! There's also this.
posted by sambosambo at 1:45 PM on December 14, 2007

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