I’ve just bought a new alarm clock. Every alarm clock I’ve ever owned has broken. I did have one of those really cheap ones you get out of Argos, but one day the hands stopped moving. Eventually they also began to droop down, leaving gravity to dictate the time. It was permanently 6:30. Useless.
So then I bought a sturdy old-fashioned wind-up Westclox one. Surely that wouldn’t be problematic? Well, it actually needs a rest every now and again. If you’ve not wound it up for a few weeks, it’s fine. But if you want to use it every day (for instance, I don’t know, maybe because you have to get up every day) it is completely useless. Sooner or later it will just stop, without warning. Sometimes it just stops in the middle of the night, so the alarm will never go off. If you want to get it going again you have to nudge it, but that’s no good if it stops in the middle of the night.
I’ve found myself actually having to get up early fairly often, what with exams and various other things, so I have now opted for a cheap-but-not-so-cheap alarm clock from Tesco. It’s not so loud, so I’m going to use it alongside the Westclox one just as a backup really.
It doesn’t help that I’ve always been terrible in the mornings. I’ve always liked staying up late, even when I was very young apparently. Even when I’m tired, there is usually at least one thing I want to squeeze in before I go to sleep, even if it’s just something like listening to Dr Karl.
Going to sleep never seems important at night time, but in the morning getting some more sleep always seems to be the most important thing. Nothing decent happens in the morning, so there’s no point in being around unless you have to be. So this isn’t the first time I’ve used more than one alarm at once. I’m sure at one point when I was at school I used five alarms at once. Of course it never worked, so I just gave that up.
Why am I writing all of this boring stuff about my sleep and non-sleep? Because I’ve just read this interesting article by Steve Pavlina about how to make yourself get up as soon as the alarm clock goes off (via inluminent). I’m sure this isn’t the first time I’ve read an article about sleep / getting up on that blog.
Anyway, one of the first questions he asks is:
Do you find yourself hitting the snooze button and going right back to sleep?
Yes I do! I blame Blue Peter for that. Seriously. I never used to see the point of the snooze button. I thought, “if you’ve set the alarm clock you want to get up. If you switch it off then you want more sleep — you wouldn’t want to be woken up again only five minutes later.” I think that’s true actually, but the advice on Blue Peter said that the snooze button is actually a good thing! It can help ease you into the day and give you a bit of thinking time — some preparation for the events of the day ahead. Maybe there’s something in that, but usually I properly fall back alseep when I use the snooze button so I don’t think I really get much thinking time in…
You decide to get up at a certain time in advance, but then you undo that decision when the alarm goes off. At 10pm you decide it would be a good idea to get up at 5am. But at 5am you decide it would be a better idea to get up at 8am. But letâ€™s face it â€” you know the 10pm decision is the one you really want implementedâ€¦ if only you could get your 5am self to go along with it.
That’s familiar! I did it yesterday actually. I was meant to get up early yesterday to go in and get some essay feedback from my tutor. At least, that was the plan the night before. But as soon as my alarm went off, the excuses racked up.
- My tutor hasn’t properly marked my essay anyway because he’s on strike, so I’ll only get vague feedback and a rough estimate of my mark
- If the dispute isn’t sorted out in time my mark for the essay won’t count anyway
- My train will be late anyway
- Even so, I can just catch a later train — I’m sure my tutor will still be around 30 minutes later
The excuse about my train being late is always the most dangerous one. The trains actually often arrive at Kirkcaldy early these days, and Sod’s Law dictates that they certainly won’t be late if I’ve slept in. And of course my tutor wasn’t still there thirty minutes later. It’s just as well I needed to brush up on my maths in the library so it wasn’t a wasted trip.
You donâ€™t need two or three alarm clocks scattered around the room.
Correct. If you’re inclined to fall back asleep again you are going to switch all of the alarms off. It’s not actually much more difficult than switching one alarm off. Having alarms at the other side of the room isn’t much help either, for me at least. I just got up, switched it off, and crawled back into bed again. It was like a routine; autopilot. I don’t bother with all of that any more.
The trouble with routines like this is that it’s always easy to say to yourself, “Oh, I’ll have a day off, because it’s a Sunday / Friday / Wednesday / you get the picture.” It’s also difficult to have a set pattern because my day-to-day life doesn’t follow a set patter. For instance, I couldn’t get up at the same time every day because I would end up getting up at 7am on a Sunday morning. Why would anybody want to do that?
I might give Steve Pavlina’s suggestions a try. It’s more flexible because you can still set the alarm whenever you want and award yourself the odd sleep in. But it sounds like an awful lot of effort. Practice? Pah!