I’ve struggled with sleep since I was born. Literally. I was one of those special kids who didn’t start sleeping through the night until … well, about four or five. And even then I’d wake up in the middle of the night, drag my blankets into my parents’ room, and sleep on the floor beside my father’s side of the bed most nights. Later I started crouching outside my bedroom, reading under the hall light while always listening for the dreaded tread of parental footsteps on the stairs. My teens didn’t see any improvement in my sleeping habits, and I’ve been struggling since to attain the regular sleep that so many people take for granted.
In doing so, I’ve picked up a ridiculous number of tips and tricks for inducing, maintaining, and ending sleep. Here’s one of my favorites, since it requires little effort or willpower.
This Sunday is your chance to easily shift to getting up an hour earlier. An extra hour to sip your coffee in peace, work out, or start writing/reading that book you’ve always wanted to get to.
Take advantage of the end of Daylight Savings Time and when you set your clock back an hour, set your alarm clock back as well.
To give yourself a fighting chance of actually getting up, here are a couple of ideas to help you adjust:
- Set the alarm clock across the room. If you use your phone as your clock, even better. It’ll create a disincentive to check email one more time if you have to get out of bed and trek over to the doorway.
- Use music. If your alarm clock has several tones, try a new one for the coming week. If you’re using your phone, set it to a favorite dance beat. Waking up to music is a lot more pleasant—and less adrenaline-inducing—than a blaring alarm. You’ll probably need to turn the volume up a bit, though, to compensate for the lack of that special air raid siren noise.
- Grab a buddy. Knowing you need to text/call someone is a great way to motivate you to haul your hindquarters out of that comfy cozy bed.
- Light a candle. (No, not that kind of candle--though if you want to pull in some divine aid in getting up earlier, go for it.) It’ll probably be dark when you wake up, so light a candle or five in addition to turning on the lights. They’re comforting, symbolize warmth, and often smell nice. Just remember to blow them out before you leave!
Unfortunately, this year’s DST ends at 2 a.m. on the night of Halloween. A lot of people are going to need that extra hour of sleep to offset their revelry. But even if you don’t bump back that wake-up until Monday morning, you should still get the benefit. After that, though, your body will probably have adjusted to the new “time zone.” So seize the opportunity to start waking up (and hopefully also getting to sleep) earlier this weekend!