Rise and Shine, Sleepyhead! (Or Not)
It’s a beautiful morning! Life is anticipating your arrival! Wake up! If only it were so easy as hearing a few encouraging words. The problem is, no matter how enthusiastically your arrival is anticipated; all you can hear is the blaring sound of your alarm clock and your jarred nerves, or nothing at all if you’re sleeping through it. Not awake enough to move, your mind entertains visions of an alarm clock flying out the window while a hand blindly searches for the one thing that can bring relief: the almighty snooze button. Oh, the irony of being welcomed into a new day by deafening noise, and that little button that becomes a silent savior for the next ten, twenty, or even thirty minutes. This is a typical morning.
What Can Be Done?
There is much available in the way of helping people to train their brains to wake up to their alarms. The list ranges from phone apps that make you get up to perform a task, to straight up behavioral modification, to resetting Circadian Rhythms, and much more. But even with such “training tools,” would it not make sense to get to the root causes of the problem as well, to optimize success?
Consider the perspective that there is something psychologically absurd about the invention of alarm clocks with snooze buttons. Their functions cancel each other out. What’s the message? Wake up! Sleep. Wake up! Procrastinate. You get the drift. So, how does one beat such a sly conspiracy against waking up? The first step is to understand how that message plays out in your life, and not just from a tangible perspective.
What if waking up to your alarm is more a matter of dealing with the opposition in your mind? Changing Circadian Rhythms can help immensely in syncing yourself with your alarm, but finding problematic response patterns can empower a shift that increases chances of successful change. Reflection is a huge part of change. Paying attention to the details surrounding your sleeping and waking patterns can inform you about deeper implications within those patterns. Exploring the thinking surrounding your habits in this way can help surface things that are undermining your intentions.
Making Sense of it
The hunt for change is in the details and making connections between seemingly insignificant variable influences. For example, everyone has had those days when it seems everything goes wrong from the get go, starting with the alarm clock. Suppose that several things occur that get the day reeling in a bad direction: this may very well set your psychological self up to expect the same thing tomorrow, in essence conditioning and perpetuating your response to the alarm clock. It may sound a bit in depth for the problem at hand, but paying attention to little things like this can clue you in to when you’re setting yourself up, no matter how big or small the challenge faced.
Hearing and Listening to Your Brain’s Alarms
As a result of mindful practice and reflection, you might find that your body is simply telling you that you need more sleep, or that you dread your morning routine so much that you unwittingly perpetuate the cycle. You might discover that stress has you by the tail and that there’s a specific trigger that sets off your response (not the alarm clock), or a myriad of other factors that might be contributing to the issue.
When you have a solid idea of what is perpetuating your inability to wake up the way you want to, you’re able to respond to your needs accordingly. And once the frustration in your mind is quieted by that deeper understanding, you’ll be better equipped to take the necessary steps to change the situation. Knowing yourself, how your brain works, and what it’s telling you, is the key to making peace with your alarm clock, whether you’re currently sleeping through it, or wanting to throw it out the window.