Wednesday, 3 March 2010

[Real Life] Snooze

When I was first offered this job I'm now doing, one of my primary concerns was that I wouldn't be able to find the time to write anymore. I had to take the job, and part of me almost even wanted to, but I knew that it would mean big changes. So I immediately decided that what I would do was this...

When the job started, I would wake at 5am every weekday. I would slip into my Slanket and make myself a pot of coffee. Then I would write my diary till 5.30. This would mean starting a diary again. This I would do. Then I would write something else until 8 o'clock when I would turn off my computer and do twenty minutes of vigorous exercise, stretching like Armstrong and saluting the sun like a militant yogi.

When I informed certain friends of my intentions, they were doubtful. Some of them mocked me. I was furious. 'O ye of little faith,' I chided, believing wholeheartedly that they would be laughing on the other side of their filthy faces when I slipped silkily into my new routine.

So. This is my third week and sadly I have not once managed to get out of bed more than ten minutes before I have to leave the house, often ten minutes or so after. It seems in fact that I am incapable of getting out of bed, even at 7 or 8 o'clock, let alone 5. Now I come to think of it, I have always been incapable of getting out of bed. What I'm wondering now is, why did I ever think I'd be able to do it? Am I an idiot?

Idiot or not, the fact is, I still genuinely believe myself when I make myself these promises.

For example, back in May 2008, I decided that I was going to run the London marathon the following year. I believed that too. Someone at work is doing the marathon this year. I was talking to them today and I was thinking, 'I'm going to do that. I'll do it next year.' And I believed myself then too. I believe it now. I really will do the marathon next year. You see if I don't.

You see? I'm incorrigible.

When I finally got an iPhone a couple of weeks ago, I was really pleased that I could download the app that would monitor my sleep patterns and wake me up when I was sleeping lightly, thus enabling me to greet the day feeling refreshed and wide awake. Really pleased.

It doesn't work.


The thing is, when I absolutely have to, I can do it. When I had to write my book in a very short period of time, I got up every day at 6am and I did it. Mind you, I wanted to do that. My heart was in it. My heart isn't in this poxy fucking job, thinking up shitty puns and being treated like a fucking prawn by people who clearly consider themselves vastly superior to me.

Seriously, for 200 days I have to tolerate this? That's over 93,000 minutes essentially wasted. Must I? Really?

Yes. I must.

With that in mind, very genuinely I beseech thee, do you know, is there anything I can do to instill in myself a little self-discipline? Or more simply, how the fuck do I get out of bed in the morning? I would really appreciate your advice if you have any. Please bear in mind, however, that I have already tried the following: hiding alarm clocks; laying out clothes next to alarm clocks; sticking abusive notes to the wall next to alarm clocks; going to bed early; going to bed late; drinking heavily the night before; visualising a successful awakening; bullying myself; loathing myself. And none of it works. Not even close.

So. How do you get up in the morning? What's your secret?

Please help me. You're my only hope.

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Timorous Beastie said...

Five in the morning is clearly too early to get up. You must have gone mad. Sleep refreshes both brain and bod, so any writing you might get done having forced yourself to get up at 5:00 am would probably not be worth the paper it's written on. Can you write some of your own stuff while you're being treated like a prawn?

La Bête said...

Well, I imagined myself going to bed at about 11, so it seemed doable. But it seems that going to bed at 11 is not doable. Except tonight. I'm going to do it tonight.

Difficult to write at work as I'm too busy reading other people's crap. Christ, I'm so going to get dooced.

isntit said...

When - IF - you work out how to wake up - please, share your wondrous secret. I have the sleep-monitoring app (which depressingly lists the few hours I've "slept"), a radio alarm click with a lamp on it that slowly turns on, and a phone alarm every minute for half an hour. NOTHING WORKS. I think I've offended the God of Sleep or something.

nondisbeliever said...

Getting up so early is gonna be next to impossible for someone who isn't used to it.

Phase it in gradually by shaving 15-30 minutes off your lie-in every few days. You won't be able to do it if you're not sufficiently rested, so make sure you adjust your bed-time to match.

Above all else, you do really have to want to do this, so if what you're waking up for isn't doing it for you, consider changing your exercise regime, or giving yourself some kind of incentive that trumps the extra time in bed.

I've only known a few people able to get by on 5-6 hours of sleep or less, and they were all fucking mental.

B said...

I have never had a problem getting up in the morning because
a) I have a husband who brings me a cup of tea (the day he stops that will be the day we divorce)
and b) I never feed the cats when I go to bed, so by the morning they have their sharp little talons surrepticiously making their way under the duvet to the very softest bare bit of skin in a desperate attempt to gain attention.

Unless you have evil (hungry) cats or a husband, I doubt either of these techniques help.
I did see a clock earlier for $94,950- I'm not sure it had an alarm but at that price, surely it has? Unfortunately they didn't design it to last longer than 2011*.

On the occasions I have to get up sans husband/cats I don't bother with an alarm; I tell myself what time I have to wake up, and even if it is at 5am for a flight, it works. It really works.

*silly expensive clock here

Your fabulous book arrived via Amazon today. Do you mind if I read it in the loo?

John Daniels said...

Pretty much the only reason I manage to get out of bed at all is the quaking fear of my horrific Northern Rock mortgage.

So all you need to do is get a mortgage that's much more than the value of your house, consumes nearly all your salary, and is with a failed bank.


Anonymous said...

I get about 4 hours of sleep every night - if I'm lucky. I actually don't need to set an alarm clock because I DON'T SLEEP! The only thing that gets me out of bed is knowing I have to get my son to school on time. My advice: have a child. Or get a dog. It'll lick your face until you wake up coz it has to pee so badly, but then you might end up needing a face transplant, like this:

Alternatively, I volunteer to phone you every morning at 5am since I DON'T SLEEP AND WILL SURELY BE AWAKE.

It really is demoralising having to rewrite the writing of people who earn their living as journalists.

You have been remiss on the writing, though. My Mondays are just not the same anymore.

A Twitter Friend

La Bête said...

Isntit, I promise, when I discover the secret, I will share it.

Nondisbeliever, you are wise. You've also reminded me, it's going to be so much easier in about a month's time, when things are warmer and brighter.

B, thanks for that. And that clock is ludicrous. And yes, you absolutely must read my book on the loo, with your panties round your ankles.

JD. Hmmm. A mortgage eh? I don't think I'm ready.

ATF. A son, eh? I don't think I'm ready. Please don't phone me. I thank you.

And goodnight.

Aiko said...

Well, Anon beat me to it, but I was going to say I'm willing to call you and bug you each morning until you get up to get away from me! Or I'll send Sponge round, she'll wake you up trying to get under the duvet.

Doc said...

Adopt! We've got three cheeky monkeys and haven't slept past five in years. Really. It works!

Of course, you'd have to be absolutely stupid to go for it...but then...

Yeah, I know, back to the corner.

Richard Bartlett said...

It sounds as though you've already tried all the techniques I use -except my variation on the hiding the alarm whereby you tape it to the ceiling to prevent sleepwalk deactivations.

I would do away with the morning exercise; the last thing your tired mind will wake for is strenuous exercise and stretching cold muscles is no fun.

If you're a snooze-aholic, set your snooze time out to two minutes and have two alarms going of a minute apart on opposite sides of the room. Superglue them in place if necessary...

Dave2 said...

I find that the incentive to get up at ungodly hours for work each morning to be this: If I can't earn money to pay my rent, I will be forcibly ejected from my bed by the police.

That always seems to do the trick.

Andy said...

What time would you wake up if you didn't have an alarm clock? If the answer is "noon", you can pretty much write off doing anything creative in the morning. But there is hope in the long term..... as I got older, I found I needed less sleep, and I now wake up at 6.30 without an alarm clock.

I also recommend being eased gently into the morning by having Audrey Tautou give you oral pleasure. She sends her regards, by the way.

Anonymous said...

Get up and have a shower, first thing you do. By the time you’re out of the bathroom you can’t go back to bed. I had to get at 4am for some work and this was the only way I could maintain it. Also don’t sleep in on the weekends, the only way it works is to develop a sleep pattern (doesn’t mean you can’t flake out on the couch mid afternoon) and maintain it. Do it for 21 days and you’ll get the gist. The alternative is do it at night and keep your current pattern…. Is there any real reason the get up that fucking early…

Sky said...

What I do when I'm trying to get myself to do stupid things like getting up early, eating healthy, blah blah blah, is kind of silly. I make a rule - I can only masturbate or have sex on the days that I do what I am supposed to do. You would be surprised how well this works.

Fauxsimile Machine said...

Two alarm clocks, one automatic coffee maker.

The first alarm beside the bed. Mild subtle volume just barely above the range of what will wake you set to go off at 4:59.

Maybe 4:49:30, just enough time to get to the second alarm. Which is in another room, that is loud enough to wake the neighbors set to go off at 5:00am.

Have automatic coffee maker setup to have a cup ready for you.

clumpf said...

A big willy poking you in the back every morning will wake you up. Ask Ben.

PurestGreen said...

You would have to go to bed really early to be able to get up at five. Otherwise your body will do what it wants. I should ask my grandparents, who have been getting up at 5.30 or 6am for all the decades of their marriage. But then again, they also eat lunch at 10am and their tea at 2pm. They eat nothing after about 4pm. They're Germans and very regimented. Maybe that's the trick - you're going to have to become a German.

Anonymous said...

Well, it might sound weird , but I used to do it when I had to get up early. Before you go to sleep, bump your head against the pillow ( quite hard) the number of times of the hour you want to get up at. So, six bumps for six o'clock.

Will you try, will you tell us whether it worked ?

La Bête said...

Aiko, yes, please send Sponge to London for me. That would be perfect.

Doc, I don’t think an inability to get out of bed in the morning is a good enough reason to adopt. Plus, I don’t think I’m ready. Maybe in a few months.

RB, I’ve had three alarms going off more or less simultaneously in different places, but I tend to just go round turning them off one after the other. Taping to the ceiling is an interesting idea though…

Dave, same here. I mean, that’s why I get out of bed eventually. But I’d really love to get out of bed maybe an hour before I absolutely have to.

Andy, probably about 10. I’m actually pretty good in the mornings once I’m up. Please don’t take Audrey’s name in vain. Merci.

Dog, I’ve done that before – jumped in the shower and then wrapped myself in towels and got back into bed, just for a minute. Next thing I knew it was Friday.

OK, Sky. I’ll try that. No more sex till I rise and shine.

Faux, I couldn’t wake the neighbours. Even though they deserve it. I’d feel rotten.

Clumpf. Dear Clumpf. Don’t be silly.

PG, thank you. That’s one of the most practical suggestions. Become German. I’m thinking about it.

Isabelle – this I will try. I’ll let you know.

Anonymous said...

I have a meeting at 8.45 am tomorrow morning and I've been worrying about it all week because, in the 18 months I've been in my job, I've been on time ooh, maybe twice. I work late every night and I get everything done, so no-one cares. I also live ten minutes from work, which is just as well because otherwise I'd be even later. Even with two alarm clocks and a daylight lamp that switches on at 7.15, I never manage to drag myself out of bed until the absolute last minute, and quite often wake up to discover I've switched all the alarms off in my sleep. I did try putting the alarm on the other side of the room, but I had to stop that because I'm so groggy in the morning that I fell over and injured myself a couple of times in my quest to turn it off. And the noise drove my housemate crazy. She's Dutch and jovial and bounds out of bed every morning with a hearty laugh. I do not. Even the dog doesn't wake me up, largely because she's so incontinent these days that she just wees all over the floor rather than try to rouse anyone. Oddly, when I'm staying with my monk friends, I hop out of bed for morning prayers at 6 am quite happily. So there's another practical suggestion for you. Become a monk.


Anonymous said...

I've never been able to fathom how people get up early in the morning. I can't get up more than ten minutes before I have to leave the house. Basically a half-hour's extra sleep > a light breakfast, coffee, read of the paper, leisurely ablutions and being fully conscious while driving. It's the equation I cannot beat.

Crackofnoonishallwake said...

Lovely post + comments. Audrey Tatou comment resulted in a half hour daydream + pressure build up down south. Apologies to Ms Tatou and Bete.

This got me thinking, what kind of a guy do you have to be to deserve a woman like that let alone the gentle wake up call?

And the answer I arrived at was the kind of guy who can wake up at 5 in the morning everday for 365 days in a row without fail.

Once you've got your Tatou the following years shouldn't be a problem.

"2"-shit-firaz said...

While most people envy those who can wake up at 5 am I envy those who can wake up 10 mins before they leave the house? light breakfast, read the paper, ablutions. How the fuck do you manage that in 10 minutes?

I am cursed with the 2 shits in the morning syndrome. I need a crap 10 minutes after i wake up and then either on the following instances: just after a)i brush my teeth or b)have coffee or c) just before I need to leave the flat. Which always results me in being late. My friends have labelled me 2 shit "Firaz" (fake name obviously, this is tantamount to confessing to kiddyfiddling!)

La Bête said...

Hey, Spidey. A monk, eh? How does one become a monk, I wonder? Would I have to shave my head? No problem. Would I have to stop having sex with inanimate objects? No problem. Would I have to believe in God? Um… Maybe I’ll become Dutch instead.

NK, me old China doll. You be careful, you hear?

Crack, thank you for your comment. However: TAUTOU. Oui?

Hello, TwoShits. That’s quite a syndrome you’ve got there. I do not envy you. But I admire you.

Crack said...

Bonsoir Bete,

You said do not take her name in vain so I didnt. Like G-d you know. Get with it...

ok fine i cant fucking spell. So sueauou me

Anonymous said...

If you call me Spidey, I shall call you Betty.


Anonymous said...

I love reading your blog's comments. Your readers go to great lengths to get out of bed. Damn!

You need a Siren Alarm clock. Here's a link. I didn't Tiny it coz I couldn't be bothered.

I think you can also get alarm clocks that scream abuse at you. Again, I'll happily phone you at 5am and scream abuse at you myself. Save you having to buy yet another alarm clock.

It's past midnight nondisbeliever. I am nowhere near sleepy. If I'm lucky I'll get 3-4 hours tonight. I think I may be fucking mental as a result of sleep deprivation. Not sure. I'll have to ask my friends.

Good night - A Twitter Friend

Imogen said...

It feels very odd writing this from the next room - I hope by now that you are softly slumbering.

Do you know what? I think you should be gentle with yourself and set realistic, achievable targets - getting up very early in July to be greeted by sunlight streaming through your window is one thing, but it simply hasn't been the time of year to spring out of bed of a morning. I found mornings horribly difficult for the first few weeks of the year.

Perhaps if you aimed to do just half an hour of writing before leaving the house each morning, you'd be able to achieve your goal most of the time. You'd then feel more benevolent towards yourself, thus more likely to awake feeling good, thus better able to write better, thus more likely to feel inclined to exercise etc etc.

Go easy on yourself, you big king prawn skewer...

My sister and I used to do Isabelle's trick - it works! Power of intention, eh?

Actually, that's something I think you should research: the power of intention.

Big kisses,

Imogen x x x

Fauxsimile Machine said...

Sorry, should have explained a bit more.

The idea is not to wake the neighbors, you have to get out of bed immediately to prevent it.

Anonymous said...

Bonjour La Bête,
Have only a light meal in the evening, then the next morning you'll be starving and get up quickly to devour your breakfirst.
c'est juste une idée...
Uncle Did

Nuclear Girl said...

Be of good cheer, 2 Sh*t Firaz, for it is pretty unlikely you'll ever get bowel cancer! Seriously though, Bete, the secret of being able to get up in the morning is an extremely healthy diet. If you eat healthily, (I swear by low GL) and don't drink any alcohol at all, you'll have no trouble getting up, largely because, like 2SF, you'll need to unload - urgently! You do need to stick to it religously, though, and train yourself to go to bed early - 11pm latest.

Peach said...

don't go to bed much before or much after 1am for a 7am awakening. 2 am for an 8am awakening etc.

6 hours is all you need, and if you get into the habit of going to bed at the same time at night, you will eventually wake up at the same time in the morning. Even weekends, but then you have that glorious feeling of being able to roll back over smug that you don't have to get up for once.

.. or yes have a baby

IQ again :) said...

Hi Bête.

I've been thinking lately that I should send you a few pounds as I've read and enjoyed your blog quite a bit, and I still think I may do that, but now it seems that I have the opportunity to offer you something else in return too, namely the following few suggestions:

Do you read French? I looked at for Pierre Fluchaire's book La révolution du sommeil, but they seemed to have no English translation. If you don't read French, maybe you can find a translation somewhere else. It seems that he has written three relevant books, and this one was the best of the two I have read, but perhaps the third is even better.
Anyway, I've had so much benefit from what I learned from this book. You know that we sleep in cycles, and that there are different sorts of sleep, right? Well, this book shows how to use that knowledge to improve your sleep and get up easier. It's really quite simple. If this book is not an alternative for you, maybe you could find the info on the net. (You could actually cut away most of the book, and still have the important info left, but he likes to talk about this and that related to the subject too.)

Second suggestion: most people would find this way too extreme, but I'll mention it anyway: go to Matt Monarch's home page - or something similar - and learn from him how to become a raw vegan. :D
But for British climate it would probably be wise to complement with Ann Wigmore, and maybe Karen Knowler too. You'd soon be so healthy that you'd need much less sleep. :)
Evidently, Ann Wigmore used to work like 18-20 hours, and only slept two or three hours a night. :)

If point two was too extreme, at least it's a good idea to take care of your health.
Apart from eating healthy, it seems that many "normal eaters" benefit greatly from a few colonics, or an intestinal cleansing program.
One woman who had her first colonic said that the morning after, she was surprised to wake up one hour earlier than usual. Maybe it was an unlikely coincidence she said, but she simply couldn't remember the last time she had awakened before the alarm clock.
What was even more "bizarre" was that she felt happy and well. Usually she would feel like dead until she had had her coffee.
Maybe something to try?

And the fourth suggestion: Follow the link below (if it works) and read Steve Pavlina's article "How to Get Up Right Away When Your Alarm Goes Off".
I'm quite sure you'll find it very interesting.
He also has two articles called How to Become an Early Riser (plus part II) that could perhaps be of interest.

Good luck!

"IQ" (dreadful name!:) said...

PS. Sorry about the tone towards the end of the above; I should probably rather have said "I THINK you'll find ...[the article] interesting".

Anyway, that French book I mentioned, it explains the rules of the sleep game so to speak, and when you know them it's SO much easier to get it right. And if your French is not sufficient and you can't find a translation, there must be several others telling about the same things, cause the knowledge has been around for decades now.

One day basic sleep knowledge will be something everyone learns in school, but till' then, one has to inform oneself.

La Bête said...

Cheers, Moggie, Did, NG and Peach. You are all peaches to me.

IQ, that was very interesting, thank you. I'm going to do the conditioning thing in a moment. Lots of other stuff on that site is very interesting too. And I think some of it might even work. I mean, on me. Thanks again.

The Real Girl said...

I know how you feel! RG

"dreadful name" :) said...

Hi Bête.

Came across an article that could perhaps interest you, so here's the address in case you'd like to check it out:

(My best advice is still to learn the rules of the game though.)