The screech of the alarm is a ubiquitous sound in our sleep-deprived society. Apparently, these days, we need the equivalent of someone screaming at us non-stop in order to drag our tired selves out of bed in the mornings. Meetings and obligations call, but “ten more minutes” is the clarion call of the overtired worker, parent, and teenager.
The thought of waking up without an alarm clock calls to mind blessed vacations, lazy summer mornings, and an indescribable peace that comes with waking gently to a world it actually feels kinda good to be in. When we wake gently rather than being dragged from slumber by horrendous sounds, we even feel less of a need for coffee and more of an ability to smile.
But you can wake up without a painful alarm (and maybe even without coffee) even on normal workday mornings when there are obligations to be met. Here are three ways that work:
1. The “Weaning” Method
If you use an alarm clock now, keep using it. Put yourself on a strict sleep schedule—go to bed and wake up at the same time every night for a week or two. Once you begin to fall asleep easily and waken feeling refreshed when the alarm goes off, wean yourself off of the alarm.
On a morning when you have no obligations, don’t set the alarm clock. Or, if you have obligations every morning, set the alarm clock as a backup at the last possible moment. You’ll find yourself waking before the alarm regularly if you stick to a schedule that allows you to get adequate sleep and lets your body “know” what to expect.
2. The “Visualization” Method
The Silva Method promotes a visualization to help the mind wake when it’s time. It’s still a mystery how the brain keeps track of the hours, but proponents of the method swear by its effectiveness.
The visualization is simple: As you go to bed at night, with your mind in a relaxed state, close your eyes and visualize your clock—either the dreaded alarm clock or a familiar household clock—displaying the time when you want to wake. If you want to wake up at 6:00 a.m., for example, see the image clearly and say to yourself: “I want to wake up at 6:00 a.m. I will wake up at 6 a.m.” Then release the visualization and fall asleep. According to proponents of this method (like blogger Clay Collins), a trained mind in a well-rested body will wake up when it expects to wake up.
3. The “Alternative Alarm” Method
Some people find that not having an alarm simply isn’t an option—they either can’t wake up or experience so much anxiety at not having that back-up method that they don’t sleep well at all. In that case, look for an alternative alarm—one that uses light or pleasant noises in place of the screaming alarm, or one that literally moves so that you have to find it before you can turn it off. Check out these fun alternative alarms I blogged about back in April.
The key to each of these methods is to establish a regular sleep pattern so that your body is rested and ready to awaken when it’s time. No matter which method you use, you’ll find that you wake more easily and feel more pleasant even early in the a.m.—and that your peaceful demeanor tends to stick with you throughout the day. Enjoy!