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Tips, Advice, and Good Habits for Getting to Bed and Waking Up on Time?

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I thought that this wasn't weighty enough for the Serious Discussion forums, but I still want legitimate answers.

What are some tips, advice, and habits you have for going to bed on time to get enough sleep for the next day, as well as waking up at an assigned time without snoozing or accidentally going back to sleep?

For the full (and very long) story of why I'm asking this:

Spoiler

Note that this is kinda personal, and observant readers might be able to figure out my age. I only state the former so that in case you don't want to read several paragraphs about an area of my life why I'm asking this question, you can skip to the short version below. As for the latter, well, I don't really care if you manage to figure it out. I've noticed that I'm wiser than what my age would suggest in some areas, while I'm more ignorant in others, so it helps keep people guessing.

Spoiler

A few years ago my high-school conveniently and recently started a program where students could go to high-school half the day, and college the other half to gain college credit starting Junior year and throughout Senior year. They also had a program where after high-school was complete, you could go an extra year of college (a “5th year,” so to speak) and graduate with an associates degree (at the cost of not officially graduating from high-school until then, even though we still went through the formalities of such events and didn’t take any high-school classes during the 5th year). And it was  all paid for by the state.

I bring this up, because I was among the first people to be in this “5-Year program” during the year it was initiated, and I was also one of four people from my high-school that did this specific program (and I actually knew all of them). I was also the only person that did the engineering course, and I knew that I was going into each class blind considering my minimal to nonexistent experience with the specific fields of engineering, especially considering they were very “hands-on” classes (I still find it hilarious that for a while, I was the only person in a class filled with men (and the occasional woman), both young and old, that didn’t have a driver's licence and never had a job). Still, it was an experience that few other people would have the opportunity to do, and I took full advantage of it.

The first year of the program went by normally, with me never having any free time and realizing that college makes high-school both very easy and very boring in comparison. The second year, however, I had a online class that was more lenient that the one I had the previous year. I didn’t think much about it them, but that’s when I stated to develop a few bad sleeping habits. The only classes I had were on Monday and Wednesday, and both days had a morning and evening class, so my schedule was a bit more free during the rest of the week. I say a “bit more” because two of the three physical classes I had used Tooling U as part of the class, which had to be completed on our own time, and needless to say, those could take awhile to complete, especially since it’s a learning process in and of itself to know what to take notes of and what the best strategies of doing so are.

My other online class was a math one, which served as a good reminder of the things I had forgotten over the summer, and I usually completed them before I had to head off to high school. However, since I could do it on my own time, there were days where I slept in or hit the snooze button more than I should have, and needless to say, this meant I had less time to work on the online class. At the start it was something that happened entirely by accident, but as the time wore on, my bad habit of sleeping in became more consistent. Fortunately, I started realizing this, and soon did my best to put an end to it. The realization of how much work I could get done on Tooling U in the morning if I finished the online math course first was my main motivation for actually getting up at the time I had set my alarm clock to.

The next semester, however, was even more lenient in how much free time I had, as there were no online courses this time around. And I only had a morning class on Monday and Wednesday, and the other two classes where at night. I got up easily on the days that I had my morning class (to the point I had some time to spare before I had to leave, hence why some of my comments on Serenes Forest are so early in the morning), and I set my alarm clock at a later time on the days I didn’t have anything in the morning, as I still wanted to get stuff done on the work from high-school and college (especially since my Pre-Calculus class had a lot of homework, and my father (an engineer) commented that my teacher/class apparently ignored the “pre” part. The majority of the extra time I had was not wasted on entertainments, to say the least). Over time, I started hitting the snooze button more and more, although to be fair, around that time I had also started to learn how to get the homework done at a faster yet still efficient pace.

I forget when exactly I started the habit (I believe it was during the previous summer, but I could be wrong), but I also spent some days late at night just thinking, although occasionally it was due to being engrossed in a book or video game and losing track of the time. I didn’t spend too much time awake at first (mostly 5 or 10 minutes past the mark when you get the recommended 8 hours of sleep), but after a while, the length I stayed up grew, to the point there were some days I needlessly stayed up to midnight over some random train of thought, and this did affect how much sleep I got at times.

Unlike the previous semester, these habits only got worse as time progressed. As awesome as it was, it didn’t help that one of my night classes was over way ahead of schedule because of how much progress we had made (the teacher told us that we were nearly done with the entire class at the when it was planned we were supposed to be at the halfway mark!), so I had the evening free, which only meant that I was awake even for later at night. And eventually the college classes ended, and I only had a month of high-school left.

And I got lazy.

Not in my work ethic. I still completed the tasks and assignments on time with the knowledge, effort, and care expected. However, I started getting up so late, that after I had breakfast, it was mere minutes later when I ate lunch, and I admit that I abused the trust of my band director to barely get to class on time (I warned him way ahead of time that I would be arriving late or would even miss some days of class due to college, and since I had proven myself a reliable student in the past (For example, I practiced everyday during the summer to be ready for marching band season, and I already had the music memorized by the time band camp rolled about (and since I’m a percussionist, specifically one that largely plays on the mallet instruments, this was extremely important)) he was fine with the arrangement). It was common for me to stay up to midnight for something trivial when previously I was pretty good at getting to bed at a good time.

Now, however, I have a job, and though I’ve done my best to rid myself of these habits, some still bite me in the butt every now and again, while others do so everyday. Especially early on, where while I no longer went to bed at midnight, I still went to bed hours later than I should, since I have to wake up very early to get to work on time (never been late, for the record). And speaking of waking up, I daily have to deal with resisting the temptation to hit the snooze button, and I’ve had some pretty close calls of turning my alarm clock off and accidentally falling asleep, only to wake up ten minutes later.

I should mention that I’m kinda overselling how big of a problem this is, especially since I’m a lot better now at handling my sleep schedule that I was a month ago but it’s still something one that I don’t want to deal with any longer. I hate having to rush through my morning routine because I accidentally slept in, or knowing that I’ll wake up tired for a pointless reason whenever I go to bed late over something trivial. I miss the days that I could wake up to my alarm clock diligently get out of bed ready for the day, instead of me reaching for the snooze button.

So, I’d like some advice and tips to make good habits so I can get to bed at a good time without trouble and not stay up late at night.

The Short Version:

Spoiler

I was in a program where I spent half the day at high-school, and the other half at college. During the second year of the program, I started getting lazy with my sleeping habits. They started in the first semester, but I eventually recognized them and put a stop to it. In the second semester, however, they only got worse as time wore on, as I only had a morning class two days of the week. Needless to say, I slept in a lot more than I should have, and I also stayed up at night when I should have gone to bed.

When the college classes ended for the spring and I only had the high-school left, I got extremely lazy. I woke up at times when I had lunch mere minutes after I had breakfast, and I often barely got to school on time, and I pointlessly stayed up at midnight for extremely petty reasons.

Now that I have a job, some of these habits have bit me in the butt, and I’d like some advice on getting to bed on time, as well as waking up without reaching for the snooze button or accidentally sleeping in.

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Well, this seems blunt, but just having an alarm clock and knowledge that you'll be bitten in the ass for not being on class/work on time (which forces you to get up instead of laying on bed for more time) usually works. You'll keep doing that long enough for it to become a routine (unless you have more specific sleep issues, but that's another can of worms) and normal for you... I think.

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There are a couple different things you can try (that I know of). One is to start doing nothing except sleep on your bed (if you don't already). Like stop lounging or hanging out there. This sort of tricks your brain into thinking that the bed is the sleep place (that's worded weird but I don't care), and whenever you're there it's time for sleep. Another thing would be to stop looking at any screens an hour or two before you want to go to bed, they keep you up a lot. As for waking up: in my experience an alarm wakes you up and sheer willpower gets you up.

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1 hour ago, Rapier said:

Well, this seems blunt, but just having an alarm clock and knowledge that you'll be bitten in the ass for not being on class/work on time (which forces you to get up instead of laying on bed for more time) usually works. You'll keep doing that long enough for it to become a routine (unless you have more specific sleep issues, but that's another can of worms) and normal for you... I think.

I agree with this. If you normalize waking up earlier, you will get used to it to the point you can just wake up without hitting the snooze. I used to wake up at 6:30 for high school, now I wake up at 5:00 or 5:30  for university.

 

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Set the alarm on your phone to be songs that you like that start nice and pleasant, but then build up to something exciting. The nice and pleasant wakes you up, and the exciting part gets you out of bed.

The hardest thing is having the will to get out of bed. It's extremely easy to convince yourself that hitting snooze or sleeping through something is ok, and you gotta fight that part of your brain.

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Go to sleep at around the same time every night and your body will eventually get used to falling asleep at that time every night. If you have trouble going to sleep at the time you decide ( I recommend 8 hours of sleep) try getting a small number of hours of sleep just enough to keep you going until the time you decide to go to sleep to get you started. If you easily go past that time without noticing make a 'sleep alarm' to tell you its time to sleep. The same thing for waking up except you'll need alarm clocks to wake you up at the time you want.  I normally use multiple alarm clocks because I never want to wake up so if you are a heavy sleeper you could try out multiple alarm clocks or set an alarm to go off every few minutes in case you decide to hit the clear instead of snooze button and fall back asleep. Eventually, you should get used to waking up without them.

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Just imagine the bad consequences that might happen to you if you don't go to sleep early.

Sleep late -> lack of sleep -> wake up tired -> weaker performance -> worse results -> get fired -> no money -> no place to stay and nothing to eat -> depression -> commit suicide 

This alone is the reason why I have never arrived late at school... Yet.

Edited by DuckMannnn

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I sleep from 10:00 pm-ish to 5:00 am-ish quite regularly, the best advice I can give is be very strict with yourself over what time you go to bed/wake up via alarm clock. Don't hit snooze or anything, just do it. If you have one living with you, you can ask a roommate, family member, boy/girlfriend, etc to enforce it and make sure you keep to schedule.   

After a while, your body just becomes used to the new schedule.  Even on weekends and the like when I don't need to wake early, I still wake up at 5 out of habit.

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The issue that I had for a long time was being too groggy and slow in the morning and waking up but then staying in bed for like 40 minutes before doing anything. It wasn't a healthy habit. I've started taking hot showers like first thing in the morning after my alarm (some people say cold showers work better, hot works fine for me without the "holy fuck im awake now" factor) and then getting dressed right after. It takes some practice, but you want to get to that point where you can't just easily reverse the morning and go back to bed.

Another trick is to set two alarms 5 minutes apart instead of using snooze. That way you can still get the pleasantries of a snooze, but it's planned for and you can treat it as your "one chance" or whatever.

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Put a music you like as your alarm clock. Something calm, but not too calm, if you see what I mean. I use this:

https://youtu.be/8MbxCN8ZSFo

Also I put it around 50 centimeters away from my head, I found it worked best at that distance(closer and I tend to instinctively shut it down, farther and I tend not to hear).

As for habits, I unfortunately can't help you because nothing ever worked for me, except aging. Also finding pleasure in what you're going to do is pretty darn important. Duty is nice and all when you're awake, but the "sleeping" you probably doesn't care about your future and potential consequences quite as much as you do, and there's not much you can do about that. Note that naps are also an option if you can't balance time any other way, assuming you come back home early enough.

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I think that it's just a lot of getting used to. If you have trouble waking up, you can have an alarm that actually invigorates you and make you go out of bed. Otherwise, ask someone that you live with to help you out on the matter. As soon as you get used to it, you might as well still wake up early out of habit even if you sleep late. A good way to practice and develop good sleeping habits sould be on long holidays where you can try to optimise and mess around with your sleeping time and such to fit with your daily schedule

Personally, I sleep at 10-11 pm and wake up at 4am. Although I lay around a bit on the sofa for like 15-30 mins until I go to school at 05:30. When I arrive there, it's like 05:45 already and I just slack off and sleep on my desk for the next 45 mins

Edited by garbaeg
Oops typo

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You like Zelda, right? Try setting your phone alarm as the guardian theme (lasers in the background if possible). Worked every time for me for a while XD.

Once you're up, wash your face, change out of sleeping clothes, put on your glasses (if you wear glasses. You're never fully awake until they're on IMO), and maybe do some excercise. Don't lay down or sit anywhere if you think you're about to fall asleep. Also decide goals for the next day before sleeping and keep them in mind before going to bed. It can help motivate you if you have something you want to do in the morning

Edited by Arcphoenix

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set a really load alarm clock far away so you are forced to jump and shut it off.

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Thanks for the replies, guys. Though something I should bring up is that these bad habits have developed fairly recently.

For the past several years, I actually joked that I was paradoxically both an early bird and a night owl, but still managed to get eight hours of sleep. 6 AM was always the time I got up on weekdays, and funnily enough I noticed I was always the most awake and ready to go when I got up at that time. For years, I didn't even know that the snooze button was a thing, and my misadventures with it usually involved me wondering why my alarm clock went off again.

Which is why it's so frustrating that I fell into these bad habits, when previously I didn't need to care about getting up or going to bed on time.

I should also bring up that I'm a lot better at getting up in the morning and going to bed on time than I was a month ago. I’ve found a good time to set my alarm clock, so that I don't wake up too early and loose some sleep, but I also don't wake up too late thus have to speed through my morning routine. I've also given myself enough time to hit the snooze button once if habit takes over. As for getting to bed, well, I'm just plain more conscious of the time now whenever it starts to get late. Still, I fall into my previous habits from time to time, and any advice would be helpful.
 

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If you're looking for advice in the night, I don't have really a bedtime. It's more of a child's thing if you ask me. Works for some people, but not me. I just go to bed when I'm tired. If that's 1AM or something that's just too bad for me, but as long as I'm not doing ridiculously strenuous activity trying to exhaust the energy I have beats laying in bed staring at the ceiling or letting my mind run rampant. I find that being tired in the morning usually doesn't last all day. But the morning preparation is far more important if you ask me. Get some second opinions though. One thing about all these routines is that what works for one person absolutely won't for another, and sort of will for yet another. Experimentation is required.

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