How many of you wake up to an alarm?
Over the past few years, I have only been woken up by an alarm two or three times (after traveling and changing time zones). The rest of the time I have woken up on my own. “Why does it matter?” you are probably asking. When we sleep, we go through various phases of sleep from very light to very deep. When you are woken up from a deep phase of sleep (by an alarm clock or a person) you will feel exhausted, even if you have gotten enough sleep. On the other hand, if you wake up when you are in a light phase of sleep, you feel refreshed and not sleepy, even if you didn’t get enough sleep. In other words, the key is to wake up when you are in the light phase of sleep. This can not be done with a conventional alarm clock because it has no idea what phase you are in. There are new alarms on the market now that can keep track of your sleep phase and only wake you up when you are in a light phase. That’s great but why would you want to spend all that money on something that you don’t need. With a little practice it is very easy to set your “mind” alarm clock. Simply tell yourself what time you want to wake up at and poof, that is when you will wake up. Now it wont be exactly the time you “set”, but it will be close and you will be in a light sleep phase. So, if you need to be up at say 6am, tell yourself that you need to be up at 5:30. That way you will have a 30 minute buffer. In the beginning, set your alarm as a backup, but within a week or two you will no longer need it. The only time I ever set an alarm is if I have to catch a very early flight and I never need it (but I set it just in case). At the winter retreat, I have to be up before 4am to get ready to ring the bell, never once in 25 years have I used an alarm. Every day I go to work I get up without an alarm. It’s not difficult.
How many of you wake up on a daily basis and look at the clock to see what time it is? Those of you that do, how many of you decide to get up or stay in bed based on what time it is, instead of whether or not you are truly sleepy?
Ok, I realize that if it is a work day you need to know what time it is but on a non-work day do you really need to know? Why not simply get up when you are done sleeping? You might surprise yourself on how much your sleeping habits change simply by not looking at the clock. There was an interesting study done where several people lived in caves by themselves. They were told to sleep when they were sleepy and get up when they were not. Because they were in caves and they had no clocks, they had no idea what time it was and no idea how much time had passed. All of the participants in this experiment very quickly started sleeping less and less. Haven’t you every woken up fully rested only to realize that it was earlier than you had thought, then you forced yourself to go back to sleep and when you finally got out of bed you were exhausted? This is very typical occurrence.
Give it a try and see how much your life changes for the better.