Why and How I Ditched the Alarm and Started Waking Naturally Every Single Day
Getting enough sleep—or not—and the quality of that sleep, is a constant conversation in this day and age.
There are countless articles, lists, and blog posts describing how best to maximize the amount and quality of the modern person’s sleep. Trailing not far behind the ever-present topic of sleep is the mention of alarm clocks.
Alarm clocks have evolved. We now have varieties that will slowly light up our rooms with a peaceful imitation of the sun’s glow, other types will play calming music that gently crescendos and awakens you from your slumber. There are even models that will roll away from you, forcing you out of bed to chase the clock down and shut it off. I think it’s safe to say that most people use some sort of alarm to wake themselves in the morning (or afternoon, or evening). A lot of people simply use the clock function on their phone, since it’s probably charging near their bed, anyways.
I, however, haven’t used any sort of alarm clock to wake up in almost a year. And I’m loving every single morning of it.
My bed. Simple. Comfy. Needs a new comforter.
I know what you’re thinking—I’m an essentially “unemployed” writer, who must get plenty of sleep and can wake up at any time, because I work from home and must have no important obligations that I have to be sure to wake up early for.
I reply: I understand why you might think that, but you’re wrong.
You see, the time that I have been “alarm-less” is, as I stated, almost a year. In that time I have worked the standard monotonous, low-effort M-F 9-5 desk job, a 2nd shift supervisory role/desk job where I was constantly busy and had a lot of work, in which I usually logged anywhere between 8-11 hours a day, including some weekends; been really unemployed, (doing essentially nothing except getting my bearings after abruptly and hastily moving to a new state), done a part-time mall retail gig, and most recently, yet again “unemployed” but this time managing and launching my lifestyle blogging and novel-writing career.
See? I’ve been on a variety of notches on the job spectrum during my glorious alarm-less period. I wish I could tell you exactly how I did it. I’m well aware that most people wouldn’t dare risk not setting at least a safety net alarm, especially for work.
After enduring several years of my young adulthood (ages 17-21) not getting enough sleep, or sleeping too much, staying up too late or being up too early, and overall not sleeping very well, I decided that I had enough.
I did some research and basically came away with the knowledge that adults my age should get between 6 and 9 hours of sleep; as well as a handful of other facts that assisted with gaining a mastery over my own sleep cycle, such as giving myself enough time to fall asleep, coffee only between the hours of 10a-2p, and to stop looking at my phone and iPad at least 30 minutes before going to bed, (and giving myself 30 minutes after getting into bed to fall asleep).
I now pride myself in my ability to wake naturally every morning. Of course there have been a couple of exceptions, such as a 6:30a check-in time for a surgery or a 6a shift at the mall the day after Christmas, but those are (thankfully) few and far between.
I’ll brag to anyone who will listen about how I’ve trained my body to generally wake up after about 7 hours. That’s the average, of course some days I wake up after only 5 or 6 hours and I can function (those instances are rare); or, like any human being, some weeks are more draining than others and my body nabs 8 or 9 hours. I don’t mind. Sleep is a #1 priority for me. Those sayings like, “Sleep is for the weak”, or, “I’ll sleep when I’m dead” never stuck with me. In fact, I personally consider them to be quite foolish.
Alright, they irk me. There, I said it. Just as there are countless resources detailing how to get better sleep, they are there by demand; there are just as many sources preaching just how important sleep is for, well, just about everything.
Everything I want in life, everything that makes me happy and everything I wish to succeed in; it all has one thing in common: sleep is vital. Sleep helps with my exercise and weight maintenance efforts, it helps me concentrate on writing and fight writer’s block, it even helps me achieve, (in collaboration with plenty of water, fresh produce, and of course, coconut oil), that gorgeous insta-worthy glow that is so coveted in our society. Trust that my dark circles are merely a product of my skin tone and genetics, and certainly not stemming from a lack of sleep.
How important I find sleep and how much I love being an early bird are two topics I could drone on and on about. But my original point was how taking a bit of time and effort to train your body to wake naturally without an alarm is, I believe, one of the most valuable ways someone can grow as a person, as well as one of the most important steps in our never-ending self-care journeys. Naturally waking just makes you start the day on a great note, and who doesn’t want that? Whether you’re waking to sunshine pouring through your window, or before the dawn with stars still in the sky, waking of your body’s own accord is a fabulous and freeing thing. I know I’m not the only one who has accomplished this (monumental) goal; I’m just hoping that one day it can be more commonplace and easier for all to achieve.
I sincerely hope I never have to hit “snooze” again.