Friday, July 29, 2011

How Not To Be Late For Work

Landing a job is one thing. Keeping it, well, that's another...

*7 AM* Alarm goes off. Ahhh man. *SNOOZE*
*7.15 AM* Shut-up already!! *SNOOZE*
*8.30 AM* Oh sh.... not again....

Sound familiar? 

If you find getting up for work a daily struggle, then read on.

Do some exercise in the evening.

This is especially useful for office/white collar workers. Think about it for a minute. How many of you guys struggle to get up in the morning? And what's the first thing you do once you get to work in the morning? A big strong cup of Joe, right? 

Well, I'm not gonna tell you to lay off the coffee, as I know what a nightmare it is struggling through a days work without it. However, I will recommend that you do some exercise in the evening after work to burn off all the caffeine in your system. Why? Did you know that caffeine can reside in your system from anywhere between 6 to12 hours? No, I didn't either until a few months ago when I sorted out my sleep pattern! So if you're drinking coffee all day and have your last cup around 3pm - you do the math!

But back to the exercise; make sure you finish exercising an hour or so before you plan on going to bed if possible. Ideally, do it as soon as you get off work. Even going for a swim or jogging for 30-40 minutes will make a difference. Aim for aerobic (not too intense, but long lasting) exercise as oppose to lifting weights - it should help a lot.

Why will that help? Because your tired from the exercise - your body will be able to fall into a natural, restorative sleep a lot easier. Meaning as time progresses, you'll fall into a good routine and 8 hours will be more than enough sleep, allowing you to wake up easily. 

Depending on how well you sleep however, don't expect results overnight. For problem sleepers this can take up to a month sometimes - don't give up though, it's worth it in the long run!

Better yet - fancy kicking the coffee? Take a lot at how -

Eat something sugary before going to bed

I'll spare you too much of the science behind it, but eating, or drinking, a small sugary snack before going to sleep can help prevent you waking up prematurely - thus disrupting your sleep pattern and making it harder for you to wake up when you need to. 

Basically, the sugar will delay your blood sugar dropping too much throughout the night - this is what can often wake you up prematurely or leave you feeling horrible and groggy in the morning.

Again be smart with this, don't eat a ton of junk food or drink a litre of milk as you won't sleep, something easy like a tablespoon of peanut butter should do the trick.

When you wake up, get up. 

It may sound even worse than getting up for work - but if you wake up naturally an hour or so before you have to, get up. If you go back to sleep and are then woken an hour later - your waking up in the middle of a sleep cycle and your body is going to be in a world of WTF is going on. Aim for 3 hour sleep cycles. So if you can't get 8 hours, get 6 as the next best thing. Don't ask me why 8 hours is recommended as the optimum amount of sleep, given that a sleep cycle consists of 3 hours. 

This will benefit you in the long run as you'll be able to fall asleep easier in the evening due to your sleep debt and will help achieve deep restorative sleep, rather than erratic, interrupted sleep.

Don't be a snoozer

I'm guessing the majority of us have an iPod by now. So here's what you do. If you don't have an iPod, be creative - it's pretty easy to setup with a laptop or phone too. The premise - getting you out of bed to turn off the alarm.

You may or may not know this, but it's very easy to set an alarm on your iPod - an alarm that instead of playing that horrific *waaah waah waaah* sound, can play whatever you like. Thank god.

I found that setting an alarm on my phone which was right by my bed was no good, as I'd just constantly snooze it until I was late all over again.

What did help - was hooking my iPod up to my speaker system, then placing the iPod on top of my wardrobe at the back corner, so it was impossible for me to turn it off without getting out of bed and standing on a chair to reach it. The first couple of times you're going to hate it, believe me. But once you've got up to turn the alarm off, the combination of irritation and shock should be enough to have woken you up properly.

What you chose to play is up to you - a bit of trial and error is necessary here. Some people swear by calming, soothing music at a low to mid volume to wake up to gradually. Personally, I find it's better to blast out something hard hitting and high tempo so it sort of shakes me awake. Something that motivates and cheers you up is always good too! Whatever works for you really!

Still struggling to wake up in the morning? Sleep pattern still screwed? Leave a comment letting me know and I'll throw together an Insomniac's Guide on Waking Up for Work!

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