Waking Up Is Hard To Do

Congrats on your new job! So, you're supposed to be there at 8:30 AM, huh? And you got fired from your last job because you had trouble getting there consistently by 10 AM? What to do/try?

Sleep inertia is the official name for why is waking up and getting out of bed is so difficult. For many folks with ADHD, especially the inattentive types, waking up from a night of sleep or a real nap, is like coming out of a coma. It's genuinely really really hard. This is especially problematic if you wake up without structure, with nowhere you need to be any time soon. What’s the point? Why rush? 

Overnight, the things we really want to accomplish in life seem to evaporate.  We wake up fully in the present, aka with a completely blank slate. This in part explains why we end up responding to stuff in our line of vision, urgent tasks, instead of proactively working toward our long term goals or on our passion projects.

Here are some alternate suggestions for waking up in the morning a tad bit easier.

1.     Put your stimulant medication (if you take any)  by your bed with a glass of water.  Set your first alarm for 30 to 90 minutes before you need to wake up,  take your medication, return to coma.  Have a second alarm set to go off around the time your meds usually kick in - for most it’s 20-30 mins, for Vyvanse, it can be as much as 90 mins.)

2.      A dawning clock - I have one by Phillips. It gradually turns light on in your bedroom beginning 20-30 minutes (or whatever you set it) before an alarm goes off (radio, buzzer, etc.) 

3.     What about remote controlled blinds that you could press a button and they come up and the light comes flooding in assuming you're not dealing with daylight savings time.

4.      SleepCycle is an app that tracks your sleep and begins to wake you within a window (i.e. 20-30 mins) when it detects you are in a lighter sleep phase, to avoid the trying-to-wake-from-a- coma experience. If you use your phone, put it in airplane mode to decrease potential health issues.

5.     Make sure at least one of your alarms is out of reach of pressing the snooze button.

6.     Get a tricky alarm clock. There are ones you can throw and they bounce around so you have to hunt for them, ones that make you solve math equations, some that vibrate intensively…

7.     Put an alarm in your shower so you have to get up and go into the shower stall to turn it off!  Turn on the shower when you get there. If you have water that takes forever to warm up, try the faucet water to get it started.

8.     Preset your coffee to percolate your coffee at the precise time you should be done with your shower (or when you wake up). The smell, sound, and cost of wasting good, fresh coffee might help.

9.     If you have smart appliances that can start the shower, turn on the heater...

10.  Create a playlist on Spotify, iTunes, FitRadio (requires a subscription - check Groupon -often ½ off) of very upbeat high-energy music. You can set uour alarm to play it or you can apparently tell Alexa (or equivalent) to play it for you.

11.  I have also heard to drink a glass of water with lemon first thing in the morning - although I don’t know why it’s recommended.

12.  From your bed close, your eyes and imagine running late. “See” yourself rushing, cursing the traffic lights, skulking in late and people looking displeased. Feeling rushed and behind from the moment you arrive...

13.  Imagine an early arrival:  from your bed close your eyes and picture arriving at your place of work 10-30 minutes early. Maybe there aren't a lot of people you have to talk to yet,  maybe you can get some coffee before everyone else,  maybe you could organize your desk and make a mini plan for the day before you are expected to start responding to people’s requests of you.

14.  Visual inspiration. If you aren’t going to a job,  have a visual reminder, maybe on the lock screen of your phone,  of what’s important to you in life. Non-rushed, quality family time? Something you want to accomplish before you die? The fun thing you can do when your “work” is done?

15.   If your environment isn’t great, maybe your bedroom window looks into an underground parking garage (have I said too much?), maybe you can have youtube project a lovely sunrise at the mountains or the beach.

16. If you have other ideas, I’d love to hear them. Please share them below. Thanks!