Why is waking up so hard?
This morning, I awoke to my backup alarm clock. I am always worried that I will sleep through my alarm clock, or that I will turn it off in my sleep, or fail to set it properly when I go to bed. So I always set two alarms to increase the probability of setting the alarm correctly and not sleeping through it. This morning, I was glad for the extra alarm, since I don't remember turning off my first one (I checked later, it was set correctly...I must have dismissed/snoozed it in my sleep)
This brings me to my second point. When you wake up, you should always snooze your alarm. If you start turning off you alarm first thing when you wake up, then you will develop habits to turn off your alarm more efficiently. You will literally be better able to turn off your alarm with your eyes closed while asleep (The metaphor for really easy things that come second nature to you: “I could [insert action] with my eyes closed/fast asleep”). However, if you always snooze your alarm, then even if you accidently snooze your alarm in your sleep, then you will have more chances to wake up when your alarm goes off again and again.
This brings me to my third point. You should always have a battery powered alarm. Just in case the power goes out and your clock resets. Also, you should change the battery in your alarm clock at some point in your life... (J/k, you should change it more often).
But in all seriousness, I think that the only guaranteed way to wake up is to set two battery powered alarm clocks. Then you will never sleep through your alarms. Unless it is Shabbat, or you are really tired...
This leads me to my fourth point; the gist of this blog post. Why is it so hard to wake up? Ok, there will be some morning people who will respond: "What are you talking about?", so let me rephrase the question: "why is it so hard for some people to get up?"
My thinking is that it starts with going to bed too late in the first place. The logic is that if you aren’t a morning person, you are a night person, which means you are up late (AKA up past 10). Perhaps people have an affinity for doing work at night, or doing some activities in the night time, and therefore prefer to stay up later. With their lack of a good night's sleep, they have trouble waking up in the morning.
However, I think another piece to the puzzle has to do with your mind's alertness. Sometimes I fall asleep and swear to myself that I will wake up and start working on some project. However, when I actually wake up, I no longer feel motivated to work on the project. It’s as if I haven’t thought about that project in hours (har har). Clearly, when I awake, I am not in the mindset to want to do things that I previously thought I would when I was fully awake. I failed to take into account my future mindset and therefore set goals that were unrealistic.
This demonstrates that when I wake up, I must be lazier and less motivated then when I go to sleep. But this doesn't explain why when I have to go to the airport, or do something important; I always wake up on time and urgently. There has to be more psychological factors going on to sleep that I am not considering. Perhaps when we fall asleep when we know we have urgent/exciting things to do, they are always in our minds, and therefore we wake up from a usually less relaxing sleep?
Either way, when I wake up, I usually give myself 5 min before I decide whether to fall back asleep or not. Usually when I wake up, I always default to sleep. But after 5 minutes, I find that the decision becomes more realistic as my mind's gears start turning again.