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I've tried every technique there is (everything on here for example).

Any advice?

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Don't listen to these 4-hours-a-day sleepers. There may be personal differences and they may be older then you (older people often need less sleep than younger ones). – Steed May 30 '13 at 9:51
I keep hearing that older people need less sleep -- how old do I have to be before that starts kicking in? – thursdaysgeek May 30 '13 at 23:07
@thursdaysgeek, the person that said that to me was 28/29 years old.. – mparnisari Jun 1 '13 at 3:25
Try this answer for Wake up early – Prashant09 Jun 3 '13 at 9:28
@I19 - I'm nearly twice that age and still need 8 to 8.5 hours a night. – thursdaysgeek Jun 3 '13 at 23:12

10 Answers 10

up vote 16 down vote accepted

What would you say if I said, "I just can't go without oxygen! I've met people who are still holding their breath at 12:00, but when I start holding my breath at 11:00, I just can't make it to 11:02, let alone 12:00. What can I do?"

I suggest you'd tell me not to be so silly (or something more colourful that means the same thing). The truth is, you need oxygen. You can't go without it for any length of time. That's just the way it is.

It is the same with sleep. If you need 7-8 hours then, well, that's what you need.

(If you regularly feel you need more than 8 hours sleep each night, you might consider a trip to the doctor. Various medical conditions can leave you very tired.)

Given that you need at least 7 hours, you can't expect to be able to go to bed late, go without naps and then get up early every day. It just doesn't work that way. People who claim to sleep only 4/5 hours every day are either (1) napping in the day (2) lying or (3) not normal (and not in a way that you get to choose).

So, your options are:

  1. Get to bed earlier
  2. Stop trying to get up earlier
  3. Take naps

If you still want to get up earlier, and are willing to make that work by getting to bed earlier, you could do something like this:

  1. First, you need to make sure your bed time / rising time is consistent for a couple of weeks. During this phase, don't try to make your getting up time early. Just make sure that you have a regular bed time and a regular rising time every day, and that there are a good 8 hours between the two. Move your alarm clock / phone away from the bed so you can't hit snooze

  2. Second, shift your bed time / rising time 5 minutes earlier. Maintain this pattern for 1 week.

  3. Repeat step (2) until your getting-up time matches your target.

BTW: When you say, "I just can't wake up early", you're kidding yourself. You've confessed as much when you said, "I can force myself to wake up early is if I know that I've got to go somewhere". The problem is that you're either:

  1. Too tired
  2. Unmotivated
  3. Inconsistent, or
  4. You're trying to change too much too quickly

When you figure out which one, you can develop you own strategy for overcoming your difficulty.

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Don't get an alarm clock with a snooze function. Get a loud alarm clock that requires you to get out of bed to turn it off, and never get back into your bed once up. Even at weekends - start to train yourself that up is up.

Go to bed earlier. If you need 8 hours and need to be up at 7, get to bed by 10 aiming to be asleep by 11. Avoid working on a computer late at night.

Get better sleep. Possibly change your bed, heating, aircon, soundproofing etc. Remove disturbances where possible.

Get more exercise - increased fitness correlates with improved sleep.

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Put the alarm clock out of reach from your bed s well – user5479 May 30 '13 at 19:01
I've tried putting the alarm clock away from me and it doesn't work - 99% of the times I just throw myself into bed again... – mparnisari Jun 1 '13 at 3:27
Don't let that be possible then. Get an extra loud alarm clock and put it in the next room – Rory Alsop Jun 1 '13 at 23:09
@I19 Stop complaining that "it does not work". This is no mysterious external force working on you. You are just taking a decision whether you go back to bed, hit the snooze button, or go out of bed. Take responsibility for your decisions. – Jan Doggen Jun 4 '13 at 7:34

There are many techniques you can employ as stated in the other answers, but the main reason is: THERE IS NO SIGNIFICANT REWARD OR PUNISHMENT FOR YOUR BEHAVIOR!

If someone offers you a million bucks to get up at 7am, or if the boss threatens to fire you if get late one more time, then 99% of the time you will force yourself to wake up! Regardless of what excuse you've always used, such as hangover, insomnia, or late night work, you will surely get up early if you love that million bucks or your job.

If no significant reward or punishment is available, then you would have to set it up yourself. Make appointments at the start of the day. Bet 50 bucks a day to a colleague that you arrive at work early. Treat yourself to a good breakfast in a restaurant only if you wake up early. Eat a spoonful of grind coffee for your breakfast if you don't.

After a few weeks, your body will get used to waking up automatically on the desired time that no reward or punishment is necessary anymore. You may have paid your colleague's lunch for the month, but the investment is worth it for it would have changed your life :)

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+ a bajillion times – theringostarrs Nov 21 '13 at 4:18

Cheking up your profile shows that you are 21 and student. I am just few years older but when I was 21 it was the same for me, in weekends I could easily pull 10 to 12 hours, and when I had to wake up in the morning to go to university at 6 or 7 a.m. it was painfull.

Now I am working and I have really consistent life (not like when I was student), I got older and now I need 6.5 or 7 hours in week, and can't sleep more than 8 hours in weekend because then I feel weak.

Just like Kramii wrote, it really depends on person and way of living.

Nutrition is other thing, for sure don't drink coffee after 2 p.m. (I am not drinking coffee after 2 p.m. you can try if it works for you) so your going to sleep will not be delayed by caffeine and sleep will be deeper.

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Nutrition is not a problem for me. I've always had this problem and I've always eaten well. And I don't drink a lot of coffee, probably just a cup each day. Coffee really boosts me. – mparnisari Jun 1 '13 at 3:30

A friend of mine told me once that he is simply doing the following steps:

  1. sit down in bed as soon he hears the clock alarm (never stay laying down!)
  2. get up and makes himself a coffee
  3. while the coffee is dripping he's making his morning toilet
  4. drinking out a cup of coffee (but don't sit down!)
  5. Going out with the dog - my personal addition.

This works fine for me since years.

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I don't think there is any connection to sleep with age ( once over 10-12 years ).

Do enough physical exercise. Drink lot of water before going to bed. 3-4 glasses. ( you got it .. correct ? ) Don't sleep on too cozy mattress, but room temperature & humidity should be comfortable. You should have a list of must do things the next day in the back of your minde.

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Read this answer on skeptics - it references the commonly accepted fact that sleep requirement does in fact decrease with age: – Rory Alsop Jun 4 '13 at 8:54

There are 4 mentions in your question about waking up.

However there are none about getting to sleep.

So I think it might help to switch some of the frustruation to that end and say "why can't I get to sleep earlier!".

Tackling that often involves:

  • no pm coffee
  • less pm soda or other caffeine drinks
  • earlier TV schedule
  • leaving work earlier if possible. Think 8-4 or 8-5, not 9-5 or 10-6
  • more pm exercise to make you more tired in the evening.
  • not staying up late at weekends
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Retraining Your Sleep Needs and Pick your goals on wake-up time. Set your alarm clock 15 minutes earlier than normal. Avoid drinking caffeinated drinks at night. Avoid eating large meals before bedtime. Before bed, tell yourself that you are going to wake up early. This often helps and you might find yourself waking up earlier than usual.

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The last 5 years I have succeeded to decrease my hours of sleep every night from 9-10 to 5-6 and I wake up more refreshed and rested than ever. My experience has showed me:

  • Go to bed when you need to. You can't create a schedule by force, especially when it comes to sleep
  • Eat an elephant one bite at a time: Decrease the hours of sleep a little step every time. Set your alarm half an hour earlier, then after 10 days another half an hour.
  • Try to make waking up early a habit. Do not break the sequence for 21 days.
  • Watch out what enters your body before sleep. If you eat a dozen of s**t for food, smoke, drink or whatever, I can ensure you that your sleep will be distracted and you'll wake up a complete wreck

The one and only key to wake up early and sleep less hours is to have QUALITY sleep. Others sleep 12 hours without rest, while other ones sleep 5 hours and are ready to conquer the world. Face your sleep with reverence.

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One technique is to exhaust yourself until you pass out very early in the evening. One way you could do this is to:

1) Stay up all night one night (or just get 2-4 hrs of sleep) 2) Fall asleep around 6pm the next day 3) Wake up at 5am the next day 4) Continue to exhaust yourself for a few days (exercise, lots of errands, etc)

At first you may have to go to bed early because you are too tired, but eventually you should be able to get into a rhythm of falling asleep by 10pm and getting up by 6am.

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