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Q: Solutions to waking up in the morning ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   9 Comments )
Subject: Solutions to waking up in the morning
Category: Health
Asked by: billybob00-ga
List Price: $25.00
Posted: 30 Aug 2006 15:07 PDT
Expires: 29 Sep 2006 15:07 PDT
Question ID: 760914
I've had a problem for basically my whole life where I have trouble
waking up in the morning.  I don't think I have any disorders, such as
sleep apnea (though I haven't been tested for it) -- I just think I'm

I also suffer from depression, and I realize that a lot has to do with
my own motivation for that day... but I need more than just positive
thoughts or motivation.  I also have problems falling asleep at night,
usually due to my brain going over the day's events.  So that doesn't
help, either.  I literally need to be kicked out of bed.  At night
when I set my alarm clock, I have every intention on waking up early,
but when I wake up in the morning, I just say "ah, screw it, I'm
sleeping in!"  This has been interfering my life in different aspects,
and I want to master it.  I also don't want to have to rely on
roommates to wake me up.

Some basic info about myself that may help:

-I'm a 25 year old male
-Work in an office 9 hrs a day, doing software testing
-I don't smoke, drink, or do any sorts of drugs
-Exercise maybe 2-3 times a week for 15-20 minutes per workout
-Eat relatively healthy, weigh 155 lbs, skinny 

That said...

1) Is there any alarm clock or device that will shoot you with water
to wake you up -- anything "extreme" rather than just loud music or a
sunrise simulation?  And I'm not looking for dangerous extreme, just
"different" extreme... not your traditional alarm clock.

2) Are there any techniques that help you be less tired in the
morning.  Examples of things I'd be interested might be: rubbing
certain parts of your eyes, drinking something at night, listening to
a certain type of music, etc.  I'm aware of basic techniques, such as
working out during the day, going to bed early (which I, for the most
part, already do), so don't spend time covering these -- unless it's
something different that the normal person may not have tried.

3) Are there any forums on the internet dedicated to this specific
type of problem (not severe-type issues, such as sleep apnea)?
Subject: Re: Solutions to waking up in the morning
Answered By: guillermo-ga on 31 Aug 2006 13:42 PDT
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Hello billybob00-ga,

I'm glad that you asked this question because I have the same
"problem". Actually, this is a very frequent "condition", and I'd like
to add that too frequently those who "suffer" from it have been
stigmatized as "lazy", or "nocturnal" in a somehow judgmental way.
However, one can be very lazy from 7 AM to 10 PM, and someone else a
hard worker from 11 AM to 2 AM. The problem, the only and yet
significant problem, is that the vast majority spontaneously live
closer to the former range, therefore culture is standardized after
that time frame. Thus, the world becomes more complicated for us.

Years ago, I was consulting a homeopathic physician, for a general
care of my health. I asked him what could I do to overcome this
problem. He asked me why I thought that I had a problem to overcome.
"Well -- I said -- I have to stay at work at 8 AM." To my surprise, he
said "then find yourself another job -- that is your problem".

You know, some doctors like these effect statements, and it is not my
purpose here to make a case about his viewpoint, which was the one of
someone committed to a natural approach of health care. According to
his stance, I was just a natural night-owl type of person, and -- for
him -- the best thing I could do for myself was to adapt my activities
to my natural disposition. (I must admit, in the long run that is what
I did, and have to say it did work fine.)

Now, from a more established medical approach, we may indeed suffer
some kind of dysfunction, which is called "Delayed Sleep Phase
Syndrome" (DSPS):

From Wikipedia ( ):

"Delayed sleep-phase syndrome (DSPS) is a chronic disorder of sleep
timing. People with DSPS tend to fall asleep at very late times, and
also have difficulty waking up in time for normal work, school, or
social needs. Studies indicate that it is responsible for 7 -10% of
cases of chronic insomnia.

"DSPS usually develops in early childhood or adolescence, and is often
a lifelong condition. It is usually treatable, but cannot be cured.

"DSPS was first described by Dr. Elliot D. Weitzman and others at
Montefiore Medical Center in 1981. As few doctors are aware of its
existence, it is often mistaken for other types of insomnia, and
treated inappropriately."

"Main symptoms

"DSPS causes sleep-onset insomnia. Often, DSP individuals report that
they cannot sleep until early morning. Unlike most other insomniacs,
however, they fall asleep at about the same time every night, no
matter what time they go to bed.

"Unless they have another untreated sleep disorder such as sleep apnea
in addition to DSPS, patients can sleep well, and have a normal need
for sleep. Therefore, they find it very difficult to wake up in the
morning if they have only slept for a few hours. However, they sleep
soundly, wake up spontaneously, and do not feel sleepy again until
their next "night," if they are allowed to follow their own late
schedule, e.g. sleeping from 4 am to noon.


"People with DSPS have at least a normal - and often much greater than
normal - ability to sleep during the morning, and sometimes in the
afternoon as well. In contrast, those with chronic insomnia do not
find it much easier to sleep during the morning than at night. Another
important difference is that the DSP individual falls asleep at more
or less the same time every night, and sleep comes quite rapidly if
the person goes to bed near the time he or she usually falls asleep.
Young children with DSPS resist going to bed before they are sleepy,
but the bedtime struggles disappear if they are allowed to stay up
until the time they usually fall asleep.


"DSPS patients cannot simply force themselves to sleep early. They may
toss and turn for hours in bed. Those who have tried using sedatives
to fall asleep usually report that the pills made them feel tired or
relaxed, but were of no use in helping them sleep earlier. Forcing
early rising does not result in adaptation to the new sleeping

"Additional symptoms


"DSP individuals are night owls. They feel most alert and say they
function best, are most creative, etc. in the evening and at night.

"They usually have tried many times to change their sleeping schedule.
Failed tactics to sleep at earlier times may include relaxation
techniques, early bedtimes, hypnosis, alcohol, sleeping pills, dull
reading, and folk remedies. They often have asked family members to
help wake them in the morning, or they have used several alarm clocks.
Or family members - especially parents - have tried to get them up on

"They are sleepy during the day, especially in the morning, if they
have had to get up early.

"They sleep in on weekends (often past noon and for more than 10
hours) to make up for not getting enough sleep during the rest of the
week. Some people with DSPS take naps during the day and feel
refreshed afterwards."

DSPS belongs to the family of Circadian Rhythm Sleep Disorders (see

The Circadian Rhythm "is a roughly-24-hour cycle in the physiological
processes of living beings, including plants, animals, fungi and
cyanobacteria. The term 'circadian', coined by Franz Halberg, comes
from the Latin circa, 'around', and dies, 'day', meaning literally
'about a day.'" (Wikipedia )

<<Reminder: About any part of this answer, and specially from now on
that I will post reference to treatment, please keep in mind the
disclaimer at the bottom of this page, in the sense that no answer
provided in this service can be taken as professional advice nor
replaces it.>>

From Wikipedia (


"Treatment for DSPS is specific. It is different from treatment of
other types of insomnia, and recognizes the patient's ability to sleep
well while addressing the timing problem.

"Mild cases of DSPS can be controlled by waking up and going to bed 15
minutes earlier every day until the desired sleep schedule is reached.
More severe cases are treated by the methods discussed below.

"Before starting DSPS treatment, patients are often asked to spend a
week sleeping regularly, without napping, at the times when the
patient is most comfortable. It is important to start treatment

"Treatments that have been reported in the medical literature include:

"Light therapy (phototherapy) with a full spectrum lamp or portable
visor, usually 10000 lux for 30-90 minutes in the morning. Avoidance
of bright light in the evening may also help.

"Chronotherapy, which consists of resetting the circadian clock by
going to bed several hours later each day for several days.

"A small (~1mg) melatonin supplement taken an hour or so before
bedtime may be helpful in establishing an earlier pattern, especially
in conjunction with bright light therapy at the time of spontaneous
awakening. Side effects of melatonin may include disturbance of sleep,
daytime sleepiness and depression. The long-term effects of melatonin
administration have not been examined and production is unregulated.
In some countries the hormone is available only by prescription or not
at all.

"Some claim that large doses of vitamin B12 help normalize the onset
of sleepiness, but little is known of the effectiveness of the

"A treatment option which shows promise is Ramelteon, a
recently-approved drug which in some ways acts as a synthetic
melatonin. Production of ramelteon is as regulated as any other
prescription medicine, so it avoids the problems of variable purity
and dosage with melatonin supplements.

"Modafinil is approved in the USA for treatment of Shift-work sleep
disorder, which shares some characteristics with DSPS, and a number of
clinicians are prescribing it for DSPS patients.

"There has been one documented case in which a person with DSPS was
sucessfully treated with trazodone. 15"

Another issue that may of interest for you, is the one that relates
DSPS and depression:

From Wikipedia (

"DSPS and depression

"In the DSPS cases reported in the literature, about half of the
patients have suffered from clinical depression or other psychological
problems. The relationship between DSPS and depression is unclear. The
fact that some DSPS patients are not depressed indicates that DSPS is
not merely a symptom of depression. Even in depressed patients,
treatment methods such as chronotherapy can be effective without
directly treating the depression.

"It is conceivable that DSPS often has a major role in causing
depression, because it can be such a stressful and misunderstood
disorder. A direct neurochemical relationship between sleep mechanisms
and depression is another possiblity.

"DSPS patients who also suffer from depression should seek treatment
for both problems. There is some evidence that effectively treating
DSPS can improve the patient's mood and make antidepressants more
effective. In addition, treatment for depression can make patients
more able to successfully follow DSPS treatments."

By the way, if you are interested in addressing your depression
problem, you may be interested in learning about cognitive-behavioral
therapies: National Association of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapists:


"Most psychotherapy outcome research is focused on short-term
reduction of symptoms, and this is the reason why many "studies" find
that cognitive-behavioral therapy is as effective as antidepressants
in the treatment of depression.  This has been a pretty consistent
finding." ( )

Back to the specific issue of the question, you asked also about
internet forums for this topic. You can try "Talk About Sleep" as a
general resource ( ), specially its
message boards ( ), which
cover all the range (from severe to mild) of sleep disorders.
Particularly the forum Circadian Rhythm Disorders:
Also, the forums at

Finally, you can find additional information on this condition at the
Sleep Channel:

DSPS overview:

DSPS and depression:

DSPS treatment:

Cause and symptoms:

I believe that this information will satisfy your requirement.
However, please ask for clarification if you consider it necessary.
Thanks for your very interesting question.

Search strategy: "circadian rhythm"

Regards and good luck!


Request for Answer Clarification by billybob00-ga on 04 Sep 2006 17:30 PDT
I don't know... I can relate to some things with DSPS, especially the
sleeping in on weekends, using several alarm clocks, and having much
difficulty getting out of bed in the morning.  I also have a problem
with taking afternoon naps, at least lately.

I feel a lot of it has to do with psychological symptoms of
depression.  I often take naps to escape from reality.  Sometimes the
pain of being lonely and feeling helpless becomes so great, that I
become overwhelmed.  To escape, I sleep.  My motivation to get up on
the weekends is very little, as I rarely have plans.

Yet I don't think I can just accept this, and change my schedule.  I
feel guilty when I take my naps during the day.  I feel guilty, and
more importantly, lazy if I sleep in on a Saturday.  In contrast, if I
make the effort to get up, my day is often much more productive, and I
feel better about myself.

I have found that by going to bed and getting up on a set schedule has
been the only way.  The problem is, if I want to be social, it
requires me to stay out late.  If I do, it throws my schedule off, and
I suffer weeks of dragging my feet out of bed until I get back on

So I realize that much of this is lifestyle related.  I have gone to
psychologists regarding my anxiety/depression, but haven't really
brought up the sleep issue.  I found your answer informative and
appreciate it.  Knowing my personality, however, I could not simply
change my schedule; I am too determined to overcome this "problem".

My only clarification would be on the first part of my question...
besides the alarm clock that runs away (someone sent a link), is there
any other creative alarm clocks that you are aware of?  I honestly
think this psychologically help me a lot more than would accepting my
problem.  Thanks

Clarification of Answer by guillermo-ga on 04 Sep 2006 20:36 PDT
I'll check it out -- about the alarm clock.

In the meantime, please allow me a few thoughts.

If you consult a psychologist or counselor, speak frankly about your
sleep issue -- it might, indeed, be a symptom of depression, and
bringing it up will help your therapist help you.

As I mentioned as a possibility in my answer, you do prefer to adapt
yourself to the regular timing, rather to reschedule your activities.
If so, I'd suggest you to do it with professional (medical) assistance
-- your chance of success will increase notably. The methods mentioned
in my answer have proven success in many cases.

I'll be back soon with the result on my search for more effective alarm clocks.

Clarification of Answer by guillermo-ga on 05 Sep 2006 15:38 PDT

There's a variety of devices, typically based on the concepts of
flashing lights, pillow vibrators and bed

shakers, by themselves or combined.

Below, there is a list of links where you can see some devices:

Pillow vibrators and bed shakers

Sonic Boom Alarm Clock
In this page you will find several devices you can find useful. I
suggest you pay particular attention to the

one at the bottom of the page, which shows how it combines sound with
bed shaking and can connect to

your lamp to make it flash.

Vibrating and or flashing alarm clocks

Soleil Sunrise alarm clock

Additionally, during this search I came across with other sources that
you may find useful:

From the Apollo Health website, the article Sleep Tips 


From WebMDblog, sleep disorders section, the article IPods for Insomnia 

( )
[Apollo Health ( ) is a manufacturer of
devices for light therapy.]

From the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
website, the article Brain Basics:

Understanding Sleep (

I hope this complementary information fulfills your needs. Otherwise,
please let me know. Thanks.

Search strategies:

"sleep disorders" "alarm clock" 


eep+disorders%22+%22alarm+clock%22 )

"special alarm clocks" 


pecial+alarm+clocks%22 )

"pillow vibrators" 


illow+vibrators%22 )

"bed shakers" 


ed+shakers%22 )

"flashing lights" "alarm clock" 


%3Aen&q=%22flashing+lights%22+%22alarm+clock%22&btnG=Search )

Clarification of Answer by guillermo-ga on 12 Sep 2006 02:29 PDT
Thank you very much for the rating and comment, Billybob00-ga. I hope
that my modest contribution may help you overcome your worries.

Warmest regards,

billybob00-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars
Answered my question thorougly with plenty of links, resources, and
personal advice.  Thanks

Subject: Re: Solutions to waking up in the morning
From: murunbuchstansinger-ga on 30 Aug 2006 16:08 PDT
I guess everyone will have an opinion on this.

I found that listening to my MP3 player (with the "sleep" timer set)
gets me to sleep 80% of the time within 20 minutes.  Not a certain
type at all - just set to random - it helps take my brain off
overdrive for a little time.

I also get results from starting some sort of strategy game - whether
it be Chess, Age of Empires or Battlefield 2 - before bedtime.  I can
then go to sleep wondering about my next move, or further tactics for

As for getting up, there is an alarm clock which runs away and hides
until you turn it off. 

Sometimes I wake up early and simply cannot sleep, no matter what. 
The best advice I ever saw was to go with the flow.  If you can't
sleep, get up again until you feel like you can. If you don't feel
like sleeping, you will be tired the next day.  Guess what, though? 
You have a better chance of sleeping well the night after.

Depression can be remarkably debilitating and affects aspects of your
life you might not associate with the illness.  Sometimes it's just
good to hear that there is a reason for your difficulties, even if
there isn't a readily available work around or cure.

Finally, just once or twice I have taken herbal remedies to help -
just to "break the cycle" as it were. I'm not sure if it works, but
sometimes you just need to sleep and there's nothing wrong in getting
help beyond that which can be read on a page.

Good luck!
Subject: Re: Solutions to waking up in the morning
From: murunbuchstansinger-ga on 30 Aug 2006 16:15 PDT
ps/ "herbal remedies" was not a euphemism for drugs.  I meant over the
counter tablets such as "Nytol".  Also, in addition to "strategy
games" I find problem solving programs like "bridge builder" excellent
for letting my mind work on non work or "life" related issues.
Subject: Re: Solutions to waking up in the morning
From: steph53-ga on 30 Aug 2006 18:33 PDT
I too, find that I have no desire to get up in the morning :(

After chatting with a few friends, for me, it seems to be "pre-winter blues"

I have to be at work at 8:30 am and I used to be up at 5:30am all set to go!!!

I don't know what I just turn my alarm off and go back
to sleep till 6:30 or longer...

I think it may be that its darker now...

My thoughts only,

Subject: Re: Solutions to waking up in the morning
From: myoarin-ga on 31 Aug 2006 03:37 PDT
You could treat the problem philosphically.
There is a story (maybe from Reader's Digest) about a person who ask a
spiritual counsellor how he could become a better person.
"Do two things every day that you don't want to do."  
"Oh, that's easy:  I get up in the morning and go to bed at night."
Subject: Re: Solutions to waking up in the morning
From: mgnairtvm-ga on 31 Aug 2006 16:54 PDT
Please see the webpages for more details on Depression.
You should go to bed early at night in order to getup early in the
morning. Before going to bed, you should write down the tasks to be
performed for the succeeding day in a diary. You should scrupulously
do all the tasks on the next day. This should become a part and parcel
of your habit. This will help you to do important tasks to be done
without fail.
Subject: Re: Solutions to waking up in the morning
From: guillermo-ga on 31 Aug 2006 19:53 PDT
Please mgnairtvm-ga, carefully re-read the answer. If the asker does
have the Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome, going to bed earlier will be of
no use, even potencially harmful. Several treatments are suggested in
the answer. Another possibility, if it is an option, is to rearrange
one's lifestyle in order to fit one's nature regarding sleep. Some
companies do not require a given arriving time for certain
objective-driven positions, as long as the goals are accomplished
before the deadline. Also, many varieties of independent work could do
it. As described in the answer, a person with DSPS may very well be as
helthy as any person with a regular sleep timing, just with a three or
four hours delay, wich doesn't necessarily imply any loss of
productive performance, as long as he or she can have a normal 7 or 8
hour sleep, regarless at what time that sleep began and finished. In
my humble opinion, there is nothing wrong with this type of
idiosyncrasy, other than its mismatch with the regular social time,
which has tainted it, through time, with a negative connotation, as if
it was a somehow vicious behaviour. It is not, and that mismatch can
be counterbalanced by doing a type of job that wouldn't collide with
general social time. However, if the individual's professional or
personal projects require to adapt to regular timing, specific
treatments are available -- as depicted in the answer -- to make it
possible, all of which certainly require tenacity, but also need
medical help.
Subject: Re: Solutions to waking up in the morning
From: jc123-ga on 01 Sep 2006 05:37 PDT
I was a long-time sufferer of a similar problem. I could never be
motivated to get out of bed and found that i wasn't getting the rest I
needed when I was asleep.

I decided to do some research (as you have been doing) and purchased a
really good memory foam mattress, even though I'm not a back pain
sufferer (as many people believe you have to be to use this type of

This mattress (and the pillows I bought) have really changed my life.
I now enjoy going to bed knowing that I will sleep well.

Here are some sleep resources I found:

Good Luck!!
Subject: Re: Solutions to waking up in the morning
From: eestudent-ga on 04 Sep 2006 18:13 PDT
Subject: Re: Solutions to waking up in the morning
From: fuji4582-ga on 07 Sep 2006 11:20 PDT
Be aware that some of the over the counter sleep aids like: tylenol PM
and Nytol contain benadryl (diphenhydramine HCl) or a similar
anti-histamine and takes advantage of their side effect of drowsiness
to help people get to sleep.  Unfortunately this can leave you with
some nasty hangover effects in the morning even with 8+ hours of sleep
making it even harder to wake up.

If you are having problems sleeping as described in the question the
best option is often to find the root of the problem and fix it from
there.  All additional therapies should only complement fixing the
root problem.  Just by trying to force yourself to sleep will often
cause a rebound effect that may eventually make it harder for you to
sleep and wake up.

You did not mention if you were taking any types of medications for
your depression, it may be worth while to check with your doctor about
starting an antidepressant therapy if that is what you are really
diagnosed with.

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