During the time my ex-boyfriend and I were together, he was a grad student. His classes were during the late morning and early afternoon, and he would often work late into the night and sleep until the last possible second in the morning (or sometimes afternoon). I used to scoff at this schedule, chiding him for sleeping so late and wasting the day. How hard was it to get up when the alarm went off?
Well, as I’ve found since starting school, and especially since this semester began, that sometimes it is really hard to get up when the alarm goes off. I’ve never been particularly tuned for mornings, but things are starting to get out of hand. I’ve discovered that when I don’t have to be anywhere, and the only thing motivating me to get up is my own personal list of things-to-do, that getting out of bed is really hard.
Let’s take today as an example. Last night I went to sleep around 1 am. I realize that late bedtimes are part of my problem, but I’ve been working on getting into bed earlier and going to sleep at 1 am is actually pretty good compared to how I had been for a while. Falling asleep at 1 am means that it isn’t unreasonable to get up at 8:30 or 9 am. So that’s what I set my alarm for. The alarm goes off in the morning, and while I hear it at first, my body knows that there isn’t anyplace I have to be yet, and so doesn’t find it necessary to really wake up. On days when I have places to be, the radio alarm clock is quite effective, but not on the other ones.
So I sleep with the radio playing. The stories they report on NPR start to work their way into the plotlines of my dreams and I find myself cast as the politician, or the musician or the councilperson introducing a trans fat ban. I wake up a little an hour later when the radio clicks off again. This is the point at which I start giving myself a mental pep talk. I tell myself, “okay, you really need to get up now.” “You can do this, just sit up.” If I don’t get out of bed during the internal dialogue, I inevitably fall back to sleep. It’s after that last cat nap that I catch a glance at the clock and realize that it is close to 11 am. At that point, I inhale sharply, sit straight up (giving myself a most impressive head rush) and leap out of bed.
Once I’m out of bed I’m fine, but the process I go through to get there isn’t really fun. I don’t actually enjoy sleeping that much and I don’t like the self inflicted guilt that comes with being so “lazy.” I remember my ex telling me that it was like he had an evil personality that took over his body when it came time to waking up in the morning. In those days, I never understood what he was talking about, but these days, his explanation makes absolute, perfect sense.