*Beep* *Beep* *Beep*, I open my eyes in the pitch-black dark and I immediately moving my arms like a blind man. Where is my phone? Where is my phone?! My phone alarm, it is like an old annoying Spice Girls song, especially in the morning. Well that happens sometimes, but there are also times when I can’t wait to get out of bed. I even wake up before my phone alarm starts ringing, and when it rings I might even sing along with it. Let the day begin!
Everybody needs to get out of bed in the morning and I know a lot of people struggling with it. So I began to wonder, what are important factors that get me out of bed in the morning? If I can answer those, I will become aware of them and I might be able to manipulate them to get out of bed with a smile. Who doesn’t want that?
Every morning I rate my difficulties with getting out of bed with a score of 1-10. I have done this every morning for over a year now. To investigate which factors influence my difficulty of getting out of bed, I looked at several sleep parameters like sleep duration, time in bed, time of awakening, and perceived sleep quality (1-10). Furthermore, I looked at several of my moods from the day before which might have influenced my sleep. I looked at loneliness (1-10), activity (1-10), health (1-10), stress (1-10), happiness (1-10), productivity (1-10), sociality (1-10), fruit (pieces), meat (grams), vegetables (pieces), and alcohol intake (drinks).
On average, I have a difficulty of 5.85 with getting out of bed. I have a standard deviation of 1.2 in my score, meaning that most of my scores are between 4.5 and 7. Thus, I always experience some difficulty with getting out of bed but almost never unbearable problems. You can see my week averages in the next figure; I started measuring in week 3 of 2015 and you can see the course over the past 1.5 year. No real specialties can be found in this graph.
Which sleep variables influence me?
Not surprisingly, the shorter I sleep, the more trouble I have with getting out of bed. Also, the earlier I need to wake up, the harder it is for me to get out of bed. However, if I control for sleep duration, this effect disappears. This means that the reason for my difficulties with getting out of bed is not the time of waking up, but the duration of my sleep. It was interesting to see that perceived quality of the sleep itself did not have a relation with my difficulty of getting out of bed. Furthermore, the data showed no relation between my perceived temperature during the night (sweaty or cold night) and my difficulty with getting out of bed. I had experienced the most difficulties with getting out of my bed when I was sleeping together with my girlfriend. On average, I rated my difficulty 0.5 points higher when we were sleeping together.
What about the state of mind and behavior the day before?
My mindset of the day before might have an influence on my struggles in the morning. And indeed, there were some small effects of my mindset of the day before on waking up the next morning. When I felt lonely the day before, waking up was more difficult. The more healthy, and happy I felt the previous day, the less problems I had with getting out of bed. And lastly, the more alcohol I drunk, the more problems I had with getting out of bed. Still this effect is small and could be investigated more thoroughly in future blogs.
Sleep phase in which I wake up?
Whether I wake up during a deep sleep phase, REM phase, or a light sleep phase should affect my feeling of tiredness in the morning, and therefore my difficulty with getting out of bed. Thus, I compared the data of my Basis B1 watch between the days I had the most and the least difficulty with getting out of bed. I found that there was no significant relationship between the sleep phases in which I woke up and my problems with getting out of bed. However, validity questions of my watch can be noted here.
Difficulties with getting out of bed in the morning? The advice seems simple: just sleep longer. Sleep duration had the strongest correlation with my difficulty of getting out of bed. I thought before that waking up early caused me problems to get out of bed but that was not the case. The fact is that I was just sleeping too short whenever I woke up early.
Next to that, I found a lot of behavioral factors that influenced me. Feeling more healthy, happy, and less lonely helps me to wake up with a smile in the morning. The day before has several influences on the morning after. The effect of drinking alcohol the day before was no surprise, but the influence of loneliness and happiness was an eye opener. This shows that getting out of bed is also a mindset and not only a physical thing; “are you mentally ready for starting the day?”. Having problems in the morning might result in a bad day. With a bad day, you’ll have more problems with getting out bed the next day. You’ll get trapped in a downward spiral which might even lead to exhaustion and ultimately depression. The easiest way to prevent this from happening is to sleep long enough (according to my data). When sleeping long enough, you won’t have problems getting out of bed and you can start your day right.
However, the relations of the mental components with my difficulty of getting out of bed were not that strong. How is this possible? The reason for this is probably that it works in two ways. I have difficulties with getting out of bed after a bad night. Nonetheless, I sometimes also have difficulties with getting out of bed after a good night of sleep. So we could say that having difficulties with getting out of bed is not always a “bad” thing. Remember a Sunday morning, 11 AM, you had a good night of sleep, and woke up but had no eager at all to get out of bed? You just wanted to hug the pillow a little longer? At those moments you probably had a lot of trouble with getting out of bed as well even though you slept very well.
Together this shows that the difficulty of getting out of bed is a physical but also a mental thing. Good and bad nights both might be the cause of the difficulty to get out of bed in the morning. Therefore, analyzing the causes is difficult, and the bottom line is that you should just get out of bed. Good luck!