Updated Feb, 25th 2013
My biggest problem is having trouble getting out of bed in the morning. I've always been this way.
When I first wake up, I usually feel like crap. I do not feel rejuvenated or refreshed. I feel groggy, cranky, and all I really want to do is find a way to get back to sleep and grab some restful sleep before I have to get up. I often stay in bed semi-conscious for at least 45 minutes after I first wake up. What I'd really like, of course, is to wake up feeling alert and ready to get out of bed and start the day.
Because of this, I usually set my alarm for about 45 minutes before I need to wake up, which really just reinforces this pattern. I've always been someone who doesn't wake up before I absolutely need to in order to get ready for work/school/whatever. I'd love to be a person who wakes up at 6:30 every day, even though I don't need to start getting ready until 7:30 or 8:00. I love the idea of taking some time in the morning to sit with a cup of coffee or do some reading/writing or whatever before diving into my daily responsibilities.
So, I guess I'd also like to figure out a better alarm situation. I could probably wake up initially without one, but then I worry that I'd slip back into sleep for another hour without some kind of snooze (I often snooze using the timer on my watch - first 15 minutes, then 10, then 5 - yeah, it's a bad habit). I don't mind being woken up by some kind of alarm, but I'd like that to trigger me to get out of bed (or at least sit up) within 5 or 10 minutes.
In the last few years I have gotten better about going to bed around the same time each night and not sleeping in so much on the weekends. I used to have more trouble falling asleep, but now, as long as I haven't had too much sugar or caffeine, it usually doesn't take me too long. But, I still feel like I don't get restful sleep.
I recently cut back my coffee intake to no more than 1 cup per day, on average. I'm trying to switch over to tea to avoid the rush and crash effects of coffee. It seems to be helping. Although on the days where I really don't sleep well, I feel more of a need for coffee when I wake up.
I know that I need to work on exercising more. I am pretty good about taking walks during the day, but I rarely feel physically tired when I'm going to bed. I think I might not be sleeping very deeply simply because my body doesn't need as much rest as its getting. I like the idea of getting less sleep, especially now that I know that deep sleep usually happens earlier in the sleep cycle. If I slept less, I would probably be more tired in the evening and maybe sleep more deeply. Right now, there's usually about 9 hours between when I turn out the lights and close my eyes to sleep and when I end up getting out of bed. Those last 2 hours or so are pretty restless, I think, so I'd like to maybe even cut them out if possible.
One last thing. On the rare days where I really have to get up early, like for a morning flight or something, I'm usually miserable for the first 45 minutes or so, but after that I feel good and alert. So, for me, it's really the process of getting up that's so hard for me. Although, I know everything is connected, so the problem really probably starts earlier, like before or during sleep.
New things to try:
I did a lot of things right yesterday - only had 1 cup of coffee, drank a lot of water, went for 2 walks, used breathe right strips - but still felt crappy this morning. I used the sleep cycle app and it showed that I was only in deep sleep at the beginning of my sleep. I think I woke up around 5 and didn't feel like I really slept again after that.
The only improvement is that I was out of bed by around 7:00, which is earlier than usual. And, once the sleep cycle alarm went off, I didn't snooze very long after that.
Didn't sleep very deeply last night, but using Sleep Cycle helped me stay up once I woke up. Still felt pretty crappy, but happy that I didn't really snooze at all. Just sat up in bed for about 15-20 minutes, better than going back to sleep. Was out of bed by 7:00 again, which is a big step forward.
Two nights ago I didn't set an alarm and let myself sleep in. I slept for about 9 hours and felt pretty good when I woke up. Maybe I just need a lot of sleep...