There’s one thing that many men do not get enough of. But it’s not a supplement, or a nutrient, it’s not oatz or squatz bro, its sleep. For a lot of us in the grind, working more than 40 hours a week, with some potentially pretty wonky schedules, sleep can be a challenge. I wrote before about my struggle with insomnia and how many different things I tried. I was, for years, basically addicted to melatonin. I needed it to function- if I didn’t take it I didn’t sleep. I haven’t taken melatonin in almost 2 months, and now I’m getting more and better sleep then I ever have as an adult.
Firstly, it was a better schedule. Working in the service industry means I am at work much later than most. My days don’t end till 9 or 10 at night, sometimes later. After eating, showering, dealing with chores and life, then finally unwinding with some me time for a couple of hours I was well into the AM before I was in my bed. Now I had to forcibly correct this, and for a lot of it, it meant simply reducing the amount of “brain candy” that I got each night. I was on the computer less, watching TV less, and putting my ass in bed earlier. That, combined with getting up especially early to go to the gym before work, meant that my internal clock was poised and ready to make me a normal functioning human, but it still didn’t work. Even on the nights that I got a solid 7-8 hours (a lot for me) when the alarm screeched I woke up groggy, unable to shake off the sleep, and I became a serial snooze button presser always striving for “10 more minutes” until I finally got up because I would be late for work otherwise.
Enter the “Light Alarm” or more specifically the Phillip’s Wake-Up Light. Unlike the alarm that most of us use on our phones/tablets/etc it isn’t a shock to the system as you’re yanked from your slumber and forced to deal with the world. It starts 30 minutes before its designated wake up time by turning on a soft yellow-white lamp that starts dim at first, gradually getting brighter every few minutes simulating a sunrise. Now some of you might have the benefit of nature doing this for you, but for myself, who lives in a basement level apartment with no real windows- or those on incredibly early or late schedules that don’t play nice with the sun- this could potentially be a game changer.
Instead of being motherfucked awake by a screaming harpy of an alarm this lifts you out of sleep slowly, you’ll become half aware of the time to wake up approaching, even though you’re still sleeping. It made a huge difference in my schedule and in my life. Even the nights I get less than a goodnight’s sleep I can tell that waking up is no longer the dreadful chore it once was. When the alarm does eventually sound (there is an audible alarm once your designated awake time is reached and the light is at full brightness) its more of a feeling of “oh time to wake up” rather than “MAKE IT STOP”
Now that getting up early was made much more tolerable and easy it made sticking to a schedule that had me in bed earlier to wake up earlier much MUCH easier. This in turn finally got my internal clock set and has now allowed me to completely kick melatonin. If you have sleep schedule issues I HIGHLY recommend giving the Phillips Wake Up Light a shot.