Can't wake up on time!

Discussion in 'Medical Students - MD' started by closertofine, Jul 24, 2006.

  1. closertofine

    closertofine Emerging from hibernation
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    Help-- this is bad, bad, bad because I just started on clinical rotations (and an easy rotation at that) and have run into the problem of not being able to wake up on time. The first time I was post-call, but had still gotten 6 hours of sleep or so, and just didn't hear my several alarm clocks-- or turned them off without realizing it (though I have 2, and one is all the way across the room)-- and I was several hours late.

    The second time was this morning-- this time I had also set up my PDA to give an alarm, but apparently missed that as well. But fortunately some construction workers started hammering pretty much near my head and woke me up just in time! I thought I hated the construction until now-- but I was very grateful.

    I'm not sure what to do-- I am sleepy and worn out no matter how much sleep I get, and I do get to bed at a reasonable hour usually. And I don't think adding more alarm clocks would necessarily help, since apparently I don't hear them or turn them off without realizing it (even getting up to do it).

    But I know being late will be the end of me in terms of looking like a semi-decent clinical student...and this is actually a rotation I'm interested in pursuing. The one day I was late, I did stay several hours past my usual time to make up for it, but I don't think that is enough. So any ideas?

    Oh, and I can add, this past weekend I tried to "catch up" on any sleep deficit I might have, so I feel like I should be more than caught up by now...
     
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  3. mzeroapplicant

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    Several ideas
    1.Make sure you're not getting too much sleep. Sometimes, when you get in the habit of sleeping for a long time you can actually end up more tired. For instance, try to limit yourself to 7-8 hours, including days you're not on call.

    2.Spread your alarms around, put a really loud one on the other side of the room or, better yet, in the hallway just outside your room.

    3.If alarms always fail you get a friend or family member to give you a call to wake you up at a certain time. Make sure the person understand that you need to talk to them for a minute and actually stand up before they let you get off the phone, but as long as the person is dependable this usually works.

    4.Caffeine first thing, it gives you something to look forward to when you're hitting the snooze button.
     
  4. Kimka83

    Kimka83 SDN Donor
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  5. MasterShake

    MasterShake Member's Only Member
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    How about sleeping with someone that does not have the same difficulty? Then they can push you out of bed when you are suppose to be up.
    ;) ;) :scared: :scared:
     
  6. Church

    Church Snark-free since 2008
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    My secret weapon is the timer on my coffee maker. Get one that you can load the night before and have it start on the timer about 5 minutes before you want to wake up. The coffeee smell helps me up.
     
  7. OSUdoc08

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    Go to bed earlier.
     
  8. nosugrefneb

    nosugrefneb (benferguson)
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    I am the heaviest sleeper you will ever meet. Seriously. A few suggestions:

    Set your phone's alarm on the same ringtone as the incoming call ringtone, and turn it up all the way. It tricks you into thinking you're getting a call, something I typically wake up for. Change the ringtone every few weeks to months.

    Get this: http://www.eclockusa.com/ I had mono for my entire freshman year of college, and it literally saved my college career. I feel strongly that I wouldn't be in medical school right now without having had this alarm clock. I wake up pretty readily to someone shouting my name at the top of their lungs (I conveniently learned this in high school when my dad would do this pretty much daily right around 30 min. after my first class began), so I just recorded myself shouting my own name repeatedly as loud as I could. Plus, once you're up, you really can't just sit through it because it's so fricking annoying to you and everyone else within 50 feet of your bed.

    Similar to other suggestions, set multiple alarms in different places, or at least one that's on the opposite side of the room as your bed. The key to this suggestion, and pretty much every one you'll read in this thread aside from having a timed shower hovering over your head, is to not succumb to getting back into bed once you're up.
     
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  9. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member
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    There are companies you can hire that provide wake up call services, assuming you would wake up to your phone better than an alarm clock.
     
  10. closertofine

    closertofine Emerging from hibernation
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    Thanks for the ideas. I'm pretty sure I'm not getting too much sleep, except maybe this past weekend...but I seem to have a similar amount of trouble getting up regardless of the hours I've slept, strangely enough.

    I think I will make a trip out today to get a louder alarm clock...I do live in pretty close quarters, though, so I think I'm risking greatly annoying my neighbors with a fire-alarm-loud type thing, but I guess that's just more incentive for me to get up and turn it off!

    That's a good idea about getting someone to call...my mom is always an early riser (why didn't I get her genes?!) and could probably do it most days...

    I do drink a little soda first thing, but have cut back since it upsets my stomach...maybe I should put a can by my bed, just out of reach! :)
     
  11. OSUdoc08

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    Perhaps it is the acid in the beverage that causes GI upset. Try low-acid caffeinated beverages such as coffee, espresso, or tea.

    I just want to re-iterate that the best solution is to simply go to bed earlier.
     
  12. closertofine

    closertofine Emerging from hibernation
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    OK, I can't stand the taste of coffee or black tea (I like green, though, but that doesn't have much caffeine, I don't think!), but I may force myself to try it anyway.

    And I'll work on getting to bed earlier too. It just doesn't seem so simple when you're a total night owl like I am...my ideal sleep schedule would seriously be from 4 AM to noon! But somehow I've got to adjust...so I'll just go to bed, rinse and repeat until I (hopefully) get used to it...

    (Edit: but this doesn't mean I've been going to bed at 4 AM...that would just be stupid...more like 11 PM or so (occasionally with pharmacological help)...or sometimes 1 AM, I admit...)
     
  13. closertofine

    closertofine Emerging from hibernation
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    I will definitely try the phone alarm thing, thanks. The shouting alarm clock sounds very cool too...I guess I just have to try not to worry too much about what my neighbors think? or turn it off very quickly? (the walls are very thin!).

    If that got you up through mono, though, I should really look into it. I think that's part of the problem...a medical illness going on that is not yet exactly diagnosed but is wearing me out in general...so that compounds things...

    I do have the multiple alarms in different places around the room now...well, I used to have 3, but now only 2 and a PDA alarm since one died. The problem ends up being my strange ability to get up each time, turn off the alarm, and go back to bed without realizing what's happening...and then wake up hours later with only a vague memory that I've done it! :eek:

    I think maybe the shock factor of a new, different, or louder alarm might work for a while...I guess my brain just gets used to each alarm and lets me sleep-walk enough to turn them all off? :confused:
     
  14. angietron3000

    angietron3000 *black magic soul power*
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    I have 3 alarm clocks too! I used a wakeup service during undergrad because I kept sleeping through lectures..

    Definitely more reliable than family or friends ;) It used to be free but now I think it's something like $5 a month http://www.iping.com/mrwakeup_menu.asp
     
  15. closertofine

    closertofine Emerging from hibernation
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    nice...$60 would hurt my wallet a bit, but I'm sure it would be worth it in the long run...hmmm...
     
  16. MJB

    MJB Senior Member
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    Good to know I'm not the only one that has trouble waking up...even with an alarm blaring in my ear.

    I will probably have sleep studies done soon because no matter what I do, I feel like hell when I wake up...it sucks to never, ever, ever feel rested.
     
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  17. sentrosi

    sentrosi INTARWEB USER
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  18. closertofine

    closertofine Emerging from hibernation
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  19. SoCuteMD

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    Try to keep on a consistent schedule. Yes, it sucks, but don't sleep in on your days off. Go to bed early most every night, too. It will help as your body's clock will probably adjust after a few weeks of being consistent.

    You may want to consult a sleep doc as well.
     
  20. Ombatay

    Ombatay Senior Member
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    I too have been impossible to wake up, but to some extent have mastered it (cut down to 2 snoozes max) by keeping a consistent schedule, even if that means getting my a** out of bed on the weekends too. I know it's a next to impossible thing to do the way schedules work out, but get as close as you can.

    If that doesn't work... look into this crazy alarm clock. I want one, but can't justify the cost... yet.
     
  21. omarsaleh66

    omarsaleh66 Senior Member
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    I get up in the AM for cardio (currently dieting) b4 work and the only way i get up is as soon as my alarm sounds, I pop one of those ephedrine pills and go back to sleep. in 5 minutes Im wide awake. Ephedrine can give u a heart attack tho but I dont care. Whats the point of living if u arent ripped?

    later
     
  22. closertofine

    closertofine Emerging from hibernation
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    no kidding...today I know I got enough sleep (it was a unusually short day, hence the many posts, haha) and even took a nap (OK, oops, not good...that was before I read about keeping a consistent schedule)...but still feel all day like I've barely slept. Hmm, maybe that's the answer, just staying up until I'm supposed to go to the hospital in the morning--I'd probably feel about the same! :laugh:

    :(
     
  23. Chinorean

    Chinorean Senior Member
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    My sure-fire method: Drink lots and lots of water before you go to bed. Maybe like one of those 500 ml bottles. A full bladder combined with the slightest noise should wake you up. Plus water is good for you anyways.
     
  24. MirrorTodd

    MirrorTodd It's a gas.
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    I can see myself throwing the clock into the wall because I can't figure out the puzzle when I'm that drowsy. On the plus side, I think that the throwing would wake me up enough. :)
     
  25. Jedix123

    Jedix123 Senior Member
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    Great idea! Except sometimes you over do it and you pee in the middle of the night.
     
  26. Ombatay

    Ombatay Senior Member
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    If you look around the site there's a golf ball alarm clock which is designed to be thrown against the wall. That's how you turn it off. I'd never get up if I had that option.
     
  27. Chinorean

    Chinorean Senior Member
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    That's ok, as long as you're not in bed when it happens ;)

    I actually got the idea from a Simpsons episode when Bart wanted to wake up early for Christmas...I think he ended up burning the house down.
     
  28. I've had this problem before (in college). Going to bed earlier definitely helps (med school and residency will train you for that), but the best motivation of all is the fear of what happens the first time you're late (and your attending yells at you)!
     
  29. omarsaleh66

    omarsaleh66 Senior Member
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    Has anyone ever heard of this?

    www.powerfulsleep.com


    they are selling an ebook for 45 dollars on how to reduce your sleep by 3 hrs and have more energy than ever before. I havent tried it yet but I will do anything to get more powerful sleep.
     
  30. nosugrefneb

    nosugrefneb (benferguson)
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    Another thing that's worked for me recently has been to approximate my sleep phases so that I wake up when I'm in a lighter sleep. I noticed that on certain days I felt absolutely wide awake when I got up, and on others I felt like I just got knocked out. Turns out that when I sleep for between 5.5 and 6.5ish hours, I must not be in as deep a sleep, and I usually wake up feeling amazing. If I sleep longer than that, even by like 10 minutes, I am absolutely worthless when I get up.

    If you try going to bed at the exact same time for a week or so and set your alarm at a different half-hour-or-so interval from day to day, you might be able to figure out what your approximate sleep cycle is (the latter part of it, at least). Of course, this requires actually being able to wake up in the first place. :oops:
     
  31. beponychick

    beponychick SDN Angel
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    I totally agree. I am exactly like that. I am actually envious of those people who have trouble sleeping during the night. At least they can get out of bed whenever they feel like it. I literally have to be dragged out of bed in the morning.
     
  32. sentrosi

    sentrosi INTARWEB USER
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    Once that happens, it probably won't force you to wake up when you need to anymore. :laugh:


    A method I found useful was becoming an EMT and having to work night shifts. It's trained my brain to filter out what is a signal that I need to wake up and what is just noise. And it trained my body to be able to wake up at any time. I sleep great but I wake up without having to snooze.
     
  33. DrZee

    DrZee Happy as Hell
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    I will be an M1 this fall and well I have to admit this is going to be a problem for me too since I have not had a regular schedule for some time (8 months) and have been getting up late (10am) for some time now. I am so worried that I will fall asleep during afternoon lectures from exhaustion. How do you combat after lunch fatigue? Ive tried exercising in the morning, but that makes me even more tired, and by 2pm I literally go narcoleptic and just have to sleep on my desk even if I am sitting in the first row! :scared:
    To make matters worse the schools curriculum is 8am-5pm so I will be in class all day and well Im scared I will just come home and fall asleep until the next morning without getting any studying done. YIKES :scared: :scared:

    BTW Coffee gives me heart palpitations and tea is not effective enough to keep me awake, it just makes me pee more often :oops: what to do?
     
  34. Callogician

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    You those of you with severe hypersomnia, you might want to see a specialist to rule out a psychiatric cause. Sleep apnea and narcolepsy have fairly high prevalences. FYI, a sleep study costs your insurance company $3,000, so you have to have pretty nasty symptoms to get one.
     
  35. ADDchild

    ADDchild Member
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    Lots of good advise. I'm in my last week of an internal med inpatient rotation and am having trouble with sleeping/waking/staying awake myself. Although I have two kids which has prepared me to be more sleep deprived than any rotation/residency could possible require.

    Didn't see one that helps me the most which is setting my pager alarm to the same tone as the one my senior resident or attending pages me on. I saw the one about the incoming phone call but nothing gets my attention faster than my resident/attending paging me. When on call, I clip it to my pillow right next to my head so it blast right in my ear. If you move alot while sleeping you probably cant do that, will lose it under pillows and blankets etc.... and never hear it.

    I also read some where that you can help train your self to get out of bed quicker by practicing when your awake. Basically you set your alarm for a minute or so in the immediate future then you lie in bed and when the alarm goes of you jump out of bed and go off and continue with your day . the thought is after a while of doing this while awake will translate into a behavioral habit when your asleep. Sounds interesting but haven't tried or read any real data about it. But then when someone say's that they know a person who had a cousin that did something and then a miracle happened, it must be true right :laugh:
     
  36. GoodEats

    GoodEats SDN Donor
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    I've totally had the same problem of either sleeping completely through my alarms or magically turning them all off (3 of them, 2 on a clock, 1 on the phone, plus any resets) without waking up. I was talking about this last week with a friend of mine, and he also mentioned an MIT invention (I think) where the clock hangs over your bed. You can snooze by hitting it, but each time you do it raises higher and higher until you really have to get up to reach it. Personally I'm considering finding an ambient light alarm clock that gradually brightens before your waking time, cueing (funny-looking word) your body to start rising you out of sleep. I've found that if the sun's coming up and my blinds are open, I wake up much more easily.
     
  37. starwisher

    starwisher Member
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    I had really bad sleep problems my first two years of med school, I probably missed class more often than I made it and sometimes missed required things. All last year I tried to train myself to go to sleep around the same time every day and wake up to my alarm w/o snoozing (by using a timer on my coffeemaker so I'd wake up to the smell of coffee as other people suggested) and I ended up shifting my sleep cycle pretty effectively by the end of the year to the point that most days I can't sleep past 8 even if I have nothing to do. I was severly phase delayed first year, being unable to sleep sometimes until 5 AM and getting up after noon. I haven't overslept yet this year, but I've always been better at waking up when I know someone is relying on me to be somewhere. I've been on sleep aids in the past (lorazapam, ambien, seroquel) and found some helpful and some not so helpful, part of the problem with them though is that they can make it really hard to wake up if you take them too late, so make sure you are taking them at least 8 hrs before you have to wake up, that could be why you are turning off your alarm and don't even realize it.

    Good luck figuring things out! I hope your sleep study helps you figure out why you aren't feeling rested.
     
  38. mustangsally65

    mustangsally65 Sally 2.0
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    I feel lucky that I don't usually have a problem getting out of bed, but I never feel rested either, whether I get six hours or ten hours. It sucks. :( I hope you guys find solutions and get some rest. :luck:
     
  39. MNsocsci

    MNsocsci Senior Member
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    You might try this one:
    Progression Wake Up Clock
    It has a light that slowly gets brighter, it releases your choice of scent such as coffee, lavender, etc., then adds nature sounds like birds or waves, then finally has a buzzer that goes off to make sure you get up. It's not the most attractive clock, but doesn't it sound like a nice gentle way to wake up?
     
  40. closertofine

    closertofine Emerging from hibernation
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    Thanks for all the ideas, guys. But I think I may have blown it pretty badly... and this was way more my fault than just not hearing my alarm. I had a short session at a different hospital and got out much earlier than I'd expected...so I should have gone over and seen my patients, etc. But I was so exhausted and sleepy I took a nap instead...and didn't go in that day.

    So I'm just now getting back from call, and my resident just told me the attending was asking where I was yesterday. Fortunately, the resident said he basically defended me in terms of being a good student, but what can anyone do when I'm not there...I kind of figured it was a semi-free-half-day so why not give in to the exhaustion?!

    Once again, bad, bad idea. And it was late just now and I couldn't think straight, so I told my resident I really had no excuse for it...which is pretty much true anyway.

    Oh well, guess I'd better shower and get to bed so I can do it all over again (hopefully a little more reliably) tomorrow...if I'm not there on time tomorrow morning, I know I'm done for...I don't even know if my reputation is redeemable anymore at this point...

    (and yes, I'm probably being overdramatic, but I've been talking to psychotic patients all day, so give me a break)

    Lost cause or no?
     
  41. univscience

    univscience Member
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    that clock is amazing...it's like disarming a bomb :laugh:
     
  42. Frijolero

    Frijolero Member
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    I think you'll be fine. You might try the light suggestion, and it's cheap too. Just buy a plug-in timer for like 8 bucks, plug whatever bright light into it that you've already got, and set it to come on an hour (or whatever works) before you want to get up. I used an old 250w metal halide lamp I had leftover from my plant-growing days and that did the trick, especially in the winter when you're up hours before the sun.
     
  43. Keg

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  44. cassiato

    cassiato Junior Member

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    If you have windows XP, you might try this (and it won't cost anything). Download an alarm clock program (i'm sure it's free online somewhere). Set the alarm, then before logging out of your account (not a complete logout, just the system lock thing (windows button + L), change the password to some 5 or six digit number. Then make a little paper and pencil math problem (simple addition works fine) that gives you the password as the answer. Leave the problem out on your desk, lock out your account and go to sleep. The alarm can't be turned off until you solve the thing and log-back on to turn it off.

    Of course, after having just thought up this overly convoluted plan, I just realized that there is nothing stopping you from just turning off your speakers.... lol
     
  45. squareDR

    squareDR Member
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    One of the latest alarm clocks that you wear as a watch senses when you are in the lighter sleep phase. I totally agree with you about how much of a difference it makes when you wake up during this time. I should try to find this alarm before I start school.
     
  46. squareDR

    squareDR Member
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    One of the latest alarm clocks (you wear it like a watch) senses when you are in the lighter sleep phase and wakes you up during this phase, as close to the time you set as possible. I totally agree with you about how much of a difference it makes when you wake up during this time.
     
  47. vtucci

    vtucci Attending in Emergency Medicine
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    Do you like Iced-t or one of flavored varieties? They have caffiene.
     
  48. sentrosi

    sentrosi INTARWEB USER
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    You could use energy drinks if you don't like coffee...those have caffiene.

    You could use the Dr. Cox bum alarm clock for naps. Get a bum from the emergency room. Promise him $10 if he wakes you up in however long. Take a nap.
     
  49. closertofine

    closertofine Emerging from hibernation
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    An update: as an easy short-term solution, I just went to the drugstore and got a cheap alarm clock advertised as "super loud"...set it on "high" and put it across the room from my bed. Normally, I would just turn off my alarms and go back to bed...but this one practically gives me a heart attack...I came back one day and had to search for my covers....never seen them thrown that far off the bed!

    I can't imagine it's very healthy to be woken up from a deep sleep to panic and palpitations every morning, though! So I'm going to look into some of the other things you guys mentioned and keep trying to go to bed on time...
     
  50. Jedix123

    Jedix123 Senior Member
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    how come you don't like coffee if your av is... coffee
     
  51. Jedix123

    Jedix123 Senior Member
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    unfortunately that's actually what I did...
     

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