I take my waking up in stages.
If I am going to wake up at 4:00 am, my first alarm should go off at least 30 minutes before that time. And I need about three or four alarms spread across that 30 minute period.
I use four alarms where the interval between the first two alarms is the biggest and the others are relatively equal. I used to use the snooze button, but I found out that this habit is just as effective. So though I sometimes use the snooze button, I usually have multiple alarms set.
The snooze button can work when it gives you a few extra minutes each time you snooze, but I found that I can sometimes lose track of my snooze count and I end up sleeping past my intended time.
So I prefer to turn each alarm off rather than snooze. This gives me the control I need to set specific times I want for that alarm to go off.
Back to the alarms then…
So my four alarms are illustrated below.
The red dots represent the time my alarms go off from left to right with the last dot being my final (wake-up alarm). The first four alarms act as breakpoints in my sleep that prepare me for waking up.
I have the biggest interval between the first two alarms. You will also note that I do not have the exact time. For example, I have the 3:47 a.m., then 3:58 a.m. as opposed to 3:50 a.m. and 3:55 a.m. This is because I find it more effective in forcing the brain to start thinking.
If I were to put all my timings on 45, 50, 55… this would make it easy for the brain to note the time, but those random minutes force me to start thinking as the brain tries to make sense of those rather odd figures forcing it to wake up.
But I do not think it is necessary. I only find it effective in my case. You can try it too and see if it makes any difference.
When the first alarm rings, I switch it off and then think to myself that it is time to wake up. I drift off to sleep with that thought until the next alarm 15 minutes later. When the second alarm goes off, I think to myself what I am going to get done that day as I drift off again but that time is not long-lived before another kicks in.
By the fourth alarm, I am fully awake and it only takes a few minutes before the final waking alarm. I sometimes even get up before the final alarm goes and I then switch it off before it goes off.
I found that doing this eliminates my drowsiness which in most cases causes my early morning mood swings and laziness that could affect my day. It’s even most effective if you make a conscious effort to switch off those alarms as soon as you can.
In my experience, I found that this method is very useful if you want to wake up so early. It is unnecessary if you wake up late, for example, 7 a.m. or maybe starting from 8 a.m. and beyond. You get better results with this when you are trying to get up at 3, 4, 5, or 6 a.m.
Another way it can be useful is if you are finding it really hard to get out of bed because it is cold outside. It rains almost every single day where I live but I have to always get up at 3:00 a.m. to begin my day and I find that this method helps.
You should also make sure that you take a break from this method at least for the weekends in your first three months as it can be really hard on you to wake up so early for an extended period of time in the beginning.
Even I sometimes turn it off on the weekends and just let my sleep drift although this also gets me to a place where I feel so tired that I oversleep.
Waking up can be one of the hardest decisions we have to make everyday but for me, it is not as hard as it used to before I started doing this.
I think snoozing in the morning works like a gradual break from sleep that finally brings you into wakefulness. It is not an evil child of laziness like some people make it out to be, but a necessary process in our sleep to waking transition.
Try it out for yourself. The best knowledge will come with your personal experience.