If you have had even a passing conversation with me in the past two weeks you probably know about my new “Holy Shit That’s Early” wake up time at 4:15 a.m. I’ll tell anyone who will listen how I’m not a morning person. I’ll detail my sleep schedule. And most importantly, my struggle to make sure that I’m up and at ’em when that alarm goes off.
Because I am reliant on the subway system, and because the trains don’t run as often that early in the morning, there is only one train I can take to get to work on time. This means no pressing of the snooze 3 to 5 times. It means hoping that my alarm doesn’t work its way in to my dream, causing me to sleep until it has finally given up on getting me up. Basically, for possibly the first time in my life, I have no choice but to get up when I’m supposed to. Because I haven’t quite yet managed to get my bedtime sorted out, that “when I’m supposed to” time is probably about 4 hours after I went to sleep, adding to the challenge.
I searched our friend the Internet to find ways to help me get up earlier (besides going to bed at 8, which, let’s get real). I found all the standard chestnuts of wisdom. Dark bedroom! Regular bedtime! No noise! Cool room! None of this will ever happen because you live in New York and it’s July! But then I came across an alarm called Alarm Clock Plus for my Android phone that gives you the option of doing math problems before you can snooze or dismiss the alarm. You can set how many math problems you want to do, and the difficulty of the problems. I have to do two problems before I can turn off the alarm and I set it at “easy difficulty.” There is an option for very easy, but I found that even in 90% sleep I can still manage to add 8 and 9. But throw in two digit numbers and, well, let’s just say that pretty much every morning I get at least one of my math problems wrong. If the ones column adds up to more than 10, my 4 a.m. brain just can’t do it. The math alarm has no mercy though. It’s the scariest math teacher you ever had. It’s all, “Fuck you! Do them until you get it right! I’ll keep on beeping until you stop being so dumb! Do your damn math!”
Basically, this alarm could only be better for me if it started injecting coffee into my mouth 10 minutes before I need to wake up. Or invented some way where I didn’t have to get up so early. Doing those math problems is just the kick start my brain needs to get out of sleep mode. I have yet to mindlessly turn off the alarm and wake up in a panic 30 minutes later. I have only snoozed once in two weeks (and only one time at that). I still feel a crushing sadness every time my alarm goes off and I forget that I have to do the math which leads to a moment of confusion, but that’s really a personal problem. But I’m making my train, and that’s all I ask for from my alarm clock.