Not so long ago I had the perfect alarm clock – a dog that would piss his crate if I didn’t get out of bed. He’d lie there, in his crate, and whine from around 5am, crossing his legs hoping to be carried down stairs and walked outside, peeing freely, happily, and without worry. Frank had this unintended consequence for the first few months of his life with us, which helped me regulate a body clock perfectly. It happened no matter what time I’d got to bed the night before, what I was doing for the rest of the day, and especially if I wanted a lie in. He stopped needing to be taken out just before we moved out of the flat, able to hold his piss for longer than 6 hours, but he’d still whine loudly, taking aim at his people that he liked so much (who were sleeping soundly).
He has now grown out of this thankfully – there was a time when we’d let him whine and whine before getting up, an attempt to try and train him to realise that it wasn't the whining that was getting us out of bed. He'd managed to make the connection with my phone alarm and getting out for a walk, so when it would go off he'd start whining. I had to change my alarm three times during this point. These days he still whines if he can hear us pottering about upstairs, more of a “remember me?” now than the “REMEMBER ME!” of before.
When thinking about it, it has been a long time since I didn't have one of these forced alarms. When living with Steve, for example, I normally aimed to be in and out of the shower before he needed it, which meant having to be ready for pre-8am, a forced alarm. In Texas the traffic was a good enough alarm, leaving for work prior to 7am most mornings (at first). In Aberdeen I didn't have a car to start with, and due to the really odd timings of the trains to Dyce, I had only three options in total to get to work on time. Still didn’t mean a 100% success rate mind you, but it was very effective.
Since coming back from the wedding, I’ve not had that. In fact, my time keeping has been getting a lot worse – in the first few weeks of February I was marking 9am starts almost every day.
I’ve decided to stop that and trick myself into getting up – a new forced alarm, and it comes in the shape of a QR Code:
This QR code links to this blog, so you can have that one for free. What is interesting is that now my alarm won’t switch off unless I scan this particular code, which I’ve strategically placed in the other bedroom, the one where my towel is, and the one I have to go to get ready for work. So, to stop the alarm I have to get up and go.
How is this going? Well, on Monday I did it and it woke me at 5.15am, because I’d set the alarm to wake me up at 5.30am – but it tries to monitor your sleep, and wake you when you’re in a waking cycle. Anyway, that was ridiculous. So I reset it for 6am wake up (earliest being 5.30am) and moved on. Even on Tuesday, which is set for 7am due to me not getting to bed at 1am on a Monday night worked perfectly – I made the 8am train and got into work for 8.30am. And on Wednesday I managed to wake at 5.30am, get up washed showered and Frank peed and then onto the 6.25am train, getting to work at 7am sharp, the earliest I’ve ever been since moving to Glasgow and the earliest I can be in – there’s no train before 6.25am.
I am also getting better sleeps too – the alarm thing might be a bit of a gimmick (the science is sound, I just don’t trust it’s method of recording my sleep patterns).
And Frank gets to pee on my clock now.