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This post is part of my Odd Tape Projecta 12-week lifestyle and writing series in which I'll reflect on and attempt to transform my daily lifestyle habits. Each post is tied with the track titles of The Odd Tape, one of my all-time favorite instrumental albums by Oddisee.

ALARMED (04:26)

How do you wake up in the morning?

Do you wake up effortlessly to the natural light of the sun? Do you have an actual alarm clock that wakes you up? Or... are you like me and many others these days? Does your cellphone alarm clock wake you up?

How I wake up THESE DAYS 

Whew. I'm not proud or happy of the way I wake up these days — groggily and unenthusiastically. My phone rings a generic alarm sound to which I quickly turn over to my nightstand to turn it off. Usually, this gets me awake enough to at least accept that it's time to face the day. If I'm really tired, I'll snooze my alarm clock about two more times which is approximately 20 minutes of extra time in bed. 

When I finally decide to wake up, I automatically do two things on autopilot: I drag my feet over to my window and open up my blackout curtains, letting some natural morning light into my room. Then, (here's the thing that I'm least proud of...) I grab my iPhone, open Instagram, and crawl back into bed. In fact, I actually started relying on turning up the brightness of my iPhone to get my eyes and brain fully warmed up. Grimace. I'm being 100% honest here. 

This is how I wake up these days.


I've been using the 'Bedtime' function on my iPhone clock app. It's a nifty tool that helps me set the exact time I'm going to bed and then set the dial to when I plan to wake up. Setting these two parameters shows how many hours of sleep I'd be getting that night. What I like most about it is that it actually gathers data and patterns on how much I sleep. This is what my past week of sleep looked like: 

As you can see... I've gone to bed every night this past week after midnight and woke up roughly between 7:00 ~ 8:30 AM. There's no data on Saturday because I was so exhausted from my week that I decided I'd sleep in as long as I needed from Friday night until Saturday morning. I went to bed at midnight and... woke up past 10:00 AM. 

I am not okay with this graph, hahaha. In fact, my body has not been okay with this. 


My relationship to sleep and rest has gone off the rails in the past year when I compare how things are today to how I used to wake up when I was still in California. I'm perpetually tired, rely on caffeine, feel less alert, and often feel guilty about it all. Gone are the days when I would wake up automatically to the natural light with a smile. 

People who consider themselves night owls might not see a problem with my pattern. The issue here is that I'm definitely not made to be a night owl. I didn't grow up that way, didn't live that way even after moving out of my parent's house, and always felt better in the mornings that I did in the evenings. What happened? I'm not 100% sure. But I think living and working in NYC has a lot to do with it. There's a lot to do at night and F.O.M.O. bubbles up very frequently.

The biggest reason I want to improve and change my 'waking up' habit is that I'd like to change the way I start my days. I want to improve the posture and experience that begins each day so that whatever happens during the day stems from a positive beginning. 


  • Sleeping by 10:30 ~ 11:00 PM. There can be exceptions, but in general would like to sleep before midnight. 
  • Waking up in a slow and more natural way rather than abruptly. 


To simply wake up every morning a better person than when I went to bed.
— Sidney Poitier