Beeminder Forum

Help me with my waking up goal?


I’m having a problem with my wake up goal. The idea was to choose a time the previous day to wake up and then to wake up by that time.

But the problem I’m having is that I wake up in the middle of the night and don’t fall asleep till later. Or I’m exhausted and in need of sleep and I finally manage to get sleep. In which case I don’t actually want to wake up at my designated time - I want to get sleep and be well-rested.

The only exception is if I actually have to get up at a certain time for an appointment or something.

So maybe I should just keep the “go to sleep” goals - since that covers what I really care about, which is not staying up all night - and leave the wake time flexible unless I really need it.

So how would people suggest I structure the wake goal? I could just choose the day before whether or not I have a wakeup time, and if I don’t, just count it regardless. What are your thoughts?


I think you need to find what your end result is and structure the goal accordingly. You also need to allow yourself some leeway to handle the part that you can’t control. E.g. waking up in the middle of the night and not being to fall asleep immediately shouldn’t mean that your wake up time should not change just so that some beeminder goal is satisfied.

Getting to bed earlier, which is much more in your control and can actually help you sleep better, sounds like a better goal to track.


Totally agree with @apolyton here.

Waking up at 6:00 usually isn’t the goal people are after. Most people want to “get up early and rested to be more productive”. So just a “punish me if I don’t get up by 6 goal” is really bad for most, as the stress may carry over into the night and reduce the quality of sleep.

Improving quality of sleep and building those sleep habits has helped me a lot. I have a bedtime goal that adds a differing amount of points to my goal depending on my bed time. That gives some leeway. Using a blue light blocker and limiting caffeine in the afternoon has helped loads. And no screentime if I wake up in the night. I also use a sleep tracker that wakes me in the area of 40 minutes before my set alarm time, with my watch vibrating instead of an alarm. I hate alarm clocks and the vibrating I don’t mind at all (Sleep as Android on Android works well for these).

It also helps being realistic how much sleep you actually need. Listening to Gary Vaynerchuck or Jocko Willinck you may think that we can all survive on 5h sleep and be ultra productive. I can’t. I need 7+ hours to not burn out.

So personally I suggest beeminding bedtime and maybe screentime instead of wake up time. Worked wonders for me to get up between 5 and 6 regularly even if I don’t have to.


@apolyton @mufflon but there are some days where I really do need to get up by a certain time!


So I guess you have two different goals that need different rules/measurement of success

  • wake up on time on days that I have X thing to do at specific time
  • improve quality of sleep


I like the idea of beeminding a “lights out” time, and I’ve been toying with doing that again, actually (and definitely a “screens off” time again).

As far as what time you get up when you need to get up at a particular, but variable time, if it were me, I’d do something overly complex for nothing, cause that’s how I roll… So here’s what I’d do:

I’d set up a custom goal that wasn’t cumulative and that—Actually, here, let me do this:

And I’d give it a rate of 0 and a goal value of zero so that it’s just flat every day.

Then I’d give it a deadline in the afternoon, at a time before which I’m unlikely to need to think about tomorrow’s bedtime.

Then, as soon as I realize what time I need to get up tomorrow, I’d send a negative datapoint to the goal for that time. Do I need to get up at 6? I’d send a -6 datapoint (and, since the goal’s deadline time was set to earlier, it’s already counting that as a datapoint for tomorrow). If I need to get up at 8:30, I’d send one for -8.5.

Then when I get up, I’d send a (positive) datapoint of the current time (I’d probably use an IFTTT button or iOS Shortcut or something for this).

That way, I have to get up and trigger the morning datapoint at a time near enough to my planned wake up time for that positive number to not be larger than the negative number I entered the day before. (Well, given that in my example I set it up with a lane width of 0.25, I’d have a 15-minute grace period.) And the graph would be showing meaningful data, cause it would be showing the portion of an hour before your set wake up time (or after, if you’re derailing) you got up each day you set it. So the time of day wouldn’t show on your graph, only how close to your time you were, which seems like maybe what you’re looking to measure, from your description.

If the next day were a day I didn’t have to get up at a particular time, I’d send a 0 datapoint for the coming day, or maybe even just send the absolute latest time I could possibly get up and still have my day be fine, so that I’d stay in the habit of sending a datapoint the day before and trigger when I got up.

Anyway, that’s what I think I’d do!