Good Morning

Date
2019-2020

Timeline
9 Months

Role
System/Interaction Designer

Waking up in the morning can be difficult. Feeling exhausted and wanting to stay in bed is normal, millions of people feel the same way every morning. But why do we except this? There must be some way to wake up every day feeling refreshed and alert. There is, but you’re going to have to change your sleep habits.

Question

Why is it so hard to wake up?

Answer

There are many reasons that can cause you wake to up tired, ranging from simply how you sleep to underlying medical conditions. You may be not getting enough sleep or, if you are, you may not be getting enough deep sleep.  It may also be that you are waking up during the wrong period of your sleep schedule. Inactive or too active lifestyles can cause tiredness, as well as medical conditions and medicines.

Today, 4 in 10 American adults get less than 6 hours of sleep, 29% more than in 1942. On average, American get 6.8 hours of sleep, compared to in 1910 where Americans routinely slept for 9 hours.

Causes

The Internet and light bulb have given us the chance to stay awake in a 24/7 world. Busy work schedules are keeping people up late into the night, prioritizing their job over sleep. Hustle culture, promoting nonstop work and boasting about long hours has created the mind-set that we have to work now and sleep later; idolizing those that don’t sleep as a point of inspiration. For those that don’t work late into the night, access to media has caused the same effect. Rather than going to bed at an appropriate time, people elect to sit on their phones scrolling through social media, spend hours starring at the TV, or stay up playing video games.

Effects

Ironically, staying up late to do more work actually makes you less productive at said work. Lack of sleep causes difficulty concentrating, makes decision making harder, impaired judgment, decreases focus, and lowers creativity. Lack of sleep is also bad for your health and can lead to medical conditions including obesity, heart disease, and diabetes.

Question

How can I wake up easier?

Answer

The key to getting up easier is actually more about how well and long you sleep.

Sleep Cycles

Understanding your sleep cycle is the first step to being able to wake up properly. The sleep cycle is broken down into four stages. Stage one is the transition from waking to sleeping, where your drift in and out of sleep. At stage two, your breathing and heart rate begin to slow and is the lightest form of sleep. Stage three, or deep sleep, is the most essential stage and is where the body heals and repairs itself. The first episode of this stage lasts between 45 and 90 minutes and becomes shorter and shorter throughout the night. The final stage is REM sleep, or “rapid eye movement.” Alternatively to stage three. REM sleep periods become longer and longer throughout the night. This is also the stage in which all of our dreams take place. Our brains become extremely active and our eyes move back and forth as noted by the name. Our heart rates and breathing become irregular while the body releases chemicals that paralyze us so we do not act out our dreams.

Question

How do I make sleep a priority?

Answer

In theory, it’s simple: go to bed and wake up at the same time everyday. In practice, not so much: life gets in the way and we stay up much later than we should. We need a system to help keep us on track, prioritizing sleep and the habits of routine.

Marco | 49 | Average 7 hours of sleep

Marco tends to sleep 6.5 hours on weeknights, but catches up on weekends with 8.3 hours of sleep. His job supports him, his husband, and their two kids.  Time after work is spent with his family until the kids go to bed at 9, where he stays up an extra 2 hours watching TV and relaxing. He is usually groggy and tried in the morning, not waking up at the proper point in his sleep cycle.

Paula| 28 | Average 6.2 hours of sleep

Paula works from home as an independent graphic designer, typically working late into the night and on weekends. She lives in an apartment shared with 2 of her friends, so her she often does her work in her bedroom.  Working and sleeping in the same space, in combination with a heavy workload, make it hard to discern when she should go to bed.

01. Catches users phone to detach them from their electronics.
02. Puzzle alarm that cognitively wakes the user up.
03. Sleep cycle calculator to help you get a full nights rest.
04. Sleep habit builder to transition user from day to night.

How it works

User transitions between waking to sleeping through the use of two objects: Good Night and Good Morning. Each device alarms when it is time to move between the two states. The act of removing the key and setting it in the other object both turns off the active alarm and sets the next one.

01 Sleep Que
02 Stop Working
03 Remove Key
04 Move to Good Morning Device
05 Set Key
06 Night
07 Wake Que
08 Wake Up
09 Remove Key
10 Move to Good Night Device
11 Set Key
12 Day

Takeaway

In college, the mantra “I’ll sleep when I’m dead” wasn’t too far from the truth. Late nights in the studio mixed with class at 8 AM everyday made sleep at the bottom of my list of priorities, and I know I was not the only one. I knew sleep was important, but I had no idea how important it actually was. This project has allowed me to be okay with getting my full 8 hours of sleep, and has made me actually view it as a necessity rather than just something that prevents me from working or from binging Netflix.