The theory behind this experiment is based on the knowledge that certain methods can drastically change the lifestyle/attitude of susceptible people. This occurs by affecting the subconscious of the subjects. From this, I hypothesised that by using the same methods, the subjects can affect their subconscious to create a positive attitude immediately after waking up.
The methods that were explored included affirmation, self-hypnosis and dawn simulation. Affirmation was where I had to visualise the positive outcome of waking up with a better attitude within a half hour period before I slept. I thought of motivation, productivity and in turn success, which ultimately leads to happiness. This was to encourage myself to have a better mindset when I woke up. Self-hypnosis involved listening to an audio clip just as I’m about to sleep. The audio had to encompass a calming and soothing feel that’s meant to help with sleeping. It’s also meant to help the mind be subject to reprogramming, which in this case is to have a better attitude as I wake up. The Dawn Simulation is a known method for waking up better which would stand as a point of comparison for the other experimental methods. It involves the simulation of the sun rising, where a light gradually increases in brightness. To create a dawn simulation for my project, I found the feature within a free app called ‘Gentle Wakeup’.
I conducted a controlled test that occurred before the method adoptions. This was where I slept at my usual bedtime and used no method during this period. Each method was adopted for 7 days. Then, it was adopted again but with a later sleep time.
I had high expectations for improvement from affirmation as I felt that it was a direct method towards changing someone’s attitude or mindset. I felt very positive during the process of affirmation but it might have been more effective after waking up rather than before. It created a momentum for positive thinking but it was quickly cut off by sleeping after affirmation. It turned out that affirmation had a poor outcome in relation to rating with inconsistent ratings during the first week. If it was done after waking up, the momentum could have resulted to a more positive approach to the rest of the day.
While the self-hypnosis through audio clip is calming in a normal situation, it becomes a distraction when trying to sleep. Even though the audio clip was highly praised by other users, I felt that it made no significant change as I was using it. That is until I checked what I’ve rated the days that I used self-hypnosis. Using self-hypnosis resulted in a more positive average rating in comparison to affirmation.
I had similar feelings toward the dawn simulation in the sense that I felt it made no significant difference during the research period. The dawn simulation resulted in an average rating close to self-hypnosis but self-hypnosis ended up being more effective at creating a positive attitude during the morning. Having said that, I feel that for those that wish to adopt one of the given methods, dawn simulation would be the most viable as not everyone is receptive for self-hypnosis.
Before going into the conclusion, there are a number of things to consider with focus on the trend lines. The later I went to sleep (refer to table 1), the later I woke up (refer to table 2) which is as expected. But it brings up the question of whether or not it was the later wake up time that lead to a better rating (refer to table 3). It can be seen on the trend line that the later I woke up, the better the rating which could lead the experiments redundant. Thus, I can’t come to an accurate conclusion. All I can do is speculate that self-hypnosis and dawn simulation can improve a person’s mood/attitude after they wake up.
To achieve a more accurate conclusion, I would need a range of controlled tests, with more variations in time but more concentrated per variation. There has to be a clear gap between the times to easily differentiate between one trend and another. From this, I would choose the most consistent outcome and see if the methods will make any difference then. Other conditions that needs to be accounted for are events happening during the time, such as crucial assignment times, exams and other events that could affect a person’s motivation.
The information gathered can also be more direct. As the whole project is to see if I can get more out of my sleep, I needed to also take into account if it made a difference throughout the day. The information I was gathering was short-ended and didn’t cover the whole scope of what I was try to achieve. By having a controlled test, I would be able to dictate how I feel throughout the day and see if that changes depending on how I feel during the morning. I could find that how I feel in the morning could be irrelevant to the rest of the day or has no significant impact.
In conclusion, the research showed inconclusive results due to a number of variables. There are different ways that it can be done better to improve its accuracy but it wasn’t possible within the time frame. The improvement in sleep quality can be taken with a grain of salt. The lateness in sleep time can be speculated as the real cause for higher sleep quality rather than affirmation, self-hypnosis or dawn simulation methods. Because of this, I can’t guarantee whether or not a subject can affect their subconscious to create a positive immediately after waking up.