End The Snooze Button Habit & Reclaim Your Day
Those dark, crisp mornings make it so hard to get out of bed and especially tempting to hit the snooze button over and over and over. Who am I kidding, most mornings I hit the snooze button at least 4-5 times, that is until I implemented a simple ritual to help me break the horrible snooze button habit, once and for all!
Why do we even have that pesky snooze button?
In the 1950’s when creating the snooze button engineers had a choice: Set the snooze for either a little more than nine minutes or a little more than 10 minutes. Early reports indicated that 10 minutes was too long, allowing people to fall back into a “deep” sleep, clockmakers decided on the nine-minute gear, believing people would wake up easier and happier after a shorter snooze.
For me, I’m not talking about just hitting the snooze button and gingerly taking our time to get out of bed while we stretch and get our minds geared for the day.
Nope, I’m talking about, as soon as the alarm goes off incorporating the sound of the alarm straight into your dreams and initiating another sleep cycle and snoozing for only knows how long each morning.
The snooze button habit leads to Sleep Inertia
According to many scientists, entering into a state of sleep that confuses the body and can trigger sleep inertia for up to four hours. Sleep inertia is basically that groggy drunk feeling you have when you’re in a deep sleep and trying to wake up. For those of us who have become accustomed to hitting the snooze button and creating this pattern for our bodies, that unpleasant groggy feeling can last for many hours and sometimes throughout the whole day.
Unfortunately, this innocent act of snoozing can lead to poor performance, lack of focus, loss of desire and production, irritability, and even depression.
So why do we do it? Like any habit, we get in a pattern and don’t know how to break it.
UNTIL something really forces us to break this habit.
My confession is I have been a habitual snooze button pusher for more years than I can count. Probably since I was a teenager, I would imagine. It’s been a joke in my family actually and I honestly never realized how it affected me. So I started doing some experiments with my sleep patterns and documenting my days, nights, and habits. Wow was this exhausting (pun intended)
Here a quick recap of what I did with my snooze button habit and how it may help you.
Over the course of a few weeks, I merely monitored my inexcusable and often embarrassing habits. As an independent business owner and entrepreneur for the past 14 years, I’ve learned a lot about habits and self-discipline. So, naturally, I thought I had mastered productivity. This statement is actually quite laughable, and very wrong.
What I discovered during my ‘observation’ period.
1. The mornings I had planned ahead of time, there was a much higher likelihood of getting up right away.
2. The nights I drifted off of my ‘going to sleep’ rituals, I was far more likely to hit the snooze button.
3. Without real accountability, I hit the snooze button more often.
4. The last-minute enough snoozing already must now get up now or else days, happened more than I realized.
5. Being less organized and more ‘sporadic’ was a disaster waiting to happen.
6. It was effortless to talk myself into snoozing, giving plenty of mental negotiations along the way.
Over a two week period, on average I hit the snooze button 9 of the 14 days. 7 of the 14 days I hit the snooze button more than 4 times, with only 5 of the days I got up immediately. Interesting but not surprising, most of the days when I got up immediately the moment my alarm went off was because I was already waking up and anticipating the alarm.
Now, I need to confess. No matter when I got it, I didn’t like it and wanted to crawl back in bed.
These findings may not seem revolutionary, but when I truly reflected upon them and saw my patterns, I knew my habit and that I had a problem.
ENTER THE SNOOZE BUTTON HABIT SOLUTION
1. Plan the week in detail hour by hour.
- Plan the week in your planner very specifically including workouts, errands, activities, meetings, client activity, journaling time, getting ready time, relaxing time.
Sounds like over scheduling doesn’t it! That’s what I realize for myself.
When I managed my schedule down to the last detail, I had a much higher probability of completing the tasks and remaining productive AND getting up when my alarm rang.
2. Set Out Clothes
- Set out workout clothes and clothes for the day.
- This is a must for me, especially on those cold mornings. Part of the difficulty on those cold mornings is the torture of the first few minutes out of that warm bed and knowing my clothes are nearby is a lifesaver so I can immediately get warm and get moving.
3. Journal 10 minutes before bed
- Journal what you are grateful for that day.
- Write down your main intention for the next day. (what one or two things are imperative for your main goals)
Ending the day with journaling and in gratitude put me in a mentally relaxing state of calmness for the evening ready to get good quality sleep.
4. RELAX and Yawn
- This shouldn’t be hard, right! I’m not talking about just any type of yawn, but a purposeful yawn.
- Sometime during the wind-down time before or after the journalling, mindfully yawn and stretch, Take that moment then ask yourself what one insight did you gain about yourself during the day.
- This is not a forced insight, but an intuitive one. Take a few moments to think it over, savor it, and write it down.
5. NO Electronics at least 30 minutes before bed.
- Melatonin is the neurotransmitter chemical messenger in our brains that help us enter into sleep patterns and regulate our internal clocks. It is triggered and suppressed by light. So if we are reading our iPads or phones right before bed, it’s harder to enter into that nice peaceful sleep right away.
Check out PubMed here for a more scientific definition.
6. Turn Up The Air AND Turn off the lights
- Let me start off by saying, I am NOT a cold weather person. In fact, winter is my least favorite season, however, I love sleeping in cool air, and I get my best sleep when it’s cool, no matter what time of the year. Turn down the heat.
- Turn Off the lights for a more sound sleep.
- As mentioned above, Melatonin helps the internal clock and sleep patterns. Light disrupts the cycle and confuses your system in wondering if it should wake up or stay asleep. The darker, the better.
7. Don’t have a lot of dense, rich, carb-loaded foods before bed.
- This is a total buzz kill, I know!
- BUT, Food is a whole other discussion that should be saved for another day. However, when it comes to sleep, and waking up, we need to understand that our body is actually working for us to heal, digest, and prepare for the next day, all while we sleep. Try eating a plate of nachos and a big bowl of ice cream right before you go to bed, then see how heavy your stomach feels the next morning. It will be a lot harder to wake up, and you’ll feel groggy the next day. I may have done this a few times to prove it.
6. Mindful Intentional Yawns First Thing In The Morning
- Each morning, as soon as you awake, do several mindful yawns and stretches while lying in bed,
- Then ask your intuition (that inner voice of wisdom) for a value word to focus on for the day. Whatever word you at feel will help you accomplish your goals for the day.
- Mindfulness and Neurowisdom are a big part of my daily habits. I get all my tips from the Neuro Coach himself, Mark Waldman @ https://www.facebook.com/markrobertwaldman
- Even though this part of the ritual occurs as soon as you wake up, I have found that it positively sets my intention for the day. My brain has begun to look forward to this quick moment, therefore, making it a little easier to wake up (and less likely to hit the snooze button)!
7. Keep a notebook by your bed to brain dump
- Waking up at night and getting poor quality sleep significantly affects how you wake up the morning and of course, hitting the snooze button.
- If you wake up during the night, most often it is because your mind is racing, thinking of things to do, or concerned about something. Write it down.
- Just take a quick second (without a lot of light) and jot it down.
- Your brain has then been signaled that the thoughts are out and on paper, therefore, reducing the need to remember and hold onto it.
- Just jot it down and go right back to sleep. (as a side note, if you do get stuck here and can’t get back to sleep, try to count as many things as possible you are grateful for, this usually does the trick to go back to sleep)
8. Implement The 5 Second Rule
- You may have heard of The 5 Second Rule by Mel Robbins. In case you haven’t, here’s a recap. Just make the decision, count down from 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 and go.
- Don’t give your brain any more time to talk you out of it. It’s much easier to say “just a few more minutes.” Or, “just one more snooze. ” Or, “This bed feels so comfy I can’t possibly get up.”
- The longer you give yourself to back out of what you need to do, the easier it will be to cave in and before you know it, 30 minutes or more has gone by, and you’ve snoozed 4 or 5 times.
- Mel Robbins actually started The 5 Second Rule to help her combat her own snooze button habit. I love her story and would highly recommend her book and any of her teachings.
- The 5 Second Rule has been a big part of helping me kick my snooze button habit.
WHAT CAN YOU GAIN FROM REMOVING THE SNOOZE BUTTON
The entire purpose of removing the snooze button and it’s habit from your life is to regain time, energy, productivity, focus, fulfillment, and more.
In regards to my snooze button habit, I didn’t realize the full impact it had on my life.
It sounds like such an insignificant thing. Some days it sent me on a negative spiral and I don’t wish that on anyone.
You don’t have to implement every ritual as detailed as I did. However, if you can find a few simple things to help you reclaim some of your precious time, create consistency for your body and your routine, you’ll not only be more productive and more fulfilled, but you will also have more energy and by default get a whole lot more accomplished. I have anyway!
Let me know what things you are implementing to eliminate the snooze button habit in your life? Share your story and what is working for you!