As regular readers of this blog likely know, sleep is my super power. But despite my motto, start as you mean to continue, this term got off to a tough start.
I have no trouble at all getting to sleep and I can still nap anywhere at anytime. But getting up this semester is proving to be a challenge
I’m teaching until 9 p.m.on Mondays and that sets the whole week up wrong. I’m up later than usual Friday night and Saturday night and now Monday nights too. Sometimes I even add Sunday to the list and do some late evening grocery shopping. Staying up too late and struggling to get up in the morning has been my Autumn bad habit.
I’ve been relying on the snooze button more than I like. My alarm goes off at 5 or 6 and instead of leaping out of bed, I snooze until twenty past and sometimes until 7. That’s when I absolutely have to get up to wake teens and get us all out the door by 815.
I know the snooze sleep isn’t good sleep. But somehow, I keep snoozing.
This week, no snoozing. I may need to pick a later time for the first alarm but this week it’ll be the first, last, and only alarm. My partner’s alarm only goes off when you solve a math problem. It’s set to the most difficult level. I know this because it sometimes goes off while he’s showering and my math skills, without glasses are limited.
I’m looking over my options. How to you wake up in the morning? Alarm or no alarm? easy off or challenging off? Snooze or no snooze?
Here’s the case against snoozing.
It may seem like you’re giving yourself a few extra minutes to collect your thoughts. But what you’re actually doing is making the wake-up process more difficult and drawn out. If you manage to drift off again, you are likely plunging your brain back into the beginning of the sleep cycle, which is the worst point to be woken up—and the harder we feel it is for us to wake up, the worse we think we’ve slept. (
Why the snooze button is ruining your sleep
Weird but true: Relying on the alarm clock’s snooze button can actually make us more tired. Especially after a night of too little sleep, hitting snooze won’t make getting up any easier. Those five extra minutes in the morning are less restful than five minutes of REM sleep because they take place at the end of the cycle when sleep is lighter. And, although sleep is usually the time when the brain forms new memories, that process doesn’t happen while we’re sleeping in between alarms. Skipping that high-quality sleep can have serious consequences: A recent study found high school students with poor sleep habits (including using an alarm to wake up) didn’t do so well in school .
The secret to an easier wakeup is simple—get more sleep! Set the alarm for the time you actually get out of bed (i.e. the last snooze) and avoid the snooze button altogether. If keeping those paws off the alarm clock is just too difficult, try placing the alarm clock across the room. It’s much easier to resist the siren song of the snooze button if it’s not right next to the bed! Die-hard snoozers should try to minimize the damage by setting the alarm for 10 minutes earlier than usual and snoozing just once or twice. Ten minutes of disrupted sleep ain’t perfect, but it’s better than 30 or 60!
Hitting the snooze button is damaging your health
According to data collated from 136,000 people between 2003 to 2012, people felt best when they awoke naturally, but snoozing was alse seen as a pleasurable experience. “It feels like a blissful dream state because the closer you get to wakening, the more rapid-eye movement and dreams occur,” Dinges explained. However snoozing does not add to people’s total sleep quota, it simply prolongs the act of waking up, he said
The reason I dislike the snooze button is that it represents a pernicious self-deception about how you plan to spend your mornings. There is nothing wrong with sleeping. Sleep is wonderful. If you’d like to spend your mornings sleeping, why not set the alarm for the time you actually intend to get out of bed? Your body would probably prefer 27 minutes of uninterrupted sleep to three 9-minute segments of snooze-button time.
Instead, the snooze button is a weapon in the battle between the selves we’d like to be and the selves we actually are. Research into the science of willpower finds that we wake up with a robust supply of self-discipline that is then depleted by decision-making during the day (see my related post, Can You Learn Willpower?). The snooze button turns the simple act of getting out of bed into a willpower-sapping episode of trench warfare. I’ll give you 9 minutes if you promise not to take so long in the shower. I’ll give you 9 more minutes if you don’t eat breakfast. Eventually, your ability to invest that willpower in meaningful tasks later on is shot.
8 thoughts on “Snoozing the snooze button, that’s my resolution for this week”
The last one really rang true for me. The snooze button can rob me if my morning. I like to plan something to do first thing that I really want to do. I review my plan and intention before I go to bed. If I get to bed way too late, I’m usually realistic enough to adjust my plan the night before. It wasn’t always this way but sleep has become very precious to me as, in menopause, I’ve gone from being an excellent sleeper to a lighter, more challenged sleeper. I’ve also worked with the Sleep Tracker app that does the gradual gentle wake up at the lightest part of the cycle. I liked it but then became obsessed with the stats and let what it told me about the quality of my sleeps dictate how I felt for the rest of the day. If it said I had a 65% quality sleep I felt tired. If it said 90% I felt great. Kind of worked like the scale. So I retired the app and try to go on intuition. Once I’m up there’s not a lot I can do about getting more sleep except on weekends so I might as well do my best instead of being preoccupied with how tired I am / should be based on what the sleep tracker said. My two cents. Good luck with this week’s no-snooze challenge!
Day 1 success!
Yay! Only 4 more days to go. Tomorrow is the true test. Suggestion: be realistic about the wake-up time, given your grueling schedule today.
Part of the problem is my ambition to attend the 6 am CrossFit class! That gets me home in time to get everyone else up and out. I manage it sometimes.
Interesting post – and timely (pun intended.) I’ve been getting up early to work out. I noticed when I first started doing it, I would jump out of bed and felt great. Lately though, I’ve been hitting that snooze button and not feeling great until after the workout. I thought it was because I wasn’t getting enough sleep – and that might be part of it, but now I am wondering if the snooze is making it worse. Sam, I am joining you – tomorrow, no snooze for me!
Couple of suggestions:
1. Use an app with a gentle pre-alarm if part of the trouble is being jolted out of deep sleep by a loud annoying sound. If you’re in the right sleep cycle when it goes off, your brain will start to wake you up in a more natural way.
2. Use http://sleepyti.me/ to figure out when you should be going to bed in order to wake up at the right point in your sleep cycle.
I used to abuse the snooze, too, and I found that this combination seems to work well for me.
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