Tuesday, October 15, 2013

On Ditching the Snooze Button

It's been over 4 weeks since I've pressed "snooze." That's right, I've been pulling myself out of bed at 6:30am every Monday-Friday for 4 weeks now, and I'm living to tell about it.

I have read many articles that claim snooze buttons are hazardous to our natural sleep cycles and advise readers to discontinue snoozing. I figured I would give it a try as an experiment and see what happened.

The results? I actually really love it.

First step, I had to figure out how much sleep I need. 
One article gave great advice: by establishing a sleep schedule (going to bed and waking up at the same time everyday), one will eventually begin to consistently wake up a little before the alarm. Waking up on your own demonstrates to you that you're body is getting enough rest. Through trial and error, I've found my magic number: I need about 7 hours of sleep each night in order to feel my best. Thus, I need to fall asleep at 11:30, which means, ideally, I need to be in bed before then (around 11:00).

The second step was establishing a routine. Once I found my magic number for hours of sleep, not hitting the snooze became a lot easier. At first, it was really hard because I was used to staying in bed until around 7, which only gave me 40 minutes to get ready for work. Now, I have 30 minutes to myself in the morning to eat, prepare for class, and check Facebook...and having some time to myself makes the process of getting up a lot more pleasant.

Not hitting snooze is actually pretty easy...I don't keep the alarm next to the bed, so I physically must get out of bed to turn off the alarm. Then, I have a process. I turn up the thermostat and I turn off the fan because usually the apartment is too cold. I put on my robe and move to the couch, turning on all the lights as I go. Brendan makes coffee, and we both take 30 minutes to just wake up. We don't talk to each other during that time: I have learned that Brendan does not want to talk yet, nor will he remember things discussed if brought up before coffee has hit his system!

Not snoozing has improved my life in many ways. For one, I feel more prepared for work. Two, I have been early to work since the experiment began. Three, I feel better and less cranky in the morning. Four, I am definitely more well rested, and five, I usually have time to make the bed!

I recommend ditching the snooze button for good! It will take a while to find your "magic number" of sleep hours needed, but once you do, you will be waking up on your own, and not to an annoying device beeping or playing a tune.

To reiterate:
Find out how much sleep you need
Get in bed at the same time every night
Set the alarm for the same time everyday
Put the alarm away from the bed to resist hitting snooze
Establish a routine for waking up
Part of that routine should involve leaving time for yourself to wake up
Enjoy being on time to work & feeling well rested!

In other news: Happy anniversary to my parents in-law! They've been married 36 years today! Here's to many more anniversaries to come!

S, B, L&Z

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