How to kick the snooze button habit

rooster and alarm clock
Public Domain MaxPixel

It does nothing but prolong the torture. Time for a better way.

The snooze button and I have been getting way too tight lately. Somehow my old 5:30 wakeup time has given way to 6, 6:30, even 6:45 on a really bad day. Then it's my kids waking me up, not the alarm, which has long given up trying to rouse me. This is not good because I love being up early; I just don't like the act of getting out of bed.

So, this post is as much for me as it is for you. I have resolved to kick the snooze button habit once and for all, but it's going to take some strategy. If you're struggling with the same thing, here are some pointers. We can conquer it together.

1. Set your alarm for the last possible minute.

Do not allow for snoozing time. Instead, set your alarm for the absolute latest time you can get up. Then you'll have no choice but to get up promptly, and you'll spare yourself the misery of snoozing over and over again.

2. Analyze the ring tone.

There are two schools of thought on this one. One says to choose a loud, aggressive ring tone that jolts you awake. Another says to pick a pleasant, gradually intensifying ring tone that makes you less inclined to smash angrily and silence the alarm as quickly as possible. Do what works best for you.

3. Set two alarms.

I like this idea suggested by writer Jeff Goins. He sets two alarms, a soft one near his head and an extremely loud one across the room for a few minutes later. The first one wakes him, and the second will wake his wife unless he intercepts it. So, he gets out of bed. (Good man!)

4. Keep the momentum.

Forget the quiet meditation or yoga poses on the floor. Don't sit down for the first 15 minutes. Make your bed so it's less appealing to crawl back into. Walk to your kitchen. Do some jumping jacks or pushups. Crank up the music for an early morning dance party, if that's your jam. Just don't stop moving.

5. Get a drink.

This makes such a difference for me. Once I've drunk something, I don't go back to bed. Make a cup of tea, a pot of coffee, or just chug back a glass of lemon water. Maggie Lange wrote for Healthyish:

"I drank a glass of cold water with a whole lemon in it every morning, which my boss at the time told me about. It’s invigorating. You cannot nestle after that."

6. Be accountable.

Schedule an appointment early in the morning that you cannot miss, like a 6 a.m. yoga workout or a spin class. Promise to meet a friend there; each of you can take one of the other's gym shoes, so you rely on each other to show up in order to work out. If that's too intense, stick with texting each other first thing to ensure the other has gotten up.

It helped me just to discover that two of my friends get up at 5 every morning. I had no idea. Suddenly my 5:30 attempts seemed pathetic by comparison and I was shamed into getting up much more promptly, at least for a few days. So, talk to others! It doesn't hurt and you might the surprised to learn how many people start their days early.

7. Determine the optimal time to wake up.

Do some math. A typical night consists of 5-6 sleep cycles, and if you can figure out when you're at the lightest point in the last cycle, it will be easier to wake. An app like Sleep Cycle or the SleepyTime bedtime calculator can help you. (Read some reviews here.) Oh, and make sure you go to bed at a reasonable hour; that makes everything easier. The ultimate goal, of course, is to go to sleep and to wake up at the same time every day.

8. Let in the light.

Sleep with your blinds open so that your body is more attuned to the sunrise. It's far easier to wake up in a room flooded with sunlight than haul yourself upright in a room that daylight has not yet touched.

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