The snooze button may seem like your friend, but your relationship is probably toxic. Your alarm clock could be interfering with the quality and quantity of your sleep.
What happens to your brain when you keep hitting the snooze button each morning? You experience several stages of sleep throughout the night. Towards morning, the percentage of rapid eye movement or REM sleep increases. That’s when you dream and enjoy more restorative effects.
That’s also when you’re likely to hit the snooze button and interrupt the cycle. As a result, you tend to feel groggy and that sleep inertia can continue for hours.
Say goodbye to your snooze button and say hello to pleasant dreams. Try these tips for waking up more naturally.
- Make a commitment. Are you short-changing yourself on sleep so you can work late hours or watch Netflix? Remember that chronic fatigue can contribute to weight gain, heart conditions, and other health issues. Aim for at least 7 hours of sleep a night.
- Keep your distance. Put the snooze button out of reach. Move your alarm clock or phone off your nightstand and place them across the room.
- Budget your time. Do you set your alarm early so you can press snooze several times? Calculate how much time you really need in the morning and eliminate that leeway.
- Plan a treat. Dangle a reward that will make you want to throw off the covers. Eat a delicious breakfast with grilled fish and fresh berries. Sign up for an early yoga or spin class before work.
- Seek support. Let your family know what you’re doing. Cats and dogs can also be very persuasive when they want you to open your eyes.
- Try an app. Sleep apps tend to be inaccurate because individual sleep patterns vary so widely. However, they can help you to be more aware of your behavior, especially while you’re trying to change your habits.
- Vary the sounds. Maybe you’re so used to your alarm that you turn it off without even realizing what you’re doing. Use different sounds to capture your attention. You may also want to experiment with devices that use light or vibrations.
- Deal with relapses. A long-standing snooze habit can take time to break. Be patient and grateful for gradual progress.
- Talk with your doctor. What if you’re sleeping 7 to 8 hours a night and still having trouble waking up naturally? See your doctor to discuss whether you might have a sleep disorder.
- Be consistent. Giving your mind and body sufficient rest is the most effective way to break the snooze button habit. Go to bed and rise at the same time each day as much as possible, even on weekends and holidays.
- Block out noise. If the neighbor’s stereo is keeping you up, buy a fan or white noise machine. Look for comfortable ear plugs if you need more help.
- Adjust the lights. Exposure to morning light changes your hormone levels. You’ll find it easier to wake up in the morning and fall asleep at night.
- Turn off electronics. Bright lights and exciting movies stimulate your brain. Turn off the TV and other devices at least one to two hours before bed.
The next time you’re tempted to hit the snooze button, ask yourself if increasing your chances of a long and active life is more important than 9 minutes of fragmented sleep.
A consistent sleep schedule and other simple habits can help you wake up feeling fresh and enjoy each day more.