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You Snooze, You Lose

Uncategorized Jan 09, 2023

We've all been there. The morning alarm clock comes on blaring way too early, and without a second thought we smash the snooze button and drift back asleep. Only when the alarm comes back ten minutes later, we're still not ready. If you're in an endless cycle of snoozing your alarm multiple times each morning, the negative effects may be showing themselves in your daily life.

While 10 more minutes may feel like long enough to get the sleep you need, the quality is fragmented and poor. Because of that your body stays in a state of limbo between sleep and alertness, which is why you feel so groggy and it takes so long to become functional after getting up. Along with that, snoozing an alarm can cause oversleeping, not only in terms of getting to work but also for your body's health. When your body gets too much sleep, it causes additional grogginess throughout the day. Finally, your body likes to stay in a rhythym. By snoozing the alarm you can throw it off that rhythym, disrupting not only your sleep cycle but your body's other daily cycles.

How do you stop hitting that button and wake up right away? It may seem like a simple answer at first: just do it. However, you aren't as clear-headed at 5AM as you are currently. This is called sleep inertia, and is that period between first waking up and actually being awake. It's characterized by grogginess, as well as slower/impaired cognition. So, the best answer to how you avoid the snooze button is to set yourself up for success long before morning comes.

1. Improve your sleep hygiene. This means that, first and foremost, you're getting enough sleep. 7-9 hours is recommended for adults. If you aren't getting there, it may mean going to bed earlier and leaving your favorite show an episode before you want to. Keep your bedtime and wake times similar each day to get your body into a solid rhythym. To allow yourself to wind down before your bedtime avoid devices, alcohol, caffeine, or exercise (exercise earlier in the day to help your sleep!).

2. Be realistic. It may be tempting to allow for snoozing and set your alarm for 30 minutes earlier than you actually need to, but setting it at the time you actually need to wake up will not only give you more time of uninterrupted sleep, but take away the option of snoozing.

3. Move. As soon as you hear that alarm go off, do something physical. Even just sitting upright will increase your levels of alertness. A common strategy is to place your clock across the room, so that you are forced to move in order to stop the noise. 

There is a mental aspect that goes along with this as well. Snoozing your alarm daily can lead to poor self-esteem along with the constant tiredness. Waking up to your first alarm can have the opposite effect. Completing daily tasks increases self-esteem and motivation, so checking the first one off the list can have a compounding effect towards your mood and success the rest of the day.

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