As of today, it has been exactly 546 days since I’ve last snoozed - and counting. Prior to my personal breakthrough, I spent years of my life trying to kick the bad habit unsuccessfully, so you could say I’ve learned some things along the way. Now, I’m able to get up without snoozing 365 days a year! In this post, I’ve boiled it down to four easy steps so that you can be saying the same thing a year from today :)
Before we dig into it, let me just start by saying that life is SO much better without snoozing! I had no clue how much life I was missing out on by occasionally snoozing. I’m more efficient, more productive, more rested, more energetic, and above all those things, just more alive. I legitimately wake up every morning in a good mood, awake, excited, with a can-do attitude, high self-esteem, and oftentimes before my alarm sounds off! And if that statement sounds shocking or too good to be true, believe me, I'm more shocked that you are! This did NOT used to be my reality!!
Back when snoozing was normal, waking up the first time was the hardest thing! Before I could even remember what day it was, I was reaching for the snooze button. I constantly felt groggy and exhausted. Every day, I found myself craving just a few more minutes of sleep, thinking about how warm it was under my covers, and wanting anything but to get started on the day’s tasks ahead of me. I became so accustomed to snoozing that sometimes I’d turn my alarm off unconsciously. I’d get up 2 or 3 hours after I intended to, freaking out about why my alarm never went off, only to later realize that I had shut if off ‘in my sleep.’ And it didn’t matter how much sleep I had gotten, either. 10 hours, 4 hours, or anything in between. It didn’t matter. Trust me, I spent months on end looking for the perfect amount of sleep that would make we wake up energized, to no avail.
Truthfully, I kind of felt like a loser, too. It was so discouraging to keep trying - and keep failing - at getting out of bed the first time. It felt impossible. And to be honest, I genuinely believed that it was impossible. I think that was my way of coping with the reality that I was stuck in a bad habit and seemingly couldn't get out. I wish I would have known at the time how much was at stake!
I knew I wanted to stop snoozing, but I had no idea how much better my life would be on the other side of it. I had no idea that all of those negative experiences I was having were directly tied to my snoozing habit, and would never have imagined how great I would feel by eliminating it. So let my story encourage you that getting up without snoozing is not only possible, but probable, and well worth the effort :). Here are four steps you can take right now:
Okay, this one sounds extreme, and maybe it is. But we’re not trying to be normal, are we? So here’s the basic concept: as it is, your long term brain wants to get up without snoozing because it’s ultimately in your best interest, but your short term brain wants more sleep! Hence the ‘to snooze or not to snooze’ debate that happens in our minds every morning. But what if your long term and short term brain wanted to get up without snoozing? Ten out of ten times, you would get up, and I'm telling you that triggering fear is how to accomplish that.
Practically, here’s what you do: hook up your phone alarm to your living room speaker or sound system. Turn the volume all the way up. (Personally, I use this one because it is so, so, so outrageously loud). Now go to sleep and see what happens when your alarm goes off in the morning, blaring so loud that it’s waking up your whole neighborhood! Hint: you’ll immediately experience an intense jolt of adrenaline fueled by the very real fear of aggravating others. So what will your short term brain be communicating to you? HURRY HURRY TURN THAT THING OFF NOW NOW NOW TURN IT OFF NOW! You’ll jump out of bed, sprint out of your bedroom over to the living room, and frantically shut off your alarm as quickly as humanly possible. After narrowly avoiding a crisis, you'll give a deep sigh of relief … ahhhh, mission accomplished. At this point, going back to sleep is the last thing on your mind! I do this every single morning, and it works every time.
If you want to tone it down just a bit, try keeping your normal alarm set up, but setting a second alarm with a different device to go off 1 minute after your initial alarm. Place that second alarm somewhere that will trigger a similar effect - like under your child’s bed, or next to your roommates ear.
I’m not kidding :)
Get Up Early
How early? For me, it’s two and a half hours before I need to leave my house for my first commitment of the day. When we wake up in just enough time to shower, get ready, eat, and make coffee before heading to work, waking up is a painful process. We’re in work mode from the first minute we’re awake, just doing the things that are necessary to do before heading out for another day on the grind. How uninspiring!
When we wake up well before work starts, we have time to work with. We’re not thinking about work yet, so even the necessary morning tasks like eating and getting dressed are mentally associated as refreshing 'me time' rather than dreadful 'work prep time.'
Have you ever woken up on a long, slow, Saturday morning with nothing going on? There are fewer sweeter experiences in life in my opinion :). If we know that we’re refreshed waking up with plenty of time to spare, why not experience this luxury every day??
Do Things You Look Forward To - First
If you get up two and a half hours early but spend all your time doing chores, checking emails, and running errands, you’re missing the best part of the early morning! Instead, intentionally fill this time with personally enjoyable, inspiring, and motivating activities. Maybe it’s coffee. Maybe it’s going on a walk or run. Maybe it’s reading, listening to a podcast, writing, or pursuing a passion project. The noise of our lives only gets louder and the tasks requiring our attention only get more demanding as the sun begins to rise. Be intentional to use your morning in a way that nourishes your soul.
Not just because it’s good for you, but also because it will help you get up without snoozing. I already talked about how triggering fear activates your short-term brain. The good news is, there’s another way to do that! Your short term brain wants immediate gratification - either by avoiding pain (e.g., avoiding making people mad with your insanely loud alarm), OR by gaining pleasure. When the first thought you have in the morning is what you can’t wait to do right now, getting up is a delight!
Consistency Is Everything
One of the things that I least expected in my journey of defeating the snooze button was how easy it became over time. I don’t know how all my brain synapses and chemicals work, but I know without a doubt that as I became consistent with getting up the first time, my body literally, physically changed its response to my alarm.
Before, as I’ve already talked about, my first thought waking up in the morning was about how tired I was and immediately I’d begin debating whether or not I should go back to sleep for a bit. And on the days when I thought ‘won’ this mental battle by getting out of bed, I still felt so tired and sluggish!! It’d take me hours before I finally felt 100% awake, if I ever got there at all.
But do you know what happened when I got in a habit of getting up the first time, every time? My body started taking me seriously! Before, my body knew good and well that I was bluffing when my alarm went off. Now, it knows I mean business. Before, I had trained my body with my behaviors that when my alarm goes off, what I really want to do in that moment is go back to bed. So as a good helper, my body would do everything in its power to help make that happen. Now, because I've trained my body over time that I actually intend to get up when I wake, it helps me! Right away I feel energized and focused, like blood and adrenaline are pumping through my veins. Believe it or not, these days, it'd be more physically uncomfortable for me to snooze than it is for me to stay awake! It's snoozing, not getting up, that feels impossible!
The best way I can summarize this phenomenon is that our bodies listens to us, not our alarm clocks. They don’t know what alarm clocks even are. At the end of the day, it’s not about whether I nailed a rem cycle perfectly. It’s not about whether I tossed and turned all night or whether I got x amount of hours or not. It’s simply that that I know, and my body knows, that I’m getting up. For real.
Personally, it took me several weeks, I’d say around 1-2 months, of ‘fighting’ to get up on my first alarm before my brain figured out that I was serious about this. Since then, my body’s been my biggest fan and supporter! It’s adapted itself to what I’m communicating to it, and I couldn’t be more thankful.
Do you struggle with snoozing? Or have you defeated the giant yourself?? Tell us about what has or hasn’t worked for you in your journey!
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