Kick the Snooze

Today I want to offer just a short little tip that doesn't even really have a lot to do with physical fitness, or writing, but which I think can be a stepping stone to both.

In two words; stop snoozing.

That little button on your alarm clock or the alarm screen of your cell phone seems so inviting. Nine more minutes (or five more, or whatever it is) of sleep sounds like THE answer to all of your problems when that alarm goes off, but how much good does it really do you? Well, a lot of evidence suggests that hitting that snooze button not only doesn't add meaningful rest to your sleep, but may actually negate some of the benefits of the sleep you've already gotten. Yep. It can make you more tired.

But even if you feel like this might be a bunch of hogwash, I'd like you to consider this. Is it a good idea to start your day by giving up? When you set that alarm, did you intend to get up at that time, or did you intend to snooze (if you did intend to snooze, let me just assure you that the above section about snoozing making you more tired is probably not hogwash)? Most of us set our alarms and intend to get up at that time. Every time we hit snooze, we mentally rearrange our mornings as we drift back into that precious few minutes of sleep, and by the time we succumb, often several snoozes later, we're forced to skip breakfast or worse. And that's bad. But even worse is the fact that we start our day having failed at a commitment. This can lead to a mindset of failure that can haunt you all day.

The flip-side is that when we set an alarm and wake up to it, force ourselves to get out of bed at the time we intended, we start the day with a positive reinforcement of our ability to do what we say we'll do. It might be hard to do, but the feeling of having accomplished something difficult is impossible to replicate without earning it.

If you struggle with this, even after reading this and deciding to give up the snooze habit, it might be worth investigating whether you should just set your alarm for a later time. If you're setting your alarm for 8am, but you never get out of bed before 8:15am, then maybe you should just set that alarm for 8:15 instead.

This was a really difficult habit for me to break, but after doing it consistently for a week, it became a habit in itself, and now when my alarm goes off I'm often out of bed and making it before I even realize I'm fully awake. One of the recommendations I've heard is to literally practice it. Make a new neural pathway by lying in bed (like right now, or in the middle of the day) with your alarm set to go off in five or ten minutes. Close your eyes. When the alarm goes off, sit up, turn it off, and get out of bed. Do it several times a day. Eventually, you'll respond this way to your alarm without thinking, and it'll carry over to the real life situation you face in the morning.

Well, that's it! Just a short one today.

Happy writing!

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