Why You Need to Stop Hitting the Snooze Button

I’m using the word “need” very purposely in today’s headline. The word need invokes thoughts of water, shelter, and Bradley Cooper in every movie. Ok, maybe that last one is a want. Wants are more like the chocolate chip skillet cookie at Chili’s, sipping a Long Island Iced Tea at my backyard patio, and getting my book published. Needs are imperative to life.

Maybe I’m being a bit dramatic by saying you need to stop hitting the snooze button, but it’s impacting our entire day without us even knowing it. Raise your hand if this sounds familiar: 5:00 am (or whatever time for you) the alarm goes off. We think to ourselves; I hate you, alarm, and angrily hit the snooze button. 5:05 am the alarm sounds again. If I get up now, I can still do a 30-minute spin class, have time to make my morning smoothie, and wash my hair. Snooze. 5:10, 5:15, 5:20 I can still do a 20-minute spin class. Snooze 6:00 Well, I’m not exercising. 6:05 I can still wash my hair if I jump out of bed this instant. Snooze 6:15 It’s gonna be a dry shampoo day. Snooze 6:25 Messy bun, it is, then. Plus, no time for smoothie.

Right? How many of us do this every day or multiple times a week? We know intellectually that we aren’t going to get quality sleep when we hit snooze, but our angry voice takes over. It doesn’t help that our eyeballs are glued shut and that it’s so cozy in bed.

But did you know there is actual research (research means this is serious) indicating that hitting the snooze button makes us less productive for FOUR hours? I read about this in Mel Robbins’s best-selling book The 5-Second Rule. The 5-second rule can be used to make you take action that you know is good for you but that you still dread. Like the snooze button.

You can use the 5-second rule in any area of your life. For instance: If you are normally self-conscious and don’t want to speak up in a work meeting, you can count down to yourself 5-4-3-2-1 and then act. Similarly, if the alarm goes off at 5:00 am, we can think to ourselves 5-4-3-2-1 and immediately get up. The rule allows for no negotiation. The mental back and forth is what trips us up and stands in our way of being productive, reaching goals, and generally doing what we are supposed to do. The rule is simplistic and genius at the same time.

The real reason I bring up her book, though, is the compelling information she shared about the snooze button. What I’m about to share resonated with me even more than the 5-second rule. I listened to her book on Audible and then bought a paper copy purely for this section.

When we hit the snooze button it can take up to four hours for the “sleep inertia” to dissipate. This causes us to potentially lack focus, be disgruntled (duh), and walk around in a fog for a while. That grogginess we feel when we get up is, as Mel says, “not because you didn’t get enough sleep. It’s because once you hit the snooze button, you started a new sleep cycle and then interrupted it.” She includes info on the cortical region of our brain and more details about sleep cycles, but I’m going to boil it down to this: Snooze button = a knockoff version of your best self. By hitting the snooze button, you operate as the clearance-rack version of yourself for the rest of the day. Got it? Snooze button = bad.

By hitting the snooze button, we are communicating to ourselves that we don’t want to do what we are getting up for. Our body goes in protection mode and mentally makes it harder for us to get up. So, every time I would tell myself that this will be the Monday I start exercising before work, but then hit the snooze button 87 times, I’m telling my brain to not believe me. We are sabotaging ourselves without realizing it. We think that hitting snooze is an innocuous, natural part about getting up, but we are sabotaging ourselves before we even get in the shower. Then our body image insecurities take over, and our day only goes downhill.

There are enough societal messages thrown at us during any given day to make us doubt ourselves. Not hitting the snooze button is a tiny thing that we can control. We must consistently send empowering messages to our brains that we can be successful, we are going to be the best versions of ourselves today, and that we value ourselves enough to take charge of the day. Go us!

We keep hearing how important our morning routine is and how it sets the tone for the day. It is, and it does. I will write about morning routines in a separate post. For now, though, your homework is to stop hitting the snooze button! Notice I didn’t say “try to stop hitting” or “practice not hitting” the snooze button. 5-4-3-2-1 out of bed and bury the snooze button for good.

Remember, I’m right there with you. I still struggle with the heathen that is the snooze button, too. Did today’s topic resonate? Do you have issues with the snooze button? Comment below!

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