Habits: Avoiding the snooze button

When I started thinking about how to improve my routines, one of the first issues I identified was how I started my day. I wrote:

Getting up: this has wildly fluctuated recently, but my alarm goes off at 6.50, and I am normally out of bed around 7.20. I would really like to reclaim this half hour from the snooze button to give me more time in the morning.

Snooze button: worst idea ever? Image by Cory Voglesonger via Flickr

Snooze button: worst idea ever? Image by Cory Voglesonger via Flickr

As I thought about it afterwards, this phrase really jumped out at me, and I decided it would be the first change I would tackle. It seems like a small thing, but hitting snooze never has the pay-off I think it will. Much as it’s nice to doze for a little while before getting up, it actually just made both me and my fiancé more stressed – we end up rushing our morning to try to make up for the indulgence. So my first move was to eliminate this half hour wasted in the morning, with the aim to be less rushed and still get into work nice and early.

It’s easier said than done to avoid being swayed by the snooze button when you’re only half awake. I used the trick I’ve used before to great success, though it feels pretty brutal the first few days – I put the alarm out of reach, on the other side of the room. My alarm (I use my iPhone) is irritating enough for me to want it off as quickly as possible, and so it forces me to get out of bed as soon as it goes off. Once I’m up, it’s easier to go straight to the bathroom and wake up in the shower.

We tried it all last week and, unsurprisingly, it worked. I was out of bed at 6.50 am every day, and we got into work much earlier than before, which is what we prefer. It worked for A. as well, as once I’m up, he’s much less inclined to stay in bed as well.

There were one or two unexpected side effects as well. Because I knew that I was going to actually get up at 6.50 am, I was rather more aware of bedtime, and I think we were better at heading to bed earlier. I think we both got a decent amount of rest all week. Secondly, and perhaps as a result, once I was up, I found I woke up fairly quickly. I definitely felt more alert on the mornings where I didn’t indulge in a lie-in. Which is a paradox: I’d have guessed that more time in bed would make me feel more rested, but in reality, unless it’s quality sleep time, it seems to make me more lethargic.

So, a great change to have made, and we’ll keep up with it. If any of you are struggling to get up in the mornings, I highly recommend the ‘put alarm out of reach’ strategy (though it needs a better name!)

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