Tips & Techniques, Wellness / Self-Care

Why you should stop hitting snooze and how to wake up

The sick little cycle we find ourselves in.

words by: Natasha Marsh
Apr 22, 2022

Are you part of the 57% of people who hit the snooze button every morning? You might want to reconsider after reading this. Along with disrupting your natural sleep cycle and internal clock, it’s also really disjointing to get woken up and fall back asleep on repeat.


But don’t worry. You don’t have to deny yourself getting “just five more minutes” every morning, as well as waking up naturally, feeling refreshed.


Snooze disrupts the sleep cycle

You might’ve heard of what REM sleep is. For a refresher, this is the deepest part of sleep, and where you have dreams. If you hit snooze while you’re in a restorative state, you disrupt that deep stage of sleep. If you go back to sleep after that, you restart the sleep cycle all over again, and when your alarm goes off again, you’re doing it in the middle of that.


When you wake up and you feel disoriented or groggy, this is why. In addition to that, you’ll probably have not the best memory, judgement, and be slow to react to things. This is called sleep inertia, which is that state you get into between being asleep and first waking up.


Hitting snooze can confuse your internal clock

According to the CDC, “an adult between 19 and 64 years old is recommended to get 7-9 hours of sleep each night.” So if you go to bed at 10 PM, you can wake up between 5 AM to 7 AM, and so on. As you go to sleep at a consistent time, your body’s internal clock naturally adjusts, so you’ll likely wake up during or around your alarm’s time. However, if you hit snooze, your brain will get confused and disrupted out of your sleep, leading to a rough sleep inertia transition.


How to wake up without snoozing

1. Keep your phone away

Yes, technology affects your mood, and science proves it. The reason why blue light is used for socials and other tech is because it keeps your attention… and can also affect your brain, leading to a loss in sleep quality. If you use your phone right before you go to bed, your brain will still be too stimulated to be able to fall asleep easily.


To combat this, put your phone on the other side of the room to resist using it before you go to sleep. And if you have to walk across the room to stop your alarm, you’ll have less chance of a terrible sleep inertia stage.


2. Use natural light to your advantage

Did you know that exposure to natural light can make waking up easier? Waking up to your alarm in a completely dark room can keep your brain in sleep mode, while opening up curtains and letting sunlight in can let your brain know that it’s time to wake up. Light has an effect on your circadian rhythm, telling your brain when it’s time to be awake and time to go to sleep.


Waking up to light that gradually gets brighter like a sunrise will not only leave you refreshed and ready for the day, but also get your circadian rhythm back on track, resetting your sleep/wake cycle.


3. Create a bedtime and morning routine

Creating a bedtime and morning routine can make falling asleep and waking up much easier. Having a consistent routine that you follow every time you  go to bed or wake up will let your body and mind know exactly what time it is.


A bedtime routine will relax your body and put you in a mood that’s ready for bed. To get yourself in the headspace to fall asleep, turn off your lights and lower your room temperature.


When waking up, consider light exercise to get your body ready for the day. Some jumping jacks should do the trick, or you could go outside and catch some fresh air with a run!


4. Shock your body

For a quick way to help yourself wake up in the morning, shocking your body might be the answer. For example, drinking a fair amount of water right when you wake up will help your body wake up and get ready for the day, and help keep you hydrated.


Shocking your body with a splash of cold water can also do wonders waking you up instantly. Consider morning exercise to shock your body as well. It will help get your blood flowing and get your mind and body ready to take on the day.


5. Train yourself to sleep earlier

For those who are night owls by nature, going to bed earlier is easier said than done. Whether you habitually pull all-nighters or just had a late night recently, training yourself to sleep earlier will take time and patience. Transitioning to an early bird can’t be done overnight.


You’ll want to adjust your schedule slowly — ideally in 15-minute increments each night. For example, if you’re currently waking up at 8 AM and want to start waking up at 6:45 AM, you should spend at least five days working up to your new start time.


6. Switch up your alarm

Over time, you may become complacent to the sound of your alarm. It just may not get you up like it used to. If this is happening to you, then switching up your alarm might be a good option for you. Changing the sound your alarm makes, the time it goes off at, or its location may help you wake up easier. You could also place multiple alarms around your house or room, varying their locations every night just to switch things up.


Convinced that you should stop hitting your snooze button every morning? The negatives of not doing so can have effects that will last all day. Thankfully, there are things you can do to take control back of your sleeping habits and avoid hitting that snooze button.


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