Every night before I go to bed, I set two alarms: my SleepCycle alarm and my iPhone alarm for ten minutes later. (I’m a little paranoid about oversleeping if you can’t tell.) And I typically hit snooze on the latter alarm at least twice. Because I know this about myself, I set my alarms way before I actually need to get up. But apparently there’s another way, one that doesn’t require you to live and die by the siren call of the snooze button. Apparently there are people—nay, unicorns—out there who don’t hit the snooze button at all. And their lives are better for it.
The problem with hitting snooze is that it disrupts your sleep cycle and makes you feel groggier than if you’d gotten out of bed after your first alarm went off. Your sleep cycle starts over again after you hit snooze and fall back asleep; when the alarm goes off again, you’re woken from a deeper part of your cycle. Plus hitting snooze is very confusing for your brain.
Curious—yet nervous—to explore this lifestyle, so vastly different from my own, I embarked on a quest to give up the snooze button for an entire week. Here’s what happened.
In my infinite wisdom, I decide to download an app that makes it impossible for you to hit snooze by blaring an ungodly noise until you solve a math problem and take a photo of a random object in your house.
Needless to say, I don't hit snooze this morning—but it's definitely a stressful way to wake up. I decide to cool it with the fancy apps and rely on my willpower.
It's hard enough to break a habit, let alone a habit you do while you're still one foot in the realm of sleep. So I fully admit that, on this second morning of my experiment, I hit snooze. But only once, and I'm out of bed quickly as soon as I remember my no-snooze rule.
Not noticing any benefits (read: I still drink approximately five gallons of coffee), but it's only day two.
I rely solely on my trusty SleepCycle alarm to wake me up in time for my 6am session with my trainer. SleepCycle works by tracking your sleep and waking you up (within a set time period) when you're in the lightest stage of sleep.
I somehow manage to drag myself out of bed without pressing snooze (though I'm tempted)—almost more impressive is the fact that I'm actually 10 minutes early to my training session. Given that I normally show up between 5:59 and 6:04, this is a huge accomplishment. Snaps for SleepCycle.
I decide to ride the success of my SleepCycle experience and use it again today.
Normally by Thursday I am over everything and lie in bed as long as possible, but my no-snooze commitment has me up early.
Crucial to my newfound early-bird status is going to bed at the same time every night, and waking up at the same time every morning. It's actually easier than I thought, but then again, it's not the weekend yet.
I find I'm ever-so-slightly more alert at work, and my usual mid-afternoon slump is non-existent.
I've found my groove. Sure, the first thing I think when I wake up is God I can't wait until I get to go to bed tonight, but I'm no longer succumbing to the just-10-more-minutes that inevitably turns into 45, so I think I'm doing pretty great.
All this time I've spent not snoozing is actually great for reducing my stress levels. When I snooze, I wake up late, which means I stress out about being late to work or the gym. It seems no-duh, but not hitting snooze means I'm actually up on time and so much less stressed.
Get this: I wake up before my alarm. What.
I mean, it's probably a fluke, or maybe my brain is acclimating to my newfound routine and I'm about to become awesome at life and do adult things like be productive and replace my driver's license right when I lose it, not wait until outside events force me to. (Scratch that, in this new fantasy of me I won't lose my license in the first place.)
While I don't become a paragon of responsibility, I do fill up my gas tank before it's below empty because I have so much free time. (I also spend an hour shopping online sales while watching reruns of Arrested Development, so....)
If you've ever wanted to wake up to The Rock—or, Dwayne Johnson as he's now known—there's an app you can download called The Rock Clock. You're welcome. For the last night in my experiment, I decide to try this just for funsies.
Honestly, though, it's hard to wake up because lounging in bed on Sunday is basically what the day is made for. I compromise and make some coffee, then snuggle back under the covers to read.
Now that I've had a taste of freedom from the snooze button, I don't want to go back. I vow to never hit snooze again, and to ban the word snooze from my vocabulary.
Realistically, I know I'll probably hit snooze the next time I drink a little too much wine or stay up too late reading the latest young adult novel on my Kindle, but I decide that's okay.