I have never been a morning person. As much as I try to get into the habit of waking up at the crack of dawn (and believe me, I’ve tried), I just can’t do it. When my alarm jolts me awake, I quickly slap the snooze button, snuggle back under the covers, keep the drapes pulled shut, and, if I’m lucky, I fall back asleep. Unless there’s some reason I have to get up, I repeat this pattern approximately X times.
I’m not the only one trying to delay the inevitable as long as possible: In a recent study, roughly 69% of respondents said they use the snooze function on their phones—usually on workdays, but also on weekends or their days off. The main reason many of us can’t stop snoozin’ the morning away? We’re not getting enough quality sleep, Lynelle Schneeberg, PsyD, a Yale Medicine sleep psychologist and the author of Become Your Child’s Sleep Coach, tells SELF. A bunch of factors can mess with your rest, but there are two biggies, according to Dr. Schneeberg: Turning in too late (oh, hello, bedtime procrastination) or having an inconsistent routine (staying up late or sleeping in on weekends, for example).
These behaviors confuse your circadian rhythm, the 24-hour internal clock that keeps many biological processes, including your sleep-wake cycle, on a set schedule, Dr. Schneeberg explains. So when your alarm goes off in the morning, you’re more inclined to think No, not yet! I couldn’t possibly! and hit snooze. This habit can be incredibly tough to break, so if you, too, have become a prisoner to that cruel temptress of a button, here’s Dr. Schneeberg’s best advice for breaking free.
Get some natural light as soon as your alarm goes off.
According to Dr. Schneeberg, seeing sunlight first thing in the morning is one of the best things you can do to stabilize your internal clock (and make it easier to get your butt out of bed). If you’re already in the throes of the snooze-repeat cycle, it’s probably going to be tough to force yourself to see the light immediately after your eyes pop open. However, Dr. Schneeberg assured me that if you keep up with it, it’ll eventually become easier to wake up at the same time every day, which means you’ll feel less sluggish when your alarm goes off—and, therefore, less inclined to reach for the snooze button.
Have a cup of coffee on your porch, get ready by a big window, or, my personal fave, pull your curtains wide open as soon as your alarm buzzes. (I recently started doing this and it’s a game-changer.) If it’s still dark out, or you don’t get much natural light in your bedroom, Dr. Schneeberg suggests putting a bright lamp on your bedside table that you can flip on when it’s time to wake up or sitting in front of a light box for 20 minutes or so (ideally, one that emits light at 10,000 lux, per the Mayo Clinic). Then try to go outside as soon as you can, even if it’s just a quick trip to the mailbox or walk around the block with your dog.
Set two alarms—five minutes apart, ideally on separate devices.
Many people tap snooze more than twice (I feel seen) and wind up lying in bed for another 30 to 60 minutes, says Dr. Schneeberg. A smart way to cut down on that lag time: Set two alarms, five minutes apart, ideally in separate locations. For one thing, knowing you’re only a few short minutes away from another disturbing sound can make snoozing the first alarm less tempting. Plus, if it takes some effort to shut off the second one, it’ll be easier to just keep moving, she says.
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