Except for the festival of Deepavali and for a few summers in my youth, I would never get up before 6 in the morning. For the last 9 years, I've been waking up at 3.45 am. And I am going to jinx it as soon as I say it because that's how internet curses work, but here goes. I can't recall the last time I missed an alarm in the morning in the last 5 years. And all because I stopped hitting the snooze button.

This is not one of those "it might work for you but won't work for me" kinda things. If one or more of the below is you, I can assure you that there's a better way for you to feel once you wake up in the morning. Does any of the following apply (more often than not)

  • constantly hit the snooze button
  • struggle to wake up at a fixed time daily
  • not feel as refreshed as you'd like when you wake up
Dog nap. Vietnam.
Photo by Pete Walls / Unsplash

Well then, this post is for you. While you might not have a job that requires you to wake up at 3.45 am (I nap every afternoon), waking up a wee bit earlier in the day and waking up feeling well rested can make you a different person - physically and mentally.

First up, I got bad news for you. Those 5-10 minutes of sleep, the best sleep you get once you hit that snooze button - well, it does not really refresh you. It is a few minutes of interrupted sleep and you are probably going to have another disrupted sleep cycle. So, while you might still persist in your thought process saying "But I feel so good", physiologically it affects you for the worse.

Second, there are other practical issues at hand. The snooze button, the lethargy and grogginess are possibly related to other factors. Some of them are listed below, although this is not meant to be an exhaustive list.

Photo by Malvestida Magazine / Unsplash
  1. a poor sleep routine, or lack of. You are probably on a device right before you sleep. The blue light is playing havoc to our systems and will not let us sleep as well as we possibly can. Watching TV or browsing social media on the phone coz you are bored until you drop off is not a sleep routine. You can read more about fixing your sleep routine over here and here.
  2. the alarm waking you up in the middle of a sleep cycle. We sleep in cycles of about 90 minutes going through various stages of sleep. If we are woken up in the middle of a cycle, that's why we feel real groggy and want to hit snooze. I am sure you have magical days when you feel wonderful when you wake up, and horrible days when you just don't want to. Those probably coincide with the sleep cycle ending. Those days when you wake up without an alarm, that's what happens. You wake up right at the end of a cycle and you feel wonderful.
  3. poor sleeping environment. Maybe the A/C's too cold. Or the room is too warm. Or your mattress is too soft. Or there's too much light in your room. Or it is too noisy. There's way too many factors but all are ones you can control for the most part.

What can you do about it?

  1. have a better sleep routine.
  2. have a power-down ritual.

Now, those 2 are how you go about fixing the larger issues at hand. Because hitting the snooze button is a symptom of these.

But the other way to go about it is also just not hitting that snooze button. Here's how I broke out of my routine.

  1. Keep your alarm clock on full volume, and keep it much further away from you.
  2. Keep a backup alarm that's 1 minute after your main alarm. Keep this on another device, and this one's on the opposite side of the room as the first alarm.
  3. As soon as you are on two feet and turn the alarm off, the next task is to step into the shower!

Yes, you will have a couple of terrible days or weeks. You might crash in the afternoon after lunch. If you think about it with enough logic and common sense, you must realise that the 5-10 minutes of snoozing cannot compensate an afternoon nap that your body craves. Slowly, as you work on your sleep routine, this gets easier and easier.

Today, many days, I jump out of bed a minute or two before my alarm goes. Or I shut my alarm down within the first 3 seconds. Of course I have bad days. But that snooze button - oh no, never!

Waking Up on the white bedsheets
Photo by Damir Spanic / Unsplash

In a few months, you will

  • be more alert mentally
  • be less tired physically
  • be more productive during the day
  • be able to fall asleep faster
  • be more motivated

Things like health will improve. You will see fat loss, if that's stagnated. Your stress levels will get better.

and so much more. Good luck!