"Think in the morning. Act in the noon. Eat in the evening. Sleep in the night." -William Blake
The morning is an important time in the day, packed with potential for fitness, reflection, planning, eating, writing…whatever it is that you need to start the day flying.
We all know this yet one of the most common challenges people face on a daily basis is getting out of bed in the morning.
I’ve suffered with a snoozing problem for a long time. Sometimes I can snooze for up to 2 hours (not kidding).
My brain is still half asleep right when the alarm goes off and almost instinctually I’ll roll over, snooze and go right back to sleep for 9 minute intervals. By the time I actually awake, hours have passed by and I’ll have barely noticed. It’s a serious problem.
I’ve tried so many things to fix it over the years. I moved my alarm across the room, I bought a clocky (that thing that rolls off your table and all around your room forcing you to chase it), I tried different alarm clocks and rings.
I’ve recently started to get better at controlling this bad habit and I want to share some of my lessons with you, but first lets talk about why snoozing is so bad for you.
When you snooze:
1. You aren’t actually getting rest
2. You start the day failing
3. You deplete your willpower to make decisions because you have to decide to snooze every time
4. You miss the opportunity to do the things you want to do in the morning
5. You spend the rest of the day feeling like you’re behind and you have to catch up
6. According to Jamie Condliffe, you can also expect impairments in your memory, reaction time, comprehension and attention.
So if it’s so bad for us, why do we do it?
If it makes you feel any better, it’s not just you being lazy. It’s that damn body of yours always telling you what to do.
See, when you begin your sleep, your body releases serotonin into your bloodstream. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that’s associated with well-being and happiness, which is why it feels so damn good to fall asleep.
When it’s time to wake up, your body knows and starts to pump dopamine into your bloodstream to begin the wake up process.
So every time you snooze, you’re confusing your body into releasing both serotonin and dopamine, causing a whole lot of chemical confusion, making it increasingly hard to get your butt out of bed and get the day started.
So how do you fix it?
Here are a few things that have worked for me:
1. Go to sleep earlier
Probably the simplest but also most difficult solution is to just go to sleep earlier.
If you give your body the full amount of rest it needs, you’ll start to wake up naturally before your alarm even goes off.
Imagine what it was like for people before we had alarm clocks. Humans have an internal clock to manage when we sleep and wake up. We’ve only recently become reliant on machines to wake us up.
So you have the tools built into your brain, now you just have to give them control.
2. Take naps
Think napping is just for kids? Think again.
Lots of famous people took naps throughout history.
If you can’t get to bed earlier, sneaking some shut eye into your day can do the trick.
3. Change the habit
The first big thing that worked for me was to change my habit.
In the Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg, he explains that in order to change a habit, you must keep the trigger the same and change the routine.
If you can keep the reward the same as well, then that’s better. I realized that snoozing for me was often more about control than actual sleep. I could control when I would wake up.
What I did was start to change my routine from alarm—>snooze—>control I replaced snoozing with putting my running shoes on.
That’s it. I didn’t have to run, but I would have to put my shoes on every morning as soon as the alarm went off.
4. Put things in the way of your alarm
To make it easier for me to stick to the new routine, I would put socks over my phone so that in order to turn the alarm off, I’d have to move the socks. That would force me to face the decision of putting on my shoes or snoozing instead of making it easy for my half awake brain to just collapse back into bed.
5. Set your goals the day before
This is a big one that people don’t think about so much.
Often, we struggle to get out of bed not because of anything physical, but rather mental and emotional.
The phases when I’ve been the worst at getting out of bed, I remember waking up feeling depressed. I felt overwhelmed by the obstacles I’d have to face that day. I wouldn’t know where to get started. And so I’d snooze and snooze just to put off having to face the day.
By setting my goals and tasks the day before, when I wake up I know exactly what to do first. The uncertainty of what to do in order to achieve my goals no longer haunts me in the morning.
6. Find meaning
I know, this one is a little vague and not exactly actionable. But we’ll dig into how to do this in another post, promise.
The point here is that when you’re living a life of meaning, it gives you a really good reason to wake up energizes every day.
The greatest way to find meaning in your life is to help others. When you snooze and you’re only hurting yourself it’s one thing but when you have a responsibility to others, it gives you a jolt in the morning to get your day started.
They’re counting on you.
Photo Credit: purplemattfish via Compfight cc
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