I have an unhealthy relationship with the snooze button. As in, I hit it two to three times each morning…on two separate, staggered alarms (one on a regular digital clock, the other on my iPhone because my cat often steps on the buttons of my digital clock during his attempts to wake me in the night). Once I’m out of bed, I’m actually a pretty peppy morning person: I go running, make breakfast, and manage to un-dishevel myself all in time for work at 9 a.m.. But when it comes to physically getting out of bed, I’m like Sisyphus with that darn boulder. (Make 2017 YOUR year by taking charge of your health and jump-starting your weight loss with the Prevention calendar and health planner!)
Recently, this tedious waking ritual of mine started to throw off my morning timeline, and I was leaving for runs later and later. It’s really no fair that the sun gets to rise later in autumn, but I don’t. I had to wonder, was all of my snoozing making it even harder for me to get out the door? What if I just set my alarm for the time I really wanted to wake up, rather than a half hour in advance?
Studies confirm that groggy, can’t-get-out-of-bed state many of us know all too well. That’s because as we fall back into slumber after alarm #1, we enter a new sleep cycle that’s doomed to be disrupted. And even though most of us know this already, we still rely on that “just 10 more minutes” every morning. I decided it was time for me to buck the trend and ban the snooze button for a full week to see if it actually made any difference. Here’s how it went.
I spent more time on my phone.
Was I just replacing one unhealthy habit with another? Before willing myself out of bed, I found myself checking email and Facebook longer than usual on each day of this experiment. I recognized that it was procrastination, but it was also so cold outside the covers and being warm is just so nice. Plus, cat snuggles.
When I was finally up, I got moving faster.
I didn’t time how long it took me to change into my workout clothes and get out the door compared with the snoozy days prior, but I do think that I moved more quickly once I was out of bed. Maybe that sitting-on-my-phone time prepared my mind to go through the motions of changing, teeth brushing, and lacing up my shoes in a more timely fashion. But whatever the reason, I left for each morning run this week on schedule rather than five to 10 minutes late.
I actually sat down to eat breakfast.
Normally I blend a smoothie and drink it while doing my makeup, or shovel eggs into my mouth while standing and scrolling through my Instagram feed. But the handful of minutes that I saved allowed me to make my breakfast and pull up a kitchen chair to eat it, too. One morning I even read a book with my oatmeal and coffee, and I convinced myself that it was little luxuries like this that would keep me from ever snoozing again.
I walked to work more often.
I live about a mile from my office, and I usually walk at least three times a week, but sometimes my snooze habit has a cascade effect, leaving me no time to walk and get to work on time. When I quit snoozing, I added an extra day of walking. I don’t own a Fitbit, but I imagine I’d be stoked about these extra steps if I did.
I still missed the snooze button every day.
There was a brief period on Wednesday, day three, where I felt energized and ready to go right after waking. I thought maybe I had broken my bad habit, but come Thursday I was back on the struggle bus. It’s possible that evening activities and bedtime factored into the energy difference I felt, but I can’t be sure. More likely, I’m just human.
My conclusion: Even though I saved some time in the morning by not snoozing, it wasn’t enough to completely change my ways. Next Monday morning I’ll probably still hit snooze—but once instead of three times. Baby steps?