How I Stopped Hitting the Snooze Button

Part of the reason I’ve had the time and energy to create this site is my newfound ability to wake up early before work. Until recently I had been a chronic snooze button-hitter. I would purposely set my alarm 30 to 60 minutes earlier than I actually needed to get up because I knew I would hit the snooze button multiple times before I got myself out of bed. How exactly did I make this change stick?

Use Two Alarms

My cell phone and my iPod touch are the two alarms I set next to me when I go to bed. I set them for just a few minutes apart and when they go off in the morning I don’t turn them off unless I know I am fully awake. By having two alarms set there is one as a fail safe in case I turn one off and fall asleep.

Head off Pillow & Feet on Ground

After my alarm goes off I immediately force myself to do one of two things. I either lift my head off my pillow or slide my feet toward the ground. By doing one of these it leads me to be more awake right away. I am less likely to fall asleep afterwards (and if I did I’m sure it would look ridiculous).

Engage Your Brain

By getting your brain to wake up the rest of the body will follow. The easiest way for me to do this is to look at my iPod touch and start reading/checking email, Facebook or Twitter. Yes, ideally I’d like to wake up to a sunrise over the ocean and not be immediately thinking about what is happening on the Internet, but this is what works to wake me up. When my mind starts going through my messages there is no chance of me falling back asleep.

Determine Your Optimal Amount of Sleep

I have known since college that I work best on exactly seven hours of sleep. Any more and I am drowsy when I wake up. Any less and I reach for the snooze button and try to stay in bed. Getting seven hours of sleep for me is a bit of a religious habit.

In college I never stayed up all night studying for a test. I would sometimes go to bed without having studied at all because I knew I would do much better on the exam that way. If I was well rested and briefly looked over my notes at breakfast I would do better than if I tried to cram all night and take the test with no sleep.

While don’t condone taking tests without studying… I recommend figuring out exactly how many hours of sleep you function the best with getting.

Go to Bed Earlier

This may sound like a no-brainer but many people fail to do it. After you have determined what your optimum amount of sleep is and what time you would like to wake up at, set yourself a bedtime. Be your own parent and be strict about it. Sleep is the natural fuel that keeps you going throughout the day, not caffeine. Also, try to do something relaxing before bed instead of watching television. For me, reading is the perfect activity.

Do What You Enjoy First

When you wake up early don’t just walk around wasting time unless relaxing or meditating are exactly what you want to do with the extra time. Use this important time in your day to do what you love to do. I enjoy reading and writing but don’t make enough time for it throughout the day, so that is what I use my morning time for.

Whatever it is that you have been putting off learning, whether it is a language or how to sew, use your morning time to do it. When you know you get to do something you enjoy after you get out of bed you will be more motivated to stop hitting snooze.

Waking up early is one way for you to transform your life and give you more time to do what you love before the craziness of your life takes over.

For more resources on how to start waking up early check out these great articles by Leo Babauta at Zen Habits: 10 Benefits of Rising, and How to Do It & How I Became an Early Riser.