Reversing the snooze button
Take for example sleeping through alarms. I have a real problem with this. Attributed to many things but I have narrowed it down to a few things. Here are some tips and tricks to getting a better night sleep as well as getting out of bed on time in the morning instead of hitting the snooze button repeatedly until you are really late.
Staying up too late.
The later you stay up the longer you will stay in bed in the morning. No matter how good you think you know your sleep cycle I would argue that you don’t know it at all. Your body knows what it needs. It will get what it needs when it needs it. If your body requires 6 hours, that’s what it will take. If you go to bed at midnight and have been getting this much sleep on a regular basis then your body will naturally wake at 6. Just as an example. Not to say you can’t train your body to get more or less sleep than it asks for but eventually it will recuperate the sleep it requires. Generally speaking, an adult requires between 5-8 hours of sleep on average.
Going to bed with a mind full of thoughts. Is not a great idea but it happens. I will tell you that on the average I have found clearing your mind before bed will help with sleep and also with waking up the next morning. Two ways to combat this issue are journaling and meditation. I wouldn’t recommend meditation before bed unless it’s a few hours before. I also won’t go into meditation practice because I’ve already addressed this in previous blog posts (read them here). Journaling can be any number of things but mostly emptying all of the nonsense that is in your head and getting it out on paper. This clears up the cognitive load. It takes all of that extra stuff in your brain and empties it on paper. This also works in the morning before starting your day. Clear all of the doubt, realizations, ideas, worries, thoughts. It puts it all out there and allows you to not have to think about it later on. You can always revisit these things later and now they are archived for future reference.
Now the fun part… reversal.
So I’ve been thinking about how to trick myself into getting up when the alarm goes off instead of hitting the snooze button every 10 minutes. How about intentionally setting your alarm to make you late. If you’re getting up already late you won’t have a choice. You will have to keep in mind that you’re doing this on purpose. You can’t beat yourself up about it but rather embrace the fact that you are up and running… and probably focused because you don’t have time to think and take your time. Give yourself just enough time to get dressed and get to work. You know what this time crunch feels like already or you wouldn’t be here reading this. Do this for a few weeks in order to ingrain the habit and replace the old habit. 66 days statistically will conquer the old habit and replace it. A couple weeks will get you in the groove. We are all different and results may vary but essentially you just need to do this long enough to be able to get up consistently before the alarm goes off.
Limit blue light exposure
The blue light your devices emit activate receptors in your brain and keep your brain “on” even hours after you shut off angry birds and Facebook. Two ways to tackle this would be 1) turn off all of your devices an hour before bed. Literally turn off the device, set it to do not disturb, put it in airplane mode. Whatever you have to do to shut it down. 2) use an app or simply adjust the screen color to make it “warm”, meaning taking the blue out of the screen color. A color is presented in a spectrum going from warm to cool. Cool being most blue light (daylight) or warm being the least blue light (think dimmed room with an orange/yellow hue). If you are lucky enough to own an iPhone this functionality is built in and can be set on a timer (mine is set from dusk to dawn). If not there are apps for your phone as well as your computer to accomplish this task. (Lux, night mode, screen dimmer).
Physically set an alarm on the other side of the room
I have tried this and it doesn’t work so great for me. I’m guessing I just need a louder alarm but essentially if you have to get up out of bed to shut off an alarm you are already 90% complete with the task. After you are up just continue to your very next task (brushing teeth, glass of water, bathroom, etc)
I would love to hear your thoughts on this. Personally, I have battled with this problem for decades. There are times when I’m in the groove and things just work. Most other times I have no desire to physically get out of bed. It’s not that I don’t have important things to do it’s just my enjoyment with sleeping overrides those things. Experiment and find out what works. I would at a minimum try the methods I listed above but tinker with it to see what sticks. Try adjusting the time before or after. Try setting an alarm on the other side of the room. Figure out what works for you and record your results. I would say this is the critical step because you can go back and revisit your findings later when you need to re-do any working steps.
Also published on Medium.