Wake up naturally. No snooze button required.
>> Stop wasting 3 hours of your week <<
Did you know that the snooze alarm was invented by the same guy that also wrote Ben Hur? His name was Lew Wallace and he got all things started. Well, actually this is only a rumor and nobody seems to know whether it’s true or not.
Lew Wallace actually died in 1905, but the first snooze alarm was marketed in the 1950s. What we do know is that Telechron, which was acquired by General Electric, marketed one of the first snooze alarm during that time.
Other companies started to develop electric alarms with a snooze or “drowse” button as it was called back then.
And today? Almost every one of us used the snooze button at least a few times in his life. Whether it was the alarm on your cellphone or a regular alarm clock with a snooze button. Most of us use it on a regular basis.
It’s fascinating, that people would set an alarm only to completely ignore it and then go back to sleep. Why would we even do that? Maybe it all started when we were little kids.
During that time, most of us stayed up late for some totally good reason (haha) and the next morning we were incredibly tired, but kindergarten or school were waiting. Gladly we didn’t have an alarm back then, at least not a regular one.
Our parents were our alarms.
This was a good thing, because, since parents love their kids, telling them to let us sleep for 5 more minutes usually worked. This could be considered our first snooze button. The parental snooze alarm.
When we got our first alarm or today maybe our first cell phone, we started to set our own alarm, with the snooze button ready to be hit. Probably it was too tempting to not use the snooze button. Those extra minutes were so precious.
Today many of us have a habit of using the snooze button, with detrimental consequences. Not only will it make you more likely to feel tired and groggy afterwards, it will also steal at least two hours from your week.
Think about it. If your snooze time is 9 minutes (which is the standard) and you hit it for 3 times every morning, you spend more than 3 hours per week in a zombie-like snooze state.
Since most people snooze even more than that, they’ll lose more time.
Why you should stop using an alarm at all.
When you are tired in the morning something is wrong and it is most likely that you didn’t get enough sleep. Period. Some of you will probably think “yeah, that’s right, that’s just the way it is”. Well as always you have two options.
- Accept the status quo and feel tired all day
- Do something about it.
I really hope that you belong to the second group. There is so much free information out that can help you to improve your sleep, especially if you don’t have severe insomnia. I won’t go into detail here, but you can find some of my articles on this here and here.
This article is actually about waking up in the morning and how you can improve that. I’ll take the simple assumption that you’ve already optimised most of your bedroom (adjusting the temperature, making it pitch black, etc.) because those are the easiest steps to take.
The main reason why you should stop using an alarm consists of two arguments. The first argument is that you likelihood of snoozing is increased when using an alarm. You simply can’t snooze without an alarm, right?
Remember, you’ll snooze you’ll lose.
The second argument is that due to the snoozing, you’ll never achieve a consistent wake-up time or ritual. It will always depend on multiple factors. Sometimes you might only snooze one time, but other times you might snooze 7 times. This inconsistency will result in a more messed up wake up altogether.
Additionally (at least in the beginning or when snoozing on a regular basis) the alarm is likely to interrupt your sleep phase, which is quite bad. When a sleep phase is interrupted, especially a deep sleep phase, you are more likely to wake up tired and groggy.
The snooze button increases this dilemma because every time you hit snooze you drift back into your sleep phase only to have it interrupted a few minutes later. Doing this will result in more grogginess and tiredness. Here’s a great video on that.
How to start not using an alarm.
Have you ever experienced the scenario that you’ve set an alarm and woke up just a couple of minutes before it went off? Maybe even on a day where you had to get up earlier and told yourself “I have to get up at 6 am…”? Welcome to the world of your internal body clock.
What does that mean?
It means that if you tell yourself that you get up at 6 am you’re likely to wake up at 6 am, (unless you went to bed at 5 am..). Sounds incredible, right? Gladly this is backed by science.
Over a decade ago, in 1999, German researchers conducted a study at the University of Lübeck (a beautiful town close to Hamburg).
Here’s what they did.
They watched subjects for 3 consecutive nights while two of the nights participants were getting “long sleep”, being woken up at 9 am and on the other night they got “short sleep” being woken up at 6 am.
Additionally on one of the long nights, the were “falsely awaken by 6 am” due to technical difficulties as they were told. The researchers took blood samples every 15 minutes.
Until 4.30 am every morning all the hormone concentrations in the blood remained the same, but then a something happened. When the subjects were told they will be woken at 6 am, the hormone adrenocorticotropin increased much more than on the nights when they were told being woken at 9 am.
Normally this hormone as well as cortisol is triggered during the fight and flight response, which increases the metabolic & heart rate. This reaction is usually a conscious one, but as this study shows the body might also be able to trigger these “wake-up hormones” during sleep, which is a rather unconscious state.
Wake up naturally.
It means when your body anticipates waking up at a certain time, it triggers hormones that actually could wake you up by triggering certain processes in your body.
Combining this piece of knowledge with some specific strategies could help you ditch your alarm for good.
When anticipating your wake up time helps you and your body to wake up at this certain time, the main thing you should do is set up an ideal wake up time. It should be a time you could wake up to every day.
Now you have two options. Either you set an alarm for 1-2 weeks, to get your body used to this specific time or you try it without the alarm. Your choice and it depends on your personal preferences and circumstances.
While the first week might be a bit hard, especially if you set an earlier wake-up time, it is essential to be consistent during the first 7 to 14 days.
Two things I found that might help to implement this strategy are visualising yourself waking up at the certain time and the other one is hitting your pillow as often as the hour you want to wake up. For example, if you want to wake up at 6, hit it six times.
I know this sounds really weird, but some people actually report that this is working. You have nothing to lose if you try this.
I also know that this will take some work, but the reward is to wake up naturally for an indefinite period afterwards. There will always be a night where you have to get up at 4 am to get to the airport, but by using your bodies internal clock, even this wake-up time can be made more pleasant.
How much are one or two weeks for a benefit that is likely to stay with you for the rest of your life?
You tell me!