Don’t Hit the SNOOZE Button!

The Submarine Expert

My husband tells this awesome story: Something’s gone wrong on a nuclear submarine and they call in “the expert” to help figure it out and fix it.  So he comes aboard and spends about an hour walking up and down the entire submarine, finally bends down and takes out a small hammer and puts one nice, strong “tap” on one small piece of the engine.  Suddenly, everything is working again.  He says, “That’ll be $100,000.”  The submarine captain is indignant and says “How can one little tap of your hammer be worth $100,000?!”

The expert replies, “It’s not.  The hammer tap is worth $1.00.  It costs you $99,999 for my knowing where to do it.”

A Hammer Tap for Your Day

Life is complicated.

There are more problems than solutions on some days, and tons of stress to go around. But there is one simple thing you can do that, like that little hammer tap, will make all the difference in how your day goes. The secret? (Don’t get all indignant!) Don’t hit the snooze button.

I know you need your sleep!

I’m all about you getting your 7-8 hours of shut-eye every night.  But not by hitting a snooze button anywhere from 3-99 times in the morning, trying to wake up. You waste an incredible amount of time trying to wake up this way… and you give your mind too many opportunities while you are in this “twilight zone” of trying to sleep/trying to wake to convince yourself that you don’t REALLY need to get up right now.  You don’t REALLY need to make it to class on time…or at all.

You don’t REALLY need to get all those things done you wanted to do this morning… what you REALLY need is just 9 more minutes of crappy semi-sleep.  Or 18.  Or 45.

Hit the floor, not the button

You have to actually do 3 things to get your day started off right…yeah, I know I said it would be 1, but now it’s 3. I said life was complicated!

1.  You have to pick a realistic wake-up time.  Not some pie-in-the-sky-you-wish-you-could-get-up-at-that-time time. Figure out what you want to get done tomorrow, or what time you realistically need to get ready for work/school/whatever, and then set the alarm clock for THAT time.

2.  You have to disable your SNOOZE button, or get an alarm clock that doesn’t have one, or put your alarm clock across the room or way, way underneath your bed. Or have amazing self-control and just hit the OFF button instead of SNOOZE. I said amazing self-control, right?

And…

3.  When your alarm goes off, your feet need to hit the floor and you start moving.  In slow motion.  Like a zombie with no brains… maybe like a zombie looking for brains, I don’t know. But you gotta get moving. Head to the kitchen for coffee. Walk to the shower, turn it on, and get in. Start making the bed. No, you can’t lay back down on top of it! Sit yourself down on your exercise bike and start pedaling. (My personal favorite!) It doesn’t matter, as long as you are moving and your brain isn’t.

Whatever You Do…Don’t Think!

What you don’t want to do is allow yourself to start thinking and talking to yourself. You’ll start with “Oh man, it’s too early, I’m exhausted, I need more sleep, I’ll just hit the snooze button once. I don’t REALLY have to get up this early … what was I thinking yesterday, anyway? I swear I’ll get up earlier tomorrow!”

A better way to wake up…

Sleep experts say that if you’re getting enough sleep, you don’t even need an alarm clock…you will wake up on your own. I don’t know that I’ve ever personally had the luxury of getting that much sleep! So until that magical day happens, here are 2 effective ways to do it: The more expensive way is to buy a fancy alarm clock that gradually lightens the room 15-45 minutes before a sound alarm goes off, mimicking what it’s like to wake up to the sun rising, so that you’re already partially awake before the alarm goes off.

These are like the one I have: sun clock. The less expensive way involves going down to your local hardware store and getting a lamp timer for about $8, and set it to turn your light on your bedside table about 15 to 45 minutes before your alarm clock is set to go off in the morning. Either way, you’ll wake up more gradually, so when you hear your alarm, you can “hit the ground running” and get going with your day!

That’ll be $99,999, please.  🙂

DrAnita Sanz, PhD, Psychologist

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