6 Steps to Breaking Your Snooze Button Addiction

Cole Saladino/Thrillist

Ah, the snooze button -- one of life’s smallest and simplest guilty pleasures. Some people are real junkies for that extra 10 (fine, 20) minutes of post-wake up vegetation. But it’s actually doing more harm than good.

Research shows that hitting snooze is confusing for the body, and can make you even drowsier. So we talked to a leading sleep expert about how to save yourself from skipped breakfast and chronic tardiness, all because of your snooze button addiction:


Get out of your state of denial

Convincing yourself that a few more Zzz’s will make you feel better is a mental crutch, according to Dr. Thomas Penzel of Germany’s Sleep Medicine Center of Charité.

“It’s not quality sleep, it’s relaxing time,” said Dr. Penzel. “A person cannot count this time as sleep.”

So if your alarm (or your pet) is already going off, it’s better just to get up and roll with it than give in to the allure of half-ass slumber.

Become a creature of habit

Hitting snooze -- which really is less button pushing and more smartphone-swiping, and therefore not as cool anyway -- leads to “drockling.” Seriously! It’s a term used by sleep experts to describe the yo-yo effect on the body’s clock, when it expects to doze off but is unpleasantly surprised.

If every day you set an alarm for 7am, but instead wake up again (and again... and again) at various times between 7am and 7:45am, your body doesn’t know when to get sleepy later on.

According to Dr. Penzel, it’s best to keep a routine sleep schedule (yes, even on the weekends). Set an alarm at the same time every day, and continually rise. Shine is not mandatory.


Put your feet on the floor

After the alarm goes off, swing those heavy legs off the side of the bed. The likelihood of lying down after standing is logically, much less.

It’s easier said than done, of course. Dr. Penzel suggests standing and hitting the alarm in one fell swoop. Or you could also invest in a Ruggie, an alarm clock that turns off when you stand on it (it’s already more than doubled its Kickstarter goal, by the way). Ruggie will even play you motivational messages to start the day. Which you're probably going to need if you're not used to getting up so damn early.

Shock the system with cold

Nobody likes what generally happens to the body in frigid temperatures, but when it comes to waking up, it’s good for you. Cold air jolts the system into consciousness, and with some practice, it should start to get easier.

Penzel recommends opening a window or taking a cold shower. The latter is proven not only to increase alertness, but also ease stress and help the nervous system. If you’ve already done the Ice Bucket Challenge, consider it child’s play.


Do something that requires you to move around

Society tends to hate on people who have the willpower to get up and work out early (you could call it jealousy, or just plain common sense). But this is a bandwagon you want to jump on. Morning exercise brings up oxygen intake and heart rate, upping your energy all day.

If you’re just too lazy (probably!), Dr. Penzel suggests starting a conversation or putting together a light breakfast. But don’t use your Facebook and checking emails to get lucid.

“People can do that, but that’s not activating the brain in a real sense,” he explained. “So if they end up doing that not just for a few minutes, but 20 minutes, that’s almost like pressing the snooze button.”

Go to bed earlier (duh)

We know you don’t want to hear this, but the easiest way to get out of bed in the morning is just to get enough sleep. Somewhere between seven and nine hours is the golden number that’ll leave you refreshed and ready to conquer -– rendering that lousy snooze button completely unnecessary.

“Sleep is half necessity and half behavior,” said Dr. Penzel. “We shouldn’t ignore what the body is telling us it needs.”

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Barbara Woolsey is a Berlin-based freelance writer who loves to power nap (and she does all the time, because she’s a freelance writer). Follow her adventures on Facebook and Twitter.