We have all been there: Just as we enjoy our deepest and most restful sleep, the alarm clock goes off and shatters the silence. Before we know it, we tap the snooze button so we can enjoy a few extra minutes of rest before getting up to tackle the day.
At first glance, this innocent ritual seems great. But upon closer look, hitting the snooze button is worse than most people imagine. Today, we will explore the issues with sleep deprivation and how to start getting more rest. Let's dive in.
The big issue with Sleep Deprivation
A few nights of poor sleep on the road might not seem that bad. After all, you are tough, and you can still be productive, train effectively, and go about your life. You might need longer to get out of bed during the morning, and "snoozing" has become a routine.
The issue is that undersleeping chronically leads to the accumulation of sleep debt. Like financial debt, it grows, and our only way to get rid of it is to pay it off. According to research, as little as a week of poor sleep has the same effects on the mind and body as staying up for two days straight. And the worst part? We get used to the adverse effects and begin to see them as our new normal. Before we know it, we are fooling ourselves into thinking that we are doing alright. In reality, our performance and health begin to decline without us even realizing it.
How much Sleep do we need?
We are all different, and no single recommendation works for everyone. But, in general, adults need between seven and eight hours of sleep. An excellent way to figure out your needs is to try falling asleep earlier and aim to wake up naturally without an alarm clock. Then, if you wake up after a specific number of hours several days in a row and feel rested, you can use that as your guideline.
Why snoozing is bad for your sleep
Sleep quantity and quality matter equally. They are two sides of the same coin. Once your alarm clock goes off, it wakes you up. So even if you hit the snooze button and fall asleep immediately, your alarm has already broken the chain, and you are no longer in that state of deep rest.
Sure, you might get a few extra minutes of sleep, but that rest will not do much for you. It takes your body time to fall into a state of deep sleep. In addition, each sleep cycle takes around 90 minutes to complete and deliver benefits, so getting an extra 9-minutes, which is the default on every Apple iPhone, of sleep would not do you much good.
Hitting the snooze button might be worse. If left uninterrupted, your body can use that time to be in a deep sleep. But if you wake up, hit snooze, and repeat, you get out of that state and can only enjoy some shallow rest until it is time to get up or hit snooze again.
Plus, snoozing can also worsen the experience of waking up in the morning. For example, if you hit the snooze button and fall asleep immediately, the alarm clock will go off again just as you drift off. This can make for an unpleasant experience and only make it more challenging to wake up in the morning.
How to stop hitting the Snooze Button
There is no secret to avoiding the snooze button in the morning. You have to make a conscious choice that snoozing is not good and that you should stop.
A good tactic you can start using is to place your phone far from your bed. In doing so, you force yourself to get up and move to turn it off in the morning. Movement is a great way to start waking up, and you will be less likely to hit the snooze button after getting up. In contrast, having your phone in reach will make it easier to go for the easy solution of hitting snooze.
Another beneficial thing you can do is to start moving right away. It might sound counterintuitive, but the movement is among the best ways to wake yourself up. For example, once you stop the alarm, walk to the bathroom, splash water on your face, and brush your teeth.
You can also set an objective for yourself in the morning. Doing so is a great way to have a 'why' for waking up in the morning. A good practice would be to have a simple morning routine. It could consist of some exercise, reading, journaling, or simple reflection.
And if you have time to snooze, why not use the final time as your alarm. So you can quite the game of snoozing and actually enjoy those 9-18-27 minutes of extra sleep - just saying...
Three actionable tips to improve your Sleep (even while on the Road)
Getting enough quality sleep on the road can be tricky. It can be challenging to ease your mind between constant traveling, going to bed at different times, and not having a consistent routine.
Luckily, there are three things you can do, regardless of where you are, to improve your sleep. Here they are:
1. Limit alcohol and caffeine
The occasional nightcap might seem like a perfectly reasonable way to end the day and fall asleep more easily. The problem is, that research shows that alcohol can reduce sleep quality and prevent us from getting enough deep restorative sleep.
Caffeine - the most famous stimulant on the planet - is another thing to limit. To prevent it from impacting your sleep, it is best to cut it out within six to eight hours of going to bed.
2. Improve your sleep environment
Your sleep environment also has a considerable role to play in your ability to get enough rest at night. Specifically, your room should be:
- Cool - between 65 and 70 degrees F (18-21° in Celsius)
Having a comfortable and supportive mattress and pillow can also help, but this is not something we can always control.
3. Have a pre-bed ritual
Regardless of where you are, a fantastic way to improve sleep quality is to ease your mind before hitting the sack. So instead of looking at a screen all the way up to your bedtime, switch things up. For example, you can create a simple pre-bed routine consisting of:
- A shower or bath
- Some reading
- Stretching your muscles