Snooze Ad Nauseum

Hello. My name is Jae Dansie, and I’m a snooze button pusher.

Don’t think that’s a big deal? Oh, I push the snooze button almost mechanically, as though my sole purpose of every morning was to wake up briefly to push buttons before drifting back off to sleep.

At first I thought it was just my own laziness. And that might still be a big chunk of it, but it’s a big problem. Fortunately I have a flexible job. Basically as long as I get the 40 hours in every week, the time I arrive at work doesn’t matter to an extent. Before 10 is preferable. Anything post 10:30 is pushing it.

This has been a problem for a long time. During jobs that required a specific time I usually experienced panicked get-ready-quick mornings because I just had to press that snooze button. One. More. Time.

I know for most of the world the easy solution is to just get up. And once I finally got out of bed, I gave myself a strict scolding for sleeping in so long and wasting so much time and being late.

And then the next morning.

Sometimes the problem is I set my alarm for way too early when I’ve gone to bed way too late. I’m the type that needs 7-8 hours—leaning toward the 8. So if it’s midnight and I think I can get up at 6 to do a little writing before work…well, chances are slim to not happening.

I even tried repeating in my head over and over again before falling asleep, I will get up when my alarm goes off. I will get up when my alarm goes off. Oh crap! I didn’t get up when my alarm went off!

What’s a person to do?

Like any good child of the digital age, I turned to searching the internet. Because I tried the whole, hide your alarms, have a friend help you get up, program your stereo to come on with loud music, etc. etc. etc. While those things worked for a time (I think mostly out of novelty), believe me when I say I have the incredible ability to seek all those disturbances out, quash them, and return to slumber almost instantaneously.

So back to the searching. It was comforting at least to discover other people had this same problem. But no one had any real solutions. Not until I stumbled across this post by Steve Pavlina. (This is why I love the internet!)

I encourage you to read the whole thing, but for those who want the Cliff notes version: if you’re anything like me you’ve spent several years training yourself how to react to your alarm, and that is to ignore it. And then, if you’re trying to be a responsible sort, you’ll probably beat yourself up about your failure. But as Steve says:

Beating yourself up about your bad wake-up habits will not work — in fact, you’ll just condition these mental beatings as part of the very routine you’re trying to change.  Not only will you not get up when your alarm goes off, but you’ll also automatically beat yourself up about it.

So what’s his solution? Training.

Okay, not exactly this kind of training. But sort of. A little more from Steve:

Now some people, upon encountering this conundrum, will conclude that they simply need more discipline.  And that’s actually somewhat true, but not in the way you’d expect.  If you want to get up at 5am, you don’t need more discipline at 5am.  You don’t need better self-talk.  You don’t need two or three alarm clocks scattered around the room.  And you don’t need an advanced alarm that includes technology from NASA’s astronaut toilets.

You actually need more discipline when you’re fully awake and conscious:  the discipline to know that you can’t trust yourself to make intelligent, conscious decisions the moment you first wake up.  You need the discipline to accept that you’re not going to make the right call at 5am.  Your 5am coach is no good, so you need to fire him.

Seriously, that 5am or 7am or whatever am coach I’m counting on to help me get out of bed needs the pink slip and he needed it a long time ago.

Okay, now it comes to what you have to do, and this is the silly part. At first I gave Steve’s post a healthy eye roll, but the further along I read, the more it made sense.

The idea is that your subconscious mind is really in control in the morning. And for those of us who had a crap coach that trained us to be perpetual snooze button pushers trained our subconscious minds to react to alarms by silencing them—not getting out of bed. Because of our coach’s terrible coaching, we can expect most mornings to give us the same result: we’ve overslept.

This is where the training comes in. Steve’s solution:

This is going to sound really stupid, but it works.  Practice getting up as soon as your alarm goes off.  That’s right — practice.  But don’t do it in the morning.  Do it during the day when you’re wide awake.

Yes. The idea is to practice responding to your alarm by getting up when it goes off.

Okay Judge Judy, stop with the—well, judging!

Here’s the thing. It works. If you follow what he says. You train yourself to respond to your alarm and then in the morning it’s almost like you’ve become a robot, following a command you didn’t even know was programmed in there.

All last summer I got up early and did a major rewrite of SHADE thanks to following this sage advice.

But here’s the catch (and there’s always a catch). If 5am coach is good at one thing, it’s getting his jobs back. You can fire him time and time again, but for some reason once he’s been fired he comes back to you sounding like a genius.

Oh, just five more minutes. What’s it going to hurt? Can’t you snooze once AND THEN get up? Just a little more sleep? Besides, you were up late, right? You’ve got to look after yourself.

When you break your conditioning you can slip back into old habits the very next day and suddenly you’re the snooze button pusher again. This has happened to me more times than I care to admit.

So it does have to do with my laziness, just not in the way you might think.

Once you’ve broken conditioning you have to go through the whole process all over again—at least I do. And it’s a bit time consuming and annoying to boot. Who wants to lay in their bed when they’re wide awake, set their alarm, pretend they’re sleeping, wait for it to go off, and get up to go do the first thing you’d do in the morning AND THEN go back to your bed and do the same thing all over again? Now ten more times?

A big part of the reason I’m doing this post at all is a sort of public commitment to fixing this problem. Again.

But also to let anyone out there who has this problem know that it’s likely something you’re going to be struggling with for a while. So buckle in and know that sneaky 5am coach is out for blood.

And for those of you with a partner or friend who have this issue, now you understand better how to help them.

What do you think? Do you have the snooze button issue? Are you definitely not a morning person? Could you press the snooze button for 3 hours given the chance? What do you do to help yourself get out of bed in the mornings? Let us know below.


29 thoughts on “Snooze Ad Nauseum

  1. I have a HUGE snooze button issue. I’m not a morning person unless I get up and hop in the shower.

    First off, I LOVE the .gif’s that you have put on here. They’re hysterically accurate. I also connect with you regarding new techniques and the novelty working until it all wears off.

    This was a perfect post to read today!


    • You’re welcome. I recommend Steve’s technique. It does work, but it needs constant renewing. That 5am coach is a real chump. But I’m glad someone else understand the novelty problem. Sure it works. For now. For a bit.

  2. HUGE problem! I’d love to get up early to write, but I’m a button pusher. Heck, I’ve set the alarm for earlier just so I could hit snooze a few times. The past few days, I’ve been awake before the alarm. Do I get up? Nope.

    This is great advice, I’m going to try it. Thanks!

  3. The 5 am coach also has a warm, comfy bed to lure you back to sleep.

    I’ve been a snooze-button-pusher for years, but, recently, my internal clock has caught up with me. Now my body decides to wake up 10 minutes before the alarm. Even on weekends.

    Several factors have led me to this good, but obnoxious habit:
    1. I ride the bus to work, so if I miss the bus, I have to drive, which costs 3x as much, and cuts into writing time. Also, I can sleep on the bus.
    2. I really like my job and who I work with – this helps a lot to look forward to the day.
    3. I set my alarm for about 20 minutes before I actually get up, so I can safely hit the snooze button twice.
    4. I wake to The Spectrum Song by Ludwig Von Drake. It’s a bright, happy song to wake to.

    I believe in you and your ability to get up.

    • Hmmm… Maybe I’ll add the happy song to training. I’ve even tried recording myself a message to remind me why I should be getting up. My 5am coach has trained me well. 😦

  4. I have always been a night owl and struggled with mornings. Since we’ve gotten the critters, though, I don’t hit snooze as much. Mostly because they’re going to keep bothering me until I get up anyway. 😀

  5. Interesting! I might try this!! I have no problems getting up to get the kids off to school at 7:30, but due to some schedule changes, my evening and afternoon writing time is now dead. I’ve been wanting to write in the early mornings, but I just CAN’T effing get out bed before I know I don’t absolutely have to. (This might have something to do with the whole ‘sleep when the baby sleeps’ mentality. But they’re six and three now, so I think time’s run out on that excuse!) Thanks for posting this. I’ll let you know how it goes!

  6. I’m not a morning person either, but in the summer, I have to be up by 5:30 a.m. to go out and irrigate.
    It is safe to say that if not for my mother, I’d easily sleep until 6:30
    Alarms scare me (not like I’m afraid of them, but if I set my clock and don’t wake up before the alarm goes off, the loud noise almost gives me a heart attack.)
    But on the days I HAVE to wake up (and Mom isn’t availible for my wakeup call, I’ll set my MP3 player to my favorite song to start playing at a certain time on a loop.

  7. My guess is that this is a common problem. I hit the snooze button once (sometimes twice) a day, then I turn it off completely and doze on my own. Most of the time I’m okay and I don’t fall completely back to sleep, but I have had some panicked mornings where I have to run to make it to work on time. But I think my problem is that I just have trouble falling asleep at night.

  8. Loved this post and the associated GIFs 🙂
    I do have a snooze problem myself, but I tend to fix it by giving myself what it needs, more sleep! I began to go to sleep early and I never had to encounter the sneaky 5 am coach 🙂
    Wishing you all the best 😉

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