Use the “Snooze” for extra energy
Many working mothers I talk to tell the same story….the morning alarm comes way too early! It seems that with their busy days at work, their busy nights with their families, and their busy lives, they never seem to get enough sleep. Hitting the snooze button for an extra 10 minutes in the morning is so very tempting, and something they often find themselves taking advantage of.
Sleep experts report that hitting that snooze button on the alarm can actually do more harm than good[i]. It may provide some extra time with your eyes closed, but that time isn’t restful and doesn’t help you get energized for the day ahead (in fact it may make you more tired and make it harder to eventually roll out of bed)…but there is one snooze button trick that just might help. Read on….
I call this “use the snooze” and it has helped me get a jump on my day and be more effective in my morning routine. Instead of dragging myself, barely awake, through my home to the all-important coffee maker, I actually get out of bed feeling refreshed and ready for a busy day. This simple act has made my seemingly endless morning routine crisp, purposeful, and short (yes, I said short, at least shorter than it used to be). By the time I push the button on my coffee maker, I am awake, focused, and already running through my morning routine, organizing my next steps, and finding things to clean while I wait for my cup of coffee to brew.
I can’t tell you how much of a difference this little bit of energy first thing in the morning has made to my overall daily routine. The entire morning, which is the most important part of my day, seems to come together better for me. By the time I arrive at the office, which is now often ahead of many others, I am already engaged and resolving issues in my mind I know I will face once everyone else arrives.
So, you ask, what is my secret? It’s the snooze button! However, I’ll admit I’m using it in a very different way than I used to. The snooze button is no stranger to me. I’ve developed an intimate relationship with this modern marvel as a result of years of using it to gain a few extra minutes of what I hoped would be rest before I braved the day. Modern science tells us that snoozing for those 10 minutes really doesn’t buy us any additional rest, and may actually be setting us up for fatigue during the day that follows.
How do I use the snooze? I spend the time between when I would hit the snooze and when my alarm would finally go off again in mediation. I’m still not very disciplined when it comes to meditation so I use a meditation app to help me. There are many to choose from, my personal favorite this month is Headspace[ii] (I just love the voice of the guy who guides the meditations), but you can use any prompt you need or none at all (a friend of mine uses this time to pray for her family, co-workers, anyone she will encounter during the day, as well as herself). The app lets me set the amount of time I want to spend in mediation to 10 minutes, 15 minutes, or longer, so I set it up before I go to sleep and have it ready to go when my alarm goes off in the morning (for the first time).
Here’s my routine –
- My alarm goes off (at 6:00 am). I prop myself up, hit the snooze (just in case) and then grab my tablet with the meditation app ready to go.
- Although I am still in bed I sit up – this part is crucial – and hit the start button on the guided meditation (which I set the night before to run for 10 minutes).
- I focus on the guided meditation and find that it goes by really, really quickly. Often my snoozed alarm will start, very quietly, about 30 seconds before the meditation finishes but that hasn’t proved distracting for me.
- Once the mediation finishes, I kill the alarm and swing my legs out from under the covers. I practically leap from my bed and head to the coffee maker (I still haven’t kicked that habit although I now start most mornings with a big cup of strong decaf.)
The additional energy I have in the mornings can only be attributed to this new routine. At first, I thought there might be a problem with the app as it seemed the mediation was only lasting for a few minutes, it went by so quickly. I verified the app was set for 10 minutes, checked my clock and, reluctantly, came to the realization that I was really getting into the meditation. I find that I often now wake up about 10 minutes before the alarm is set to go off, and then I just launch into my meditation without delay.
I don’t know if this has actually improved the quality of my sleep, something I am continually striving to do, but I’m comfortable letting that question go unanswered. The benefits to my morning routine are measurable. I wish I would have known about the benefits of a quick morning meditation when I was herding three kids every morning. Although I recognize how difficult it can be to find 10 minutes to do anything for yourself when you have kids to launch, I can only imagine how much easier this would have made my morning routine. Having a little bit of extra energy would have made a huge difference!
If you like to hit the snooze button and grab some extra shut-eye time, give this a try instead. It can’t hurt and the loss of the snooze time won’t negatively impact your day….it might just give you more energy than you bargained for.
Have a spouse or significant other you don’t wish to disturb in the morning? Plug headphones into your phone or tablet the night before so your meditation app doesn’t disturb them. They might get jealous of your extra morning energy and want some for themselves!