Snooze Alam addiction
July 17, 2008 7:15 PM   Subscribe

I'm seriously addicted to the snooze button on my alarm clock. Help!

I need help with getting out of bed in the morning.

On an average day, my alarm goes off at 7am and I snooze until 8.30am and then get up and go to work. The problem is that if I don't have a reason to get out of bed, I can snooze forever. I did 3.5 hours on the snooze alarm yesterday. And I like snoozing. Lucid dreaming and stuff - it's a really pleasurable experience.

Once I'm out of bed though, I'm fine, whatever time it is. If I have an early meeting / have to pick a friend up from the airport / have a flight or train to catch, then that's fine, I do it. So it's not the time that's the problem, it's the switching from sleep / snooze into "GET OUT OF BED" that's the problem.

This problem occurs regardless of how much sleep I'm getting. I'm a night owl, but even if I'm in bed by 10pm, getting up in the morning is still a struggle.

I have very thin curtains, and my bedroom is on the side of the building where the sun rises. I got a "dawn simulator" alarm a couple of months ago, which has (disappointingly) had absolutely no effect - I don't notice it and can go back into deep sleep even if it's 30cm from my face. I can get up and go to the loo and go back to bed and be asleep within 30 seconds. I don't have any problems getting to sleep, just waking up. And I've been caffeine free for 2 years now.

Am I just doomed to an unhealthy relationship with my snooze alarm? Am I just weak-willed? Or is there something I can do to force myself out of bed in the mornings? Any suggestions welcomed!
posted by finding.perdita to Health & Fitness (37 answers total) 31 users marked this as a favorite
(I also love snoozing and set my alarm extra early to allow for snooze time).
I keep my alarm clock far away from the bed now - so that I have to get up and out of bed to hit it. This is good because for every snooze I'm standing up, fully awake, and have a moment to recognize what time it is, and decide if I reeeeeeally want to go back to bed. This helps me snooze less, and has ended my problem of oversnoozing (which would sometimes happen because I could hit the clock without being fully awake).
posted by moxiedoll at 7:21 PM on July 17, 2008

If I were you I would move the alarm clock to a place in the room furthest from the bed so that you HAVE TO get out of bed to shut off your alarm. Once you're up, you might as well be up and not hit that snooze button. Good luck!
posted by kathleenl at 7:22 PM on July 17, 2008

You could buy one of these:
posted by wannalol at 7:26 PM on July 17, 2008 [1 favorite]

Put another alarm clock or your cell phone out of reach and set the time for when you absolutely want to be up - then snooze away.
posted by The Light Fantastic at 7:28 PM on July 17, 2008 [1 favorite]

Try a Clocky. I don't have a snooze problem, so I haven't tried it myself, but I think it's a good idea.

It seems like the problem might be that you know you can get away with a certain amount of snoozing and don't want to stop doing that. Maybe you could have 2 alarm clocks - one mildly annoying one that goes off at 7 and you can snooze like crazy, and another one that's across the room and incredibly loud that goes off at 8:30.
posted by crinklebat at 7:29 PM on July 17, 2008

You could try setting the alarm for when you absolutely need to get up. That way snoozing is actually a hindrance to your day.
posted by theichibun at 7:34 PM on July 17, 2008

Set your alarm for as late as you possibly can. If it takes you 30 minutes to get ready and you have to leave by 9, set it for 8:35. You'll be forced to pop out of bed every morning. From there gradually set it 5-10 minutes earlier every day until you get to the point where you have just enough time to do everything you need to before leaving the house. Then you'll get more sleep than before and you won't have the luxury of hitting the snooze button.
posted by Autarky at 7:39 PM on July 17, 2008 [1 favorite]

I was having the same problem and I ended up buying an old-school mechanical double-bell alarm clock. Knowing that the first alarm will also be the only alarm makes it a lot easier for me to get up and stay up when it goes off. I set it late enough that I don't have time to screw around, but not so late that I have to rush.

I got mine from Amazon, but lots of places sell them.
posted by indyz at 7:46 PM on July 17, 2008

If I were you I would move the alarm clock to a place in the room furthest from the bed so that you HAVE TO get out of bed to shut off your alarm. Once you're up, you might as well be up and not hit that snooze button. Good luck!

Yes, yes, yes! In college, to break this habit of mine, I went one step further. Not only was my clock on the other side of the room, but my bed was lofted. If I wanted to use the snooze function I would have to 1) get out of bed to hit it and 2) heft my half-asleep self back up into my too-high bed. Make it as inconvenient as possible for you to use the snooze.

It also helped me to build a wakeup buffer into my morning routine. Alarm goes off, I get up, and I spend the time I would have spent using the snooze to watch an episode of Judge Judy on youtube. (Or music. Or whatever would serve the purpose of filling time/having noise that I could pay attention to but not really.)
posted by phunniemee at 7:52 PM on July 17, 2008

I don't think you have a problem. You like snoozing. I don't think it's unhealthy in itself. You can get up when you need to.

I often do the same thing. Set an optimistic early alarm then conduct a reappraisal of the amount I need to get ready vs extra time in bed as the snooze goes off.

Just enjoy hitting the snooze button - stop feeling guilty about it.
posted by TrashyRambo at 7:56 PM on July 17, 2008 [3 favorites]

I'm currently working on the same problem, and rather than look to technology solutions, I'm just looking to willpower. Like you, I can easily get up and go to the bathroom and then go back to bed, so alarm clocks on the other side of the room is useless. Dawn simulators, similarly, since i can easily sleep while the sun is blazing in my bedroom window. My problem is clearly not waking up -- it's getting up and staying up.

Instead, I'm following the Seinfeld Don't Break the Chain thing. I have a goal tracker set up on Joe's Goals, and I'm working on creating a lengthy chain of non-snoozing. It's purely a will power thing -- there's nothing making me get out of bed in the morning, except the desire to maintain that chain.
posted by jacquilynne at 8:02 PM on July 17, 2008

I have the same problem. I have found that if I turn on the morning news I can get up easier. I guess listening to it makes my brain start working and I can get up.
posted by meeshell at 8:04 PM on July 17, 2008

I have had this problem to a much lesser extent (I'll press it about three times max), but nowhere near as bad as my former roommate. He was a very laid back guy and an awesome roommate in all aspects but one -- he would never wake up!

He had two or three alarm clocks, and the alarm sound would escalate. The final alarm clock was a very loud blast of an extremely annoying radio station, and he would hit snooze for hours. I know he was often late for work, and the neighbours complained about the noise as well.

He kept promising to get up, but eventually I got really frustrated and had the idea of going to a store for deaf people and got one of those vibrating alarm clocks. That solved the problem for ME at least.

I don't know if it may have anything to do with depression, because since he got a new job and a new girlfriend and became much happier he woke up a lot quicker.

Sorry, I'm not much help to you -- but I think you'll want to get this problem solved at some point, because I guarantee you it will be extremely annoying to other people!
posted by Flying Squirrel at 8:08 PM on July 17, 2008

I think first you have to decide if you want to give up snoozing or not. It sounds like you enjoy it so I think you need to go with the two alarm clock option - one for snoozing and one that means get up. I can recommend clocky. I bought it for my daughter and it really worked for her. After a few tries she turned off the rolling around feature - just the noise is enough to get her awake. (It makes a variety of R2D2 noises (loudly) so it is harder to ignore then a gentle beep-beep-beep.) She also sets it in a different location around the room each night (none within reach of the bed) so she has to be conscious enough to find it.

The next step is once your real alarm (not the snoozing alarm) goes off, get out of bed to turn it off and then have no-thought routine that keeps you from going to back to bed. Go the bathroom, then go have breakfast, check your email or read the paper, whatever, before you even back into the bedroom to get dressed. By then you should be awake enough to realize that you only have x minutes left and you need to dressed and get going. Good Luck!
posted by metahawk at 8:08 PM on July 17, 2008

Seconding trashyrambo: if you "don't have a reason to get out of bed", then you shouldn't get out of bed. It's your discretionary time, and snoozing sounds to me like a magnificent way of spending it.
Perhaps if you want to make a habit of rising early, you should make a habit not of responding to your alarm but of setting appointments you know you have to keep; so that you have to get up to do something you want to do. Meet a friend/colleague for coffee every morning, for instance.
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 8:10 PM on July 17, 2008 [1 favorite]

Put another alarm clock or your cell phone out of reach and set the time for when you absolutely want to be up - then snooze away.

I use a method similar to this. My alarm clock radio has two alarms that can be set. I set the first one, which uses the radio, to go off 15 minutes before I really want to get up. The snooze is only for about 5 minutes so it would be pointless to use it for the first alarm. The second alarm makes an increasingly louder beeping noise (sort of like a garbage truck backing up) and I want to shut it off right away. The noise is jarring and unpleasant enough that hitting the snooze at that point doesn't seem very appealing, and the only way around it would be to reset the alarm time on the radio alarm. In addition, the clock is not with an arm's reach. After I've gotten up twice to deal with the clock, I'm generally ready to move on to some other activity.

Plus, having two cats who are ready to be fed helps. An alarm clock that jumps on your head or puts its paw on your eyelid is very effective.
posted by fuse theorem at 8:26 PM on July 17, 2008 [1 favorite]

Ok, so you're getting great alarm advice.

I'm going to give you sleep advice. I don't think you're well rested enough. Sleep 10-12 hours for a week. Seriously. Don't get out of bed. "Night Owl" often means, you don't go to sleep until you're exhausted.
posted by filmgeek at 8:36 PM on July 17, 2008

I'm not sure that sleeping 10-12 hours is a healthy habit either... what is the point of try to do so?

I think if you find yourself dozing off during the middle of the day, then that is a sign you are not getting enough sleep. If you aren't doing that, then I don't see why you would want to start sleeping for 10-12 hours (and whenever I sleep that long it makes me really groggy too!).
posted by kosmonaut at 9:03 PM on July 17, 2008

Have you considered signing up for a re-work morning class doing something you enjoy, like 7:30am pilates or yoga? Sign up with a friend, someone who will give you crap for missing classes? I too have the problem of getting up unless there's something non-negotiable awaiting me. Having a class gives you a good reason to get out of bed, especially if it's a class you pre-paid for.
posted by np312 at 10:24 PM on July 17, 2008

Maybe 12 hours is too much, but I think filmgeek's point remains. The OP is probably sleep deprived; 1.5 hours of snoozing is extreme. I would recommend going to bed a little earlier each night until you find the point at which you feel like getting up in the morning isn't a huge chore.
posted by wastelands at 11:04 PM on July 17, 2008

I was sleeping well over the recommended 8 hours per night and I am still a snooze addict. It is a wonderful feeling with the most fantastic dreams, along with a more clear memory of the dream. I solved it by leaving enough time to snooze between my first alarm (next to the bed for easy snooze button hitting) which had a really quiet alarm, and my second alarm, placed farther away which was set to my very annoying cell phone ring. There was always an off chance that someone was calling me, so I made sure I was up to "answer the phone".
posted by nursegracer at 11:24 PM on July 17, 2008

Not sure if this might work, but what i do is set two or three alarms, one on my clock, another on my phone and one on my iPod. The effort to get out of bed and turn each one off normally gets me bright awake.
posted by ashaw at 2:16 AM on July 18, 2008

Coffee snobs will argue that this is a lousy idea, because it allows freshly ground coffee to oxidize for hours before brewing, but I put a loaded coffeemaker with a timer outside my bedroom, set to start brewing 15 minutes before my alarm is set to fire. On top of the coffee maker, I put some almond biscotti, under a napkin. The smell of coffee brewing and almond biscotti warming are enough "pull" to get me to just hit the off button, and get up.

But for those occasional hard start mornings, I also have "Jump" on the main stereo, from a little CD player with a timer/alarm function. I hate Van Halen.
posted by paulsc at 2:19 AM on July 18, 2008 [1 favorite]

my bedroom shares a wall with the bathroom, so in the past i've put an alarm clock on the bathroom counter and left the door open. bathrooms are very echo-ey. it's loud.
posted by thinkingwoman at 4:21 AM on July 18, 2008

Pavlovian reconditioning: superglue tacks, butt end down, to the snooze button. You'll be trained out of hitting it in no time.

Alternate solution: as fuse theorem says above, get cats. They'll wake you every day in a manner that amounts to the solution above.
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 4:21 AM on July 18, 2008

Get an alarm clock without a snooze option. I've been falling back into the snooze habit now that I have the option, but when I didn't, it was easier to actually get up. When there's the chance of oversleeping because that alarm isn't there, I'm more likely to actually get up when the alarm goes off.

Otherwise, I'd suggest working on getting the same amount of sleep (approximately) every night. If you're trying to wake up by seven, get in bed by eleven. Every Night. I think waking up early is something that you can make into a habit, and once it is a habit, it's easy to do it every day.
posted by that girl at 5:45 AM on July 18, 2008

Maybe this is just a result of getting old, but I don't even use an alarm clock any more. And only a couple years ago, I had a HUGE snooze problem.

What changed is realizing that I need 9 hours a night. No exceptions, no questions asked. I go to bed 9 hours before I need to wake up, and 9 hours later I'm up and atom.

Also, keep the windows uncovered. The sun coming up REALLY helps me wake up. In the winter months, I use a light on a timer to simulate sunrise. (Maybe it's just voodoo, but having the light come from the East side of my room makes it work better.)

I think the snooze also becomes a Pavlov-like reaction. I hate my alarm clock, I hate that this machine is telling me what to do. So that noise turned into "hit the button to make it stop" instead of "time to start your day".
posted by gjc at 6:04 AM on July 18, 2008

How to Get Up Right Away When Your Alarm Goes Off

Worked for me.
posted by Otis at 6:12 AM on July 18, 2008 [1 favorite]

Some of these suggestions from a previous AskMe might help you.
posted by HotPatatta at 8:15 AM on July 18, 2008

A former boyfriend used to keep a block of ice in the freezer and press it against my back when it was time for me to jump out of bed. Brutal, but effective.

You're caffeine free, but what if you get a coffee pot with a timer that will automatically brew a cup of herbal tea at a certain time every morning? That might give you something to look forward to and will entice you out of bed. Fill the reservoir with 6-8 ounces of water and drop a tea bag into the carafe. Presto.
posted by HotPatatta at 8:30 AM on July 18, 2008

The instantenous sleeping and the slow-waking is the same for me. These are the patterns I've seen in my snooze-addiction:

- If I'm hungry when I wake up, I'll get out of bed quicker
- When I've liked the sound of my alarm, I snooze less. But, I hate loud noises for about the first hour after I get up.
- When I don't "lie" about the time I have to get up, I do better. If I set my alarm an hour early because I "should" catch up on some things, then I fall back onto bad habits and snooze away.
- Setting two alarm times on my alarm helps. If I have to get up at 7am, I set an alarm for 6:30 and one for 7am. Unfortunately, they make the snooze button really big, so sometimes it gets hit instead of Off.
posted by ejaned8 at 8:49 AM on July 18, 2008

Good, practical suggestions here. As the partner of a former snooze addict, let me thank each and every one of you. To the people wondering what's so bad about snoozing, I'll say this: If you sleep with an insomniac who loathes the sound of the alarm with every cell of her body, hitting snooze and making the sound happen over and over again (particularly when she's in her one, good deep sleep period early in the morning) is a very good way to get to to smother you with a pillow.
posted by mostlymartha at 9:09 AM on July 18, 2008 [1 favorite]

Nthing the suggestions above: get a 2nd alarm and put both alarms away from your bed, and separate from each other. One of my ex girlfriends was a really deep sleeper, and she would spread out something like 4 alarm clocks--one of them a genuine, hammer-whacking-two-bells alarm--spread out on her bedroom floor.

Or turn off your snooze. Get an alarm with no snooze. I'm really curious about these new Bio Alarm Clocks.
posted by zardoz at 7:12 PM on July 18, 2008

Alarm clock in bathroom. Cold water on face is better than noise.
posted by fantabulous timewaster at 7:29 AM on July 19, 2008

I am very similar to the original poster. I love snoozing and often don't make too much of an effort to stop it. But I also work at home and I don't like that sometimes I don't wake up until I absolutely have to (eg, phone rings).

One thing that I find helps me transition from sleep to wake is reading something. For some reason this kicks my brain into awake-mode. I leave a laptop in my bedroom so I can fall asleep to movies and I noticed a few months ago that if I check my email when I wake up it gives my brain the kick it needs to turn off the alarm clock and get out of bed.

I suppose any type of reading *could* work, but checking my work email is the most effective. I avoid pleasurable reading because it might make my mind think it is Saturday and I could lay there all day.
posted by cayla at 1:53 PM on July 19, 2008

It seems to me it's not about the alarm, the coffee or the amount of sleep, because if you have to be somewhere at a certain time you do it. I think it's about your values. You simply haven't a good enough reason to get up when the alarm goes off, and it's a choice you reinforce.

You are looking for an external system to change an internal one. Why do you want to get up at 7.00am? Is it to exercise or socialise or clean house? (Any one of those would keep me sleeping).

Make a promise to yourself and keep it - tomorrow morning you will get out of bed when the alarm goes off, have a pee (or whatever), wash your face with cold water, and go get the morning paper from the shop down the street. Then do it again. We spend years chasing the perfect system to make us do the things we know we should anyway, the things we want to do in order to meet our goals. There is no system, there is only "do".
posted by b33j at 3:46 PM on July 20, 2008

As is always the case with MeFi, the answers help you reassess your question as much as they answer it...

Yes, I love snoozing, and I guess that's not necessarily a bad thing. And yes, at 7am, there are very few things that seem more important than snoozing (no matter how important they seem the night before!) And yes, I can get up when I have to - it's just figuring out things that are worth getting up for!

News on the radio is worth trying out, as is the old-style "no snooze allowed" alarm concept. And my favourite suggestion so far, a combination of the two - an alarm that says "you're allowed to snooze" and a second alarm that says "okay, time to get up now!"

For those who are concerned about partners, yes, I understand that it could be a problem, but my boyfriend starts work earlier than I do, so the original alarm works for him, and the snoozing puts me in a good frame of mind for, ahem, "snuggling", so when he stays over, I don't get any complaints there...
posted by finding.perdita at 5:36 PM on July 21, 2008

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