How To Beat The Snooze Button

Many people regularly struggle to get out of bed in the mornings.

Even if it’s not a regular struggle, I’m sure most of us have experienced the feeling at some point.

You know, when the previous night, you were convinced that your future self was going to spring out of bed and pounce into action – seizing the day and smashing your way through your tasks like Hulk. Or something.

But then morning rolls around, your alarm goes off and your present self thinks your past self can go take a hike.

And so you hit the snooze button (most likely more than once), rather than getting up to go for that jog, review that to-do list, or attack whatever other great productive plans you had the previous evening to jump-start your day.

It doesn’t matter how good your time management strategy is on paper and how SUPER-PRODUCTIVE you were planning your day to be – if you can’t get out of bed on time in the morning, you’re basically setting yourself up to fail before you’ve even started.

Snooze, you lose, my friend.

Then it’s, congratulations – you’ve failed your first task of the day, which was to get up when the alarm goes off.

And if you didn’t know already, sleep experts say that snoozing isn’t great for your health either.

It interrupts your sleep cycle and causes extended sleep inertia, which is a long-lasting version of that groggy feeling you may have when you wake up. I’m not making this stuff up – you can check out the research here.

Prefer video format instead? If so, jump straight to here!

But there must be some hacks to get past this, right?

Well, as you know if you have been reading my other posts, I’m more into developing habits than hacks, but there are definitely some great tips you can put into action to give you the best possible chance of making this a problem that isn’t one of your problems.

Here’s a compilation of ten of the best I have found (so far) to get around this.

1. Apps

If there’s a problem that exists, you can pretty much guarantee someone has come up with an app that attempts to solve it and beating the snooze button is no exception.

There are a number of apps I have looked at for both Android and iOS and I’m still exploring, but here are a couple of the better ones that I recommend to date.

2. Get someone else involved

I don’t mean the person that may be sleeping next to you because chances are, they’ll be snoozing away too. I mean arrange to meet someone somewhere at an agreed time and place.

It could be for a run, a walk, a yoga session, some one-on-one basketball, a chess game, an egg muffin breakfast, whatever. It’s your life – do the things that make you happy.

Of course, it depends on what you have planned for the morning, so it’s not going to be appropriate for everyone, but if you’re doing some form of exercise or recreation, this could work for you.

For example, back in my student days, a friend and I decided to start running in the mornings, but we were both finding it difficult to get up early enough. It was winter in Northern England when a duvet was far more appealing than the cold and wet winter weather outside.

So, we made a pact to meet a couple of mornings a week at 6 am. We were students, so don’t forget 6 am was already incredibly early!

I didn’t want to let him down by sleeping through my alarm and failing to show and likewise, he wanted to make sure I wasn’t left standing there in the cold either.

Engineering some accountability by knowing someone else is depending on you can work wonders for your discipline.

Nobody wants to be that friend that always flakes out.

Don’t make hitting the snooze button easy / Unsplash

3. Don’t make it easy

Reaching over to your phone clock on the bedside cabinet is too easy and can be done while still semi-conscious.

Instead, put your alarm well out of reach, right on the other side of the bedroom.

If you want to go to extremes, leave your phone in the kitchen and hook up a baby monitor to your bedroom.

The Alarmy app mentioned earlier is quite good as it has a setting that requires you to take a pre-determined photo in order to stop the alarm. It could be anything, such as a kettle, the front door, or the toilet – anything that is far away enough to require you to physically get out of bed. Once you’re out of bed, half the battle has been won.

Or you could even try this crazy alarm clock on wheels called Clocky. You need to chase the thing around to stop it!

4. Use an alarm without a snooze button

This seems kind of obvious really.

And what’s the point of a snooze button anyway? If your existing alarm clock has a snooze button, glue it down or break it. Whatever it takes. If you remove the option, it’s no longer a problem, is it?

Also, make sure the alarm you use gets you up.

Whether it’s an old-fashioned ringing alarm clock (I hate them personally) or a clock-radio or your phone – find what works for you.

For me, a phone provides the most options, from the morning sound of birds chirping, a klaxon or the intro to Rage Against The Machine’s Wake Up, you can set it up to use whatever works best.

You could even try a recording of yourself, saying, “Get out of bed as you promised me you would!” Or you could even go full drill sergeant: “Get your sorry ass out of bed, you lazy sack of sh*t!!” Use any phrases and necessary expletives that work for you.

5. Work out your sleep rhythm

There are five phases of sleep that make up a cycle and each cycle takes about 90 minutes.

The ideal time to wake up is in the light sleep phases of the cycle, rather than in the middle of one of the phases of deeper sleep.

I’ve done research on myself in the past and found that I can get up much more easily when I have had full 90-minute blocks of sleep. On a normal night, that is seven and a half hours for me (5 x 90 mins). I have found that six hours is better than seven or eight, so the science behind it seems to hold up in my case.

There’s an app called Sleep Cycle that helps you work out your sleep rhythm and go to bed at the appropriate time.

I’ll review it properly here soon, but in the meantime, try it out and see if it helps you get up in the morning.

6. Routine

Go to bed and get up at the same time every day – even at weekends.

Waking up at the same time each day makes it much easier to develop the habit. Since I decided to start getting up at 6 am, most days I end up waking up naturally just before the alarm goes off.

It becomes routine and your body prefers a regular schedule.

Check out this post: Tips For A Great Morning Routine >>>

Wake up naturally with some morning light / Manu Franco

7. Let there be light!

Don’t draw the curtains.

Natural light will help bring your body out of slumber.

This can work well in the summer, but in the winter, it may still be dark when you want to wake, so this may not work.

You could try this clock with a simulated sunrise function. It’s a bit more expensive than a regular alarm clock, but if it does the job for you, it’s going to be a worthwhile investment, right?

8. Purpose

Having a clear ‘why’ for the day is something that I think is underestimated when it comes to being able to get out of bed.

If you’re not sure what you’re doing with your day and have nothing particular to look forward to, getting out of bed is always going to be that much harder.

It’s a mindset thing.

9. Warm room

There’s nothing worse than trying to get out of a nice, warm bed when the room is freezing cold. I’m sure Wim Hof loves it, but it’s going to make not hitting the snooze button so much more difficult than it needs to be.

Either keep your bedroom warm through the night or set the central heating to come on thirty minutes or so before your alarm goes off.


10. Headbanging

No, wait! Seriously!

This is a totally random and slightly ridiculous one, but hear me out . . .

I think I got this from my grandmother when I was little. I’ve been through stages of doing it at different points in my life and it seems to work.

What you do is, if you want to wake up in six hours, you simply bang your head into the pillow six times and count each one before you go to sleep.

I don’t know if it’s an NLP type of thing or what, but I can honestly say it works.

Well, sometimes, at least.

The other thing is, I was never sure how to do half-hourly increments and I have never tried banging my head more than twelve times, so if anyone is up for being a test subject, please let me know the results in the comments section below.

Time Hack Hero Takeaway

Good time management does not necessarily require an early start in the mornings.

If it works for you, that’s great, but as you’ll see throughout this blog, getting up at 5 am is definitely not something I advocate as a pre-requisite for managing your time more effectively.

But not being able to get up in the morning when you have decided you want to get up can certainly sabotage the plans you had for the day ahead before you’ve even started.

Plus, unless you’ve got a good excuse (e.g., working late into the small hours the night before, out drinking or perhaps you’re not well), raising yourself from slumber should not be a difficult task.

I’d say for most of us, hitting snooze is simply a bad habit, but with the ten tips I’ve just provided here, hopefully, it’s one you can break.

If you would like to receive email notifications when new posts are published, please subscribe.

Time Hack Hero YouTube Channel

More reading

How To Find Your Most Productive Time Of Day

The Power Of Microbreaks

How To Achieve A Work-Life Balance

20 Time Management Hacks I Wish I’d Known In My Twenties

Leave a Comment