How To Stop Snoozing And Get Yourself Out Of Bed

You hit snooze one time. Another. Then again. Suddenly, you find yourself rushing around trying to get ready as quickly as possible because you're late for work. It happens to all of us occasionally, but if you have a dangerous "snooze habit" there are tricks you can use to get your butt out of bed when you hear that first alarm.

Title photo remixed from Eli Duke

Find An Alarm Clock That Actually Works For You

We all wake up a little differently. The difference between getting up with the first sound of your alarm and hitting snooze often depends on what you hear first thing in the morning.

We've mentioned several extreme alarm clocks before, including, an Android alarm that forces you get up and scan items, an iPhone alarm you have to shake to turn off, and a DIY clock that sheds money when you hit snooze. If you seriously struggle with getting up, these solutions might work.

The alternate approach is to try and nail down your sleep pattern and wake up at an optimal time. We've covered a few ways to use tech to calculate your sleep habits; a key part of that strategy is using a built-in alarm clock function to wake you at the most optimal time. You can do this inexpensively with Sleep Cycle for iOS or SleepBot Tracker for Android. Each of these apps will attempt to wake you up at the best time in your sleep cycle, which is often earlier than you originally set the alarm for.

Since I have a varying schedule each day of the week, I pick a different song to wake up to each day. For instance, Tuesdays get a 5:00 am alarm with The Rolling Stones' 'Ruby Tuesday', while Friday gets Europe's 'The Final Countdown'. I pick a song that will wake me up and help me quickly figure out what day of the week it is. You can pick any songs you like, and it's easy to create a ringtone for your smartphone that can be used as an alarm.

Alter Your Environment

Sometimes even the best alarm clock in the world can't force you out of bed in the morning. In that case, it's time to start changing your physical environment. Most of us are familiar with the trick of placing your alarm clock on the other side of the room so you have to get out of bed to turn it off. That's a good start, but you can refine it, as blogger Vincent Cheung suggests:

Put one alarm clock on your nightstand, the other across the room. Set the clocks to be as close to the same time as possible (you want them to be in sync). Then, set the alarm clock on your nightstand to go off at, let's say, 6:30am, if that is when you need to get up. I set that one to use the radio, and make sure it is loud enough to wake me up, but not too loud (I am married, and don't want to wake my wife on purpose). The second alarm clock on the dresser is set to go off one minute later, but set on that dreadful buzzer.

If the alarm clock tricks aren't working, you might need to make your bed less inviting. It might not sound comfortable, but that's the point. Stepcase Lifehack explains:

Get rid of the temptation to treat your bed like anything other than a recharging station. You won't need books by your bed. You won't need fancy pillows (unless your doctor says you must). Your bed is a place to help you get from wake to wake in as little time as possible with optimum rest. If you're young like me the mattress won't be such a big deal. If you're over 40 you'll want to make sure you've got a good mattress though.

All the tricks in the world aren't going to make waking up at 5:00am easy right off the bat. To achieve that, you'll need to train. Photo by Chad Skeers.

Train, Train And Train Some More

Let's be clear here: you can't go from sleeping in until 11 every day to happily waking up while it's dark. You'll need to train and practise. That means resetting your inner clock slowly over time. The New York Times explains:

To start, move up your wake-up time by 20 minutes a day. If you regularly rise at 8 a.m., but really want to get moving at 6 a.m., set the alarm for 7:40 on Monday. The next day, set it for 7:20 and so on. Then, after you wake up, don't linger in bed. Hit yourself with light. In theory, you'll gradually get sleepy about 20 minutes earlier each night, and you can facilitate the transition by avoiding extra light exposure from computers or televisions as you near bedtime.

Take it slow if you're changing your schedule to an earlier wake time, and it'll come more naturally to you.

Once you're trained to wake up early, you can make your mornings less chaotic, be productive, and create a routine that works for you. Of course, if all else fails, the classic trick of drinking a large glass of water right before bed always works for those occasional early mornings.


    Grow up and act your age, it's time to start taking responsibility for your own actions....!!

      This. And get a job.

      It's amazing how you learn to get up at the right time when you have a bus to catch every day, and your wife/ kids/ mortgage depend on you being at work on time to earn money...

      Damn, man, YOU should edit lifehacker! What an original suggestion! And so helpful!

        It's a legitimate answer to the problem! If you are having trouble getting up when your alarm goes off, you are obviously not motivated to do so. Read Chris's comment for added info!
        Personally, I have no problem getting up when the alarm goes off, because If I don't my house doesn't get paid for , my kids don't get a decent education and my family starves.

          You're absolutely right.

          I would also add that the way to be more organized is to just be more organized. And stay motivated by just always being motivated!

          As a regular reader of a blog about little tips on making life easier I'm sick of these posts about little ways to make life easier. It's all just so juvenile. 'Ways to help you stop hitting the snooze button'? What a joke. The obvious solution is just to get a job with non-flexible working hours, marry and have children! SIMPLE!

          Also, the post last week about ways to keep pasta salad fresh in the fridge? Umm have you never heard of just moving to Italy and falling in love with a local woman whos father owns a delicatessen then setting him up to be killed by wandering Gypsies so you inherit his business so you always have access to fresh pasta salad?

            I don't think the father has to die to inherit the business, just marry the woman and take advantage of the new in-law relationship to always have fresh pasta.

            Sounds like a plan.

            Thank you for this comment.

      This demonstrates a profound ignorance of sleep biology.

      You do not have anywhere near as much voluntary control over sleep habits as you think. Wanting and willing will have little to no effect on sleep habits.

      If you want to understand better why this sort of thinking is mostly useless, I recommend reading up on chronotypes and cercadian rhythms. The short story is this: if you are an early riser, you will not be able to change that; if you are a late riser, you will not be able to change that.

      You can, with difficulty, make short term changes to your pattern, but if you are attempting to do something that doesn't match your innate biological rhythms, it will eventually always be a losing battle.

    Thanks for this article. In the 30 minutes or so after my alarm goes off of a weekday I am almost physically incapable of getting up. I have headaches, I can't think straight, and I can't eat anything for hours or I'll puke. The flip side of that coin is that I also find it extremely difficult to get to sleep before midnight, regardless of what time I got up. So training myself to wake up early (and sleep early) would be just great for my productivity.

    Get a cat that likes to wake up at the crack of dawn, and climbs shelves to knock things off/climbs curtains/etc to get your attention.
    Gets me up early every morning.

    I assume small children also have the same effect.
    Probably not the curtain climbing though....

    I'm surprised this isn't on the list, but if you're really struggling, you're chronically late, and have been for your whole life, go see a qualified sleep specialist. There are clinically validated methods for helping people with even mild sleeping disorders that might just present as trouble waking up, a hell of a lot more useful than bad 'just wake up' or 'grow up' advice.

    Worst case scenario you hear from a qualified doctor that you're imagining it, and can concentrate on these other suggestions.

    The delivery of my new "60" Samsung TV this morning was a good alarm clock, not practical for everyday use though.

      Hmm, early morning cartoons might do the trick though...I know they used to get me up early before school, anyway.

    Drink a lot lf water. Then you'll be forced to pee once the first bell rings.

    I really appreciate this article. If you other commenters don't need help in this area, move on. Don't flatter yourself that just because you are an early riser you are a more advanced human being. I personally am in my early 30s and have a great career but have trouble with this. I pack so much in to my day that I stay up to 2, have trouble drifting off to sleep, then once I am asleep can't get up. Luckily I am salaried with flex hours so it's no big deal if I am a little late. I usually over compensate by staying even later at the office. I want to get into a better sleep routine and get up at at 'em early and this article had some good tips.

    I am waiting for a stimulant pump just under the skin that goes off in the morning.

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