Are you a master snoozer? I sure was. I used to set my alarm clock at least an hour before I absolutely had to get out of bed, and then I would keep hitting that snooze button every 9 minutes until I finally told myself “ok…if you seriously wake up now, you can play on your phone for a few minutes.”
When I picked up my phone, that horrid blue screen blinded my eyes for the first few seconds. I would check my e-mails and calendar first, knocking out some work and checking to see what my day might hold before I got out of bed.
Next came social media, I needed to find out what my friends and family were up to. Only then would I drag my groggy self over to the bathroom so I could begin the super fun routine of getting ready for the day. While I brushed my teeth, I worried about all the stuff that would be waiting for me at work that day, and beat myself up for not being more _____ (insert your favorite aspirational adjective here). I would drive to work, make a cup of strong black tea that I desperately needed, and settle in behind my desk.
Final result? Most days, it would take me until lunch time to really get focused and excited about my day. Sometimes I would even make dumb errors and blame it on it being “too early.”
Sound familiar? More than 50% of Americans hit the snooze button daily and check their phones before even brushing their teeth. They report experiencing “morning grogginess” and don’t really feel their best selves until later in the day. They rely on caffeine to get them through the first few hours.
I had no idea that this “morning grog” was due to a little thing called “sleep inertia,” and that hitting the snooze button was one of the main culprits behind it. I also did not realize the effect that picking up my phone first thing had on my mindset and overall mood for the remainder of the day.
So, what made me change my ways? What did I do? Did it change my life?
Long story short, my life has been a little crazy since the middle of last year, when I made the decision to leave my comfy career and take the brave move of launching a new business. I had no idea the emotional roller coaster that entrepreneurs face. One day, things are the best they can be, and the next day you’re wondering why your business should even exist. It can be absolutely draining.
One of my favorite lifestyle coaches, Mel Robbins, rolled out a free 35-day program called “Mindset Reset” back in January 2019. I decided to jump on board because I am always looking for anything to help with the aforementioned emotional roller coaster.
My biggest takeaway from the program was the ability to create a morning routine that I can follow 95% of the time. It gives me more energy, reduced stress levels, a daily creativity boost, and a better attitude and mindset.
Here’s a short synopsis of what Mel explained (all backed by science):
- When you sleep, your body goes through approximately 75-minute sleep cycles.
- In the first part of your sleep sequence, your cycles are more restorative and last longer.
- As the time gets closer to when you normally wake up, your body begins to prepare itself, and therefore, your cycles also change.
- When you hit the snooze button and you fall back asleep, you go back to starting your restorative sleep cycles again. This is why you ultimately feel like you got no sleep when it’s time to crawl out of bed.
- Here’s the kicker: because you snoozed, it can take up to 4 hours for your brain to function at its best. This is called “sleep inertia.”
When I learned this, I thought: I’m robbing myself of up to 4 hours every single day of not being my best self. Building a business requires incredible focus and determination. Building a successful business requires your best work. I knew that I could not afford to keep going like this if I wanted to have a chance at real success and to come out of the development process in a strong mental state.
How you wake up determines your mood and productivity for the rest of your day.
Mel’s solution? An easy morning routine that has a few simple principles. Here are the basics:
Morning routine principles and the Why:
1) Don’t hit snooze and then launch out of bed
It causes sleep inertia. You risk not being your best self (mentally and physically) for up to 4 hours upon waking.
2) Don’t look at your phone (except to turn off the alarm) until you’ve completed your morning routine
It can create unnecessary overwhelm and negative thoughts. In a world where we’re constantly “pinged” what seems like every single moment of our day (via phone alerts, advertising, people, etc.) – gift yourself at least 10 minutes of a stress- and worry-free morning. Don’t let the world in until you’re ready.
3) Get out of bed and hit the bathroom to freshen up a little
4) Walk to a different room other than your bedroom and do some simple journaling
Gives you the opportunity to acknowledge how you feel, what you’re grateful for, and what you should focus on to make the most of the day.
5) Do something quick that will give you a boost of energy (exercise, clean, etc.)
It will make you feel great and productive – awesome mindset to start the day!
Here is the routine I now use:
- Wake up around 6:45 am and don’t hit the snooze button. A “sunrise” alarm clock (see tools below) has been a life saver for me because I started this routine in January when it was still super dark every morning.
- Leave my phone untouched.
- Visit the bathroom to quickly freshen up.
- Go to the kitchen and start a pot of hot water to make a cup of black tea. Instead of this being “desperately needed,” it is now a pleasant “pick me up.”
- Sit down with a journal and take 5 minutes to take some notes – How do I feel? What can I do to feel more energized? What am I grateful for today? What is my biggest project today, why is it important, and how can I get started?
- By then, my tea is done. I walk over to the den and start a quick yoga routine. I pick something 30 minutes or less (sometimes it’s 5) from YouTube and get going.
- After my yoga routine, I sit quietly for about 5 minutes, enjoy my tea, and set an intention for my day (how I want to feel, what I want to accomplish). I thank myself for taking the time and my body for cooperating.
- I might do a few quick chores to energize myself even more (clean up the kitchen, throw in a load of laundry, make the bed).
- I take a full shower and get ready for the rest of the day, including making some sort of quick breakfast.
- I sit at my desk and start my day with less worry, more focus and creative juice, and a better attitude.
The tools I use:
- Sunrise alarm clock – Wakes you up gradually with light and/or sound. Mine is old and hard to find on the market. This is a popular one on Amazon.
- Mel Robbin’s 5 second journal – Brings awareness and focus to the start of your day – quickly. I find this journal to be of good quality and worth me not having to make my own templates.
- My favorite yoga workouts – YouTube playlist featuring my favorite internet yogis. Almost all of these can be done by beginners.
- Mel’s Mindset Reset program – Also available on her YouTube channel as a playlist here
You might have more questions. What do I do if I have kids? What if my spouse snoozes? What if I have a weird shift schedule?
My recommendation: check out Mel’s program, she answers all of these questions and more.
What if you adopted a simple morning routine into your life? What could you accomplish if you brought your best self to everything you did? What if you were a better significant other, parent, colleague, boss, student? How would that positively change the lives of those around you?
I challenge you – the next time you wake up, don’t hit snooze or look at your phone. Then, increase your awareness a few hours after waking to notice how much better you feel.
Alina Nikishina, CPA is the Co-Founder and Project Manager of The Mastery Network LLC. The purpose of her business is to create a network for business insight and advancement. She’s currently working on building a modern, comprehensive, and engaging e-learning program that will be helpful to anyone who wants to advance their overall business knowledge. The program will focus on the basics of foundational topics that anyone who owns or wants to own a small business should understand (everything from finances to marketing to soft skills). Initial launch of the program is expected to be later in 2019!