The art of the snooze

I’m a rare breed. I consider myself a morning person, but I have a really hard time waking up in the morning. Maybe I’m not a morning person after all.

I had a weird oddity when I was growing up, and I think it lasted even through high school. No alarm, no matter how loud, could wake me up for school. If, however, my dad opened my bedroom door to say “Wake up,” the sound of the door opening got me awake immediately.

I don’t really know what happened in college, as I mostly slept in (also managed, for most of my four years, to schedule my classes to be late and not on Fridays). After college, I tried having two alarms—one to get me out of deep sleep, and one to finally get me up. This strategy worked most of the time, but sometimes I’d turn off even the second alarm and then end up sleeping in too late (and miss whatever appointment I had or be late for my job). So I finally moved to my current system of having an extremely loud alarm… in the next room, so I have to physically get out of bed and walk over to the next room to turn it off. The idea is that by the time I’d woken up my muscles enough to turn off the alarm, I wouldn’t be tempted to go back to bed. Of course, I am still tempted—the temptation is just not as strong, especially with the cat meowing to get his breakfast (bless his heart).

My wife, I have to say, is the queen of the art of snoozing. I don’t know how she does it. She has one alarm and will sometimes hit snooze four or five times in the morning and still somehow manage to get up. There are even days when she hits snooze so many times that she doesn’t have to turn the alarm off completely, and the alarm will go off again in the evening (this is one of those old-timey clocks that doesn’t have AM and PM on it).

Maybe some day I’ll be as good as her. Then again, she somehow manages to get those start-at-9-but-really-you-can-stroll-in-at-9:30-and-that’s-okay jobs, while I somehow end up at those start-at-8-but-really-you’re-supposed-to-be-here-before-8 jobs. The art of the snooze eludes me. Maybe when I’m retired I’ll give it a shot.


  1. My husband is a super sound sleeper. His alarm clock could wake the neighbors, and he not only sleeps through it, he is a huge snoozer. Hits snooze for an hour or more. The kicker is that he only needs 4-5 hours of sleep a night, and he’s often awake in the morning, just doesn’t want to get up.

    I’ve given up and fled to my own room with ear plugs and a highly regimented sleep schedule. (Insomniac my whole life.) Snooze gets hit only once…but it does help with the shock value of waking sometimes.

    It’s nice to know that there are so many other sufferers (on both sides of the alarm clock). We’ll definitely be trying out some of these suggestions.

    In college I once had a chance to wake and sleep at will…I ended up on a 28-hour awake, 10-hour asleep pattern. Weird.

  2. If sound is not waking you up — try light. The light will lighten the eyelids and help you to awake. I found this to be especially helpful for people who are visual thinkers. Specifically try those special light products for people suffering from natural light deprivation during winter months (called SAD) and you can get a LED light called a Lite Book (others are also available). Use it to brighten the room a five to ten minutes prior to your first alarm.

    Love all the other posts

  3. I second the impatient cat solution. But the right way to do it is to befriend a stray cat who is used to getting up before dawn to start hunting. Taming the stray can take several months but is worth it. Once the stray is living with you it will still want to rise and shine with the birds.. and unless it’s the dead of winter with snow blowing all about it will insist on going out… try and sleep through that!

  4. I sit up and make sure I don’t lie down again. Sometimes, though, since I’m pretty flexible, I almost fall back asleep in a “touching-toes” position.

  5. My stereo system has a line-in, and I have an alarm program on my laptop. Between the two, I wake up to Avenge Sevenfold every morning at volumes that make my windows rattle and my neighbors complain!

  6. Get divorced. Yep, i lived with someone who worked third shift and could not set my clock radio very loud in the mornings. So it was just loud enough for me to hear…and hit snooze 5 or 10 or 50 times a morning!

    Now that I live on my own, I put the clock radio across the room and turn the volume up so that it’s just short of uncomfortably loud. I won’t get out of bed for about 20 minutes, but I don’t fall back to sleep either. Having my laptop next to my bed helps too, as I’ve found starting to surf RSS feeds in bed helps my brain leave that groggy state. I suffer from a couple of sleep disorders that are only partly resolved with medication, but this method has worked for me so far.

  7. The solution is very simple – DO NOT EVEN USE AN ALARM!

    People seem to rely on alarms instead of their natural instinct to just wake up. The people I know who oversleep the most often are those that have that stupid snooze button.

    Try this – do not set your alarm on an important morning. Believe me, you will start waking up a few minutes before your normal time because your body will know its time to get up and you will be so worried that you won’t that you’ll be staring at the clock all morning.

  8. Great comments and suggestions.

    2 Techniques work for me in the morning:

    Firstly, seeing as how the REM sleep cycle is about 4 hours, only sleep in multiples of 4 hours. So many nights near the end of a semester were only 4 hours long but I was more alert than my schoolmates who slept 6 hours or 10 hours. Quite often I’ll wake up a little before the alarm because my REM time is over right on schedule.

    Second, I programmed a song that seriously irritates my girlfriend. Her squeals of rage at the sound of that song cut the haze of my dreams better than any alarm. :)

  9. I don’t really get this at all. I haven’t used an alarm clock in many years and I have never had a problem getting up on time. Even when I have to get up earlier-than-usual for some special reason.

    I think you people are just making this stuff up or else you don’t go to bed early enough so you can get enough sleep.

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