My alarm clock will allow me to hit the snooze button for a full four hours before it turns itself off. Four hours. Half of a standard workday. The length of two back-to-back feature films. The professional ethics portion of most state bar exams. Four hours.
This is not knowledge attained through a cover-to-cover reading of my owner’s manual. This is experience talking. I have slapped that snooze button until the clock finally turns it’s own alarm off. I've even set my alarm hours earlier than necessary simply to make sure there is plenty of time to snooze. Which gets me to my point.
I love to snooze. LOVE it.
I know, I know. I can hear all of you non-snoozers out there already…”why don’t you just set your alarm for when you have to get up and stay in deep, good-quality sleep until then?” And I willingly concede that the sleep entered into between snoozes is not of the REM variety. But REM sleep isn’t the point and it’s loss during a snooze is more than offset by the benefits. Hear me out. Seriously.
There are 3 key reasons to snooze:
- AWARENESS! What I get from snoozing is the opportunity to be AWARE of how amazing and warm and cozy and comfortable my bed is and how utterly blissful it feels to be in it. You get a taste of this on those nights you go to bed dog-tired and bone-weary, but if you do manage keep your eyes open long enough to take note, you are too tired to truly appreciate it. When you snooze, you have been in the midst of enjoying a good sleep unconsciously and now you get to come just awake enough to make a conscious note of how absolutely wonderful it feels and then you get to sink back into it. This is the best part! My bed is NEVER more comfortable than when I have to leave it, and my snooze button allows me to relish it for anywhere from ten minutes to four hours before I’m forced to abandon it in pursuit of wakeful activity.
- The dreams. Oh the DREAMS. Are there ever more colorful, vibrant, notable dreams to be had than in the 10 minute increments between snoozes? Seriously, if creative writing is among your pursuits, the fodder to be found in those places between sleep and wakefulness is endless. And if you are really lucky, sometimes it’s possible to “catch” a dream and carry it with you from one snooze to the next. It’s incredible. Free your sub-conscious and slap that snooze button.
- Slow waking. It’s a rare event that I can pull off a four hour snooze marathon. That kind of distance requires training (or a solid dose of sleep deprivation)! More often than not, after a snooze or two, I don’t actually fall back asleep. Instead I lay waiting for the next alarm to sound, relishing the comfort of my bed (see reason #1), and day-dreaming about the day ahead before the urgency of my to-do list begins to swallow my peace. I’m frequently amazed at the depth of the insights gained in these stolen ten-minute stretches of time. As my mind lazily wanders free with the residue of sleep and dreams still clinging to it, ideas peer out from behind cobwebby corners and new perspectives dawn with the day. The snooze button allows me to wake to the day in increments, in slow procession, instead of a leap and a jolt and a burst.
You’re reconsidering your anti-snooze position now, aren’t you? I told you so.
Before jumping into pro-level four hour snoozing, a few words of caution:
DO place your alarm clock a step or two away from your bed. This requirement of getting out of your bed (but not FAR…maybe not even both feet) allows for waking just enough to reap the full benefit of the process. Any closer and you may slap that button in your sleep, and if that’s the case, you’ve missed the fun altogether.
DO know the difference between your snooze button and your off button. Hitting “off” and climbing back in bed has potentially disastrous consequences. Don’t make this rookie mistake. Know your buttons.
DON’T go for your four hour marathon on a morning when your partner can sleep in (or perhaps is in bed at all). There can be long-term consequences to jumping in and out of bed when they are trying to sleep…none of them good. Unless you can get them on board with your snooze philosophy, in which case, the couple who plays together stays together. Otherwise, you may want to consider a 1-2 snooze max for the health of your relationship.
Now go forth, new snoozers and experiment with this small daily miracle and the joy it will bring to your days.