Side Effects of Not Snoozing

I have only snoozed a couple of times since I started my no snoozing habit. But I have discovered a few oddities about the habit I created that have forced me to solve some interesting problems.

Maybe you haven’t gotten a chance to read my recent post about How I killed the Snooze. If you have, you might be wondering if that is still working for me. In short, yes. But as is always the case, the summary doesn’t quite capture the fascinating details.

One odd side effect is due to the fact that I have gotten sick several times in the last few weeks. Sleeping in while sick was not as hard as I thought it might be. But I was a bit surprised at how quickly my snooze habit regressed. After I started feeling better, I had to exert a much higher amount of willpower to get out of bed at my alarm. After the first week or so, the habit was firmly back in place. But the regression and having to rebuild my habit was surprising to me.

The second side effect is by far more interesting: I often get out of bed later if I wake up before my alarm. If I wake up a few minutes before my alarm, I am already awake when the alarm goes off. When this happens, I usually turn my alarm off before it makes noise so that it doesn’t wake up my wife. But since the sound of the alarm is the cue for my habit, the habit loop doesn’t fire. So I end up staying in bed longer. I have found two ways to deal with this problem.

One way is just to always let the alarm go off. This works pretty well when I only wake up a few minutes before my alarm. But there have been several times that I will wake up half hour before my alarm and can tell that I am not getting back to sleep. In this case, wasting a half hour waiting for my alarm would be a total waste of good writing time. But what I have discovered is that imagining my alarm is just as effective as if it actually goes off. So I can lay in bed, and imagine the sound as if it is actually happening, and it cues my habit loop. Suddenly I am out of bed.

So my takeaway is that habit loops work. Sometimes they have to be rebuilt a little after unavoidable absences. And if the cue for your habit cue doesn’t trigger for some reason, imagining the cue might work just as effectively.

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