Five more minutes. We normally think about this phrase from a teenager with little sleep avoiding a day of school and a trip on the bus with all their other tired peers. But we all want five more minutes to sleep in. My snooze sees multiple swipes on the phone for five more minutes of sleep.
But what is five more minutes of sleep in the grand scheme of your day?
- Check up on email from just hours before bed.
- Make your kid's lunch.
- Read your Bible or a chapter in a book.
- Stretch for the day ahead.
- Take your dog for a quick job around the block.
Each of these will be taking of five minutes of your day at some point, so why snooze the inevitable? For many, it starts with the motivation to start a new day because of what was missing the day before.
With numbers at 27 percent of the population struggling to fall asleep in 30 minutes or less proves a lot of anxiety is on the minds of Americans when laying their head down on the pillow.
Identifying ways to alleviate the sleep loss when first lying down may eliminate the restlessness and morning snooze.
Women require 20 more minutes of sleep than men because of their expansive mental energy depletion. Women tend to multitask more frequently, using more of their brain during the day. Sleeping helps the brain regenerate; therefore, multitaskers need more focused REM (rapid eye movement). So you need those extra five minutes of awake time to accomplish your large to-do list.
One sure way to keep the mind moving and avoiding the clearing of your mind is your electronic device. Think about keeping the volume off on alerts but on high in a separate room for incoming calls in case of emergencies.
Snuggle under the covers with only your partner or spouse. By staying off your phone 30 minutes before your bedtime routine begins, you add life to your sleep cycle allowing the brain to rest and detach from stimuli.
A lot of people who struggle through the week’s exhaustion of balancing work, family, and exercise try to make up for their lack of sleep through caffeine or binging when really the only prescription is a healthy sleep pattern. Binging occurs when a person saves their sleep in one setting sleeping until noon one day and up at 6 a.m. again for the work week.
Binge-sleeping creates a crash and burn lifestyle that disrupts the normal sleep REM cycle leading people to straight exhaustion. Consistency is key for healthy sleep and Charles Czeisler, chief of the Division of Sleep and Circadian Disorders at Brigham and Women's Hospital, does not encourage the break from the REM cycle each week to catch up. Energy is sacrificed and an inconsistent REM sleep schedule for an adult can lead to other binging tendencies like streaming all hours of the night when restless.
Napping can become a part of the solution, but napping should not be the only solution to your inconsistent sleep habits. “Why am I napping?” is a good place to start. Napping because you cannot survive a day without normally means an unhealthy amount of sleep at night. It can also mean an underlying health condition.
The Mayo Clinic defines the following as healthy napping for adults:
- Reduced fatigue
- Increased alertness
- Improved mood
- Improved performance, including quicker reaction time and better memory
Keeping the nap short is key. Up to 30 minutes is plenty of time to recharge your energy. The longer you nap, the more irritable and groggy you will feel after.
So what is the answer when motivation in the morning is nonexistent? Try these five tips to take away the snooze and wake up ready to tackle the day!
- Prep meals the night before. Don’t wait until the rush of the morning. Meal prep at night for breakfast and lunch can help maintain your health goals. You will also start the day with energy from a healthy option versus a stop at the drive-thru rushing to work.
- Work out with a friend. The last thing many of us want to do is wake up any earlier than we have to; but starting the day with a walk or exercise routine can set the pace for the rest of the day. Find an accountability partner so you are not relying on yourself to not hit snooze!
- Create a bedtime routine. It sounds simple, but keeping a consistent routine at night helps motivate you in the morning to successfully wake up refreshed. Breaking the routine for the latest episode on Netflix can crash your routine for days. Self-motivate by setting a bedtime alarm or asking your roommate to hold you accountable.
- Stop hitting snooze. If you wake up at 6:30 a.m. and know how long it will take to get you out the door on time, stop setting an alarm for 6 a.m. Be honest with yourself and create a morning routine that motivates you for success.
- They have an app for that. If you still find yourself hitting snooze, try a new app for waking up. Sleep Better automatically recognizes your routine so it wakes you up in a range of time you set. You can also try an app that lullabies you to sleep so you visualize more calming and relaxing dreams. There are a slew on the market so try some out.
Quite often patients have a sleep study without adequate information into their nightly habits and get diagnosed with Insufficient Sleep Syndrome, which is basically having terrible sleep as a result of voluntary (albeit unintentional) behaviors that impact their sleep negatively. Trying some new routines and setting your bedroom oasis up for success can help put you on the right road to restful nights and fresh mornings.
To help diagnose your condition properly, a sleep study may be the best route to link sleepiness. Though the type of sleep study varies by a patient’s symptoms, healthcare providers will monitor your sleep either in a lab or at your home using portable home sleep apnea testing equipment.
If you live in Alaska and are ready to take back your sleep, contact The Alaska Sleep Clinic and receive a free 10-minute phone consultation with a sleep educator who can help you determine if a sleep study is right for you.