Did you hit the snooze button today? A survey in October 2023 by NBC News asked 1,732 adults about their waking habits. Sixty-nine percent said they hit the snooze button at least sometimes, but especially on weekdays. A 2022 study by Notre Dame University found 57% of their test groups were habitual snoozers and in 2021, The New York Post shared that it takes the average American 24 minutes to get out of bed and start their day (after hitting the snooze button an average of two times). To recap, that’s 8,760 minutes a year the average person loses from their life hitting snooze! That’s 146 hours! Or just over six days that the average person willingly throws away to hit a pause on…life.

If we think about it, the snooze button isn’t about getting more sleep, it’s really about delaying the day, which is putting a pause on living our lives. If you’re a snooze-button person, what would you do with the extra six days in your year? What if you woke up a few minutes early? That would be a whole free week, just for you! Imagine?

For those who are struggling to get out of bed after hitting the alarm a couple of times, you may think, “Geeze, why am I still groggy? I just got an extra 24 minutes or so of sleep!” Well, did you? How was that interrupted sleep with alarms going off, hitting buttons every few minutes, and lying in bed stressing about getting up? It’s not sleep! And, if it was, even worse. The Sleep Foundation (www.sleepfoundation.org/stages-of-sleep) tells us that our sleep cycles are 90-120 minutes long (the first cycle is shorter: 70-100 minutes.) Therefore if a sleep cycle is 90-120 minutes long and you are snoozing for around 24 minutes of that, no wonder you aren’t feeling great, the sleep experts call this, “sleep inertia.” You finally drag out of bed and try to navigate the day disoriented and discombobulated from your own self-induced interrupted sleep cycle. This can have you walking around for 15 minutes in this state of disarray, while others take hours to recover. Imagine, purposely setting yourself up to feel poorly, lack concentration, lower your reaction time, and even cause short-term memory issues because you want to hit the snooze.

Everyone can list their “reasons” for needing more sleep, however, as seen here this isn’t sleep. Those who got up while tired, and didn’t hit snooze, have proven that they are not only more energetic, more successful, healthier, and happier people than those who hit snooze, they are more productive.

Dan Ariely, the James B. Duke Professor of Psychology and Behavioral Economics at Duke University does research in behavioral economics on the irrational ways people behave, and he says, “Most people are productive between 9 and 11 am, that’s it! We only have about two hours of productivity each day. What that means is that we need to be extra careful with those two hours.” Imagine, we could be losing our best two hours of sleep inertia! Or worse, still in bed hitting snooze.

What does this all mean? It means you gotta get up! Simply getting up with your alarm can add more time, energy, cognitive function, awareness, and well-being to your life. Getting up is not reaching for your phone or lying in bed watching the news. You must get out of bed. This means you can do more, be more, see more, and really, anything! Not to mention, no more snooze button hangover!

If you want that free week, here it is! All you have to do is get up. The alarm goes off, you swing your legs over the side, and you get up. There’s no wiggle room to change your life here. If you want more time, get up. If you want to feel better, get up! (Obviously, if this is a true concern or illness you should consult or follow your health care professional’s advice first.) Yet, 70% of people are wasting days of their lives in bed listening to the beeping alarms, and hours a day walking around feeling awful. Imagine what our world would look like if we just got up and stopped snoozing on life. If you want more sleep, go to bed earlier, exercise every day, drink less caffeine, eat real food, and feel natural light on your face at least once a day, even if it’s cloudy. If 70% of Americans got up each morning without hitting the snooze, that would gain us a collective 1,403,782,187 days a year that’s been wasted tossing and turning. That’s like adding 3,845,979 years into one year! Imagine the possibilities! If we all did our part to just get up and get going! You deserve every minute of your life, so get a great night’s sleep, and when that alarm goes off, go and live! You potentially will get a whole free week just for you!

Mary Hoadley

Director of The Wellness Center