I pride myself on being a morning person and having a highly-productive morning routine.
But I’ll admit that it has always been hard for me to get out of bed. I have struggled with this for as long as I can remember.
It has been common for me to set my alarm for 6am, only to snooze several times and not get out of bed until 6:30 or later. Somehow the warmth of my bed just seems impossible to leave, even if I know that those 30 minutes of snoozing are not actually restful or restorative.
To make matters worse, I also pride myself on time management, and yet I know that those 30 minutes of snoozing are a total waste of time.
So I have been in search of an effective way to actually wake up when the alarm goes off. And I think I have finally found the answer.
I have learned that I need to ease into the day. It is essential for me to have a bridge between the peaceful night’s rest and the commotion of the day. I have found that there just isn’t anything that reliably causes me jump up and excitedly rush out of bed (other than realizing I’m late for a meeting!).
Understanding this about myself, I started thinking about meditation as an ideal start to the day. I know all about the benefits of meditation, and have tried to work it into my routine in the past, but have not consistently made time for this practice in my schedule. There just has never seemed to be enough time in the morning to meditate, along with everything else I try to fit in before heading off to work.
So that got me thinking about using my “snooze” period more productively. It occurred to me that I could swap my snooze time for meditation time — if only I could get out of bed. And then I thought to myself, “Why even get out bed?” Maybe I’d be more successful waking up and sticking to a meditation practice if I removed the barrier of actually leaving my bed. And that’s exactly what has happened.
It turns out that my need for slowly easing into the day, interest in meditation, and love of maximizing time have all combined for the perfect wake-up solution.
I still set my alarm for 6am. And I still hit the snooze button. But now that snooze button starts the timer for my meditation session. I simply sit up in bed — a much lower threshold than actually getting out — and spend the snooze period meditating.
My meditation is nothing fancy. I sit up in a comfortable position with my back against the wall, supported by two pillows. And then I just close my eyes and focus on my breathing. Whenever I notice my attention wandering, I just bring my focus back to my breath. I do this repeatedly for nine minutes (the duration of one “snooze” on my settings) until the alarm goes off again. And remarkably I have not once fallen back asleep.
I’m sure this isn’t the textbook meditation technique, but I do know that I feel calm, centered, and ready to start the day after my 9-minute snooze meditation. I then drink a glass of water (that I keep next to my bed), slowly get out of bed, and continue on with my morning routine.
This simple process means that I am getting out of bed 20 minutes earlier than I previously was, all while fitting in a morning meditation, and getting into the right frame of mind to take on the day. And I’m not sacrificing any quality sleep.
This wake-up ritual is working wonders for me, and I thought it could be helpful for other habitual “snoozers” as well. I hope it works for you.
Here’s to a great morning!
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Originally published at medium.com