Pigeon of Discontent: “Help! The Snooze Button!”

Each week, I post a video about some Pigeon of Discontent raised by a reader. Because, as much as we try to find the Bluebird of Happiness, we’re also plagued by those small but pesky Pigeons of Discontent.

This week’s Pigeon of Discontent, suggested by a reader, is:  “I keep hitting the snooze button.”


If you want to read more about this resolution, check out…

7 tips for getting yourself to go to bed on time.

7 tips for keeping school-day mornings calm and cheerful.

Always late? 7 tips to arrive on time.

How about you? Do you succumb to the siren call of the snooze button? It reminds me of getting extension on college papers; for the moment, it felt good, but in the end, it made things worse.

You can post your own Pigeon of Discontent at any time; also, from time to time, I’ll make a special call for suggestions.

You can check out the archives of videos here.

  • Getting up to an alarm–period–is a pigeon of discontent!

    • gretchenrubin

      Very good point! Get enough sleep!!! I have become a SLEEP NUT.

  • I used to be the queen of snooze. Sometimes it would be an HOUR’s worth! I would deliberately set my alarm ridiculously early in order to be on time. You’re right Gretchen, it was miserable.

    How did I fix it? Now I use my cell phone alarm and put in the bathroom down the hall. I worried that it would be loud enough but no problem, the dogs went nuts barking at the new, strange sound. NO sleeping through that! I had to get up, go down the hall and turn it off. Very hard to turn on the snooze, go back down the hall and go back to bed after that.

    The dogs no longer bark at the noise, but my habit is solid now. No more snoozing. Alarm goes off, I’m up!

  • Amy

    Number one for me is going to bed early enough.  I also only allow myself one snooze button hit (it is oh-so-satisfying to smack that thing in the morning!).  I program my alarm 9 minutes before I want to really get up, hit snooze once, and I’m up-whether I like it or not.  When I have a few days of being so incredibly tired to snooze over and over again, I try to re-assess what’s going on that is making me so tired (not going to bed early enough, stress, change of season).  Then, I make sure to get a nap in or even take a “mental health” day off of work. 

  • Ginny

    Evil but effective…get a Clocky the alarm clock that rolls off your night table so you have to chase it down when you wake up. Can’t imagine doing it but for the hard core snoozer VERY effective. I’m not a snooze button user but I hear it is a solution for some.

  • Like Amy, I build a snooze into my alarm time. Works like a charm because I cannot just jump out of bed. The snooze helps me to wake slowly.

  • Katie

    I’ve managed to stop my snooze button usage, although I would only allow myself to press it once, so maybe it wasn’t so ingrained as some people’s snooze habit.  What worked for me was pressing it, but making myself sit up and read during the snooze period rather than lie back down and close my eyes.

    It worked because I love to read and I actually looked forward to the five minute treat of reading before starting my day.  It keeps my eyes open, wakes my brain up, and the light on, which is telling my brain that it’s daytime.  When the snooze rings, I get out of bed awake, rather than stumbling and bleary eyed.

  • Katie

    One more thing.  A sunrise simulator is KEY to me getting up on time during all seasons but summer.  It kicks on 30 minutes before my alarm goes off, so when I open my eyes it’s on fully and my brain is already waking up.

  • billthegalactichero

    I used to be terrible about snooze. No matter where I put alarm I could stagger to it, shut it off and stagger back into bed.

    I finally got extreme and built The Irrevocable Alarm Clock. I bought a battery powered alarm so I could put it inside of the metal file box that I had. Then I bolted a metal hasp onto the file box. So, then I would set the alarm and run a chain through the hasp and around the handle of a large filing cabinet that was in the bedroom and padlocked the chain closed. Finally, I would take the key upstairs, put it in a small cup of water and put that in the freezer.

    All of that got me an alarm guaranteed to ring for as long as it took to unfreeze the key from the cup of water.

    A couple weeks of that broke me of the snooze habit.

    Never let mad scientist engineers solve personal problems 😀

    • Emsemerald

      wow, that is intense! … but might be along the lines of what i need to break this habit!

  • Kate

    This same topic came up on another blog recently. And I’ll be the voice of dissent here, as I was there!

    For me, using the snooze button is not a problem.  Since childhood, I’ve always hit my snooze several times before rising and I love it.  I really dislike transitioning instantly from full sleep to full wakefulness, and I like a little time in the morning to just enjoy being in bed, snuggle with the cat, think about my dreams, stretch, and wake up gradually.
    I get a good and full night’s sleep and the extra half-hour (3 snoozes’ worth!) is just that: extra. I don’t factor that time as part of my sleep time.

    I would find it incredibly jarring and emotionally uncomfortable to be one minute sound asleep and then, alarm, and instantly out of bed.  For me personally, that just sounds like a really unpleasant way to start the day.

    Clearly if someone is exhausted and hitting the snooze is making them late for work or their day’s activities, that’s a different thing, but for me, snooze time is its own lovely interlude.

    • gretchenrubin

      This is a good example of the fact that there’s no ONE RIGHT WAY to do a happiness project. The question is: what makes you happier? What works for you? Mindfully enjoying the snooze button is wonderful. Letting it ruin your day—no.

  • Mdavis1

    I absolutely hate the snooze button!  Lately I’m getting into the habit of waking up before the alarm goes off, so I just turn off the switch and get up a few minutes early.  It makes for a more relaxed morning routine before going to work.

  • MicheleTzafrirah

    The worst is that I go to bed on time figuring to get up about 7.5 hours.  However, my husband comes to bed late, sets the alarm for an hour before he wants to really wake up and then hits the snooze repeatedly.  He can go back to sleep easily, however I get robbed of that last hour of sleep I need.  I finally said, please just set the alarm for when you are really going to get up and then go to bed earlier!!  So far, it has been better.  The worst part of the snooze… hearing the alarm more than ONCE!  The snooze time lapse feels like seconds anyway if you do manage to get back to sleep.  Not worth it!

  • Aelwyn

    As another commentator has already said, a dawn simulator may be the key. Buying one has been the one single element that has boosted my life quality the most since many years, I absolutely recommend it to everybody. I’m no longer tired in the morning and i just don’t WANT to hit snooze!

  • Nela

    Gretchen, thank you so much for answering to my comment in this way! It made me smile in a big way and I feel highly motivated now – and will put the alarm onto the other side of the room tonight 🙂 

    Thanks again, you made my day! Best wishes from Germany, Nela

  • Chris Hahn
  • Anne

    Just read a review in the NY Times of a clock that lets you snooze for one cycle. Then it jumps off the shelf and runs around the room, in the reviewer’s words, like a chicken with its head off. It beeps and flashes a light as it’s doing this. You have to get up and chase it down to make it shut up. I had to laugh out loud, but it’s a real device called a “clocky.”