A soft pillow supports your heavy head while a fluffy comforter engulfs you in its warm embrace. Your mattress gently hugs your body, providing soothing relief from the wear and tear that life has placed upon your joints and muscles. You could not possibly be any more comfortable. You could stay in this position forever…

TOO BAD, CHUMP.

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Your alarm clock goes off. It’s horrible cling-clangy, beep-buzzy sleep disrupting scream penetrates the deep slumber you were just in. Your heart rate spikes and a tiny wave of terror rushes over your body as you fumble to stop the soul piercing noise.

Now if you’re like most people, your first inclination is to smack that snooze button. You’re groggy and tired and 10 more minutes of sleep would feel amaaaaaaaazing.

So you hit the snooze and fall back asleep… only to have your sleep rudely interrupted again. Now some of you will hit the snooze again. And again. And again.

But while you think you’ve just given yourself a little bit of extra sleep, all you’ve really done is set yourself up for failure for the rest of the day.

First off, the sleep you get in that 8-10 minute window is not quality sleep. More often than not, you won’t even fall back asleep and you end up just laying in bed in a groggy stupor. But if you do happen to fall back asleep, it’s very possible to fall into the deep sleep portion of your sleep cycle. When suddenly awakened during that portion of your sleep, you can actually find yourself more tired than before you hit snooze.

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Plus, you actually put your heart through a lot of unnecessary stress when you hit the snooze. Because the loud alarm jerks you out of deep slumber, your nervous system sends messages to your body to raise blood pressure and increase heart rate to deal with what your primitive brain perceives as a threat.

But aside from health reasons, hitting the snooze button is your first conscious decision of the day. It’s a decision that says ‘eh, let’s put off the work that needs to be done today. I’ll get to it later.’  While that might not seem like a huge deal, this tiny decision can snowball into similar decisions later in the day.

Since you allowed yourself two hits of the snooze button, now you might allow yourself to forgo making eggs and swap it for a breakfast pastry instead (you know, since you wasted 16-20 minutes laying in bed). Before you know it, you’ve adopted the mentality of “Well, I already ate bad for breakfast, might as well keep going. This day is a lost cause!”

Not hitting the snooze button isn’t about a few extra minutes of sleep. It’s about being disciplined enough to do the things you know you should be doing.

We all know we should probably get up when the alarm goes off the first time. We also all know that we should be eating more vegetables, exercising more, and getting more sleep. But it’s funny how we don’t seem to do it even though we know it’s highly beneficial for us.

Being disciplined enough to get out of bed and start your day the first time your alarm goes off puts you in a better frame of mind that will help shape better decisions from that point forward. This is hugely important because many of us don’t need help with literally eating more veggies or exercising. We need help creating new habits and lifestyle changes so that these changes stick permanently. Mental strength and fortitude play a huge role in accomplishing this.

So do an experiment this week. Every day, get up and start your day the first time your alarm goes off. See if your productivity doesn’t increase as well. You might be surprised at the carryover effect this will have on the rest of your day.

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