Do you rise with the sun? Wake up at the same time every day, sans alarm? Do you have zero use for the snooze button, and get out of bed on time? If you do, congratulations, you belong to the anti-snooze button club (we just created it, your invite is in the mail)!
If easy-and-early rising doesn’t describe you, you’re not alone. A 2018 survey found that one in three adults oversleep at least once a week, and many of us hit the snooze button multiple times a day. And while a little extra time in bed doesn’t necessarily hurt, continued oversleeping can be a sign of medical issues, like hypersomnia, depression, or malnutrition.
That said, the reasons you’re oversleeping could be harmless. Perhaps your bed is extra comfy, or it’s cold out, or you’re simply not a morning person. Whatever the reason, you can become an on-time riser.
First Things First, Talk to Your Doc
“Most adults need 7-8 hours of sleep a day—no more, no less,” says Dr. Kent Smith, renowned sleep expert and president of the American Sleep & Breathing Academy. “There are exceptions, but they are just that: rare exceptions, not the rule.”
“We’re ALL for people getting more sleep, as one-third of Americans are sleep-deprived, but consistent oversleeping (10 hours or more a night) may be associated with underlying health concerns such as mental health issues, poor sleep quality, or clinical sleep disorders such as obstructive sleep apnea or narcolepsy. Sleeping too much may also be connected with some of the health risks of sleeping too little, including diabetes, obesity, heart disease and cognitive issues.”
So, if you’re a chronic oversleeper, it’s best to make sure everything is a-okay healthwise before making a lifestyle change.
Assess Your Sleeping Needs
Ask yourself, “How long am I oversleeping?” If you tend to oversleep the same amount of time every day, you’re likely just not going to bed early enough.
“I was a life-long oversleeper,” says mindset and motivation coach Kriss Judd. “I tried anything and everything anybody suggested, and nothing worked. What finally did work was moving my bedtime back by the amount I was oversleeping by.”
Judd had a relatively standard bedtime of 10 p.m. but was always oversleeping for two hours. “I started going to bed at 8, and at first, it felt impossible to fall asleep, but after a few nights of staring at the ceiling, I started falling asleep at the earlier time.” The result? Judd actually started waking up naturally—before her alarm went off. By figuring out her body’s needs, Judd was able to prioritize them and wake up when she was ready!
A Sleep Schedule Is Crucial
“It’s really important to wake up at the same time each morning,” says Alicia Butler, health and wellness editor at ReliefSeeker. “If you can get on a sleep schedule (falling asleep at the same time each night and getting up at the same time each morning), you’ll wake up refreshed.”
While staying up late and sleeping in is fine from time-to-time, avoid making a habit of it on weekends. Every time you break your sleep schedule, your body needs to adjust all over again.
Harness the Power of Light
If you can, try keeping your curtains or blinds open overnight. “The morning sun will send signals to your brain that it’s already daytime, and you might find it easier to get up naturally (and not in the afternoon),” says certified sleep science coach Alex Savy, founder of SleepingOcean.
But the importance of natural light to your sleep schedule doesn’t stop in the morning. “A simple trick that might do you a lot of good is increasing your exposure to natural light,” says certified sleep science coach Laura Bates, co-founder of ComfyBeddy. “Even taking a short walk in the afternoon can potentially help you get your internal clock back on track. You may also want to sit near the window during work if you can.”
Make Your Alarm Work Harder (and Smarter)
First, try placing your alarm far enough from your bed where you have to get up and walk a bit. “If your alarm goes off and you have to get up and walk a little to get it, there will be fewer chances of you getting back in bed,” says Savy. “After all, you are already up, so why not start your day now? This trick always works for me.” Plus, says Savy, if you use your smartphone as your alarm, you do yourself an extra favor. “Not being able to scroll before sleep actually helps me fall asleep faster.”
If this tried-and-true trick doesn’t work, Savy has another suggestion: a special app. “There are alarm apps that make you solve puzzles or shake your phone to turn the alarm off. Perhaps such a morning activity will help you get that boost of energy to start your day instead of snoozing in bed.” Savy also suggests specialized physical alarm clocks, like Clocky, which “literally jump off your bedside table and run away from you,” which means you have to move to turn it off.
Design Yourself a Morning to Look Forward to
What better way to get yourself out of bed than giving yourself the time to do something you love to do? “Personally, I enjoy getting up earlier than I need to because I love to have some time to read before the day starts,” says sleep expert and neurologist, Dr. Pietro Luca Ratti, MD, Ph.D. “I know that if I sleep in, I won’t have time to read, and that can get me out of bed.”
Dr. Ratti suggests doing something that energizes and excites you enough to spring out of bed in the morning. “It could be an episode of your favorite show, do some early morning baking, go for a nice walk, etc.” Anything that will have you greeting the day with a smile.
Are you an oversleeper? Have you tried any of the above solutions; if so, how did they work for you? Leave us a comment below and let us know!