Self 19 June 2017
You hear your alarm go off at 6:30 A.M., and you groggily tap the snooze button, sinking back into the fluffy, cotton covers. Encased in the blankets like a wool burrito, you drift off into a delicious few minutes of sleep, savoring every second. The next time you're awakened by the ringer, however, you don't feel more rested. Instead, you're more dazed and drowsy than ever. What happened? Do you need to hit the “snooze" button again?
Contrary to conventional wisdom, hitting that tempting option on your phone doesn't lead to a more rested state. Research has shown that snoozing actually causes sleep inertia – a physiological state of impaired cognitive and motor performance that is present immediately after awakening. There are a few reasons for poorer functioning caused from pressing that button, ranging from the physiological to the psychological.
Interrupting the Sleep Cycle
Throughout a night of sleep, a person typically progresses through a series of four to five sleep cycles. Each sleep cycle consists of four stages, including one REM stage and three non-REM stages. When you awake, hit the snooze button, then fall back to sleep, you're more likely to fall back into the beginning of a sleep cycle. This translates into the production of hormones that encourage deep sleep.
This means that you're starting to dip into a deep slumber, only to be rudely awoken by the alarm ten minutes later. According to psychologist Maria Konnikova, the beginning of a sleep cycle “is the worst point to be woken up," resulting in us feeling like we slept poorly.
There's another piece of useful information that can be drawn from the sleep cycle. If you often find yourself waking up feeling groggy, the trouble may be that you're waking up at the wrong part of your sleep cycle. To remedy this, try setting your alarm a few minutes later, or a few minutes earlier. Trial and error will help you find your sweet spot, and once you do, stick to a regular sleep schedule.
Our Brains Become Confused
On a behavioral level, hitting the snooze button bewilders our minds. Psychology professor and behavioral economist Dan Ariely posits that by hitting snooze, we're training our minds to be confused by the alarm sound. Our minds like consistency, and when we press that button, instead of recognizing the alarm sound as the cue to “get out of bed," it becomes the tone for “let's sleep for a few minutes more." This of course means that each time you hear your alarm go off, your brain will expect to get “just a few more" minutes of sleep, making you never want to step out of bed.
The more you snooze, the more confused your body and brain will get, which means you'll feel more out of it when you actually wake up, even though you got more sleep. Furthermore, this type of grogginess and sleep inertia can last for up to two to four hours, leaving you feeling unproductive even after you've showered, breakfasted, and gone into the office.
Throwing off Your Sleep Schedule
By pressing that alluring button, you're changing the times you get up every day. On Monday, you may awake at 7:00 AM, but on Tuesday, you may press the snooze button three times, leaving your bed at 7:30 AM. This inconsistency throws off your internal clock, and may mean that your body won't know when to start feeling sleepy. You'll likely start going to sleep later, resulting in more sleep deprivation.
Getting a full night of peaceful, uninterrupted sleep is extremely important and beneficial, both to health and wellbeing. Not getting enough sleep results in fatigue, which has been linked to poorer and riskier decision making. Dr. Timothy Roehrs, the Director of research at the Sleep Disorders Research Center, found in a study that the sleepy subjects made riskier decisions that put them at risk of losing money, while the alert subjects made more prudent choices.
So What is a Person to do?
The best way to counter this problem is to set your alarm for the time you have to get up, and then to actually get up when it goes off. It will help to set it for the same time every day, for your body to establish an internal schedule. Do this for a prolonged period of time, and the consistency will ensure that you'll feel naturally sleepy at the end of the day, meaning you'll be sleeping at your bedtime when your body needs it. This in turn will make it more likely for you to wake up naturally, unprompted by an alarm (and of course, no snooze button!).
3 Min Read
Thinking of ringing up your ex during these uncertain times? Maybe you want an excuse to contact your ex, or maybe you genuinely feel the need to connect with someone on an emotional level. As a matchmaker and relationship expert, I was surprised at the start of the coronavirus quarantine when friends were telling me that they were contacting their exes! But as social distancing has grown to be more than a short-term situation, we must avoid seeking short-term solutions—and resist the urge to dial an ex.
It stands to reason that you would contact an ex for support. After all, who knows you and your fears better than an ex? This all translates into someone who you think can provide comfort and support. As a matchmaker, I already know that people can spark and ignite relationships virtually that can lead to offline love, but lonely singles didn't necessarily believe this or understand this initially, which drives them straight back to a familiar ex. You only need to tune into Love Is Blind to test this theory or look to Dina Lohan and her virtual boyfriend.
At the start of lockdown, singles were already feeling lonely. There were studies that said as much as 3 out of 4 people were lonely, and that was before lockdown. Singles were worried that dating someone was going to be off limits for a very long time. Now when you factor in a widespread pandemic and the psychological impact that hits when you have to be in isolation and can't see anyone but your takeout delivery person, we end up understanding this urge to contact an ex.
So, what should you do if you are tempted to ring up an old flame? How do you know if it's the wrong thing or the right thing to do in a time like this? Check out a few of my points before deciding on picking up that phone to text, much less call an ex.
Before You Dial The Ex...
First, you need to phone a friend! It's the person that got you through this breakup to begin with. Let them remind you of the good, the bad and the ugly before taking this first step and risk getting sucked back in.
What was the reason for your breakup? As I mentioned before, you could get sucked back in… but that might not be a bad thing. It depends; when you phoned that friend to remind you, did she remind you of good or bad things during the breakup? It's possible that you both just had to take jobs in different cities, and the breakup wasn't due to a problem in the relationship. Have these problems resolved if there were issues?
You want to come from a good place of reflection and not let bad habits make the choice for you.
Depending on the reason for the breakup, set your boundaries for how much contact beforehand. If there was abuse or toxic behaviors in the relationship, don't even go there. You can't afford to repeat this relationship again.
If you know you shouldn't be contacting this ex but feel lonely, set up a support system ahead of time. Set up activities or things to fall back on to resist the urge. Maybe you phone a different friend, join a virtual happy hour for singles, or binge watch Netflix. Anything else is acceptable, but don't phone that ex.
Write down your reasons for wanting to contact the ex. Ask yourself if this is worth the pain. Are you flea-bagging again, or is there a friendship to be had, which will provide you with genuine comfort? If it's the latter, it's okay to go there. If it's an excuse to go back together and make contact, don't.
Decide how far you are willing to take the relationship this time, without it being a rinse and repeat. If you broke up for reasons beyond your control, it's okay. If your ex was a serial cheater, phone a friend instead.
If there was abuse or toxic behaviors in the relationship, don't even go there. You can't afford to repeat this relationship again.
As life returns to a more normal state and you adjust to the new normal, we will slowly begin to notice more balance in our lives. You want to come from a good place of reflection and not let bad habits make the choice for you. Some do's and don'ts for this time would be:
- Do: exercise — taking care of you is important during this time. It's self-care and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
- Do: shower, brush your teeth, and get out of your sweats.
- Don't: be a couch potato.
- Don't: drink or eat excessively during this time. Again, remember to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
- Do: think positive thoughts everyday and write down the 3 things you are grateful for. Look at the impact of John Krasinksi's SGN. It's uplifting and when you feel good, you won't want to slide backwards.
- Don't: contact a toxic ex. It's a backward move in a moment of uncertainty that could have a long term impact. Why continue flea bagging yourself?