I learned a new word the other day: drockling. Why had I only discovered it recently? Probably because I was too busy drockling to notice.
According to The Huffington Post, this term, though it has recently fallen out of use, was coined by sleep scientists in the 1970s to describe that wonderful snoozy, dipping- in-and-out-of-consciousness, dreamy, comfy, do-not-disturb-me-right-now sensation that we so often experience between the time of our alarm clock going off, and the sound of the first snooze alarm… and the second… and the third…
While drockling is one of the things that makes the first morning of our holidays so delightful, spending too long in a drockling state doesn’t really help us get up, ready and alert for work.
And what’s worse than that horrible heart-leaping moment when you roll over and open an eye for long enough to register that you have hit the snooze button a few more times than you thought and were you supposed to have left for work ten minutes ago?
Why we drockle
When the alarm clock goes off in the morning, it takes a little time for our bodies to get used to the notion of being awake: our body temperature needs to increase and our brain needs to become more alert and able to make decisions (often the only decision it is capable of is to hit the snooze button and go back to sleep).
If we hit the snooze button and allow our bodies to drift back to the land of nod, these changes are delayed. When the alarm goes off again our body is confused as it has just been given the signal that it is allowed to sleep.
When this happens time and time again, our poor sleepy brain doesn’t know what to think, leaving us feeling groggy and befuddled. The official name is ‘sleep inertia,’ and is a sensation which can last for up to four hours after actually getting up.
What can we do to reduce drockling?
Sadly, the answer is harsh and unfeeling. The snooze button must be banned. When your alarm clock goes off, you should switch it off and get up – not even thirty seconds of snoozing. This routine must occur at the same time each morning, and soon, you should find you wake up without the help of that scary ringing thing.
While this may seem like some kind of harsh military training, we need to teach our bodies to wake up naturally at the right time, as this will mean that our brain will be ready to make a positive decision to switch off the alarm clock and to get out of bed. Easier said than done, I know, but making sure that we are getting our optimum number of hours of sleep a night, usually seven and a half to nine hours, and practicing good sleep hygiene, such as establishing a sleep routine by getting up at the same time each day will help us get there, without it feeling too inhumane.
All this said, I do enjoy a good long drockle. This probably won’t change, but I’ll try to save it for holiday time, when I know that the time and place is just right. Zzzz…
Are you a drockler? How do you rise and shine?