October 30, 2013

Hitting Snooze on Your Alarm Before a Shoot? Why it's Actually the Worst Thing You Can Do

Video thumbnail for youtube video Hitting Snooze on Your Alarm Before a Shoot? Here's Why it's the Worst Thing You Can Do - No Film SchoolGood sleep is key to keeping your body functioning normally, but as anyone in the production world can relate to, you're probably not getting much of it before and during a shoot. While everyone's circumstances and experiences are different, movies, especially low-budget films, tend to be crewed with lots of tired and overworked individuals, and the more tired you are, the worse you are going to perform physically and cognitively. If you've been in this situation at one time or another, there's a good chance you've been hitting the snooze button a few times before you actually get up for the day, but this video from AsapSCIENCE explains why it's one of the worst things you can do:

The interrupted sleep cycle is precisely the reason that naps are only recommended in lengths of about 20-30 minutes. If you are one of many who hits the snooze button multiple times, here are some tips from Fast Company to help you improve the situation (there are lots of great links embedded in the quote as well):

Get realistic about your waking: If you set your alarm early to accommodate snoozing, you're going to have a tough time rousing. So set your alarm for when you can actually get up.

Instead of having a set bedtime, have a set wake-up time: It tells your body that it needs to get going at a consistent pace.

Give yourself an incentive: Our brains love rewards, so something you enjoy--like reading a favorite book, getting a brain-boosting yoga stretch in, or play an instrument--right after waking up.

If you must snooze, snooze longer: The first snooze alarm clock had a snooze setting of nine-minute intervals. But as sleep fragmentation experts will tell you, your body gets the most benefit from 20 minutes of uninterrupted extra rest.

Get a better alarm clock: Like one that uses light to slowly wake you. Or one that rolls around your room.

I'll be the first to say that I'm as guilty of this as anyone, and in very sleep deprived times have resorted to setting 6-8 different alarms, to compensate for all of the ones I'll snooze or dismiss. Sleep is incredibly important for film sets where you can easily harm yourself and others -- even fatally so. Not only is being on set dangerous, but driving to and from a shoot while tired can be the most dangerous thing you do all day. DP Haskell Wexler's documentary Who Needs Sleep? explored this issue and how reasonable turnaround times can prevent unnecessary traffic accidents or even deaths. Plenty of studies have proven that driving drowsy can be worse than driving while intoxicated:

And if you don't believe that old video from ABC, Mythbusters also proved the same in the episode "Arrow Machine Gun":

Although both situations - downing a couple of shots and staying up all night - clearly impaired Tory and Kari's driving skills, causing them to make mistakes and veer out of their lanes, the lack of sleep had more dangerous effects. Compared with cruising around while tipsy, sleep deprivation caused Tory to drive 10 times worse; sleepy Kari's driving was three times more erratic.

Improving your sleep habits can be as simple as not hitting snooze, and that little extra sleep can mean a huge difference in how you perform for the day. While that extra few minutes of sleep between snoozes may seem like a good idea, it actually may be making you that much more tired. Getting solid sleep is important for all humans, so this information obviously doesn't just apply to those working long hours in manual labor jobs like filmmaking.

There are many more links to studies on sleep over on the AsapSCIENCE YouTube video. Check it out below.

Link: Should You Use The SNOOZE Button? -- AsapSCIENCE -- YouTube

[via Fast Company]

Your Comment

18 Comments

really? you guys are writing about sleeping now?

October 30, 2013 at 4:34PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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david

We sure are. On a base level this can help you better execute on set, but if you've seen Haskell Wexler's film Who Needs Sleep?, you'll know that it's an issue that is particularly troublesome for filmmakers and other production people. Getting a little better sleep could mean the difference between getting home safely or not at all, and if not hitting the snooze button can help you stay awake better throughout the day, it's absolutely worth it.

October 30, 2013 at 4:40PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Joe Marine
Camera Department

I was with the original guy and then it occured to me Sunday eve's photographer wrote off his Merc on the way home after a 12hr day and 2hr drive each way

October 30, 2013 at 5:34PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Chris Lambert

I'd never heard of light alarm clocks until I read this post. Joe, you're my sleep doctor now. Thanks for this post, it actually is really helpful and relevant to me, haha.

October 30, 2013 at 7:01PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Micah Van Hove
Writer
director, producer, dp

fyi, i've always thought of inventing the ultimate alarm clock. repurpose a hospital bed, and you wire your alarm into the tilt / shift functions .... when the morning wake up time hits, the bed planes right and dumps you onto the ground --- like a snooze button, you can set it for a quick dump, or a slow tilt, to give you a chance to get up and moving before you get deposited on the floor. if this existed already, i'd buy one.

brilliant, no ?

maybe i'll head to kickstarter.

October 30, 2013 at 7:13PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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sjk

@sjk Sign me up

October 31, 2013 at 6:12AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Micah Van Hove
Writer
director, producer, dp

Think Wallace & Gromit have a patent on this...

October 31, 2013 at 10:09AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Bob

Yeah I hadn't ever tried the light/sound ones because the good ones were too expensive. It may be time to revisit some of those other options.

I also realized I actually need a whole other post devoted to sleep when I started this one. There are so many things related to sleeping and sleep deprivation, and ways to keep yourself awake that are directly related to productivity on set and making good decisions.

October 30, 2013 at 7:47PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Joe Marine
Camera Department

Dude - all you are doing is crapping on someone's work. That is literally the only thing you have accomplished. Moaning. Congrats - you won.

October 30, 2013 at 8:17PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Kraig

This is a huge issue in the industry, at all levels. Very relevant. At first I thought you said, "Really? You guys are only just now writing about sleep?"

October 31, 2013 at 10:52PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Now THIS I'm sure we can ALL relate too :) Good post!

October 30, 2013 at 4:35PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Kraig

I have never used an alarm. My body wakes up naturally kind of always been like that

October 30, 2013 at 5:08PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Carlos G Davis

david, do you get enough sleep ? how the hell do you not find this moderately interesting ? or at least germane to this business. joe: i thought you were going to build in the tossing / turning / stress element the night before a shoot, not just the fact that we're probably overworked.

October 30, 2013 at 6:09PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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sjk

Yeah that's definitely a part of it as well, especially if you don't have any decompression time between whatever you were just doing and your sleep.

October 30, 2013 at 6:14PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Joe Marine
Camera Department

I can attest to the snooze button only making me more tired.

I coincidentally read an article today describing how throughout the history of man, people were naturally inclined to sleep fragmented in two segments. They'd go to bed shortly after dark, wake up around midnight for an hour or two, then get another four hours after that. This really interesting article goes into it - http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-16964783

October 31, 2013 at 2:03AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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David

Thanks !
Really good Article !

October 31, 2013 at 8:23PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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I always wondered why I felt worse after a snooze.

I've taken to putting my alarm clock on the other side of the room, so to turn it off I need to physically climb out of bed, and by that point I may as well stay up.

October 31, 2013 at 4:59AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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I directed short film. We wrapped at 4am. That morning the make up artist had to do a test at school 2 hours away. The designated driver was passed out in a trailer so I drove him. We both passed out on the road and I smashed into the concrete divider on the 15 freeway in California. We woke up in the middle of the road with the car sort of making its way to the right side. It's a miracle we're still alive and no one else was on the road.

DON'T DRIVE TIRED!!!

October 31, 2013 at 2:14PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Daniel Riser