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Is Hitting the Snooze Button Bad For You?
Do you have an “as needed” relationship with your Snooze Button? Is it one of those relationships that every now and then, you call in a favor and it lets you get in a few extra minutes on Monday morning when you were up too late watching Game of Thrones?
Or, are you addicted to that button and you repeatedly hit it every morning, constantly trying to game the system of your own creation? Do you set your alarm for 6:30 in a “wishful thinking” manner and snooze until 7:15 in this silly charade thinking that you are getting more rest to help you get through the day?
You may think that it is helpful, but science has a much different take on your snoozing ways. By hitting the snooze button every morning over and over, you are actually causing much more harm than good.
Is the Snooze Button Bad for You?
If you are asking yourself, “Does snoozing help me get more rest?”, scientists seem to be in agreement that the answer is a resounding NO! Robert S. Rosenberg, the medical director of the Sleep Disorders Centers of Prescott Valley and Flagstaff, Arizona, told CNN in 2014 that when you repeatedly go into Snooze mode on your phone or alarm clock, you are doing damage to your rest in two big ways.
Firstly, he says that you are breaking off that extra sleep into smaller pieces, which makes it, “of poor quality”. Secondly, he says that you are beginning a new cycle of sleep that, “you aren't giving yourself enough time to finish.”. It’s really a lose-lose situation that millions of people are engaging in every morning.
By Snoozing, you are confusing your body. By letting yourself go back to sleep after hitting the snooze button, you trick your body into thinking that it's not really time to wake up and it starts heading back the other way. That's why you feel even worse after snoozing. If you had gotten up in the first place, you would be much more alert.
You are telling your body that you are getting ready to commence a new cycle of sleep that there is no way that you are going to finish. You are lying to your body and...no one likes a liar.
If you have time to sleep for another hour, it would be much more beneficial. But you are essentially just drifting back to sleep, waking up 7 minutes later, going back to sleep, waking up 7 minutes later, and on and on and on….that is very BAD for your chances of having a productive day. Snoozing is a real bummer for your body, folks.
What is Sleep Inertia?
You know that feeling where you are groggy, irritable, and not 100% “there” for any mental tasks after a nap or after waking up in the morning? That is actually a medical state called "sleep inertia". Sleep inertia is, in layman’s terms, that disorientation and confusion that you feel for those first few minutes when you crawl out of bed in the morning. It is the impairment that you feel when you are woken up in the middle of the night and are confused and just “not all there”.
In a study from the University of Colorado at Boulder, experts determined that sleep inertia can often last anywhere from 1 hour to multiple hours. If you have ever been woken up by a phone call in the middle of the night and you are just barely able to string a sentence together, you know what sleep inertia feels like. What is scary is that this feeling is probably lasting much longer than you think it does because of your sleep habits! By hitting that Snooze Button repeatedly, you are increasing your chances of having a long few hours of your body trying to catch up!
How Many People Snooze Every Morning?
In a study by Nokia for their Health Blog, they found that out of nearly 20,000 people, nearly half of all people who responded, do indeed use that snooze button every morning. 35% of the respondents say that they hit the snooze button 1 to 2 times every morning and wake up within 20 minutes of the original alarm.
15% actually hit the snooze button more 3 times or more and will remain in their awake/asleep state for over 20 minutes. In the same study, they found that the snooze button is mostly used by people who are aged 20 to 29 and people who get less exercise hit the snooze button much more.
How to Break the Snooze Button Addiction
If you’re asking, “what can I do to get out of this habit?”, we have a few suggestions:
Putting your phone or alarm clock out of reach
If your phone or alarm clock is right beside you on a nightstand, try plugging your device all the way across the room. This will force you to either try to sleep through the alarm (which is pretty much impossible for anyone) or get up out of bed to turn it off. By the time that you are on your feet, the urge to snooze may pass!
Annoying alarm=Effective alarm!
On most smartphones, you are able to set your alarm tone to anything that you like. We suggest avoiding a gentle and soft ringtone to gently wake you up. Go for a loud abrasive sound or extremely annoying songs that you will not enjoy hearing repeatedly when you hit snooze.
Let there be light!
Many of us use blackout curtains and blinds to keep the light out of our bedrooms. We suggest leaving your curtains wide open to let some light in as soon as the sun pops up every day. It’s harder to get back to sleep if you have a super bright room disrupting that Snoozing! And when that sun pours in your room, don’t pull your comforter or pillow over your head; Use it as nature’s cue to get moving!
Bottom Line: Set a Time and GET UP!
If you are absolutely wiped out in the morning and getting out of bed feels comparable to being forced to swimming the English Channel, chances are, you need to get to bed earlier.
You can start slow: Just try going to bed 15 minutes earlier and we bet that you will see a difference. Keep backing it up 15 minutes until you finally start avoiding that Snooze button all together. If your time to get up is 6:30…set your alarm for 6:30. It may seem difficult at first, but pretty soon, you will get your body into a routine and it WILL get easier.
Following a good routine to making sure that you get enough sleep will be rewarding very quickly and being refreshed in the morning can make for a drastic and positive life change. It’s worth it. The SNOOZE BUTTON is not your friend, people. Cast it out!
Do you struggle with the Snooze Button? What have you found that helps? Let us know in the comments below!