5 Things That Happen When You Hit the Snooze Button
Getting out of bed in the morning isn’t always easy, and the chilly weather doesn’t make it any easier — later sunrises mean it’s still dark when the alarm goes off, and it’s hard to crawl out from under those warm covers. Hitting the snooze alarm to catch a few extra zzz’s may seem tempting, but the alarm delay can mess with sleep cycles and throw off your day.
Here’s why you should break the snooze-button habit.
1. You feel drowsier.
According to a study published in the Public Library of Science, waking abruptly leads to a period of grogginess called sleep inertia. If you doze off every time you hit the snooze button, that means your alarm wakes you abruptly a few times each morning. “Hitting the snooze button can actually make sleep inertia worse,” says Elika Kormeili, a clinical psychologist specializing in sleep. “It will leave you dragging throughout the day.”
2. You miss out on deep sleep.
The fragmented sleep you get in between pressing the snooze button doesn’t count toward your total hours, Kormeili says. Your body doesn’t have time to fall back into restorative deep sleep. Instead of hitting the snooze button three times, consider setting an alarm 15 minutes later, or recharge with a 15 minute nap midday.
3. Productivity plummets.
A study at the University of Surrey in the UK found that hitting the snooze button in the morning can affect cognitive functions throughout the day. Rather than feeling more well-rested, you may have trouble concentrating or making decisions.
4. Your sleep cycle gets thrown out of whack.
“In my experience, people ‘snooze’ repeatedly,” Kormeili says. “This behavior causes havoc on your sleep patterns.” When your alarm jolts you awake in the middle of a sleep cycle, you’ll likely feel groggy, but you don’t have time to complete a full sleep cycle after hitting the snooze button. So that extra five minutes doesn’t help much. In fact, according to a study published in the journal Sleep Medicine, interrupted sleep can negatively impact your mood and attention span as much as getting no sleep at all.
5. Your memory may lag.
According to the Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School, we process new experiences and new skills during the REM stage of our sleep cycle. If you set your alarm earlier than necessary just to allow enough wiggle room to snooze a few times, you may be interrupting this important step in the sleep cycle. Set your alarm for when you need to get up — and consider putting your alarm clock out of arm’s reach, so you have to physically get out of bed to turn it off.
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