Why you shouldn’t hit the snooze button
It’s 7:30 and your alarm is blaring. You know you should probably get up and get started with your day, but you’re still tired and your bed is very comfortable. It’s totally normal to want to hit the snooze button. And plenty of us do it: According to one survey, more than one in three adults press snooze three times before getting up in the morning. And more than half of adults in their twenties and early thirties say that they hit the snooze button every morning.
And while it’s not a huge deal to snag a few extra minutes of sleep once in a while, fighting your alarm on a regular basis might actually leave you feeling more tired during the day and sleep worse at night.
How Snoozing Messes with Your Sleep Cycle
In order to understand why hitting the snooze button can be so harmful, it helps to have a grasp on your sleep cycle, or the stages of sleep your brain cycles through in order to help you rest and recharge.
Ideally, when your head hits the pillow, you feel drowsy and begin to nod off. Now, you’re in light sleep, when your heart rate slows down and your body temperature drops.
After this, light sleep comes deep sleep. This stage is super important since it’s the period of sleep when your body is hard at work regrowing tissue, building bone and muscle, and strengthening your immune system.
Once you’ve moved through deep sleep, you hit REM sleep. During REM, your brain is highly active and you experience intense dreams. But despite that intense activity, REM sleep is actually highly restorative—and getting enough of it is crucial for feeling sharp and focused the next day. You usually experience your first REM stage about 90 minutes after you first nod off, and cycle through several times throughout the night.
So what does all this have to do with the snooze button? When your alarm goes off in the morning, you’re usually nearing the end of your last REM cycle.Wake up and get yourself out of bed, and the REM cycle ends. Hit the snooze button and go back to sleep, though, and you throw yourself right back into the REM cycle. When your alarm goes off a second time, it wakes you up in the middle of REM instead of at the end of REM. As a result, you end up feeling foggy and disoriented. Not exactly the best way to start your day.
The Long Term Consequences of Hitting Snooze
There’s more. If you went to bed at a decent hour the night before, your body’s internal clock is ready to wake up once the alarm goes off. But when you hit snooze and go back to sleep, you send your whole system into a confusing tailspin. Before long, your body isn’t sure when it’s time to wake up and when it’s time to go to sleep.
And if your body doesn’t know when it’s time to go to sleep, you could be spending a lot of time tossing and turning. As a result, you end up getting less of the quality sleep you need. Just one week of poor sleep can mess with hundreds of genes in your body—leading to heightened stress, lowered immunity, and increased inflammation.
After a while, those effects start to add up. When you’re stressed, you have a harder time focusing and are more prone to feeling snappy or irritable. When your immune system isn’t working at capacity, you’re more likely to get sick—which could make it even harder to achieve quality sleep.
Figuring Out why you are hitting the Snooze Button
We now know that hitting the snooze button will probably make you feel tired. And regularly relying on it to sneak in a few more minutes of sleep will mess with your body’s internal clock, which can actually deprive you of sleep and set you up for some major health problems.
So, you should try to hit snooze as less as possible. But to reduce your reliance on the snooze, you need to figure out what’s making you want to sleep in in the first place. To get to the answer, consider these questions:
- Are you going to bed early enough? If you’re staying up too late, it’s no wonder you want to press snooze in the morning. Experts agree that most of us do best on seven to eight hours of sleep per night. This means that if your alarm starts blaring at 7:00 AM, you should be asleep by midnight at the latest.
- Are you exercising? Study after study shows that people who are active tend to sleep better than their sedentary counterparts. Make it a habit to get moving for at least half an hour most days of the week—and see if you don’t end up snoozing more soundly.
- Are you comfortable in your bedroom? If your environment isn’t comfy, you’ll have a harder time falling asleep and will be more likely to toss and turn throughout the night. Do what you can to ensure your mattress and bedding is comfortable. Sleepkraft mattresses ensure that you sleep like a baby every time you crash into bed. Our range of choices ensures that you will always find something that suits your personal taste and needs.
- Do you have any chronic sleep issues? Problems like obstructive sleep apnea can cause you to experience poor, fragmented sleep. If you notice that physical symptoms are messing with your snooze time and leaving you tired in the morning, talk with your doctor about treatment options.
What to Do Instead of Hitting Snooze
The answer is pretty simple, but you might not like it: Just get out of bed. Yes, waking up as soon as your alarm goes off will probably feel unpleasant at first. But after a few minutes, that sluggish feeling will wear off—and you’ll start your day feeling refreshed and ready.
And if you don’t totally trust yourself to say no to the lure of the snooze button, go with the age-old trick of putting your alarm on the other side of your bedroom, far away from your bed. But don’t feel too bummed. At the end of the day, you can dive right back into dreamland.