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Why the Snooze Button is Bad for Your Health

May 17, 2017


Hitting snooze can be hazardous

As winter sets in, it is getting more and more difficult to get out of bed in the mornings. Let’s be honest, with it staying dark for longer and the sudden drop of temperature it’s only natural that bed is so inviting.

The idea of getting up in the cold isn’t exactly enticing, especially when you are tucked up under the covers, cosy as can be. But, there’s a day to face and things to be done. But when that dreaded alarm clock goes off it’s hard to muster up the motivation to jump out of bed and face the day. Instead, most of us bargain with the imaginary alarm clock police for just a few more minutes, even more, if we are lucky. We hit that snooze button and drift off into a gentle doze, drifting in and out of consciousness until that ominous alarm sounds once more. At this stage it’s very tempting to negotiate just a bit longer – “I’ll skip breakfast for a bit longer in bed” or “It’s ok if I’m just a few minutes late – just 15 more minutes.”

As wonderful as this extra time is, at the time, it is actually not that good for us.

First of all, not being able to get out of bed when we are supposed to, when the alarm goes off the first time, means that we are probably not getting enough sleep. The recommended number of hours for adults is between seven and eight hours. Yes, it’s cold out of bed, but hitting snooze and falling back to sleep means you are still tired and that you should probably consider going to bed earlier at night.

Secondly, and probably most significantly, when we hit snooze and drift off to sleep we are really messing with our sleep cycles. As discussed in an earlier blog, we sleep in cycles that consist of four phases – three phases of non-REM and then REM. By snoozing, even just for a few minutes, we begin one of these cycles only to be rudely awakened by the buzzing, beeping, singing or chiming of the alarm. What this does is jolts your body, unnaturally, out of its sleep cycle. Instead of waking up at the end of a cycle and feeling great, we wake mid-cycle feeling groggy. It takes longer to start functioning, more coffee to get firing and the day is spent in a state of general malaise.

So, next time you consider hitting the snooze button, instead of snoozing for those extra 10, 20 or 30 minutes set your alarm for a little bit later so that you can get those extra minutes of real, quality sleep so that when you do wake up, you do so with a spring in your step!


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