Hitting the snooze button can be oh-so-tempting, but have you ever wondered if it has any negative impacts on your body? An extra five to fifteen minutes of sleep in the morning may seem like a good idea if you’re tired, but in truth, you may be making things more difficult for yourself. What does the science say? And if you’re a “chronic snoozer,” does this mean you might have a sleep disorder? What are the best methods for breaking the habit?
What Are the Facts?
While there is no definitive research on the subject, many sleep experts believe that hitting the snooze button actually hurts your sleep. Here’s why.
Your body has three distinct stages of sleep: light sleep, deep sleep, and REM sleep, which take place in 90-minute intervals. When you hit snooze and are woken up in 9-minute intervals, instead, your body doesn’t have enough time to complete a full sleep cycle. Most people experience some level of sleep inertia, or grogginess, within the first hour of waking up. Some sleep experts believe that hitting snooze can cause you to experience sleep inertia much later in the day than if you had just gotten up when the alarm went off because you’re forcing your body to sleep in a way it simply isn’t designed to do.
How Can You Break the Habit?
Not hitting the snooze button can be quite the task if you’re used to doing it every morning. Thankfully, there are plenty of strategies to help curb the habit:
- Put your alarm out of reach. Try putting your alarm on the other side of the room or in another room, so you have to get out of bed to make it stop. You’ll be a lot less likely to fall back asleep once you are up and moving around.
- Get an alarm that wakes you up during a lighter phase of sleep. Many alarm clocks and apps have settings that allow you to choose the period of time in which you want to be woken up. The alarms assess your movement in order to wake you up at a time when you are in a lighter phase of sleep. The idea is that you’ll be less groggy than if you were woken up in a deep phase of sleep. While not a perfect science, these alarm clocks are a good idea to try if hitting snooze is a consistent problem for you.
- Go to bed earlier. You might be hitting snooze simply because you aren’t getting enough sleep at night. Try going to bed earlier in 15-minute increments: start by going to bed 15 minutes earlier, then 30, then 45, then an hour. This will help your body ease into the new schedule and reduce the possibility of long nights of tossing and turning.
- Consider underlying disorders. Consistently hitting the snooze button could be a sign that your body is trying to tell you something. Even if you think you’re getting a great night’s sleep, the reality is that you could have a sleep disorder without even realizing it. For example, people with untreated sleep apnea often don’t realize the extent of their disorder. They may be in bed for 8 hours each night but are only truly sleeping 5 or 6 of those hours because they are being repeatedly roused due to a lack of oxygen.
Quality Sleep Without the Snooze
If you’re dealing with a sleep disorder like sleep apnea, then the above habits won’t help you get the rest you need. People with sleep apnea won’t feel relief without treatment — snooze button or not. If you’ve tried everything and still feel exhausted in the morning and throughout the day, plus exhibit common sleep apnea symptoms like snoring, then it’s time to see a professional. Schedule a free consultation with our practice Sleep Better Georgia to get help and start having better sleep.