The act of hitting the snooze button on your alarm clock in the morning is a common practice for many individuals. However, sleep experts warn that snoozing your alarm can disrupt your sleep and potentially affect your mood.
Dr. Mathias Basner, a professor of psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania, explains that sleep continuity is an important aspect of sleep quality. When you constantly wake up and hit the snooze button, you are interrupting the continuity of your sleep, which can be detrimental to its restorative effects.
Furthermore, snoozing your alarm can impact your body by affecting the release of wake-up hormones. Basner refers to studies that show how people who were told they would wake up earlier began secreting these hormones earlier than those who were told they would wake up later. Setting an alarm for an earlier time just to allow for snooze time can cause these hormones to be released unnecessarily early.
Additionally, pressing the snooze button may disrupt the natural sleep cycle, particularly for individuals in the rapid eye movement (REM) stage of sleep. When these individuals wake up from a light sleep induced by snoozing, they often report feeling groggier and disoriented.
However, it's not all bad news for alarm-snoozers. Some research suggests that certain individuals, particularly night owls, may benefit from using the snooze button. A small Swedish study found that 30 minutes of snoozing did not significantly impact sleep quality or cognitive performance upon waking.
If you want to break the habit of alarm-snoozing, experts recommend placing your alarm clock across the room to force yourself out of bed. For those who want to avoid using an alarm altogether, establishing a consistent sleep schedule and creating sleep-friendly habits, such as exercising in the morning and getting light exposure, can help wake the body naturally.
If you find yourself relying heavily on the snooze button, it may be a sign of a larger issue, such as sleep deprivation or a sleep disorder. In these cases, it's recommended to consult a sleep specialist who can evaluate your sleep patterns and provide appropriate recommendations.
While opinions on the impact of snoozing your alarm may vary, the experts interviewed for this article generally do not use the snooze button and emphasize the importance of uninterrupted sleep for overall well-being.