Many people press the snooze button several times before getting out of bed. Even though the habit has a poor reputation, is it possible that it could disrupt your sleep? In this article, we will look at the consequences of hitting the snooze button, including both the disadvantages and potential benefits.
“To snooze or not to snooze," that is the question
You are not alone if you hit the snooze button several times before getting out of bed in the morning. According to a survey, more than half of people go for the snooze. Sleep experts usually advise you to avoid this habit because it can be harmful to your health.
Despite the adverse claims, little research has been done on what happens when you hit the snooze button. According to new evidence, it may not be so bad after all. Scientists are still debating whether it is good or bad for you.
Hitting the snooze button
There are those who jump out of bed as soon as the alarm goes off and those who hit snooze a few times, catching a few more minutes of sleep until they are ready for another day.
There are a variety of reasons for doing so, including being too cozy in bed, being too tired or sleepy, not wanting to deal with the day, mentally preparing for another day, or simply enjoying some cuddle time with a bed partner.
The reasons why you snooze are unimportant; what matters is how it may affect your sleep. While this question remains unanswered, there is some evidence both in favor of and against this theory. Examining them can assist you in determining what best suits your lifestyle and needs.
How it affects sleep quality
Hitting the snooze button may not be as bad as you believe. Scientists could not prove that it disrupts sleep until now. Also, recent studies show that snoozers may experience less sleep inertia (a temporary disorientation and decline in performance upon waking up).
In a study, 450 participants filled out a survey about their habit of using the snooze button. They also wore wearables that collected data about their sleep. The study found that snoozers didn’t take more naps than non-snoozers, meaning they don’t need to make up for a lack of sleep. They don’t feel sleepier than non-snoozers, as well.
More recent research, published in 2023, looked at the effects of hitting the snooze button on sleep inertia. In one of the experiments, frequent snoozers spent three days sleeping in a laboratory under two different conditions: one where they were allowed to snooze and another where they weren’t. The researchers also assessed the participant's mood, sleepiness, and cognition using various tests.
The study found no difference in sleep quantity or quality between the snoozers and the non-snoozers. However, during the last 30 minutes of sleep, people who hit the snooze button had a shorter sleep duration, spent more time in light sleep (N1) and less time in REM sleep.
Additionally, those who snoozed experienced less sleep inertia upon waking up and performed better on cognitive tests compared to those who didn't snooze.
Not hitting the snooze button
Many experts believe that relying on an alarm to wake you up means you are not getting enough sleep at night, and that the need for multiple alarms may be a sign of a larger problem.
Another reason to avoid the snooze button is that it has the potential to disrupt your sleep cycles. When your head hits the pillow, you become drowsy and eventually fall asleep. Following light sleep come deep sleep and REM sleep.
Most people have four to five REM episodes every night. The first one happens 90 minutes after you fall asleep. This sleep stage is known for its restorative effects.
Most of the time, you are almost out of REM sleep when your alarm goes off in the morning. But if you hit the snooze button, you may fall back asleep and wake up from a lighter sleep. This might make you feel less rested than if you had slept an extra hour.
How it affects sleep quality
According to research, people who do not hit the snooze button may feel more rested. In one study, researchers tracked ten students' sleep-wake schedules and compared the effects of using the alarm button on sleep inertia. It took longer to wake up in the final 20 minutes after hitting the snooze button, and participants stayed in the lightest sleep stage, N1, for longer. The participants also felt more energized after waking up when no snooze was used.
How to stop snoozing your alarm
If hitting the snooze button has done more harm than good, maybe it’s time to ditch that habit for good. Here are some tips that can help you with that:
- Get enough sleep. In an ideal world, you wouldn't need an alarm to wake up because you'd be getting enough sleep. So, if possible, try adjusting your routine so that you can sleep at least seven to eight hours a night.
- Move the alarm away from you. When you need to get out of bed to set the alarm, it becomes much harder to crawl back in.
- Use scents. The smell of fresh coffee can be a strong motivator to get out of bed. One tip is to set up the coffee machine the night before so that it starts brewing about 10 minutes before your wake-up time.
- Warm it up. You can get too cozy in your bed at a chilly temperature. Turning up the thermostat right before you wake up can make it easier for you to get out of bed.
- Light the bedroom up. Light helps tell the brain that it's time to wake up. Leave your shades slightly raised to wake up with the sunrise, or consider smart shades, which you can program to rise at a certain time.
- Find motivation. Getting out of bed becomes easier when you have something to do. So, plan morning activities like appointments, working out, studying, taking the dog for a walk, or reading a book.
Tips for a restful sleep
Improve your sleeping habits to ensure more restful nights. You might not even need that snooze if you get enough quality sleep. Here are some suggestions for getting more restful sleep:
- Have consistent sleep and wake-up times.
- Get at least seven hours of good-quality sleep per night.
- Limit screen time before bed.
- Avoid alcohol, caffeine, and heavy meals before going to bed.
- Practice physical activity daily.
- Get some sunlight exposure.
- Establish a relaxing bedtime routine.
- Make your sleeping environment comfortable, quiet, and cool.
While many experts strongly advise against hitting the snooze button, scientific evidence to date is very limited, and there is still no agreement on whether it is good or bad for you. So, figure out what works best for you and make getting enough good-quality sleep a priority.
Snoozing is the act of putting off an alarm, most commonly when waking up in the morning.
According to research, more than half of people hit the snooze button before waking up.
Hitting the snooze button can reduce sleeping time and increase time spent in light sleep. The effects on sleep inertia are inconclusive.
Tips to avoid hitting the snooze button include smelling coffee, warming up your room, and letting in some morning light.