More often than not, if the alarm clock is waking you up in the morning, it can feel like you aren’t ready to be awake yet.
That’s why hitting the snooze button for a precious extra ten or 20 minutes in your warm comfortable bed, feels so good.
Unfortunately, it can also be pretty bad too, because not only can it make you late, but it’s not great for your health either.
The sleep cycle involves some important stages which are vital for our health. During the night, the body moves from deep sleep to rapid eye movement (REM) or dream sleep as the dawn approaches.
The deep sleep is calming and restoring and gives the body a purifying and energizing function, while the REM sleep is vital to our mental health.
About an hour before our eyes actually open, the body begins to “reboot.” The brain sends out signals to release hormones like cortisol and adrenaline, the body temperature rises, and we enter into a lighter sleep in preparation for wake-up.
Unfortunately, this can mean that when the alarm goes off it wakes us before our body is ready – hence the groggy feeling. And the snooze button may only make the situation worse.
Believe it or not, when you doze off after your alarm wakes you in the morning, you’re actually setting yourself up to feel less alert and productive later in the day.
When you let yourself go back to sleep, not only is that sleep of poor quality, because you aren’t allowing your body enough time to feel the benefits, but your body thinks it doesn’t have to get up after all and settles back down again.
Then a few minutes later, when the buzzer goes off a second time, you’re telling it something else again and that induces the disorientated and fuzzy-headed feeling called sleep inertia, which can last throughout the day.
Studies into sleep fragmentation suggest hitting the snooze button can lead to problems functioning when compared to the equivalent amount of uninterrupted sleep, so even though you’ve been in bed longer, you’re actually worse off!
It can impair your mental function throughout the day, affecting your memory, reaction time, general performance and even your emotional state.
You’re also throwing off your internal clock by getting up at different times every day, so your body doesn’t know when to start feeling sleepy or awake, meaning you’re more likely to push your bedtime later and deprive yourself of more rest.
What you can do:
• The best advice is to keep going to bed earlier until you naturally wake up just before your alarm—then you know you’re getting all the sleep your body needs.
• Switch off electrical devices like smartphones, tablets and laptops which emit blue light that hurts your sleep. Try turning them off 90 minutes before lights out and help promote sounder sleep.
• Put your alarm clock where you can’t easily reach it. That way, if you have to get up to switch it off, chances are you won’t go back to bed.