Almost everyone would agree that the snooze button is helpful in solving a simple problem; getting more precious minutes of sleep, especially for someone who has little hours of good night rest. Arguably, hundreds of people do this every day when they're sleep deprived. The first thought they have in mind when their alarms blast off sometimes isn't, "Oh, I need to get up." rather, "I need to sleep longer." While it's okay to steal a few extra minutes of your sweet Zzz time, hitting the snooze button on a regular basis might actually leave you feeling more tired during the day.
According to a neurologist specializing in sleep medicine, Dr. Aarthi Ram, the ten more minutes of sleep you're granting yourself over and over isn't productive sleep. If anything, all of that interrupted sleep will make you feel groggy. This is because pressing the snooze button may cause you to oversleep and or throw off your sleep cycle. To understand it further, let's take a look at our sleep cycle.
Ideally, when you go to bed at night you'll feel drowsy and begin to fall asleep in a span of 15 minutes. Here, you're entering a light sleep phase; your heart rate is slowing down and your temperature drops down. Then enter deep sleep, an important stage where your body is regrowing tissue, building bone and muscle, and strengthening your immune system. Once you've passed the deep sleep phase, you will hit what's called REM sleep, or rapid eye movement sleep. This is where you start experiencing sweet sweet dreams. Usually, 90 minutes is what it takes for you to reach the REM sleep stage.
Now, what does it have to do with the beloved snooze button?
The REM sleep is highly restorative, meaning that getting enough of REM sleep is crucial for feeling focused and sharp on the next day. When your alarm goes off in the morning, you're likely near the end of your last REM cycle. If your sleepy state decides to hit that snooze button, going back to sleep can make you wake up in the middle of a cycle. As a result, you end up feeling groggy and disoriented when you wake up. So, nine minutes of snoozing isn't exactly a restorative sleep; you may be asleep, but you're not getting the full benefits from that sleep.
Not only that, if you normally stick to a consistent sleep schedule, your body's internal clock will most likely expect you to wake up when your alarm goes off. But when you hit the snooze and go back to sleep, you're sending your brain system into a confusing tailspin. In result, your body isn't sure when it's time to wake up and when it's time to go to sleep.
So, stop treating the snooze button like it's your dear friend! It can be a difficult habit to break for sure, but you should try to drag your ass out of the bed every morning once your alarm goes off. Yes, it may feel unpleasant at first. No matter how tempting glorious minutes of stolen sleep may sound, keep in mind that you're not going to feel more rested by continuing to snooze your alarm clock. And trust me, that groggy feeling will eventually wear off as you wash your face and get ready for the day.